H.A. Turriff

04-May-1879 - 07-July-1964

by P.B. Anderson

From the Scottish Chess Association Bulletin, No. 16, January-May 1965

There passed away in obscurity in his diggings at East Preston Street, Edinburgh, on 7th July last, H.A. Turriff, one of the most kenspeckle figures in Scottish Chess over a long period of years, and certainly one of the greatest lovers of the game it has ever been my privilege to know. Henfrey Austin Turriff, the son of a teacher of mathematics, was born in the North East on 4th May 1879, and was therefore 85 years old at the time of his death. By profession he was a law clerk, specialising in conveyancing. He saw service in law offices successively in Aberdeen, Dundee and Arbroath, and after his nominal retiral, in Edinburgh.

He was a strong player but seldom took part in congresses, though in these he did participate from time to time, as in the BCF meeting at Edinburgh in 1926. He played a great deal in club games and matches, and played for East Scotland against the West on many occasions. He loved most of all to savour the delights of the game from books, of which he had a splendid library. He donated a large section of this library to the Edinburgh Chess Club some years ago. It may be of interest that he considered Dr Tarrasch's Dreihundert Partien to be the greatest chess book ever written. He probably wasn't far wrong at that. Mr Turriff had been severely afflicted with deafness from the age of 10, yet such was his personality, and so deep and impish his sense of humour, that in company he could be the life and soul of the party. I got to know him intimately, and have extremely happy recollections of our adventures together. I append a game which I think is worth preserving. It was played on 24th September 1923, in a match between Dundee and Aberdeen. His opponent later became prominent in London chess circles.

C.B. Heath (Dundee) - H.A. Turriff (Aberdeen)
Dundee v Aberdeen, 1923
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ne5 Bg7 6.d4 Nf6 7.Bc4 d5 8.exd5 Nh5 9.Nc3 c5 10.Bb5+ Kf8 11.0-0 Qxh4 12.Qe2 Nd7 13.Bxf4 g3 14.Ng6+ hxg6 15.Bd6+ Kg8 16.Bxg3 Bxd4+ 17.Bf2 Qh1+ 0-1

From the Courier and Advertiser, 17 February 1936, p. 8.


Alan McGowan
Historian, Chess Scotland