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Graeme Thomson


Graeme at Redland School taking part in the Summer Congress 2005

It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Graeme Thomson of Clifton Chess Club died last monday morning 2nd November after a short spell in hospital following a long and bravely borne illness.

Graeme was involved in League Chess for over 34 years and many of us knew him well as he was not only a permanent fixture in one of the Clifton teams as he also regularly participated in local congresses. 

Many of us would have had the pleasure of playing him, including me, and would have noted his brave attacking style as he tried many of the gambit lines that would have brought him so much enjoyment over the years.  His sportsmanship in defeat would not have gone unnoticed as win or lose he always had a smile on his face at the end of the match.

Dave Tipper

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Graeme Thomson RIP

Obituary by John Gooch a long standing friend from Clifton Chess Club

Graeme Thomson died on Monday 2nd November 2009. Besides being a great family man and a talented designer with the BBC, he had a dangerous obsession-Chess!  Week after week, year after year, he struggled to subdue other chess players in the city and beyond. For outsiders, chess is just a board game but for those who play the game seriously, it’s an infernal and all consuming passion in which the highs of victory lead to delusions of grandeur while losing, particularly to an 8 year old who has to stand on his or her chair to deliver checkmate, can mean days or weeks of depression and self doubt!  

Chess players all share the dream of a continuous improvement, an upward graph in their grading,  so the idea of reaching a plateau, let alone never achieving invincibility is a hard realisation to face. Graeme never seemed to have difficulties with the choppy waters of amateur chess, savouring every win with complete and almost childlike delight, remaining balanced and phlegmatic in defeat yet coming back again every week, his appetite for the game undiminished and relishing the next battle. He only stopped coming to the club when he feared his grading might have fallen back!

The Chess world is a strange mixture oddness and intelligence and Graeme loved and revelled in the eccentricity of those who are literally addicted to the great game. In  a very kind way, his dry sense of humour could be brought to bear on those with whom he came into contact . With deftness and humour, he could defuse situations that arose, quickly finding a solution problems, pacifying aggression, deflating pomposity, as when waiting to enter a matchroom one evening of a cup match, a host captain appeared from a back room and gruffly tried to unsettle our team by asking to move aside as we were “impeding his ingress”.      Graeme’s eyes sparkled again.    “Don’t you mean egress?” said Graham, confusing and flustering the opposing captain who retired whence he came. He was not just a player but a real stalwart of the club, serving variously as secretary, treasurer and also a captain at times. His presence was at once reassuring and entertaining, always cheerful and positive, even when his own chess was not in good shape and he was losing too many games. There are many, chess players and others, who will miss him terribly, his great good humour, his welcoming smile and the feeling one was in the presence of a good man.


John Gooch







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