© 1997-2020
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 6th Varsity Match • Venue: St. George's Chess Club, 20 King Street, London • Date: Thursday 11 April 1878
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1877 • Forward to 1879 • last edited: Monday November 16, 2020 0:38 AM

The 6th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St. George's Chess Club, 20 King Street, St. James's, London, on Thursday 11 April 1878 with Wilhelm Steinitz adjudicating unfinished games.

Bd Oxford University Game 1 Game 2 Cambridge University
1b Francis Michael Wright (Queen's) 0-1 0-1 John Neville Keynes (Pembroke)
2w Robert Arthur Germaine (Brasenose) 0-1 0-1 William Hewison Gunston (St John's)
3b Henry Lee (Worcester) 0-1 1-0 James Thomas Chipperfield Chatto (Trinity)
4w Edward Herring Kinder (Brasenose) 1-0 0-1 William Henry Blythe (Jesus)
5b Charles Taylor (Christ Church) 0-1 - Charles Chapman (St John's)
6w Ascelin Spencer Perceval (Exeter) 0-1 0-1 James Fearn Sugden (Trinity Hall)
7b Charles Scott Malden (Trinity) 0-1 - William Henry Mudge Jennings (Corpus Christi)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), (compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987); ; Sergeant, Philip W, A Century of Chess (London 1934), p295-296 & 344 (ref'd as PWS); FreeBMD & other statutory records; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.com; Who Was Who 1897-2007; Wikipedia. 4 of the 12 games played are available in the download.

The Field, 13 April 1878: "The sixth annual Inter-University trial of chess skill took place at the rooms of the St. George's Chess Club, 90, King-street, St. James's, on Thursday last, between seven representatives on each side, and, like last year, the match was consummated in that unassuming semi-public character which well befits the studious nature of our game.

"The large majority of the two teams had assembled punctually at two o'clock. Five of the games were started at once, and the full number of boards was set going in about half an hour's time. Some modifications had taken place in the composition of the teams in comparison with the list previously published, and the two presidents of the respective University chess clubs also agreed before the commencement to alter some of the rules of last year's contest, to the effect that the maximum of games to be played by each pair was reduced to two, that no adjournment was to take place, and that the match should terminate at half-past six o'clock.

"At the outset the probability of the victory was calculated by experts to be strongly in favour of the Cantabs, who were expected to muster their best strength, in order to neutralise their defeat of last year, which had also given their opponents the supremacy in the total score of the five previous matches, of which Oxford had won three, and Cambridge two. The impression in favour of Cambridge was deepened as soon as the final lists of the two rival teams became known, for the caniabe brought into the battle four previously well-tried champions, and amongst them the formidable J. N. Keynes, Fellow of Pembroke College, as leader; while the Oxonians had only one representative who had previously fought , and that one, F. M. Wright, had to be placed at the top of the list in the order of strength, though last year he had played for Oxford on the sixth board.

"Wright was clearly at a disadvantage by his high elevation to board No. 1, and his first round against an opponent, who was evidently well versed in the opening, and who had the first move (the toss having fallen in favour of Cambridge), was not calculated to encourage his expectations. He had dropped into an ingenious variation suggested by Falkbeer which his opponent evidently knew by heart, and the difficulty of his game led to an early breakdown by a blunder which left him open to a mate in two moves. The game will be found below. In the second round Wright opened with the K Gambit, which Keynes declined by 2...d5, again in accordance with Falkbeer's recommendations, and the Oxonian was evidently not up to the intricacies of this remarkably difficult counter-attack. After checking with the B at b5, and then exchanging his d-pawn for the c-pawn, he injudiciously retreated to e2, and soon drifted into a bad game; in fact he had a very narrow escape from an early disaster, owing to his opponent having missed a favourable opportunity of winning a P with an excellent game. After that, however, Wright played with care and judgment. In order to castle, he wisely gave up the P he had already gained; then he judiciously stopped the opponent's castling by a move of the QB to c3; and after effecting an exchange of queens, he manoeuvred well with his rooks and minor pieces, so that he ultimately had the best of the game. Both players showed at this stage a considerable power of original calculation. Keynes, however, by a well-timed and cleverly-conceived counter-attack, put the onus of a difficult game on the opponent, who ultimately fell exhausted into an error which cost him the exchange, and, after some stubborn resistance in the ending, the Oxonian resigned a well-fought game.

"No better did Oxford fare on board No. 2, where, as far as the conduct of the opening would afford a test, Germaine was clearly overmatched by Gunston. The latter had adopted the French defence of ...e6, which the Oxonian was evidently at a loss how to counteract. He pushed his pawns too far and had soon to submit to their being broken up by the Cantab's conduct of the oounterattack, which was up to the spirit of classical prescription. Gunston soon won a couple of pawns; then, in consequence of the pressure of a superior force and good play, he gained two minor pieces for the R, and made all resistance hopeless in the ending game, which he conducted with caution and skill. In the second game Germaine again exhibited a want of acquaintance with the openings, by adopting ...Qf6 as a defence on the 3rd move of the Ruy Lopez. Gunston took the attack promptly in hand, but he made his advantage doubtful by devising a scheme to catch the opponent's Queen, forgetting that he had to pay the heavy price of three minor pieces for it. Germaine, who had lost two pawns in addition, played remarkably well with his rooks and minor pieces, and he ultimately wrested the exchange from his adversary; but he had already lost several pawns, and his three pieces, which were not well posted, while his K was not secure, could not make a stand against the Q and pawns. At last an opportunity arose for the Cantab champion to threaten simultaneously mate and the loss of a R, of which Gunston availed himself, whereupon the Oxonian struck the flag.

"On board No. 3, Lee, for Oxford, was already known to metropolitan connoisseurs as a player of good talent, and his strength seems to have been relied upon by the Oxonians. In the first game, which we publish below, he obtained the best of the opening, but he was outmanoeuvred by Chatto in the middle part, and the Cantab, having instituted a vigorous counter-attack, finally announced a clever mate in four moves. In the second game, a centre gambit, Chatto conducted the defence badly. He brought out the B to B4 on the third move, thus enabling the opponent to win the KBP by taking it with the B checking, and recovering the piece by the well-known sally of Qh5+. [I'm assuming that the moves would have been 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Bc4 Bc5? 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.Qh5+, etc - JS] Even then he omitted to make the best moves, and ultimately he lost an extra P; but after that his management of a difficult defence was highly creditable. He succeeded with great skill in securing a retreat for his K on the Q side, and he held the balance of positions without losing additional force. Lee ultimately gave up the P he had gained on the chance of an attack which fairly promised to recoup him with the better position. The game was continued up to the time fixed for the termination of the match; and but for the Cantab making a mistake just at his last move it would have been difficult for the umpire to adjudicate but, as it was, Mr Steinitz could have no hesitation in declaring the game to be won by Oxford. We publish a diagram of the position below, with the umpire's comments.

"On board No. 4 Kinder opened with 1.d4, to which Blythe replied 1...f5. The Oxonian obtained the best of the opening, and managed to open his QR file. By good manoeuvring he obtained a P, but then precipitated, exchanging all the pieces in a manner which left him with a P behind and with a B against the N. Both parties played the ending well, but ultimately, about five o'clock, Kinder had, by a clever manoevring with his pawns and king, obtained a decisive superiority, and the satisfaction of relieving his party from the fear of a complete defeat in the first round; for at that time the Cantabs had already scored four games, and this was was the first which was scored against them. In the next game Blythe opened 1.f4, and Kinder answered 1...d5. Soon after the opening, which developed itself into a Q fianchetto on the Cantab's part, Kinder committed a miscalculation, which cost him a clear R; and, though he fought bravely after that, he could resist the superiority of force when it was in a simple position.

"After exchanging queens on board No. 5, only one game was finished; which was the longest in point of time and number of moves of the whole match, having lasted four hours and extending to 59 moves. Chapman opened with 1.d4, to which Taylor replied the same. By a weak move Chapman early lost a P, but then Taylor was rather indiscriminate in effecting exchanges instead of using his opportunities of getting still more the best of the position witha P ahead. It came to an ending, which was well defended by the Cantab, with the N against the B, and a P behind. At last one of those chance occasions arose which are more likely to occur to the odd movements of the N than to the plain play of the B, and by a double attack on the K and B, the latter was caught, and the Cantab forced the game soon in consequence.

"On board No. 6 Sugden was the first to force a victory for the Cantabs at three all in the first game; which was made remarkable in the opening by the circumstance that both players had reversed the places of their K and Q without discovering the error until after the fifth move on each side. The umpire, having been requested to lay down the law in such a case, decided that the game had to go on. The second game, a Ruy Lopez, was weakly conducted by Perceval, and also soon decided in favour of the Cantab.

"On board No. 7 only one game was played, the opening being an irregular one; but it presented interesting features towards the middle part, owing to the Oxonian having ventured on the sacrifice of a rook for a strong attack. For a long time Malden justly avoided the temptation of winning the Q for three pieces; but in the course of a defence, which was well managed by Jennings, an opportunity sprang up to relieve the position by the sacrifice of the exchange, and the Cantab afterwards won without difficulty. The match was therefore won by the decisive majority of ten to two for Cambridge, the following being the detailed scores.

"A large and select number of spectators had assembled in the room to watch the contest with eager attention, the company including the Rev. Sir Gilbert Lewis, the Rev. Professor Wayte, the Rev. C. E. Ranken, M. de Berg, Consul-General of Russia, Col. Stirling, Capt. Beaumont, Capt. Ross, Dr Prior, Dr Pearl, messrs Anthony, Ball, Ball jun., Catley, Cross, Devereux, Francis, Gumpel, Minchin, Ponsonby, Potter, Preston, Puller, Salter, Shaw, Simpson, Steinitz, Strode, Wigram, Warner, and Zukertort.

"At eight o'clock the two teams were entertained at dinner by the members of the St. George's Chess Club at St. James's Hall, the Rev. Professor Wayte in the chair. In proposing the loyal toasts, the chairman alluded to the liberal support which the game received from H.R.H. Prince Leopold.

"Professor Wayte next proposed the health of the University teams, coupled with the names of the respective presidents of the Cambridge and Oxford Chess Clubs. He felt gratified to welcome the teams on behalf of the St. George's Chess Club, and expressed a hope that they would again meet under the auspices of their present hosts next year. That the game attracted men of high intellect was abundantly proved by the company present, which included one second wrangler and Smith's prizeman (Mr Ball, jun.), one senior of the tripos for moral sciences (Mr Keynes), and another gentleman, who was likely to gain the highest mathematical honours of the next examination (Mr Gunston). He congratulated the winners on their success, and thought it creditable to the two Universities that the honours of chess victory were hitherto equally divided between them.

"Mr Chapman, the President of the Cantabs, ackowledged in warm terms the hospitality of the St. George's Chess Club, and his full appreciation of the victory which the Cambridge University had achieved on this occasion. Mr Germaine, in returning thanks for the Oxford team, said that the Oxonians would always regard the development of their chess strength a legitimate object of their ambition; for the game reduced the chances to a minimum, and brought into action some mental faculties of a high character. He hoped that on the next occasion the Oxonians would be able to revenge in a friendly manner the defeat which they had this time suffered.

"Mr Minchin, the hon. sec. of the St. George's Chess Club, in proposing the health of the umpire, passed a high eulogism on Mr Steinitz, both as a player and a chess critic. He felt sorry to introduce an unpleasant subject on this festive occasion, but, on comparing the strict impartiality and honesty which Mr Steinitz had shown as a chess writer with the discreditable personalities which prevailed for such a long time amongst the greater portion of the metropolitan chess press, he could not help saying he felt ashamed at the contrast. As an English gentleman he deeply deplored that the British name for hospitality and public fairness should have been so grossly disgraced by the attacks on foreign competitors, who had gained the chess supremacy in fair and honest fight. Mr Minchin's remarks were received with loud cheers. Mr Steinitz, in responding, said he felt overpowered by the kindness shown to him, and thanked the Universities for the honour of electing him as their umpire.

"Mr Francis next proposed the health of the hon. members, coupled with the name of Herr Zukertort, who briefly responded. The chairman then gave the toast of the "Chess Press," coupled with the name of the Rev. C.E. Ranken, and remarked that the Chess Player's Chronicle ought to be supported by every patriotic chess player. Several other toasts followed.

Huddersfield College Magazine, May 1878, pps 217-220: "The sixth annual match between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge came off on Thursday, April 11 [1878], at the rooms of the St. George's Chess Club in King Street, St. James's. Excellent arrangements had been made by Mr. Minchin, the indefatigable honorary secretary of the Club, both for the match itself and for the banquet which followed. The hours of play were from 2 to 6-30 p.m. Two games as a maximum were to be played by each pair of combatants, not three, as on previous occasions. The hour-glasses also were now, for the first time, not called into requisition; and we are glad to observe that this modification was amply justified by the improved pace which the University teams have now developed, through increased familiarity with the game. Nervousness, the result of inexperience, is, we are convinced, in many instances the chief cause of excessively slow play.

"The result of the previous matches had left Oxford with a score of three to two; and it was generally expected that Cambridge would this year redress the balance. University Chess appears to be liable to more violent fluctuations than University boating or cricket. The reason doubtless is that, the area of choice being so much smaller, the loss of one or two good men, out of a team of seven, more decisively affects the general result. The victory of Cambridge was even more complete than had been anticipated, and the balance of matches now stands even.

"The combatants being paired according to their strength, it will be seen that the advantage of Cambridge lay chiefly at the extremities of the scale. Their two best men were stronger than any whom Oxford could bring into the field, and their "tail" was less weak. At boards 3, 4, and 5 the players were more evenly matched, and some very interesting games were the result. At No. 5, the Oxford player, having a Pawn superiority in the end game, with a Bishop against a Knight, lost his Bishop by a divergent check: and, so far as we are aware, this was the only glaring oversight committed during the match. The general style of play was careful without being too laboured: and while the knowledge of the openings evinced continues to improve this was more especially observable in the three first players on the Cambridge side, the only ones who played last year.

"At eight o'clock the two teams were entertained at dinner by the St. George's Club, the Rev. Professor Wayte in the chair. Among the invited guests were Mr. Steinitz, Dr. Zukertort, and Mr. Gumpel, the inventor of the new (and by far the best) Chess automaton, "Mephisto." The material was such as to satisfy the most fastidious critics, and reflects the highest credit on the St. James's management.

"In giving the first toast, the Queen and the Royal Family, the Chairman observed that Prince Leopold had not only been an efficient member of the Oxford Club, but continued to be a liberal patron of the game. Chess, though a royal, was not a courtly game. In the only published game of Prince Leopold's he had seen-a consultation game in which H.R.H. had a very good partner—Royalty was beaten. (Laughter.)

"Professor Wayte next proposed the health of the University teams, and remarked on the distinctions gained by University Chess-players in other fields, both intellectual and athletic. Mr. Chapman, responding for the winners, proposed the toast of their entertainers, the St. George's Chess Club, to which the Chairman briefly replied. Mr. Germaine followed, returning thanks for Oxford, and gave the health of the honorary secretary, to whose exertions they were so much indebted. Mr. Minchin, after acknowledging this compliment, proposed the Umpire. Mr. Steinitz having responded, the toast of the Visitors was given by Mr. Francis, and acknowledged by Dr. Zukertort.

"The Chairman next proposed the toast of the Chess Press, and in so doing enlarged on the high qualifications of the Rev. C. E. Ranken as a Chess Editor-his varied knowledge of the modern languages in which Chess was written—his untiring zeal and industry—and the impartiality of his comments. "And now," he continued, "he would ask them—and especially his younger friends—to look at this question from another point of view. Germany possessed a Chess periodical now in its 33rd year of continuous existence. During the same period it was a fact, he must say little to the credit of English players, that the life of every English Chess Magazine had always been more or less intermittent. And why was this? Thirty years ago, when the Chess Player's Chronicle was edited by Mr. Staunton, players living far away from Clubs were content to give their 1s. or even 1s. 6d. monthly (for the price was afterwards raised) to get a sight of good games and problems. The multiplication of Clubs had, on the contrary, only served to increase the difficulties under which Chess periodicals were conducted. People did not care to take in a magazine, if they could see it at their Club. Now he need not say, that neither the Editor nor those who co-operated with him received anything for their services. But publishers were men of business, and if periodicals did not pay their way they could not be carried on. It was the case with all those magazines which appealed, not to the general public, but to a limited class, that those who were interested in the objects of these magazines did not think merely of themselves: they subscribed to the magazine, as a necessary condition of its existence. The members of the various learned societies kept afloat the transactions of those societies. The devotees of botany or astronomy were not satisfied if they could see the Botanical or Astronomical Magazine at their Club; they supported it with their subscriptions. And if they wished, as he (the Chairman) believed they did, that Chess should have its organ, he appealed to them to support it by the very moderate expenditure required." Mr. Ranken returned thanks, and other toasts followed.

The Times, Friday 12 April 1878: "The sixth annual chess match between Oxford and Cambridge was played yesterday at the rooms of the St. George's Chess Club, King Street, St James's. Of the five contests which have gone before, Oxford are accredited three victories and Cambridge two. As the Light Blues scored the unexpectedly easy victory of ten games to two yesterday, honours are now divided.

"The representatives for Cambridge were - J.N. Keynes, Pembroke; W.H. Gunston, St John's; J.T.C. Chatto, Trinity; W.H. Blythe, Jesus; C.Chapman, St John's (president); J.F.Sugden, Trinity Hall; and W. Jennings, Corpus. Those for Oxford were - F.M. Wright, Queen's; R.A. Germaine (president), H. Lee, E.H. Kinder, B.N.C. [Brasenose]; C. Taylor, Christ Church; A.S. Perceval, Exeter; and C.H. Malden, Trinity.

"The first board was occupied by Keynes and Wright. The former revived the Falckbeer [sic] variation of the king's bishop's opening, which gave him a strong attack, and, as the defence was not up to the mark, and Wright, in addition, made a great error, the last-named left himself open to a mate in two moves. The second game Wright opened with an ordinary king's gambit, which Keynes declined by pawn to queen's 4, as recommended by Falckbeer [sic]. Keynes had unquestionably the best of the opening, though a pawn behind; but he ultimately let the attack slip, which enabled his opponent to exchange queens and to equalize the game. Wright, by clever manoeuvring, transferred the attack to himself, and the game looked for a long while strongly in his favour. Keynes, however, instituted a vigorous counter-attack, which was not properly met by Wright, and the former so well utilized his knight against his opponent's bishop that he eventually won the game.

"Gunston proved much too strong for Germaine. In the first game the former adopted the French opening; Germaine played a bad attack against it, which compromised his line of pawns, and two of them fell in a short time. It came to an end game, after exchange of queens, which gradually reolved itself into a winning superiority for Cambridge. Gunston played a Ruy Lopez in the second game, weakly defended by Germaine, which enabled the Cambridge player to win the queen for three minor pieces. The Oxonian soon after lost two pawns, but managed to get up a strong attack, which won for him the exchange. The game seemed very difficult for the Cantab, but at the very last, assisted by a mistake, he won easily.

"Chatto opened his first game with a king's knight game, which Lee turned into Petross's [sic] defence. The former made a doubtful sacrifice for a feasible attack, but Lee for a long time kept the best position. Towards the middle of the game, however, he compromised his king's side to get a pawn on the queen's. Chatto very cleverly took advantage of this error in judgment, and, bringing his two rooks and queen to bear on the king's flank, he ultimately gave up one rook and announced a very pretty mate in four moves. Lee opened the second game with the Scotch gambit, which was badly defended by Chatto, who left himself open to the common sacrifice of a bishop for a king's bishop pawn, checking, which gave Lee the opportunity of recovering his piece and pawn previously given up, and also to gain an extra pawn. Chatto's defence after this was very well conducted, and he spun the game out till it came to an ending, remaining a pawn behind all the time. Just at 6.30, when, according to the rules, Mr. W. Steinitz, the umpire, was called upon to adjudicate on this the only unfinished game, Chatto made a mistake, which caused the umpire to decide against him without hesitation.

"Kinder opened his game against Blythe by pawn to queen 4, which the latter answered with pawn to king's bishop 4. [Dutch Defence] Kinder managed to get a strong attack on his queen's side with his pawns, whereby he won a pawn; but after that he was too hasty in his exchange of pieces, which made his game unnecessarily difficult, he having the bishop against his opponent's knight. By a judicious management of th pawns, however, he ultimately broke through and won by obtaining two passed pawns. The second game was a bad one; Kinder made a miscalculation whereby he lost a clear rook, and although he fought well, he had to submit.

"Chapman and Taylor had a close game; pawn to queen's 4 was played on each side. The latter won a pawn in the opening, but after this, too hastily exchanging his pieces, it came to a difficult ending, the Oxonian being a pawn ahead. The Cantab had a knight against a bishop, and, although theoretically the pawn ahead ought to win, the chances of committing an error are more against the player who has to watch the complicated movements of the knight. Such a chance did occur, and Taylor, catching the bishop by a double attack on the king and bishop, gained the victory.

"Sugden won his two games against Perceval in pretty good style, considering the place he occupied in order of strength, while at no.7 board Jennings defeated Malden after a hard-fought game."

Bell's Life in London and Sporting Chronicle - Saturday 13 April 1878: "match between Chapman and Taylor lasted four hours and no less than 59 moves".

Biographical Notes

Francis Michael Wright (1856 - ?). 1st son of William, of Doncaster, Yorks, gent. Queen's College, matric. 28 May 1874, aged 18; exhibitioner 1874-9, B.A. (1st class, maths & physics) 1877, M.A. 1883 (Alumni). In 1881 he was an assistant master at Tonbridge Grammar School, Kent. Later taught for a year at Haileybury College, from where he emigrated to the USA in 1885, naturalised in 1890, eventually became a patent lawyer and author, based in San Francisco, California. Married Bertha Tracy Bennett (1872-1945) in abt 1895. Played in the 1875, 1877 and 1878 Varsity chess matches. (note - PWS says "M Wright (Queen's)" but Gaige says "Francis Michael Wright (University)" - the latter would have to have changed college for this to be correct. The Field gives "F.M. Wright (Queen's)".)

Robert Arthur Germain(e) (1854 - 4 June 1905), barrister, politician. o.s. Charles, of London, arm. Brasenose College, matric. 17 Oct 1874, aged 20. Scholar 1874-7, B.A. 1878, M.A. 1882, bar.-at-law, Inner Temple, 1882. KC 1902; Recorder of Lichfield from 1901; b London; s of late Charles Germaine; m Beatrice, y d of late John Z. Laurence, MB, FRCS. Educ: Univ. Coll. School (exhibitioner); Univ. Coll. London (exhibitioner). Work: Exhibitioner, Prizeman, and BA of London Univ.; Scholar and Exhibitioner of Brazenose Coll. Oxford; MA; Pres. of the Union, and Pres. of the Univ. Chess Club, Oxford, and represented Oxford against Cambridge, 1878-82. Called to the Bar, Inner Temple, 1882; practised on the Oxford Circuit; in conjunction with Sir Robert Reid represented the British claim in the Franco-Chilian Arbitration before the Swiss Tribunal; sat for Fulham on the first London County Council; founded the United Club; contested the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch, 1885 and 1886, and Northampton, 1891; did journalistic work, and coached whilst at Oxford, and in the early years at the Bar. Recreations: horse-riding, travel, music, chess, foreign languages, politics, and public matters generally. Address: 4 Roland Houses, South Kensington, SW; 1 Temple Gardens, Temple, EC. Clubs: Devonshire, Automobile. Died 4 June 1905. Played in the 1878, 1879 and 1880 Varsity chess matches.

Henry Lee (20 July 1854 - 20 December 1883), medical student. [Times gives college as 'Brasenose', Gaige gives 'Worcester'.] Alumni Oxonienses: "Lee, Henry, 1s. Henry of London, gent. Worcester College, matric. 26 April 1873, aged 18." BCM, 1884, p45: "With one accord the Chess organs have united in deploring the untimely death of Mr. Henry Lee, jun. We have left the task of describing his Chess career to an Oxford contemporary who knew him, both then and since, far more intimately than we did. But we cannot forbear to add our own testimony to the skill he had already attained, his still higher promise, and our liking for him personally. W. W. [W Wayte] There is a melancholy satisfaction, when death has robbed us of a friend, in telling others of all that was best about him; and I gladly avail myself of the opportunity afforded me by the Editor of the British Chess Magazine to say a few words in memory of Henry Lee, whose unexpected and untimely end on the 20th of December last cast a general gloom over the circle of the Chess world in which he was known. His constitution, never very stable, had been much shaken of late by severe heart disease but he was in good spirits and fairly good health when symptoms of blood-poisoning suddenly manifested themselves. He was at once removed to his father's house where he became rapidly worse, and he expired after an illness of only ten days at the early age of 29. Henry Lee was born on the 20th of July 1854. He was educated at Uppingham and Oxford, and played twice in the annual Inter-University Chess Match. On leaving the University he became a student at St. George's Hospital, and shortly afterwards joined the St. George's Chess Club, where he became known as a very promising player. His studies were, however, much interfered with by the delicate state of his health, and towards the end of 1879 he was obliged to go abroad to recruit. After an absence of rather more than a year he returned to London and to work. His taste and capacity for Chess had lost nothing during his travels, and he renewed his membership of the St. George's Club and competed with Messrs. Minchin and Wayte for the Lowenthal Challenge Cup in the spring of 1882. He shortly afterwards left the Club in order to devote himself more exclusively to his medical studies; but at the London Chess Congress of last year he again entered the lists, and bore off the 9th prize in the Vizayanagaram Tournament. Just before his fatal illness, Mr. Lee had engaged in the City of London Club Handicap of 100 players divided into 10 sections, and had won the prize in his own section, scoring I believe all his nine games. It was generally expected that, in playing off the final rounds among the 10 prize-winners, he would carry off the first prize: he had been rather lightly handicapped, probably by players who did not know how much he had improved of late. Mr. Lee was of a generous and impulsive disposition, which earned him a few foes and many friends. He spoke with intelligence on subjects of which he had a knowledge, and showed a commendable and not very common reticence as to those with which he was not conversant. His society was always cheerful and often amusing. As a Chess-player he belonged to the school of dash and brilliancy; fertile in devices, and impetuous in assault, he was a formidable opponent to any player ; and, but for a certain impatience in positions requiring caution and an apparently unconquerable hankering after elegant but not always sound "traps" he would probably have found his way to the front rank of English amateurs. Chess has lost in him a votary second to few in skill and to none in enthusiasm, and those to whom he had attached himself are deprived of a warm-hearted and sincere friend. W. M. G." [WM Gattie] Played in the 1878 Varsity chess match.

Edward Herring Kinder (5 July 1856 - 25 October 1938). Clergyman, schoolmaster. Obituary, BCM, Dec 1938, p543: "Edward Herring Kinder b 5 July 1856 (Lumb, Lancashire), d 25 October 1938 (Reedham, Norfolk) The Rev. E. H. Kinder died on October 25th at Reedham, Norfolk, at the age of 82. He was for 34 years Rector of Kirby Bedon, and formerly Headmaster of St. Ives Grammar School, Hunts. Edward Herring Kinder was born on July 5th, 1856, at Lumb-in-Rossendale, Lancashire, and at the age of 12 learned chess from his father. He was educated at Norwich School and Brasenose College, Oxford, becoming President of Oxford University Chess Club in 1879. His chief contemporaries and opponents then were Rev. C. E. Ranken, Sir Walter Parratt, and Signor Aspa. He played regularly for Norfolk at one of the top boards for a large number of years with great success, but excelled at correspondence play. His hobby other than chess was cultivating roses. He held the appointments of Commissioner of Taxes at Norfolk; Chairman of School Management; Member of Norwich Diocesan Dilapidations Board and Diocesan Lecture Association. He published a nice descriptive little book on Kirby Bedon in 1924." Alumni Oxonienses: 2 s. Ralph [Kinder], of Lumb in Rossendale, Lancs., cler. Brasenose College, 14 Oct 1876, aged 20, B.A. 1880, M.A. 1883, head-master of St. Ives' School. Played in the 1878, 1879, 1880, 1881 and 1882 Varsity chess matches. See his Chess Reminiscences, published in 1932 in BCM.

Charles Taylor (b abt 1855 - ?) 3s. of James [Taylor], Manchester, gent. Christ Church, matric. 19 Oct 1876, aged 21, B.A. 1880 (Class 2, Modern History), M.A. 1884. No further info found. Played in the 1878, 1880 and 1881 Varsity chess matches.

Ascelin Spencer Perceval (13 February 1855 - 24 April 1910), clergyman, schoolmaster. Alumni Oxonienses: "1s. of Henry Spencer of London, arm. Exeter College, matric. 16 Jan 1875, aged 19; B.A. 1878, vicar of Mackworth, co. of Derby, since 1886." Headmaster at Malvern House School, Derby. Born in London, died in Westhampnett, Sussex. Played in the 1878 Varsity chess match.

Charles Scott Malden (17 April 1858 - 4 September 1896), schoolmaster. Alumni Oxonienses: "elder son, Henry Charles [Malden], of Brighton, arm. Trinity College, matric 14 Oct 1876, aged 18, B.A. 1880, M.A. 1883." Headmaster of Windlesham School, Isle of Wight. Played in the 1878, 1879 and 1880 Varsity chess matches.

John Neville Keynes (31 August 1852 - 15 November 1949), economist and father of John Maynard Keynes (whom he outlived). Educated at Amersham Hall School, University College London and Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he became a fellow in 1876. Lectureship, Moral Sciences (1883-1911). Played in the 1873, 1874, 1875, 1876, 1877 and 1878 Varsity chess matches. Wikipedia.

William Hewison Gunston (9 September 1856 - 25 January 1941), Cambridge don & auditor. Obituary [BCM, June 1941, p164] "William Hewison Gunston, elder son of Robert and Mary Gunston of Loughborough Park, Brixton, was born on September 9th, 1856. He was educated at Danehill House, Margate, and St Olave's, Southwark. In 1871 he did such remarkable papers in the Oxford Local Examination that he was offered a scholarship at Oxford when too young (15!) to accept it. Later, at the ordinary age, he went up to Cambridge with a scholarship at St John's. He was fourth wrangler in 1879: a fellowship followed in due course. He was also M.A. and mathematical gold medallist of London University. He played five times for Cambridge against Oxford: 1876 (one win, one loss at board 6, 1877 (one win, one loss at board 3), 1878 (two wins at board 2), 1879 and 1880 (three wins, one draw v. W. M. Gattie at board 1). He was President of the University Chess Club in the Michaelmas Term, 1877. Later in life he was for many years President of the Cambridge Town Chess Club. Till 1890 Gunston had not much more than a local reputation. The British Chess Magazine says in that year: "he is the acknowledged strongest player in Cambridge; he was fancied by his friends, before play commenced, for first prize". He had married in 1883 Letitia Dougan (sister of the Professor of Latin, Queen's University, Belfast) and settled down to a severe life's work of teaching and examining. His fellowship lapsed, but he was for many years auditor to his college. No doubt by 1890 he had thoroughly established his professional position. Anyhow in that year, with a double illumination, he began a triumphant procession of successes.

1890 - C.C.A. at Cambridge: 1st without a loss. Of his game with Skipworth the British Chess Magazine says: "he made one of the most brilliant combinations of which the chess board is capable, surprising and outplaying his veteran opponent."
1890 - Manchester International Tournament. Frankenstein brilliancy prize for game v. Gunsberg.
1893 - Cambridge, unofficial National Tournament at St Catharine's College, 2nd.
1893 - Match, North v. South (106 boards): draw with C. E. Ranken at board 5.
1894 - Match, North v, South (108 boards): draw with T. B. Wilson at board 12.
1896 - S.C.C.U. at Clifton: 3rd and 4th equal, and brilliancy prize for game v. C. J. Lambert.
1897 - S.C.C.U. at Southampton: 4th.
1898 - S.C.CU. at Salisbury: 3rd.
1903 - Cable match, Great Britain v U.S.A. won v. C S. Howell at board 9.
1903 - S.C.CU. at Plymouth: 2nd and 3rd equal.
1904 - B.C.F. Hastings: 1st in First Class Amateur Section A.
1909 - B.C.F., Scarborough: 3rd in First Class Amateur Section B, and brilliancy prize for game v. P. Wenman.
1910 - B.C.F., Oxford: 1st in Major Open (the first year of these tournaments), and brilliancy prize for game v G. Shories.
1912 - B.C.F., Richmond: 1st equal (with A. Speyer) in Major Open, and brilliancy prize for game v. J. C. Waterman.

During the Great War, Gunston, as were other mathematicians, was entrusted by the Admiralty with the task of working out the trajectories of anti-aircraft projectiles. After the war, except for a few appearances in matches, mostly local, Gunston gave up serious play over the board, and devoted himself to correspondence chess. He was an honorary member of the London Four-Handed Chess Club, and was exceedingly fond of, and clever at, both that game and Kriegspiel. Gunston played a hard-hitting, sensible, logical game. He once said to R.P. Michell, "I would rather be known as a sound than as a brilliant player": but if a bird of brilliant hue crossed his path, he could usually put salt on its tail. Did any other English amateur ever win five brilliancy prizes in international and national tournaments? He was a master of the Ruy Lopez, and very successful with it. At Richmond in 1912 after winning his tournament game v. Speyer (who was White in a Q.G.D.) in the morning, he successfully defended a Lopez v. Yates in the match, Championship v. Major Open, the same evening: a remarkable double event. He got good results against the Petroff with the old continuation 3 P-Q4, PxP (long thought better than 3...KtxP). In his later years when close defences reigned, he seemed completely at home against the Caro-Kann, usually adopting the exchange variation. He had the strong player's preference for Bishop as against Knight - "I am a convinced Episcopalian, as far as chess is concerned, at any rate" - and considered two Bishops, well posted, as strong as Rook and Knight. Gunston was a man of genial habit and manner. He could take care of himself, but was essentially modest. He did not overvalue chess or his own strength at it. He did not keep the scores of his games, and many most striking correspondence games, unless preserved by his opponents, are lost. Once he showed a final position, in which his three last moves were Q-R4, Q-R4, Q-R4; but the full score of the game was not forthcoming. He had many other interests. He was musical, and used to say that all chess-players were so. He retired from professional life in 1926. He died at King's Lynn on January 25th, 1941. His wife, four sons, and three daughters survive him.

Gunston,W - Louis,A [C48] BCF Major Open Richmond, 1912 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Be7 5 Nc3 Nd4 6 Nxd4 exd4 7 e5 dxc3 8 exf6 cxb2 9 Bxb2 Bxf6 10 Re1+ Kf8 11 Ba3+ Kg8 12 Re3 h6 13 Qe2 Kh7 14 Bd3+ g6 15 Re1 d5 16 Be7 Bxe7 17 Rxe7 Rf8 18 Qh5 Qd6 19 h4 Kg7 20 Qf3 h5 21 R1e5 c6 22 Bxg6 Bg4 23 Qf4 Be6 24 Qg5 Rg8 25 R5xe6 Qxe6 26 Bxf7+ Kf8 27 Qxg8+ Kxe7 28 Bxe6 Rxg8 29 Bxg8 1-0 If Gunston had sent this game in for the brilliancy prize, instead of his game with Waterman, he might well have been equally successful." B.G.B. [Bertram Goulding Brown]. Alumni Cantabrigienses: " Adm. pens. at ST JOHN'S, Apr. 27, 1875. Of Middlesex. [Elder] s. of Robert, 'porkman' [and Mary]. B. Sept. 9, 1856, at St Peter's, Saffron Hill. Bapt. Oct. 5, 1856. [Schools, Danehill House, Margate, and St Olave's, Southwark.] Matric. Michs. 1875; Scholar, 1877; B.A. (4th Wrangler) 1879; M.A. 1882. Fellow, 1879-85. Mathematical 'coach' and well known as a chess player. Of 26, Station Road, Cambridge, in 1939. Died Jan. 25, 1941, at King's Lynn. (The Times, Jan. 29, 1941; British Chess Magazine, LXI [1941]. 164-5.)" Played in the 1876, 1877, 1878, 1879 and 1880 Varsity chess matches.

James Thomas Chipperfield Chatto (30 April 1854 - 11 February 1907). Clergyman. "The West London Chess Club was founded in 1893 by the Reverend James Thomas Chipperfield Chatto... J.T.C. Chatto also produced the Amateur Chess Magazine from 1872* onwards - nearly 10 years before the arrival of the BCM. He left the [West London] club at the end of May 1897 to become the Vicar of East Kennett in Wiltshire, then in 1900 he became the rector of Blunston St. Andrew (slightly further north) until his death in 1907. He retained the [club] presidency until 1898, when it was taken over by Mr Atherley-Jones QC MP." [https://www.westlondonchess.com/history]. (* "The Amateur Chess Magazine was first issued on June 1st, 1872. the last number on June 1st, 1874. The editor was J. C. T. [sic] Chatto." (BCM, Quotes & Queries, Feb 1954, p54)). Alumni Cantabrigienses: "Adm. pens. at TRINITY, Oct. 7, 1874. Of 7, Granville Square, London. S. of Robert [V. of Rockfield, Monm., 1845; died Feb. 9, 1867, in London]. B. Apr. 30, 1854, in London. [School, Wellington College.] Matric. Michs. 1874; B.A. 1878; M.A. 1881. Ord. deacon, 1875; priest (York) 1879; C. of Coatham, 1878-81. Assistant Master of Coatham High School, 1879-81. V. of Caundle Stourton, Dorset, 1880-6. C. of St Columb Major, Cornwall, 1884-5. V. of Ramsgill, Yorks., 1886-7. V. of St Cuthbert's, Thetford, Norfolk, 1888. R. of Kirklington, Cumberland, 1889-91. V. of East Kennett, Wilts., 1896-1900. R. of Blunden St Andrew, 1900-7. Resided latterly at Swindon. Editor of several Chess Magazines. Died Feb. 11, 1907, aged 51. (Crockford; The Times, Feb. 13, 1907; Wellington Coll. Reg.)" No BCM obit. Played in the 1876, 1877 and 1878 Varsity chess matches.

William Henry Blythe (1855 - 11 September 1931), private tutor. Alumni Cantabrigienses: "Adm. pens. (age 19) at JESUS, Oct. 1874. S. of Joseph Henry, Esq. B. 1855, at Llanllwehaiarn, Montgomery. School, Shrewsbury (Rev. H. M. Moss). Matric. Michs. 1874; B.A. 1878; M.A. 1881. For some time at Cooper's Hill College; afterwards a private tutor at Milford Haven. Returned to Cambridge. Churchwarden and Treasurer of St Mark's, Cambridge, for 26 years. Died Sept. 11, 1931, aged 76, at 92, Grantchester Meadows, Cambridge. (The Times, Sept. 12, 1931.)"

Charles Chapman (25 November 1855 - 11 May 1901), clergyman and missionary. Alumni Cantabrigienses: "Adm. pens. at ST JOHN'S, Apr. 25, 1876. S. of Charles, oil-merchant. B. Nov. 25, 1855, at Sydney, Australia. Bapt. June 3, 1856. School, Rugby. Matric. Michs. 1876; B.A. and LL.B. 1880; M.A. 1883. Ord. deacon, 1880; priest (Carlisle) 1882; Missionary (U.M.C.A.), 1880-1. C. of Millom, Cumberland, 1882-3. Held other curacies for short periods, 1883-5. C. of Lynsted, Suffolk, 1889. C. of Maindee, Monmouth., 1891. Chaplain to St Mildred's Home, Bexhill-on-Sea, 1894-9. Died May 11, 1901, at Bath. (R. F. Scott.)" Played in the 1878 and 1879 Varsity chess matches.

James Fearn Sugden (1857 - 1 August 1925), clergyman. James Fearn, M.A. Cam. P(became clergyman?) 1890, cur. 1889, S. Luke, Old-street, London E.C. 16. Helmet-row, St. Luke’s, E.C. (Clergy List 1896). Moved to become vicar of Welton, Northamptonshire, 1906. Born Westminster, reg'd, 1st q of 1857, died Welton, Northamptonshire. Unmarried. Champion of Battersea CC, 1885, and also club president (BCM, 1896, p240). Played for Surrey county. Later played for the Northampton club after he moved to the area. Also played cricket for Battersea. Played in the 1878, 1879 and 1880 Varsity chess matches.

William Henry Mudge Jennings (26 September 1856 - 18 March 1881), schoolmaster. Alumni Cantabrigienses: "Adm. pens. at CORPUS CHRISTI, Oct. 4, 1875. Of Southampton. [3rd s. of the Rev. Peter Harnett (1839), R. of Longfield, Kent. B. Sept. 26, 1856.] Bapt. Nov. 14, 1856, at All Saints', Southampton. Schools, Norwich and Rochester Grammar. Matric. Michs. 1875; Scholar, 1877; B.A. 1879. Mathematical master at Bath Grammar School, 1880-1. Died there Mar. 18, 1881. Brother of Harnett E. (1868) and Courtenay B. (1881). (H. E. Jennings; Rochester Sch. Reg.)" Played in the 1878 Varsity chess match.

Further Info


by Rev. Edward Herring Kinder [BCM, July 1932, pp290-292]

Yes! But how to avoid egotism. Taught the moves, at twelve years of age, by my father. The first game I remember impressed on me a life-long lesson. A visitor condescended to "play with the boy." He was talking to my father all the time, paying no attention to the board, and I mated him. He was much upset, which seemed to me ridiculous, and I learned never to lose my temper over any game. I played a little chess at school. We played a match by correspondence with Felstead, and lost. When I went to Oxford I joined the University Chess Club. On the first evening one of the officers played a game with the new member. We had a strenuous game and at the end the president asked me whether I knew anything of books. I said " No." He added, if you spend an evening with "Staunton" you would play for the 'Varsity. Immediately I took Staunton's Handbook from the Library, spent an evening studying it, and played against Cambridge for five years, sharing that privilege with W. M. Gattie — the first amateur champion — and G. E. Wainwright. In those days University chess was far below the standard of to-day. Matches lasted a given time, and one, two or three games might be played. In my first match against Cambridge I played on board 4 (out of 7) against W. H. Blythe. I had White, and played the Queen's Gambit — hardly ever played at that time. The defence was the "Dutch." The game lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes — considered an unconscionable time then — and was published in the Chess Players' Chronicle with that of Keynes and Wright on the first board — "as the best two games in the match."

At Oxford I met W. Parratt, afterwards Sir W. Parratt. I only played twice with him. We each won one game. I now come to a link with the foundation of the Oxford University Chess Club in 1869, the Reverend C. E. Ranken, of Wadham, the founder and first president. In my time Mr. Ranken was Editor of the Chess Players' Chronicle. His name is probably hardly known to the present generation, but his initials C.E.R. still occur in the notes of "Chess Openings." Mr. Ranken several times brought teams to play us at Oxford. It was in these matches that I met the Rev. J. Coker, Rev. C. Coker, and Rev. W. Grundy, a past president who had lately "gone down." In one of these matches I had the good fortune to win against Signor Aspa, another almost forgotten. F. Madan, whom you mention in connection with the exhibition of "Carrolliana" 'lectured' me in mathematics. Two or three of us at the Club knew ourselves to be weak in Pawn endings. Instead of playing games we used to set up Pawn positions and improved our play practically, and to that I owe the winning of many a game. We did not learn about 'opposition,' etc., with the "Eze" with which readers of the B.C.M. do now.

When in Town for the 'Varsity matches, two well-known players — Mr. Wayte and Mr. Skipworth — took me under their wing and gave me the run of St. George's Chess Club. The umpires at the matches were Steinitz and Blackburne. About 1879 (?) I encountered "Mephisto," the chess automaton. I watched "two players polished off and entered the ring, roped off from a crowd of spectators. I had just read an article giving an analysis of a new move suggested in some opening. I played it. Mephisto looked up at me, with all the Satanic royalty of plumes, beard, moustache, extenso, and remained looking and nodding for what seemed some three minutes, to the spectators' amusement. I do not know that I was right, but I pictured the manipulator, in the room below, with his books on the table, searching them for the correct reply, which was not there. He made the wrong move and I won the game. Report said that Gunsberg was the manipulator, but I know not whether it were so.

Of the masters, from Lasker I have met most in simultaneous play, and give the palm for pleasantness to Blackburne. I met him six times without losing a game. My best effort was to get two games from him in one day. In the afternoon he played four blindfold; mine was a Scotch. In the evening he played 28 simultaneously. I accepted an Evans Gambit, which was the only game Blackburne lost.

"Where are the boys of the old Brigade"? With the exception of W. H. Gunston, I look in vain in the pages of the B.C.M. for news of them.

No, I have not been able to avoid egotism. You must deal leniently with years. I am 3½ years older than Blackburne was when he had to give up chess. My best chess has been by correspondence. [BCM appended a list of his correspondence chess results, 1902-1930.]

File updated

Date Notes
21 July 2020 Original upload.


All material © 2020 John Saunders