Chess – A changing of the guard

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For 23 years, Dr. Victor Spear has presided over a small group of Oakmont chess players (and a few outsiders from Rincon Valley/Santa Rosa); but now, family matters demand his full attention, and he has reluctantly retired as Director of the Oakmont Chess Club as from May 2019.

The Oakmont tournament chess players (from left to right):
Alex Dames, Richard Duncan, Victor Spear, Ed Coletti, John Jaffrey, Bruce Wishard, Irv Barrett, and Peter Proehl.

Vic officially affiliated the Club with the United States Chess Federation, which affords it international standing and recognition, and provides all participants with a national rating. Vic Spear is well known to any Oakmonter of more than several years standing, having been a resident for some 29 years. He is a regular attendee at Oakmont’s Sunday Symposium, and over the years has made several presentations to that group. He is also a classical music aficionado and has been a regular attendee at various Oakmont functions at the Berger center.

For most of his life, Vic has been an avid student of chess. He first learned to play the game at the early age of 14 and won his first championship at the Ann Arbor city tournament in 1962. He also played against two world champions, Mikhail Tal (1988) and Boris Spassky (2005). [He does not like to admit it, but he lost those 2 matches!]. Until recently, Vic was the proud owner of over a thousand volumes on the subject of chess (using the past tense here, because he recently donated his vast library to the Mechanics Museum in San Francisco where, the museum avows, each book will reach a student and thereby pass on the ‘Game of Kings’ to many more generations of young people wishing to learn and compete in this absorbing game.

Victor Spear (right) passing on the directorship to Richard Duncan

Victor Spear – A Career Synopsis:

Born in Detroit Michigan 1935; married to Jane for 62 years. – (Two sons age 61 and 59)

Qualified as an MD. in 1959; Intern and resident physician – University of Michigan 1960 – 1963 (Chief Resident 1962 – 1963)

Physician in the U.S. Army – Georgia (1963 – 1965)

Went into private practice in Rockford Illinois, where he resided for 25 years.

He followed up his first tournament win as the Ann Arbor city champ in 1962, with a win at Fort Benning when he was champion in 1964.

He is the author of two books on racquetball – 1976, 1977.

Retired and moved to Oakmont in 1990 – long term resident of 29 years.

Victor decided to retire as director in May of 2019, handing over the symbolic Kings of Chess to Richard Duncan, who is taking over as director of the Oakmont chess club.

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