La Moyne Splichal

I just learned that a good chess friend of mine, La Moyne Splichal, recently passed away.

La Moyne was a long time club manager of the Denver Chess club. He was the very first chess player that I met when I started playing in Colorado.

I remember that he greeted me as a newcomer with a smile, and welcomed me.

Later as I got more involved with the Denver chess club, I would assist La Moyne with tournament directing, and organizing events. I would often go over to his apartment at the end of the month, and help him submit the rating reports, and also download the latest rating supplements into the SwissSys pairing software.

You never knew what La Moyne was going to be like over the board.  He could be brilliant, and could also blunder.  Here is a tactic from one of his games (Answer at the bottom):

Black to Move:

Losol Amarbayasgalan – La Moyne Splichal Colorado Open 2008 Black to Move

I remember La Moyne winning sole first place at the Edward Levy Memorial tournament, which was a huge Bill Goichberg tournament that was held in Denver. It was the biggest tournament that Colorado has had in years and years.  Everyone was very happy for him.

He won over 1000 dollars in prizes, going a perfect 5 for 5 in the Under 1600, which gave him a rating floor of 1600, which he was usually close to the rest of his playing career.  You can see this outstanding performance here:

You can see his full rating history here:  You can see he was a very active player, and was the chief tournament director in 192 events.

La Moyne (Right) with Paul Grimm at the Tabor Center in Denver 2004

I remember doing a lot of fun tournaments with LaMoyne, such as the Halloween tournament, where people dressed up in costumes, and the 24 hour tournament, which was 20 rounds from noon Saturday until noon Sunday.

He didn’t own a car, so I often would drive him home at the end of the evening, and he often rode with me to out of town tournaments as well.

He was pretty quirky, and liked things done a certain way. I remember when I was the editor of the Colorado Chess Informant Magazine, I gave him a copy of the magazine, to save some money on postage. But he wanted to get it in the mail, because he liked having the sticker with his name and address on it. lol.

He would also get upset if people wrote “LaMoyne” (without the space) or “Lamoyne” or anything other than the two word version “La Moyne”. I always thought this was funny, because it was such an unusual name, that people were bound to get it wrong.

La Moyne was inducted in to the North Dakota Hall of Fame,, and I remember him being very proud of that accomplishment.

La Moyne had a really great sense of humor. I still crack up at the sign he made that said “Let’s have fun on board one” at Anthea’s 24 hour tournament, when Dan Avery (who likes to say “Let’s Have Fun” at the beginning of the game) was playing on the first board. He was very creative, and took a lot of pride in the little things of a chess tournament.

You will be missed La Moyne!  Thank for you all that you did for Colorado Chess.

Answer: 1…e3 sets up the dangerous threat of Qxh3 which white must defend against and doesn’t have time to save the knight on d2.

[Event “2008 Colorado Open”]
[Site “Denver, CO”]
[Date “2008.08.30”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Amarbayasgalan, Losol”]
[Black “Splichal, La Moyne”]
[Result “0-1″]
[ECO “C55″]
[WhiteElo “1425”]
[BlackElo “1600”]
[PlyCount “101”]

1. e4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bc4 Bb4 5. a3 Bxc3 6. dxc3 O-O 7. O-O d6 8.
Re1 Be6 9. Bd3 h6 10. Bd2 Re8 11. h3 a6 12. Qc1 Kh7 13. Kh1 Qd7 14. Bf1 d5 15.
exd5 Bxd5 16. Be2 Rad8 17. Be3 e4 18. Nd4 Ne5 19. Rd1 c5 20. Nb3 c4 21. Nd2 b5
22. b3 Qc8 23. b4 Bb7 24. Bd4 Re6 25. f4 exf3 26. Nxf3 Nxf3 27. Bxf3 Bxf3 28.
gxf3 Qc7 29. Rg1 g6 30. Qf1 Qf4 31. Qf2 Rde8 32. Qg3 Nh5 33. Qxf4 Nxf4 34. Kh2
Re2+ 35. Kg3 Nh5+ 36. Kg4 f5+ 37. Kh4 Nf4 38. Kg3 g5 39. h4 Nh5+ 40. Kh3 Nf4+
41. Kg3 Rxc2 42. hxg5 Ne2+ 43. Kh4 Nxg1 44. Rxg1 hxg5+ 45. Rxg5 Ra2 46. f4 Rxa3
47. Kh5 Re7 48. Rg6 a5 49. Bf6 Rd7 50. Rh6+ Kg8 51. Kg6 1-0

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3 thoughts on “La Moyne Splichal

  1. My wife and I are both very saddened by La Moyne’s passing. Both my wife and I were active chessplayers in the Denver Chess Club. It was La Moyne’s friendly smile, dedication to managing the DCC Tuesday night weekly casual club rated games, and his easy-going attitude that kept me coming back.

    He was not just a great manager but also a great friend. I remember his constant comments about my future wife from the moment she registered for her first Tuesday night game, which is one of the reasons I eventually ended up marrying — thank you, La Moyne. He was also a great traveling companion when a few of us DCC chessplayers went to Moab, UT in 2004. However, I will always treasure the many after-Tuesday night dinners we had at Denny’s, where he constantly reminded me of her admiration to our favorite server, Tammy.

    It is with the heaviest heart that I bid farewell to you, my friend. I am so sorry I did not come to visit more often after getting married. But again, my getting married is partly your fault! A happy one. I hope that wherever you are now, you have that mini-analysis chess set always with you, you don’t forget to hit your timer, and that you don’t second-guess your moves. For me, there is no second-guessing that meeting you is one of the most important moments of my life.

    • I think I may be the one who voted via email since I can’t seem to register on ChessTalk.Actually theier time control is good for me its just I prefer the longer times for a couple of reasons.1. I was used to it all through the 90s and up until 2004. Kind of one of those creatures of habit I guess.2. Since coming back to chess after a long period of time I find I spend allot more time on moves where around move 20 I have 30 minutes left on my clock. It used to be not a problem since 20 moves per hour was about right to make time control.I found myself taking a couple of draws with won positions simply out of fear of losing on time upon sudden death even with increment.Non the less if majority like the new time controls I certainly do not mind and will learn to adjust and move a little quicker.I personally think the Canadian Open was terrific I must say one of the best and most enjoyable tournaments I have ever played I think.Looking forward to Labour Day and wish everyone good fortune over the board.

  2. Thank you for posting these thoughtful comments about La Moyne. Even I didn’t know about that “space” thing! I knew about the big M vs little m and how upset he got if his name was mis-spelled. I always called him Moyne – he became my brother-in-law when I married his brother and we miss him very much.

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