Tom Dorsch and the Iranians

It is possible Tom Dorsch really does not remember the check. What happened was that in early 1964, we were at the house of another chess player named Tom Briggs. Briggs liked to brag that he had been diagnosed as a "paranoid, schizophrenic, masochist."

I cannot remember exactly how this happened, but I think that Dorsch whipped out his check book and wrote out a check for $372 and handed it to Briggs.

Briggs knew that Tom Dorsch checks were worthless and perhaps tried to give it back to Tom or gave it to me. I do not remember exactly how it happened. Perhaps Tom had a few drinks. What I do know is that when we left, I had the check, and it was for the amount of rent which Tom owed me.

About a week or two later, Tom came to our apartment and said he had a car and why don't we go drive it around. I said OK. Tom drove us to some desolate spot in East Oakland in a bad neighborhood. He then said I should buy some gas. I said that I did not have any money for gas. He told me that in that case I could not ride in his car any more and to get out.

This was in the middle of the night. I got out and it took me several hours to get back to our apartment in Berkeley. When I finally got back, Tom was there and I asked him when he was going to move out. He said that he would move out in a few days and he did actually move out in a few days.

Tom had lived for about five or six months in my apartment and had only paid rent for the first one or two months. So, he owed several months rent. He was able to gamble every day at the Key Card Club in Emeryville.

I filed suit for $372 which was the face amount of the check. I got Tom Maser to serve the summons on Dorsch as he was playing in the 3-5 lowball game at the Key Club.

Maser later told me that Tom Dorsch told him it was for a gambling debt. Dorsch repeats this claim here. Gambling debts are not legally enforceable in California and this is why Tom Dorsch would make this claim. However, I doubt if this claim would hold up in court because Tom had lived for months in my apartment without paying rent.

As far as my living in a lunatic asylum at 2119 Carleton Street is concerned, as I have mentioned, there is some basis for that. One of our apartment mates was named Ahmed Shayegan, who was actively trying to overthrow the Shah of Iran from our apartment and had meetings of his revolutionary council nightly in our apartment. Tom would try to get these Iranians to play poker with him. Tom would beat them at poker, but they often did not pay, especially one named Baroom who wound up owing Tom a lot of money..

I believe that one person who came to our apartment was Sadek Gopsadek (phonetic spelling) who was later Foreign Minister of Iran under Khomeini, but was then executed. I wonder if Tom remembers this person.

Another person in the apartment was Ann Allister, who was hiding out from her family in Scarsdale New York until she had her baby which she was giving away for adoption. I am sure that Tom remembers her.

In 1994, 30 years later, Tom Dorsch told Elliott Winslow in a Leisure Linc chat that it was because of Sam Sloan that he joined the Army and went to Vietnam. Al Lawrence has posted here that Tom went to Germany. Tom himself has told me that he was stationed in Germany. However, he may have gone to Vietnam as well.

What I do not understand is: I would be willing to forget about and drop these matters, but Tom Dorsch keeps attacking me every day.

I feel this is very strange

Sam Sloan

On Tue, 26 Oct 1999 16:17:54 GMT, (James B. Shearer) wrote

Not everything Sam Sloan posts is a lie. For example there really are people named Doris M. Rich, Arden Van Upp and Tara Shioya. However it is hard to believe that everything he posts is the truth. Perhaps you could clear up one small item? Did you once give Sam Sloan a bad check which you have never made good?

Just curious.

James B. Shearer

On 26 Oct 1999 17:46:35 GMT, (TOMDORSCH) wrote:

This is indeed a curious exculpation. "Not everything Sam Sloan posts is a lie." Even for James B. Shearer, that's reaching.

My bad check to Sam Sloan in 1963? This has nothing to do with chess, but to satisfy your curiosity:

I was an undergrad at Berkeley, trying to break the apron strings, and Sam offered me a place to live, in his lunatic asylum on Carleton St. He knew I was flat broke at the time, but I told him I would pay my "share" of the rent as best I could, despite the fact that I was underemployed at the time.

I made a few payments out of winnings I had picked up at the local poker game. Then there was an interruption when I wasn't winning. I told Sam that if he would stake me in the game, I would pay him out of my winnings, if any. Sam was at that time still getting checks from home. He agreed. For the first two months, I won enough to pay him back his stake and his rent. Then I stopped winning. I owed him some amount of back rent, a couple of months.

As these things usually go, he got nasty about it, we disagreed about the amount in dispute, and the amount was never repaid. I do not remember a check being involved, but I clearly remember the bad blood. Sam was at that time just an apprentice con man, but already terminally obnoxious.

He sued me in small claims court for the amount, but he could never have won because it was essentially a gambling debt.

I was at that time under orders to go to Vint Hills Farm Station in Virginia (coincidentally, only a few miles from Sam's ancestral home in Lynchburg) for security training, and had the small claims action dropped under terms of the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act. I didn't see Sam again for some 30 years. And you know what? I didn't miss him.

Regards, Tom Dorsch

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