The Chess Drum regrets to inform the chess community of the passing of 39-year old Vincent John Bazemore, Jr. on May 27th, 2019. The United States Chess Federation announced his passing at the Delegate’s Meeting at the 2019 U.S. Open. He was born September 10th, 1974 in Fredericksted, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. According to his obituary, “he graduated from Charlotte Amalie High School, in St. Thomas, and then moved on to live in Idaho, Utah, Florida, California and finally, Texas.”
“Vince” had resided in Aubrey, Texas for many years with his family and worked in the insurance industry before fighting against legal troubles surrounding a securities fraud charge. He was accused of orchestrating the scheme and ultimately convicted on all counts by a Northern Texas District Court on July 2013, and also lost a 2016 case in the U.S. District Court of Appeals.
In November 2018 (while in custody in California), Vince tragically suffered a brain hemorrhage which partially paralyzed him and rendered him unable to speak. After a major surgery, doctors discovered that he had developed Stage 3 brain cancer with 6-12 months to live.
His former wife (Angelee Bailey) and family were proactive and established a Facebook campaign called “Vince’s Voice Project.” The idea was to give him a voice and raise awareness of his treatment while in custody. For more than a year, they fought for his custody and had to endure returned mail, denied/abbreviated visits, and misinformation about Vince’s condition.
On January 19th, 2019, they posted on Facebook…
Today we found out that the FBOP has moved Dad. They flew him from a regular hospital in California to a prison hospital in North Carolina. We are all shaken, we had no idea. For someone that is recovering from brain surgery, unable to speak, paralyzed and suffering from brain cancer, I can only imagine how scary this all is. We are still praying this government shutdown ends so our Dad can get his compassionate release. We are so close.
Video by WFAA-TV (Channel 8-DFW)
After the valiant fight by the immediate family, a presiding judge finally signed a judicial order and Vince was finally released March 2019. Due to the development of his orange-sized tumor and his physical condition, he was not a candidate for further treatment. Despite the grim prognosis, the family was grateful that he could spend his last days in Texas.
Vince had the support and care of loved ones until his last moments and died peacefully in Texas. As part of the Facebook tribute, very touching photos were shown including one with two of the children playing chess. He was survived by his wife of 14 years Angelee Bailey, and children, Kennedy Bailey (stepdaughter), Christian Bailey-Hyde (stepson), and Kingston Bailey (son).
He was also survived by his father Vincent Sr., stepmother Shirley Bazemore of Clermont, Florida, brother Philip Bazemore, sisters Jeanice Wehner, Janine Jean-Pierre and Deborah Bazemore. He also leaves in his memory Tamlyn Bayless, mother of his son Tayvin Bayless. Vince was preceded in death by mother Rubertina Bell and brother Rudolph Bazemore.
Vincent Bazemore Jr. with (L-R) Angelee Bailey, Christian Bailey, Kennedy Bailey, Deborah Bazemore, Vincent Bazemore Sr. and Shirley Bazemore
Vince and son Kingston in a playful moment
Photos from Vince’s Voice
As far as his chess is concerned, Vince played his earliest tournaments in Utah but also competed in major events such as the National Open, Chicago Open, and North American Open. He was very active in Texas and Utah until 2012 when his legal battles became acute. His last U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) rating was 2070 and was a Life Member (member card).
Sharing his pride and joy during simultaneous exhibition
Sedrick Prude and Vincent Bazemore analyze
during the 2008 Chicago Open. Marvin Dandridge watches.
Photo by Frank Johnson