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Paul G. Spencer 1952-2001

I have the sad duty to report the death of Paul Spencer. He had been with his neighbours on Christmas Day but had not looked well and was found passed away on Boxing Day when police were asked to break into his flat. It is thought his death was connected to his long standing kidney problems, he had dialysis three times a week and was on the waiting list for a transplant for a second time.

Paul had been a member of Rushall Chess Club since February 1985 and had played in 356 matches, the sixth highest number of appearances by a Rushall member. He once played 30 league games in one season, 1990/91. Paul had a break from the club on two occasions firstly to work in the middle east for a couple of years. The second time to marry and start a business in Devon, but unfortunately for Paul these two ventures were not to last long, but at least Rushall were to regain him.

Paul's most successful season was in the summer league of 1991 when he achieved 90% from his 5 games. This is surprising because he always preferred the longer time limits of the winter seasons. Paul liked to take his time and enjoy his chess. This season he was having dialysis on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays but was always available for matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays and was scoring above 50% from his seven games, a tribute to someone playing in physical adversity.

Paul was captain of one of our Birmingham league teams from 1988 to 1994. He won the most improved player of the year award in 1991 and won the clubs Les Wilcox knockout in 1990 and 1999. His grades reached a high of 116 in 1997. Paul played 17 times for Staffordshire county teams.

His love of chess and team loyalty was demonstrated in March 2000 when he discharged himself from hospital on a Saturday lunchtime, drove to Syston to play and win for Staffordshire on board one against Leicestershire then drove straight back to hospital in Birmingham after the match.

I will always remember Paul for his cheerful and happy approach to life, often sharing a joke. He seemed to never lose his temper or have any enemies. Apparently he was in pain a lot of the time but never let on to others about this. His last game for Rushall was just a week before his death, at Stafford, on Tuesday 18th December 2001. He had driven there as always with his faithful dog Oscar and had been in his usual good spirits.

S.R.Wilcox secretary of Rushall Chess Club