A native of Springfield, Illinois, Richard Fortman is one of the leading analysts in the game of checkers. He started to play checkers at the age of sixteen and was aided in his development by Harland Richards, a champion of the states of Tennessee and Illinois.

Fortman entered his first major tournament in 1933 at Cedar Point and won the minor tourney. Then in 1938 he won the trans-Mississippi tourney over sixty-seven contestents. Since that early start he has won the Illinois title in 1950, 1956, and 1975. Abandoning cross board play to a large extent, Fortman has gained most of his reputation in the field on correspondence checkers.

As an annotator Fortman has few if any equals in the game today. Beginning with his annotations of the Eleventh American Tournament games, Fortman has been involved with the annotations of practically every set of important games since that date.

He is also the author of Basic Checkers.