Sir George Thomas in North Vancouver

British champion Sir George Thomas (1881-1972), who was awarded an IM title by FIDE in 1950, had his best chess result at Hastings 1934-5, where he tied for first with Euwe and Flohr, ahead of Botvinnik and Capablanca. However, he was better known to the general public as a sportsman: he played at Wimbledon 1919-1926, and was also a champion badmington player. It was in this latter capacity that Sir George began his visit to Vancouver.



Some time ago Sir George Thomas visited Vancouver with a Badmington team and showed us how the shuttlecock should be shuttled. There are some chess enthusiasts living in North Vancouver who have built a little shack for a club. They were aware that Sir George was a British chess champion, and they determined to get hold of him for an exhibition game. He was very sorry, he told us, that he could not accept the invitation. He had refused to play in Montreal and Toronto. The strain of travelling had been great. He had got in at five o'clock that morning, and was leaving on Monday. He was booked up every moment.

His refusal was accepted with a casual mention of the little shack we had built, and, like a good sport, he cancelled all his other arrangements and played our first twelve boards simultaneously. We did our best, but very courteously he defeated all of us. The sportsmanlike disregard for his own comfort shown by Sir George Thomas in visiting our shack to help our chess has given us much pleasure. We have made a chess board from British Columbia wood which bears this inscription:- "Presented by the North Vancouver Chess Club to the City of London Chess Club in appreciation of our visitor, your member, Sir George Thomas."

The chess board has started out on its 6,000 miles journey to the Agent-General for British Columbia in London for presentation.

Yours, etc.,

R.F. Cruise

Vancouver Club,
Vancouver, B.C. April 3rd [1926]

[Printed in the British Chess Magazine, June 1926, pp. 275-276]