In Memory: Roger J Morin (1944-2019)

07.12.19 With great sadness we report the passing of one of the all-time great players and personalities of Maine chess Roger Morin. Roger passed away on Monday, July 8th. He embodied a larger-than-life force as an artist, player, teacher, coach, director, organizer, and supporter of the game near and far. He will be truly missed as a dear friend. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences to Roger's family and friends and his beloved wife Lois.

Roger J Morin (December 28, 1944 - July 8, 2019)

On July 2nd, Roger sent me the following email and asked if I would share it with all of you when appropriate.

To all Maine chess players that I have met and played.

What a joy you have given me by donating your time and effort playing me chess. Your gift to me was so very precious and heartfelt. For 51 years chess and painting encompassed my life and I have no regrets. What a great journey it's been.

Thanks to each and every one of you. To all the tournament directors and doers helping on the sidelines who give and keep giving their time, money and dedication for the growth of Maine chess and beyond, thank you. Thank you Akagi for all your help and donations in setting up the Houlton site. To Phil Lowell, Tom Sanford, Lance Beloungie, Mike Dudley, Andy Bryan, Wyatt Hendrix, Steve Wong and of course Dan DeLuca, without all of you I wouldn't have had this great gift of chess that you gave me.

I simply wanted to let you all know how special each and every one of you was to me. And don't think for a moment that I forgot all the Houlton High School students who joined the chess club on Mondays. You never guessed how honored I was to be your chess teacher. Thank you so very much for your participation.

I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude that I was privileged to have you let me in your life.

Roger Morin


By no means were Roger Morin and I well acquainted, and we only met once over the board, many years ago, but I am sorry to read this.

This is a very sad news. I knew Roger from Houlton Open seven years ago. This regular chess tournament helps my kids, Cynthia and Leonardo, for preparing World Youth Chess Championship and Olympiad with real tournament practices which is very hard to have around here. Roger is also a good mentor and always encourages my kids. You show me how to live a positive life and make the world a better place. we miss you!!!

I first played Roger, a burly smoker from Lewiston, in 1988 when Roger’s rating was 2143. It was round 3 on board 2, and I was expecting to draw with Roger (see game posting below). At the time I was quite impressed with the imagination of his finishing combinations and his strategic decisions leading up to that point as he put me away. I have played Roger another dozen times or so since then including four or so at his Houlton Art Gallery and found his imagination and strategic thinking integral to his chess but also to his art in the gallery.

Roger, with his thermos of coffee, was a regular participant at a number of tournaments held at the University of Maine since 2004. Later Roger was joined by Lois at the tournaments. While Roger anchored the open section, Lois was playing in the under-1000 section and afterwards discussing the games with the young players from Orono who later dominated Maine scholastic chess. A favorite memory is playing Roger, this fierce and wily chess competitor, at the gallery surrounded by Roger’s paintings, some of which were also fierce.

It was my privilege to play chess with and to know this gentleman. Roger, you have made a difference in the world. We miss you.

Extremely gracious of Roger to remember the organizers and TD's before his passing. I echo the twelve comments before me that Roger's passion for chess and art was unsurpassed. Aroostook County now has a void that will be difficult to fill.

Thanks to Tom Sandford, here is one of Roger's many outstanding games:

Tom Sandford (1811) - Roger Morin (2143) 01.16.1988; 0-1

We are so sad to hear this- what a great loss. What we will most fondly remember are long April afternoons on the couches in the lobby of The Waterville Grand during state championships chatting with Lois and Roger (Roger between his rounds), while Lois lovingly sewed for him. Roger was always gracious and kind to Matthew, and to me the one time we played (he crushed me of course!) Roger will be greatly missed by the entire Maine chess community.

Dan Fishbein

From jokes and laughs to wise advice in the form of some over-the-board shellackings, I'll always remember Roger's larger-than-life presence and love for the game and for all who chose to partake in it. I'll never forget his greatest advice: that chess is about human beings and not just plastic pieces on a board. We'll miss you, Roger.

Roger was a great friend and mentor. I will always remember his steadfast dedication to the Cony High Chess Team through his attendance at numerous 30/30 tournaments in the early 1980s. How we loved and tried to emulate his grand attacking style! In our many discussions on the history of the game, Roger would often invoke the legacy of his favorite World Champion, Alexander Alekhine, who once said, "Chess for me is not a game, but an art. Yes, and I take upon myself all those responsibilities which an art imposes on its adherents." Roger, your art and your love of chess will always live on in our hearts.

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Roger Morin. I played with him a few very interesting games. He will be missed. Please accept my sincere condolences.

Maine chess has lost a true lover of the game, a fierce competitor, and a wonderful champion. He was also an innovator never afraid to share ideas on how to involve more people. Hosting chess tournaments at his home helped keep over-the-board tournaments alive in Aroostook County. He was involved in a total of 161 rated events over the last 12 years and most of them in Maine. Truly an institution of the Maine chess scene! Maine chess will certainly miss Roger Morin - I know that I already do.

Very sad news. I also met Roger in the 70's and played more than a few games with him. He will be missed.
RIP my old friend.

Very sad news indeed. I alaways
looked forward to a great game playing Roger. My condolences go out to Rogers family.

It is a sad loss for all of Maine chess in the passing of Roger. He was a great friend because he was a competitor in a great game. He will be missed.

Roger was inspirational to my Chess development back in the 80's frequently playing in Cony High School club tournaments as well as the Augusta Chess Club. A true lifelong artist and teacher.

This is sad. I had no idea he was ill. Roger was always a gentleman and a friend. I met him in the `70's when he taught me that a draw is not a draw if you don't know how to do it.

He was an amazing man! I had an awesome rivalry with Roger throughout my time in Maine. I am very grateful to have known him and learned from him.

-Steve Abrahams

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