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John Saunders


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Tournament: 11th Varsity Match • Venue: St. George's Chess Club, 47 Albemarle St, Piccadilly • Date: Saturday 17 March 1883
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The 11th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St. George's Chess Club, 47 Albemarle St, Piccadilly, London, on Saturday 17 March 1883 with Johannes Zukertort adjudicating unfinished games. Start time 2.10pm, end time 6.30pm.

1882«     1883 Varsity Chess Match     »1884
Bd Oxford University Game 1 Game 2 Cambridge University
1b Charles Dealtry Locock (University) ½-½ ½-½ Frank Morley (King's)
2w George Edward Wainwright (University) 1-0   Edward Lancelot Raymond (Christ's)
3b Stanley Weall (St John's) 0-1   George William Kuechler (Sidney Sussex)
4w Rev. John Francis Welsh (Christ Church) 0-1 0-1 William Pengelly Buncombe (Non-Coll.)
5b James Manders Walker (Wadham) 1-0 1-0 Rev. Hugh William Sherrard (Non-Coll.)
6w Spencer Hampden Nash (Balliol) 0-1   James Thornton Gibson (Clare)
7b Charles Cotterill Lynam (Hertford) ½-½ 1-0 Herman George Gwinner (Trinity)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), (compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987); BCM 1883, p139f; Chess-Monthly, April 1883, ppn 230-231, ppn 236-240, ppn; The Field, 24 March 1883; The Times, 19 March 1883, p10; Sergeant, Philip W, A Century of Chess (London 1934), (ref'd as PWS); FreeBMD & other statutory records; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.com; Who Was Who 1897-2007; Wikipedia. 8 of the 11 games played (plus 3 stubs) are available in the download.

N.b. there is evidence that the adjudication rules for this match were closely defined. As given in a note to the game Locock-Morley in Chess-Monthly (Vol.4, April 1883, p237): "According to the regulations of the match, the series of six moves would suffice to prove the correctness of the verdict, but it is easily demonstrated that Black cannot acquire a winning superiority for a much longer time."

Play started at 2pm, with 4½ hours allotted for play. Score was 3-3 at 6.30pm. "Among the spectators we noticed H.E. Sir Henry Elliot, Sir Charles Locock, Gen. Pearce, Col. Sterling, Rev. W. Wayte, Rev. E.J. Crosse, Messrs. Catley, Blackburne, Francis, Boursot, Warner, Wyvill, Gunston, Hoffer, Hirschfeld, Gunsberg, Rosenbaum, etc." (The Field)

[Chess-Monthly, Vol.4, April 1883, ppn 230-231, p236]

THE INTER-UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH. - The full report of the Annual Contest is given elsewhere [i.e. p.236], and we have to deal here only with the most pleasant part of the proceedings, the banquet. At 8 o'clock the combatants assembled in a special room of the Criterion, as the guests of the St. George's, in order to restore the wasted energies after the day's hard work, Mr. J. H. Warner - in the absence of the Earl of Dartrey, K.P., President of the St. George's - in the chair. After the cloth was removed, the Chairman proposed the "loyal toast," the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Royal Family, alluding especially to H.R.H. Prince Leopold as member of the St. George's aud Patron of the International Tournament. After the orthodox English toast came the toast of the evening, "The Universities," coupled with the names of the two Presidents, Mr, Küchler for Cambridge, and Mr. Wainwright for Oxford. Both gentlemen replied in suitable and well-chosen terms, Mr. Küchler alluding to the pleasures derived from the cultivation of our game, which is regarded at Cambridge as a beacon light after the examinations and other academical [p.231] frivolities. The next toast, "The Umpire," was proposed by Mr. Francis, the doyen of the St. George's, and Mr. Zukertort replied, with special allusions to the onerous task of the umpire, which was fraught with more than ordinary difficulty this year, as the contest had been so evenly balanced, that the result of the day depended upon his verdict, &c., &c. Mr. Woodgate, an "Old Blue," proposed "The Hon. Secretary," and giving due praise to Mr. Minchin's activity at the St. George's, and especially in his capacity as Hon. Secretary of the International Tournament. He alluded to the highly satisfactory result of the Indian subscription, through Mr. Minchin, whose Indian career has left grateful recollections among the native princes. Mr. Minchin responded, and paid due regard to the munificent donors, mentioning how much we were indebted to Mr. Steel, of Calcutta, who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the interest of the Indian Chess-players both English and native. The Rev. Mr. Wayte proposed the "Chess Press," coupled with the name of Mr. Hoffer. The latter replied, acknowledging the very cordial and friendly manner in which the toast was proposed and received by the company.

Mr. Gattie proposed in a spirited speech the "Army and Navy," coupled with the name of Colonel Sterling, which elicited the speech of the evening from the gallant gentleman. He said that many years ago when he visited the Royal Academy his attention was attracted by two pictures side by side. The one by Sir Edwin Landseer, with a Highland background, represented a dead deer, which fell down a precipice in the agony of the chase, and by its side the hound, who, in the hot pursuit, disregarding the danger, fell down too, deadly wounded, with just enough life left to recognise his master on the top of the hills. Below was affixed a label bearing the legend, "Jael and Sisera." The other picture represented a woman full of muscle and love, knocking a. tenpenny nail into the head of an old gentleman, and below the label attached bore the words, "There is life in the old dog yet." Evidently the labels got rather mixed, and so it seemed to him when his name was coupled with Mr. Gattie's toast, when the Club possessed among their members men like Lieut.General Vialls, C.B., General Pearse, and Colonel Lumsden, whose name is a household word from Calcutta to Candahar. Colonel Sterling then spoke of the recent campaign in Egypt, and his experience of Oriental Chess. They played, on the 18th of September last, a Queen's Gambit, but the opponent forgot to bring out his "Knights" in time, and consequently had to plead - according to Mr. Zukertort's advice, of whom the Oriental must have been a pupil - a previous engagement, which took him sixty miles behind the rear, &c., &c. Mr. Wise, last year's President of the Oxford University Club, spoke a few words, and Mr. Woodgate gave an interesting review on the 'Varsity sports of the past and present.

The eleventh match of the Sister Universities was played for the seventh time, under the auspices of the St. George's Chess Club, on Saturday, the 17th ult. Owing to the absence of Mr, Steinitz, who had been umpire on all previous occasions, the Presidents of the two University Clubs invited Dr. Zukertort to act in the capacity at the present instance, and the latter accepted the invitation. In accordance with tho rules of the contest, the judicial powers of the umpire are so far limited, that in case he adjudges an unfinished game as won by either party, he is bound to prove the win analytically within six moves, by either demonstrating within that compass the gain of a sufficient material superiority, or indicating a simple mode of play which cannot leave any doubt on the ultimate result. Another regulation tends to diminish the number of games which may be adjudicated - viz., no second game to be commenced after 5 p.m.

Shortly after 2 p.m. the fight commenced, and the toss being won by the Junior University, F. Morley (King's), the Captain of the Light Blues, opened with a Scotch, 1 P to K4, P to K4, 2 Kt to KB3, Kt to QB3, 3 P to Q4, P t. P, 4 Kt t. P, which C.D. Locock (University) defended with 4 …. B to B4, 5 B to K3, Q to B3, 6 P to QB3, KKt to K2, whereupon White selected Paulsen's continuation, 7 B to Q Kt 5. On Board 2 G.E. Wainwright (University) offered an Evans' Gambit to E.L. Raymond (Christ's), which the latter prudently declined. G.W. Küchler (Sidney) opened with 1 P to K4, which his opponent, S. Weall (St. John's), met with the French Defence. Opening proceedings on Board 4 were a repetition of those on Board 2; Rev. J.F. Welsh, B.A. (Christ Church) invited an Evans', which was likewise declined by Rev. W.P. Buncombe, B.A. (Non. Coll.). On Board 5 a Sicilian was played between H.W. Sherrard (Non. Coll.) and J.M. Walker (Wadham). Board 6, S.H. Nash (Balliol) v. J.F. Gibson (Clare) presented the French Defence, while on Board 7 the Oxonian, C.C. Lynam, B.A. (Hertford), replied 1 …. P to Q4 to his opponent's, H.G.H. Gwinner (Trinity), 1 P to K4.

Cambridge scored the first victory, 4.20, when Rev. Welsh succumbed, after a hopelessly-prolonged resistance, to the vigorous onslaught of Rev. Buncombe, who early in the opening got the superiority by a bold but quite sound manoeuvre. J.M. Walker scored for Oxford at 4.45, and shortly afterwards, 4.52, a draw was proposed and accepted on Board 1, the game having advanced to a simple ending, in which White had a Rook and two extra Pawns - one on each wing - for two minor pieces. The game on Board 7 caused more interest as is usually devoted [does he mean 'than is usually devoted'? - C Ravilious] to the contests fought on the lower numbers. White had decidedly the best of it in the early part of the battle, but the Cantab compromised his advantage completely by a premature sacrifice, and when his opponent assented to a draw, at 5 p.m., with a piece to the good against two Pawns, White's prospects were certainly not very bright. A few minutes afterwards Cambridge got a second victory on Board 6. The play in this game is called by a contemporary very erratic. It was certainly far below the standard exhibited on any other board. The two combatants could not engage in a second game in consequence of their first being terminated after 5. A third victory for Cambridge was scored by G.W. Küchler at 6 p.m., the score being then - Oxford, 2; Cambridge, 4. At 6.25 the President of the Dark Blues reaped the fruits of his boldness. The game proceeded steadily for some hours, and notwithstanding that the Cantab had to play all through a laborious defence, his prospects were the better ones on account of his two Bishops, which were bound to do good execution on the rather clear board, and the vastly superior position of his Pawns. Mr. Wainwright tried to force matters by offering the sacrifice of a Knight. The sacrifice was thoroughly unsound, for, after a series of innocuous checks, Black would bring his King into perfect safety, and come out with a piece for two worthless Pawns, and a fine attacking position. Mr. Raymond failed to perceive the shallowness of the hostile scheme, and, instead of capturing the piece, he sacrificed the exchange. The sequel was played by the Oxonian in very good style.

At 6.30 the four second games were all still in progress, but Mr. Sherrard, who had just thrown away an easy win, went on and lost by a few hasty moves a game which was a palpable draw when time was called by the umpire.

For the first time since the institution of this contest it has ended in a “dead heat.” It has been evident during the past two years that the “balance of power” was only slightly, if at all, in favour of one team: this year there is a perfect equipoise, each University scoring 5½ games.

"As is usual the match was held, by courteous invitation from the St George's Club, in their rooms at 47 Albemarle Street W on Saturday March 17th. Play began at about 2.10 and continued until 6.30, when Dr. J. H. Zukertort, who had consented to officiate as umpire, began to adjudicate on the three unfinished games. As is customary the agreement was mado to play two games between each pair of players; but no second game was to be begun after 5.

"At 2.00 a coin was spun: the Cambridge President won the toss and chose the first move for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th players on his side; Oxford having the move on the other boards. It was amusing to notice the different manner in which the different games began: some rushed at once in medias res and had exchanged several of their pieces before others had got well through the opening moves. But in general the play was slow: slower than we have before seen it.

"At Board No. 1 Mr. Morley (Cambridge) opened with the “Scotch” which was defended by Mr. Locock (Oxford) in the usual manner. His reply to the Paulsen attack of 7 B to Q Kt 5 was 7 ... P to Q 3 which led to an interchange of pieces and a simple position which ultimately ended in a draw. Mr. Locock opened with the hazardous (?) move of P to K 4 to which Mr. Morley presented the cautious defence of P to K 3. The game proceeded with 1 P to K 4, P to K 3, 2 P to Q 4, P to Q 4, 3 Kt to Q B 3, Kt to Q B 3, Black’s third move being an innovation, which at any rate stood him in good stead in this game. After a few fencing moves with the object of gaining “position” White essayed an artifice by retreating his Kt from K sq back to K B sq, but he did not succeed in hampering the enemy’s Q in the way which he appears to have intended, and at the 19th move Black appeared able to force the win of a Pawn. Dr. Zukertort now adjudicated and though he preferred Black’s position was unable to decide in his favour; and the game was drawn. Throughout both games the two players aimed at securing position rather than attack and being apparently well-matched their efforts nearly neutralised ono another. Their first game, as was to be expected, was the steadiest and best game of the match.

"At Board No. 2 only one game was played. Mr. Wainwright (Oxford) proffered the “Evans” and on Mr. Raymond refusing it, an alarming want of “book-knowledge ” at once displayed itself, and earned a rebuke from the scrupulous umpire, whose respect for “theory” was outraged by the form the opening assumed. Rapid exchanges were made on the Q’s side, and White was left with some slight attack on the Castled King. Black stubbornly defended himself and White’s attack looked like falling to pieces; for his scattered Pawns required his attention. But White, too eager for attack, offered the sacrifice of a Kt, which B might have taken with comparative impunity. However Fortuna fortibus:— Black was too cautious to take and White succeeded in winning the exchange and the game.

"At Board No. 3 Mr. Küchler (Cambridge) had one stubborn game with Mr. Weall who followed “Gallic strategy,” i.e. played
1...P to K 3. The game proceeded in the old-fashioned way 2 P to Q 4, P to Q4, 3 P takes P, P takes P, but Black soon had a cramped game owing to his Bishop occupying an assailable position at K 3. He won a Pawn; but gave White the chance of carrying on a strong “sacrificial” attack on the K’s side. Finally exchanges were made which left Black with a B to a R, and after that his position was hopeless.

"At Board No. 4 Mr. Welsh (Oxford) was as unsuccessful as Mr. Wainwright on Board 2 in bringing about a lively game by the "Evans." Mr. Buncombe declined it and soon wresting the attack from White, won a piece in a decisive manner. His attack was not of equal strength all through, but although he missed opportunities he had the game well in his hands and finally won.

"In the second game Mr. Buncombe offered the Steinitz Gambit: it was at first refused; but afterwards Black took the K B P and allowed White to get a very strong position. At the 20th move Dr. Zukertort adjudicated in favour of White, a decision amply justified by the crushing advantages in position that White had secured. Mr. Buncombe's play during these games was a curious compound of prompt action in gaining advantages, and slowness in “settling" his weakened antagonist.

"At Board No. 5 Mr. Sherrard (Cambridge) was opposed by Mr. Walker. The latter played the Sicilian and soon gained a great superiority in position owing to White’s feeble opening moves. After Black had won a piece, White made a slight struggle to regain position, but after losing an advanced P and exchanging Rs the game speedily fell to Black.

"In the second game Mr. Walker succeeded in inducing Mr. Sherrard to accept the "Evans," but after an irregular development lost a piece by an evident oversight. Notwithstanding this mishap he struggled on and having the more open position gained an attack and regained his piece. At last after all pieces but Rs were exchanged White won by an advanced Pawn which his adversary could not stop.

"At Board No. 7 Mr. Lynam (Oxford) played against Mr. Gwinner, employing the “Centre Counter” (1 P to K 4, P to Q 4) and a game ensued that looked “drawish" throughout. Black won two minor pieces for the R but was unable to manipulate a superiority of such a nature against the combined forces of his opponent, and at the 40th move a draw was offered and accepted.

"In the second game Mr. Lynam secured an advantage early on by the Q’s gambit (accepted), and the game was adjudicated to him in consideration of his being a Pawn ahead and being almost sure to win another. He would then have had two united passed Pawns on the Q's side.

"Generally speaking the openings in the match were abnormal or abnormally handled: but on the whole there was great steadiness of play. It was a curious coincidence that four of the Oxford men offered the Evans. The match was visited by a large number of the members of the St. George’s, and at 8.00pm the two teams were entertained by that club at the Criterion. Mr. Warner was in the chair and several toasts were proposed and responded to. Perhaps the toast which excited the most enthusiasm was the health of Mr. J. I. Minchin, secretary of the St. George's, whose constant endeavours both in favour of the match and of Chess generally were duly appreciated."

File updated

Date Notes
27 March 2022 Original upload. Four games and seven stubs.
4 September 2023 My thanks to Jason Radley who drew my attention to four further game scores given in The Chess-Monthly, Vol.4, April 1883, and also to an error in the game Locock-Morley where published game analysis after move 19 had been wrongly shown as game moves. We now have eight complete game scores plus stubs of the other three games.
All material © 2023 John Saunders