Friday, August 4, 2017

Doug Spencer, d. July 31, 2017

I'm so sad to hear of the passing of Doug Spencer, CCCR club officer, tournament director, strong player, and to me just a delightful person. Word came through the CCCR that Doug suffered a sudden stroke last Sunday while in the company of his brother Dave (also a strong player).

Mike Lionti informed the club at the club meeting on Wednesday. Mike picked out a card for the club to send to Doug's brother Dave. Mike also invited anyone to speak about Doug or the loss we felt. Steve Blazak remembered his friend with warmth, Clif Kharoubbi spoke about Doug's even  temperament.

 "Any one who knows me knows I have my good days and bad days, I don't think Doug did though. I never saw him have anything other than a good day." Dave Phelps remembered his French Defense and his chronic time trouble. We all shared a minute or so of silence, after which Mike dedicated the evenings games to Doug's memory.

An obituary went around but said little other than he was predeceased by his parents and, in addition to Dave, he was survived by several cousins. There will be a graveside service with interment following in Irondequoit Cemetery (3671 Culver Road) tomorrow, August 4, at 1:00 pm.

To me, David was a most welcoming gatekeeper, a real gentleman. I didn't know him well, and some people recalled he was a fairly private person. I always respected that, apart from one time we both a little surprised to run into each other at a bakery on East Ridge Rd. He seemed to get a kick out of it but we just exchanged simple greetings.

Some of us recall seeing him back at the club a month or so ago after a long absence. I heard since then that he had been ill but he looked fine to me and I wouldn't have suspected.

I played a few games of rated chess against Doug and found him to be a gracious winner. His post-mortems were instructive and objective.

A few games follow. Thanks to Randy MacKenzie for passing on a great game in which Doug holds National Master Stephen Capp to a hard-fought draw. Following that is the first game I ever played him, in which I learned about a pet of his, the Two Knights Tango. (How's that for a whimsical name to an opening? I thought he had to be putting me on when he told me that.) I played him as tough as I could but it wasn't enough. He beat me again with the Tango, even easier, and when I switched up with 1. e4, he beat me with the French. The final game here however, is my draw against Doug and one of my all-time favorite swindles. Doug almost had me, but I found a knight sac leading to a forced perpetual. I remember when it was over he gave me a big, somewhat rueful smile and a handshake, entirely in keeping with all my experience of the man's sportsmanship.

We're gonna miss you, Doug.

Syracuse July Open 2002
Scotch Gambit

 Community Chess Club of Rochester Championship 2009
Two Knights Tango

CCCR Wednesday Tournament 2013
Sicilian Defense, Closed Var.

The Obituary: 
Spencer, Douglas R. Irondequoit: Passed away on July 31st, 2017, at the age of 63. Predeceased by his Parents, Robert & Betty Spencer. He is survived by his Brother, David R. Spencer; and several cousins. A graveside service with interment following in Irondequoit Cemetery (3671 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14622) on Friday August 4 at 1:00pm. There is also a place at the legacy website to leave a memory, light a candle, etc.

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