Henry James MacThomas Thoms ("Harry")

15 January 1874, Dundee ─ 31 March 1940, Tunbridge Wells, ENG

Glasgow Herald chess column of April 13, 1940
Chess in Scotland lost one of its oldest and best friends by the passing last week of Mr H.J.M. Thoms, a member of Dundee CC since 1895, and a life-member and former president of the S.C.A. Mr Thoms was a first-class player, and well known to our readers as a solver and as a contributor of analytical notes. His recent mate in nine moves in our correspondence match attracted much attention. Mr Thoms, who is survived by Mrs Thoms and three sons on active service, had lived in Kent since his retirement from business in 1938.

The British Chess Magazine of 1940 made a few brief references to him:

page 164 of the May issue mentions that Mr Thoms died in Tunbridge Wells, and that he was a frequent competitor at congresses and last appeared at the Margate Easter Congress.

page 200 of the June issue mentions that Mr Thoms was widely known as a correspondence player, and that his analytical notes on the openings appeared frequently in the BCM.

In The Story of Dundee Chess Club: Its Personalities and Games, by Peter W. Walsh (1984), it is stated that Mr Thoms joined Dundee CC in 1893, and not 1895 as mentioned above.

Mr Thoms was a member of the Dundee CC team that won the very first Richardson Cup in 1899.

Mr Thoms also lived in Edinburgh for a period, during which time he supported Edinburgh CC, including being on their team in the two-game correspondence match against Munich in 1907-08. 

He was on the winning Dundee teams in the finals of the Spens Cup for 1910 and 1922.

In 1915, Mr Thoms won 3rd prize in an International Problem Solving Competition under the auspices of the Good Companion Chess Problem Club of Philadelphia, USA. Eight competitors took part, five of whom won book prizes given by Mr A.C. White of New York.

Mr Thoms was part of a consulting team that defeated Maroczy when that Master visited Dundee in 1924.

In 1925 Thoms played in one of the secondary events at the British championships in Stratford-On-Avon. In the First Class Tournament (Section B), he came first with a score of 8/11, ahead of the young Vera Menchik in second place.

The Story of Dundee Chess Club: Its Personalities and Games, by Peter W. Walsh (1984)
Glasgow Herald chess column April 13, 1940
BCM 1940, pp 164 and 200.

Alan McGowan
Historian/Archivist, Chess Scotland

revised 14/9/2022