by Tom Brownscombe
I met Michael A. Thomas in 1982 at the Laurel Colonial Chess Corner in Laurel, Maryland. At that time I was just a teenager discovering the world of organized chess, and Mike was one of the club's officers. I joined the club soon after, and I also joined one of the club's DC Chess League teams. Mike was the club's director of teams, and one of his responsibilities was finding a team captain for each of the club's teams. In 1984 Mike asked me if I would serve as team captain for one of the club's teams, and I said yes. Mike eventually became one of my closest friends. We spent many evenings and Sundays together with friends, eating pizza, watching the Washington Redskins (they were a good team back in those days) and playing a wide variety of games. Mike was a board game enthusiast. He enjoyed any board game that involved strategy and long term planning.
In 2000 I moved to New York to take a job as USCF Scholastic Director, and I started to lose contact with my friends in Maryland. But of course Mike's involvement with chess continued. According to the USCF member services area (www.uschess.org/msa), Mike played in 166 USCF rated tournaments. The actual number is quite a bit more than that, since the MSA records only go back to 1991. Mike played his final chess game two weeks ago. It was, not surprisingly, a DC Chess League game.
On Thursday, November 10, 2011, Mike Thomas was admitted to the hospital with a pulmonary embolism. He seemed to be recovering. But, unfortunately, he passed away on the morning of Saturday, November 12.
The chess community has suffered a loss. Mike Thomas served as an officer of the Laurel Colonial Chess Corner, the Good Hope Chess Club, and the Long Branch Chess Club for many years. He helped to keep these clubs going and always made sure that the clubs were well represented in the DC Chess League. He encouraged people to play chess, and he devoted his time and efforts to ensure that there would be opportunities for league play. The chess community needs more people like Mike Thomas. His passing leaves a void in our community. I hope that others will step up to fill that void.
[pgn initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none] [White "Thomas,Michael (1800)"] [Black "Reichstein,Boris (2270)"] [Event "Northern Virginia op Western Mount Vernon"] [Date "1998"] [Result "1-0"] 1.e4 c5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.g3 g6 5.Bg2 Bg7 6.Nge2 Nge7 7.d3 0-0 8.0-0 a6 9.Be3 Nd4 10.Rb1 d6 11.Qd2 Re8 12.Bh6 Bh8 13.Nxd4 cxd4 14.Ne2 Rb8 15.Nf4 Bd7 16.h4 b5 17.b3 Qb6 18.h5 bxc4 19.bxc4 Qxb1 20.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 21.Kh2 Nc6 22.hxg6 hxg6 23.Nh5 Ne5 24.Qg5 f6 25.Qh4 gxh5 26.Qxh5 Re7 27.Bh3 Rh7 28.Bxe6+ Nf7 29.Qg6+ Rg7 30.Bxf7+ Kf8 31.Qxf6 1-0
[/pgn] [pgn initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none] [White "Thomas,Michael"][Black "Kaufman,Larry C (2400)"][Event "Northern Virginia op Western Mount Vernon"][Date "07.11.1998"][Result "1-0"]1.e4 c5 2.c4 Nc6 3.Nc3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 Nf6 6.Nge2 0-0 7.0-0 d6 8.d3 Rb8 9.Rb1 a6 10.h3 b5 11.Kh2 Bd7 12.Be3 b4 13.Nd5 Ne8 14.Bd2 e6 15.Ne3 f5 16.Nf4 Ne5 17.exf5 gxf5 18.Bc1 Nf6 19.b3 Qe8 20.Bb2 Bc6 21.d4 cxd4 22.Bxd4 Bxg2 23.Nexg2 Ne4 24.Nh5 Nf3+ 25.Qxf3 Bxd4 26.Rbd1 Bxf2 27.g4 Bc5 28.Ne3 Bxe3 29.Qxe3 Qg6 30.Rg1 Kh8 31.Rxd6 Nxd6 32.Qe5+ Kg8 33.gxf5 Qxg1+ 34.Kxg1 Nxf5 35.Qxe6+ Kh8 36.Qe5+ Kg8 37.Nf6+ Rxf6 38.Qxf6 Rf8 39.Qxa6 Kh8 40.c5 Ne7 41.c6 Nd5 42.Qa7 Nf4 43.c7 Nxh3+ 44.Kh2 Ng5 45.Qd4+ Kg8 46.Qd5+ Nf7 47.Qe6 Kg7 48.c8Q Rxc8 49.Qxc8 1-0[/pgn]
I would like to thank Elias Mallis for his contribution to this article.