I have been trying to locate a Master named Steve or Stephen Spencer. He played in chess tournaments, at least in Iowa, and no doubt many other states, many years ago. I’ve seen him sleep overnight in gyms rolled or wrapped up in a mat. Nice enough guy, just trying to pay his bills and win money in tournaments, preferably first places.

Living on the edge. I slept in a hospital one night and was wakened by a security guard in the morning and told to move along. I had no beef with him. Nor he with me. There were no terrorists per se back then.

When one goes to the USPS they hope to get help once in a while. That’s where the word SERVICE comes in handy, as in United States Postal Service.

But at the USCF one is severely restricted in the services they will help you with. Joan DuBois, at the USCF, is its oldest employee and probably its most capable.

Over the years I have had need for a couple of things but was forbidden to get them because of “policies.” If someone doesn’t want to help someone, they can usually point to a word policy to prevent them from doing something. Often this policy can’t be found anywhere, it’s just legend or myth. It’s just handed down from the previous “key holders.” (An example is the stupid phrase, “Mission Statement.” This is usually a money bleed which doesn’t do much except to put a plaque on the wall to remind people who are working there, what it is they are supposed to be doing!

Many years ago the executive director of the USCF thought it was his purview to decide who could and who couldn’t or shouldn’t compete with the USCF. If we sold item X and the USCF sold item X, we were “competitors.” I remember one time when I paid for an expensive ad to be run in CL&R (or CL). It ran all right (they took my money), but on the opposite page or back cover, the same items were being sold by the USCF in direct competition with my small company. Foul Play! The items being sold were published by Thinkers’ Press, my own company!

One other time I wanted to run a FREE Classified Ad for an Unrated Tournament in the Tournament Life section and I was told it was “against” policy! Always that policy thing! I wrote back and I said, “Show me because I don’t believe there ever was such as policy.” Well, it turns out I was right so, all of a sudden there WAS a policy, a new one! I think this “law” was handed down by Goichberg, out of New York to Joan DuBois in Tennessee. The long and strong arm of the law!


Steve Spencer was a Master. He was known to play the Nimzovich Defense in order to disrupt his opponent’s play. Steve was fighting for his financial life (Chess Usually Doesn’t Pay Well). I don’t know what state he was from. I am just hoping someone out there in Radioland might know. When my wife Sarah suggested, years ago, that I set up a competing organization I told her she didn’t realize the work involved or the people who would be on my ass to do favors for them in return for ???? What? I understand the Quid Pro Quo thing, but some of these cats have egos so big you would know from the GetGo that you couldn’t trust them. They won’t ever leave the politics of chess. They love the perceived (???) POWER of chess (give me a break).

If anyone out there knows how I could get in touch with Steve that would be most interesting to me and a possible book project in the future. Here’s my Phone Number: 563-271-6657. I just don’t want the USCF giving it out to JUST anyone!

Bob Long

Or, info@chessbutler.com

P.S.: Over the years I had directed many tournaments, brought in many Club Members, and in general, fattened up the rosters of the USCF membership. Was that the QUID or the PRO QUO?

P.P.S.: I wouldn’t be surprised if someone remembered Steve.

P.P.P.S.: Won’t you consider coming to the Chess Festival in August 18-20 with Simon Williams, the English GM? I am persistent if nothing else. I’ve heard the reasons for why people can’t come but I haven’t seen the reverse! That is, “why they can come!”




  1. Bob:

    Don’t know if this is the guy you are looking for, but could be. If so, unfortunately, it looks like has passed. It’s not much. Here’s the link where I found the info.


    Chess opponents and acquaintances by Bill Wall

    Spencer, Steven C. (Oct 2, 1948 – Dec 14, 2008)

    Strong master who traveled the country to play chess. In 1967, he was a member of the UC Berkeley chess team that won the US Intercollegiate Championship. In 1969, he played in the U.S. Junior championship. In 1970, he was the 6th highest rated junior in the USA, with a rating of 2213. I first met him at a chess tournament in Kentucky in 1975, which he won. We played poker when not playing chess. I gave him a ride to the Lawrence Pfefferkorn Open in Winston-Salem, NC and was paired with him in the first round. He died of lung cancer in San Diego, CA.

    Hope this helps.


  2. Thanks Rick, sad news, and I am afraid it is the same fellow. I told the USCF that their unwillingness to provide this information to me, a journalist, was petty and a policy by fools. I said, “I will find what happened to Steve somehow with no help from the USCF. People who make policy usually do it to benefit themselves or a whiny crybaby somewhere. I used to get foreign mail, get info from USCF, but you see it only takes one (or more) dorks who have this privacy policy thing shoved so far up their anal pore that they can’t see out of their belly button to wreck it for those who have a legitimate reason for getting past the gatekeeper. Joan DuBois of member services has to deal with those who complain about SPAM, etc. I say, let them get a decent Spam filter of “sac up” like the rest of us do and have done. Once in a while (like yesterday) I hear from someone I didn’t know, and found they provide a useful service I want to take advantage of! How much effort does it take, 10 seconds?, to check your unwanted mail (OR EMAIL) into the wastebasket? Who are these privileged people? Ask them if they would like to have all USCF files on themselves deleted? No one would miss them. Life would be smoother.
    An example of this is this ridiculous Hipa Medical Policy and all the thousands of tons of paper waste, postage, and time to “protect” those who are afraid someone will find out someone else has cancer. These days, those who don’t have cancer are the unique ones. Some years ago I underwent expensive radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Never had to hide it from anyone. Just bogus garbage about hurting chances for gainful employment. The biggest obstacle for gainful employment is our age, There’s laws against age discrimination but almost “everyone” knows it is hard to enforce. Why was it made a law? Sorry Steve passed, I wanted to work with him on the life of a tournament rounder.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s