Jason Spector Featured in Bowdoin Orient Weekly

04.22.08 We continue to scour the internet to bring you all things chess in Maine. Recently, two-time and current Maine State Co-Champion and Bowdoin junior Jason Spector was featured in the Bowdoin College Orient--the oldest continuously published college weekly in the U.S. Here's Orient staff writer Mary Helen Miller's profile of Mr. Spector.

Bodoin College student Jason Spector tied for first in the 2008 Maine State Championship with Bates College Professor Steven Dillon and is shown here holding the C. Stuart Laughlin Trophy. This is Spector's second straight Maine Championship title.

Spector ’Äô09 crowned chess champ
April 18, 2008

By Mary Helen Miller
Orient Staff

After a year without practice and two agonizing days of games, Jason Spector '09 took the crown at the Maine state chess championship.


Last weekend, Spector's performance at the tournament earned him first place for the second year in a row. Only this time, he had to share the title’Äîwith a Bates professor.

At the championship, which was held at the University of Maine, Orono, Spector competed against more than 40 players, ranging from high school students to middle-aged adults. The tournament ended on Sunday night in a draw between Spector and Steve Dillon, a professor of English at Bates.

"Basically I hadn't played for a year, so I was pretty rusty," Spector said.

After a year without serious training, Spector had a slow start. Each player was allotted an hour and a half each for their first 40 moves. In one game, Spector had only five or 10 minutes remaining to complete 20 moves. This is when he bounced back.

"I kind of just clicked back. All of a sudden, I felt like I could see everything more clearly," Spector said.

He said that he "thought on [the other player's] time" by predicting what moves his competitor would make, as well as what his responses would be. In some games, Spector calculated up to 15 moves ahead of the game. He explained that every time he tried to predict his opponent's move, he had to consider multiple possibilities.

"Say you calculate five moves ahead, there would be a lot more than five moves in that calculation," Spector said.

Spector described the first day of the tournament as "brutal," as he competed from 9:30 a.m. until midnight.

"It was completely and utterly draining," he said.

His longest game, against a Colby student, lasted four and a half hours.

"When I'm playing [chess], it's not something I'd consciously think I'd enjoy. Afterwards, I get satisfaction from really testing myself," Spector said.

"It's a mental challenge I don't get to experience in any other way," he added.

At Bowdoin, it is not easy to for Spector to find expert-level competitors. Although he said there is one other Bowdoin student who plays as seriously as he does, he has been creative in making his own competition. He has played against friends while blindfolded, for instance.

Spector said that he hopes to play more chess between now and next year's championship. He also has plans to stay engaged with the game by running a clinic in Brunswick this summer for beginner and intermediate players.

"I'd like to start teaching a little bit to stay involved," he said.


Hi Jason,

I'm a Bowdoin alumna and wanted to congratulate you on your winning the 2008 Maine State Championship!
I'm interested in hearing more about your chess clinic you plan for this summer for beginner and intermediate players. I can be reached via email at mainerose2@prexar.com or 933-3293 (evenings). Thanks.

Congratulations to Dillon and Spector for a very strong performance. Further glories await you both and may you win many more tournaments. Roger Morin

Congratulations Jason on another state championship! If you are serious about giving lessons this summer I have been looking for a tutor for some time. When you get a chance, please contact me to discuss details. I can be reached at 242-5200 or curtebrock@yahoo.com. Thanks and great job!

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