Jack Spence (1926-1978) was ‘Mr. Omaha Chess.’ Spence was an expert-level player, winning the Nebraska Championship in 1951, and coming second in 1955, 1958 and 1969. He won numerous other local events, including the 1950 Omaha Experts and the 1955 Swenson Championship. Spence furthermore served as one of the most active organizers in the Midwest in those years.
Spence was known far beyond the Nebraska state lines, however, and this because of his ‘Spence Limited Editions.’ In those pamphlets Spence undertook the arduous task of collecting and printing game collections from dozens of tournaments around the globe. He edited and published two chess magazines – the Midwest Chess News / Nebraska Chess Bulletin (47-59) and the Ohman Memorial Club Newsletter (69-78) – that would still rival the best state chess publications available today. Many games and crosstables that would otherwise be lost to history are only known because of Spence’s efforts. Finally, as if this weren’t enough, Spence published early game collections of leading attacking players such as Teichmann and Spielmann.
Jack Spence graduated from Central High School and Creighton University. He was, for many years, a lawyer in Omaha.
We will add more information to this page as we discover it. For the time being, John Tomas has kindly allowed us to offer his 2001 article on Spence from the Gambit for download. Thank you, John!