Remembering Bob

To the Journal editor:

In 1972 I graduated from Gwinn High School. One of my classmates, Robert Dean Carlin (Bob), lived just down the street from me. Bob lived with his aunt.

Terrible circumstances brought Bob to Gwinn from Ohio. His father unexpectedly died and his mother became unable to care for her six boys. Bob was placed in Gwinn and his brothers were sent to live with other relatives elsewhere.

Life was not easy for Bob. He was routinely bullied, punched and harassed. Bob never complained or cried. He just took it. Inside, Bob harbored a confidence that carried him through his worst times.

It was in the Gwinn High School chess club where Bob found his passion. In the beginning Bob was nothing special, just a novice with more confidence than ability.

He was put down and labeled “Tiger Carlin” for his aggressive style of play. As time went on Bob could compete with any competition available. At least one of Bob’s teammates had difficulty with Bob’s rapid advancement and skill.

Bob went to college and settled in Minnesota. He won the state of Minnesota chess championship at least once. (Minnesota chess records are incomplete and hard to find.) Bob died at age 39 on July 15, 1993.

I write this because I wonder where Bob could have gone in the world of chess if he had lived longer. I write this so some of Bob’s old chess opponents can know of his success.

And I write this to proclaim that despite all he had to endure, Robert Dean Carlin, my friend, was probably the best chess player to ever walk the halls of Gwinn High School.

Dave Kline

Green Garden