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John Saunders


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Tournament: 16th Varsity Match • Venue: British Chess Club, King Street, London • Date: Thursday 22 March 1888
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1887 • Forward to 1889 • last edited: Monday December 11, 2023 11:00 PM

The 16th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at British Chess Club, King Street, Covent Garden, London, on Thursday 22 March 1888 with Johannes Zukertort adjudicating unfinished games.

1887«     1888 Varsity Chess Match     »1889
Bd Oxford University Game 1 Game 2 Cambridge University
1b Richard Whieldon Barnett (Wadham) 1-0 0-1 George Adolphus Schott (Trinity)
2w William Stoney (Christ Church) 1-0 ½-½ Richard Stoney Topham (Christ's)
3b Edward Mackenzie Jackson (New) 1-0   Cecil Warburton (Christ's)
4w Charles Millar Grace (Queen's) 1-0   Henry Edwin Robinson (St Catharine's)
5b Frank Tillyard (Balliol) 1-0   Hubert Morgan-Browne (Trinity Hall)
6w Edward Bolland Osborn (Magdalen) 1-0   Edward Hungerford Duke (Pembroke)
7b Francis George Newbolt (Balliol) 0-1 1-0 Walter William Bryant (Pembroke)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), (compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987); Sergeant, Philip W, A Century of Chess (London 1934, referred to in the text as PWS); Chess Monthly, Vol.9, pps 228-229; FreeBMD & other statutory records; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.com; Who Was Who 1897-2007; Wikipedia. 5 complete games and 2 part-games of the 10 games played are available in the download.

"E. M. Jackson (New Coll., Oxford) made his earliest appearance in 1888, and began his victorious career of four wins out of four games in three years. With him in his first year was E. B. Osborn (Magdalen), the present literary editor of The Morning Post." (PWS)

"...1888, saw a change in the meeting-place, the match being transferred from the St. George's to the new British Chess Club, Sir George Newnes's pet institution in King Street, Covent Garden, where it continued to be played until a reversion was made to the St. George's in 1903. Another notable change in 1888 was the use of chess-clocks for the first time, the rate of play being twenty moves an hour as (sometimes only nominally) before, when hour-glasses were usually optional. It was not until 1893 that clocks were made compulsory for all the games, a very salutary rule for match-game practice, though not necessarily making for faster play, as the experience of the inter-University series shows." (PWS)

Chess Monthly, Vol. 9, pps 228-229: "The 16th annual match between the Universities was played, on Thursday, the 22nd, at the British Chess Club. The first three matches (1873-75) were played under the auspices of the City of London Chess Club. In 1876 the late West End Chess Club invited the Universities, and the match took place with eclat at the Freemason's Tavern; and since then the St. George's Chess Club was the recognised battle ground. Last year, however, at the Universities banquet, Mr. Minchin gave public utterance to the effect that the St. George's were willing to delegate to the British the task of receiving the Universities, and the Universities were accordingly invited by the British with the consent of the St. George's.

"Cambridge having won the toss, play commenced at two o'clock. The conditions were that no second game should be commenced after 4.30, time to be called at six o'clock; unfinished games to be adjudicated by the umpire. Mr. Zukertort again acted in that capacity, as on former occasions. Last year the pace was unusually slow; both sides, therefore, agreed to use stop-clocks, a measure which produced a beneficial influence in various respects. After about two hours' play the character of the contest was so far decided, that Oxford had scored two victories on boards one and two to one defeat on board seven, whilst the positions on the remaining four boards were, if anything, in favour of the Dark Blues, but at the same time precluding any possibility of being decided and finished at a time which would permit the play of another game. Oxford added another victory on board six, which was soon followed by the resignation of Warburton, the president of the Light Blues, on board three. A ray of hope shone for a moment, when Schott avenged his first defeat by defeating Barnett in the second game, but Newbolt's quick and brilliant victory over Bryant decided the day to all practical purposes, the score being five to two for Oxford, with three games to finish, one of them being already decided for Oxford and scored a short time previous to the suspension of hostilities at six, when the umpire had to adjudicate on the two remaining games; second game on board two, and the only game on board five...

"The victory of Oxford was not anticipated by the public; it is a surprise to themselves, perhaps; and certainly more so to the Light Blues. The recent performance of Cambridge justified them in anticipating a different result. In a match against the City, played a short time ago at Cambridge, the University won the odd game; in a match against North London, Cambridge lost by one game only; in the match on Tuesday, both Universities v. the City, Cambridge scored the larger share of wins; and against the British Chess Club their victory was most decisive.

"The banquet took place at eight o'clock, Mr. Geo. Newnes, M.P., in the chair, supported on his right by Mr. Stoney, the president of the winning team, and on his left by Mr. Warburton, the Cambridge president, and next to them were seated the visitors of the St. George's, Mr. Minchin and the Rev. W. Wayte. A letter was read from the Earl of Dartrey¶, president of the St. George's, who was prevented from coming, and from Lord Randolph Churchill. After the usual loyal toasts, followed the Universities, proposed by the chairman, and responded to by Messrs. Stoney and Warburton. The St. George's Chess Club, proposed by Mr. H.G. Gwinner, and coupled with the name of Mr. Minchin, who replied. The British Chess Club was proposed by Mr. Newbolt, and this proved the speech of the evening. Mr Newbolt, who played last year on Board No.3, this year modestly took Board No.7, owing to his delicate state of health, the result of a recent accident. It was doubtful whether he would be able to play at all; but he courageously volunteered to fight for his University, and acquitted himself creditably in winning the second game after a first defeat. Mr. Hewitt responded. The "Masters" was proposed by Mr. Barnett, and Mr. Blackburne replied; Mr. Cubison proposed the "Umpire," and Mr. Zukertort replied; the "Press," proposed by Mr. W.M. Gattie, was responded to by Messrs. Hoffer, Lazarus, and Donisthorpe; and to the "Chair," proposed by Mr. Robert Foster, Mr. Newnes replied. Altogether, the first meeting of the Universities at the British Chess Club proved very successful in every respect. A large number of members were present."

Richard Dawson, 1st Earl of Dartrey (1817-97), president of St George's Chess Club. There are a few extant chess games played by him given with the name 'R Cremorne' (he had previously been Lord Cremorne, son of the 2nd Baron Cremorne). Anglo-Irish liberal politician. Played Morphy in a blindfold simul in 1859.

File updated

Date Notes
31 March 2021 Original upload.


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