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Tournament: 23rd Varsity Match • Venue: British Chess Club, King Street, London • Date: Friday 29 March 1895
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1894 • Forward to 1896 • last edited: Monday March 25, 2024 1:02 PM

The 23rd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at British Chess Club, King Street, Covent Garden, London, on Friday 29 March 1895 with Emanuel Lasker and Leopold Hoffer adjudicating unfinished games. Start 3.00pm - no clocks used.

1894«     1895 Varsity Chess Match     »1896
Bd Oxford University   vs   Cambridge University
1b Edward Lawton (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Percyvall Hart-Dyke (Kings)
2w Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) 0-1 Harold John Snowden (Queens')
3b Henry Gosse Winfield Cooper (Oriel) 1-0 William Vawdrey Naish (Emmanuel)
4w Harold Northway Robbins (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Gilbert Varley (Christ's)
5b Thomas Basil Collins (Christ Church) 0-1 David Ross Fotheringham (Queens')
6w Edward George Spencer-Churchill (Magdalen) 1-0 Walter Tyrrell Quin (Caius)
7b Kirsopp Lake (Lincoln) 1-0 John Porter Foster (Trinity)

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); BCM, May 1895, ppn 205-211; The Field, 6 April 1895, p474; Morning Post, 30 March 1895; London Evening Standard, 30 March 1895; Illustrated London News, 6 April 1895; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.com; Who Was Who 1897-2007; Wikipedia. All games are available in the download, though board 7 is incomplete.

(1) Club presidents Sergeant (Oxford) and Snowden (Cambridge)
(2) Boards 2 and 5 were adjudicated by Hoffer and Lasker
(3) Sergeant's Century of British Chess has board six (Spencer-Churchill v Quin) wrongly recorded as 0-1 (though it has the match score correct).

BCM, May 1895, ppn 205-211: "Last month we were only able to give the bare results of the various Universities’ matches played during boat-race week, and we therefore now give the full details.

"The first match of the series took place on the 26th March, at the British Chess Club, between the British Chess Club and a combined team of players of both Universities. The United Universities were represented by twelve out of the fourteen players who had been selected to play in the Inter-Universities’ match (Messrs. Cooper (Oxford) and Foster (Cambridge) of the fourteen being absent), and two juniors, Messrs. Tek Chind (Oxford) and Carlyle (Oxford), who occupied the last two boards. The British were represented by a mixed team, the top five or six boards being occupied by strong players. Mr. Hart-Dyke, the well known blind player (Cambridge), captained the two Blues, being opposed by Mr. Andrew Hunter. Mr. Hart-Dyke made a gallant stand against his strong opponent, but was at last compelled to yield. Mr. Ward Higgs and Mr. Mundell also scored for their side, but Mr. Snowden beat Mr. Lowe, whilst Mr. Naish (Universities) drew with Mr. Hirsch, and Mr. Robbins (Universities) defeated Rev. E. I. Crosse, the well-known Sussex county secretary. On the top six boards, therefore, the Universities made the excellent score of 2½ out of 6. From this point the Universities had all the best of the struggle, finally winning by 7½ to 6½. The score of the Cambridge men who took part in the match was 3½ out of 6, whilst that of the eight Oxford players was 4 out of 8 ; the honour of winning the match therefore rested with the Cantabs. Score:— [Combined Universities 7½, British CC 6½]

"The second match of the week was played on the 27th March, between a second team of the City of London Chess Club and a united team (past and present) of University men, nineteen in number, made up of ten Cantabs and nine Oxonians. Twelve of the selected fourteen Inter-Universities’ players were present, the two absentees being Mr. Hart-Dyke (Cambridge) and Mr. Cooper (Oxford). The remaining seven players consisted of four past players, Messrs. Gunston, Deighton, Young, and Poynton; and three juniors, Messrs, Carlyle, G. N. Snowden, and Tek Chind. The United Universities were headed by Mr. W. H. Gunston, who was opposed by Mr. H. S. Leonard for the City, who, however, could not withstand the brilliant Cantab, and had to yield after a most interesting game. Mr. Leonard defended with a French, and losing some time in the opening allowed Mr. Gunston to get a lasting attack. Annexed diagram shows the game after Black’s 30th move (Q–B2)"

"Mr. Lawton (Universities) defeated Mr. Sheffield (City); Mr. G. C. Cutler only drew against Mr. Sergeant, and another strong City man, Mr. H. Jones, went down before Dr. Deighton. So well did the University men play that at the top ten boards honours were easy, each side scoring 5. From this point, however, the Blues were not able to hold their own against their more practised opponents, and only scored 2 against the City’s 7, making the final score City 12, United Universities 7. The Cambridge men scored 5 out of 10, the Oxford 2 out of 9. Of the twelve Inter-Universities’ players engaged in the match, the Cambridge men scored 3 out of 6, the Oxford men 2 out of 6. Messrs. Gunsberg (Universities) and Woon (City) acted as adjudicators. There was a large gathering of interested spectators, and loud cheers were given when Mr. Mocatta (president of the City) gave the result, which was followed by loud cheers for the Universities."

"This is the eleventh annual match between the City seconds and the United Blues, and the City now leads by five matches, having won in 1885-6, 1890-1-2-3-4-5 ; whilst the ’Varsities have won in 1887-8-9. The City men have scored a total of 119½ points, and the United Universities 97½.

"The third encounter took place on the 28th March, when a united team of Universities’ men played a strong team of the Metropolitan Club, at the rooms of the latter. The Universities' players were made up of the players who took part in the match against the City, with the exception that a past player, Mr. C. T. Blanshard (Oxford) took the place of the junior, Mr. Tek Chind (Cambridge), whilst the number was made up to 20 by the presence of Mr. Hart-Dyke. The Metropolitan put in an unusually strong team at the top, a proof of which is apparent, when it it is stated that Mr. H[enry]. S[elfe]. Leonard, who had captained the City men the previous evening, played eighth board on the present occasion. The Universities’ captain drew his game against Mr. Michell (Metropolitan), and the same result attended the game between Messrs. Deighton and Stow; Mr. Lawton scored his game against Mr. E. N. Frankenstein, whilst Mr. Sergeant drew with Mr. Ryan, but Mr. Hart-Dyke had to yield to Mr. Bowles. On the top five boards therefore the United Blues held their own against the strong combination opposed to them, each side scoring 2½. The results at the next five boards, however, proved very disastrous to the ’Varsities, and their score up to that point was only 4 out of 10; but even this is very creditable when the strength of the opposition is considered. The remaining ten University players only scored 3 out of 10, and the match therefore resulted in a victory for the Metropolitan by 13 to 7. The score of the ten Cambridge men was 3½ out of 10; that of the ten Oxford men also 3½ out of 10. All the seven Cantabs who were in the Inter-Universities’ match played on this occasion, their score being 2½ out of 7 ; whilst six of the Oxonian Inter-Universities’ team played in the present match, scoring 1½ out of 6. Combined Universities 7, Metropolitan 13.

The last event of the week was the Inter-Universities’ match itself, which was played on the 29th March, at the British Chess Club. The handsome rooms of the club were draped in the colours of the two Universities, and there was a large gathering of spectators. The match as in former years was one of 7 a side, and at the start Cambridge, from the better form they had shown during the week were slightly the favourites. Play commenced at three o’clock, and though no "time-keepers” were used it proceeded at a fair speed. The captain of the Light Blues was Mr. H. J. Snowden, whilst the Dark Blues were under the command of Mr. P. W. Sergeant, both able players.

"After a little more than an hour’s play, it was seen that the favourites were not doing so well as their friends had expected, for Oxford was doing well at the majority of the boards. The first game finished was that between Mr. Robbins and Mr. Varley, and was a win for Oxford; a second win for Oxford speedily followed, Mr. Lake defeating Mr. Foster. Then came a victory for Cambridge, at board No. 1, where Mr. Hart-Dyke defeated Mr. Lawton. Next followed two wins for Oxford ; Mr. E. G. S. Churchill scoring against Mr. Quinn, and Mr. Cooper against Mr. Naish. This left the score at the call of time Oxford 4, Cambridge 1, and two unfinished games. Both these the adjudicators, Messrs. Hotter and Lasker, gave as wins for the Light Blues, and the final score was Oxford 4, Cambridge 3.

"At board No. 1, Mr. Hart-Dyke (the Cambridge blind player) opened with 1 P—Q 4, to which Mr. Lawton replied 1...P—K 3, and the opening passed into a Queen’s Gambit Declined. Mr. Lawton was left with an isolated Queen’s Pawn, and this Mr. Hart-Dyke ultimately won, mainly through Mr. Lawton pushing a premature attack. The following is the position after Black’s 13th move (P—Q R 3). (See diagram.) The game now went on 14 B—K 2 !, B x P (Mr. Lawton had the sacrifice in view for some time, but it is altogether unsound. At one time he thought of playing 14..., B—K. 3, which would have been better, but even then he would have had a bad game); 15 P x B, Kt x K P : 16 Q—K 5 !, Kt—B 7 ch; 17 K—Q 2, and Mr. Lawton resigned, for indeed he had no resource.

"At board No. 2, Mr. Sergeant v. Mr. Snowden, another Queen's Gambit Declined was played, wherein White early missed a chance of leaving his opponent with an isolated Pawn. Then followed some changing off of pieces and Pawns, with a probable draw in view; but White playing somewhat weakly allowed Black to get a B posted strongly at Q 5. We give a diagram of the position at the time of the adjudication. At first sight it looks very drawish, and the adjudicators spent a considerable time over it, but at length came to the conclusion that Black had sufficient advantage to win, and so gave the game to Cambridge.

"At board No. 3, Mr. Naish (Cambridge) opened with a Ruy Lopez, which Mr. Cooper (Oxford) defended a little weakly, and the first player by a timely advance of P—Q R 4 on the eleventh move had a distinct advantage. On the 16th move, however, he re-took with a R instead of with a Pawn, and from this point he got into difficulties. The following diagram shows the position after Black’s 20th move (R—K 3): The game now went on 21 R (R 6)—R sq (the attempt to dislodge the B by 21 P—R 3 would have been little better), BxKt; 22 Q x B (here 22 P x B would have been better), R—B 3; 23 Q—K 4, BxPch; 24 K—R sq, B x R ; 25 R x B, Q—B 4; 26 Q x Q, R x Q ; 27 P—R 3, P— Kt 3 ; 28 Kt—R 2, R—B 7 ; 29 R—Q B sq, R—B 3 ; 30 Kt- Kt 4, K R—Q 3 i 3i R—K sq, R—K sq; 32 P—Q 4, P—R 4 : 33 P x P, PxKt, and Mr. Naish resigned.

"At board No. 4, Mr. Varley played a French Defence, carried out somewhat weakly. He made an advance on the Q’s side which he did not carry out quite satisfactorily, and Mr. Robbins got a strong attack on the K's flank. We give a diagram of the position after White’s 15th move (R—Kt sq !). The continuation was 15...P—B 4 (this counterattack just comes too late); 16 P—K Kt 4 !, P x Q P; 17 P x P, Kt x P; 18 Q x P, Q—B 3; 19 Q—R 7 ch, K—B 2; 20 Kt x Kt P, P x P; 21 K Kt x P, Kt—Q 6 ch; 22 B x Kt, Q—K 4; 23 R x P ch, QxR; 24 Kt—Q 6 ch, and Mr. Varley resigned.

"At board No. 5, Mr. Collins (Oxford) declined a Queen’s Gambit, played by Mr. Fotheringham (Cambridge), in a somewhat unscientific manner, and early got a rather weak game, but managed to make up a little lee way, but unnecessarily allowed Mr. Fotheringham to advance his P—Q 5 on the 15th move, and this led to the disintegration of his game. We give a diagram of the position at the time of adjudication :— Without difficulty the adjudicators gave this as a win for White (Cambridge).

"At board No. 6, Mr. E. G. Spencer Churchill (Oxford) played a Ruy Lopez against Mr. Quinn, who defended very weakly, and early got a losing position. Above we give a diagram of the game after White’s 16th move (QKtPxB). The game now went on 16...R—Q3 (his position is very cramped, but this lets in the B with fatal effect); 17 B—B 8, P— Kt 4; 18 B x P, K—B 2; 19 P—QB4, R—Q Kt sq; 20 Q R—Kt sq, R—Q 2; 21 PxP, PxP; 22 BxP, Q R—Kt 2; 23 P—Q R 4, Kt—K 2; 24 B—R 7, RxB; 25 B—B 4 ch, k—Kt 3; 26 R x R, and wins.

"The game on the 7th and last board was a Centre Counter Gambit, somewhat erratically played by Mr. Lake, but in the ending Mr. Foster did not conduct his game well, losing two Pawns, then a piece, and finally the game."

"After play had ceased, the members of the two teams and friends dined at the British Chess Club, Sir George Newnes, Bart., M.P., in the chair. The toasts of the evening were: “Both Houses of Parliament,” proposed in a humorous speech by Mr. Wordsworth Donisthorpe. Mr. Henniker Heaton, M.P., and Mr. Holroyd, M.P., replied. Sir George Newnes proposed “The Universities,” coupled with the names of the two captains. Mr. Sergeant and Mr. Snowden replied, the latter toasting “The British Chess Club.” Mr. Fleming, M.P., proposed “The Press,” and Mr. T. P. O’Connor, M.P., replied. Mr. Atherley-Jones, M.P., proposed “The Visitors," Messrs. Newbolt and Lasker replied. At this stage the Lord Mayor, who was detained elsewhere, arrived. His health was proposed by Sir George Newnes, and his lordship replied. An entertaining smoking concert followed, and the next day the teams were the guests of Sir George Newnes to witness the boat race in the electric launch, the Viscountess Bury."

The Field, 6 April 1895: The defeat of Cambridge, after five years' successive victories, is explained by the fact that the new men Oxford put in the field this year were better than those of Cambridge.

On Board 1, Lawton and Hart Dyke were expected to be well matched. Lawton played well up in the trial matches during the week, and showed improved form; but on this occasion he allowed the Cantab to achieve a comparatively easy victory.

On Board 2, Sergeant and Snowden’s game should have been a draw if Sergeant had not relied too much on the bishops of different colour.

On Board 3, Naish had the advantage in the opening, but Cooper turned the tables in the middle game, which he conducted ingeniously right up to the end.

On Board 4, although Robbins is an imaginative player, he should not have beaten Varley, who is about equally ingenious, but for the latter not being quite familiar with the form of the French Defence adopted by the Oxonian.

On Board 5, Fotheringham had the advantage in the opening, but Collins could have equalised the game with 14... P to B3. He omitted this move, and from that point the Cantab got up a vigorous attack and won.

On Board 6, Churchill is much the superior to Quin, who shows lack of experience and knowledge of the opening as yet. He lost a pawn in the opening, and could not recover any more, the Oxonian being too steady. Mr Churchill, we are confident, will be transferred to a higher place next year; he is a player of promise.

On Board 7, Lake, the Oxonian, is also superior to the Cantab.

To retrieve the lost laurels Cambridge will have to train well for next year's match, if the same teams—which is probable—are to meet again.

The Dinner.—At eight o’clock both teams dined with the members at the British Chess Club, Sir George Newnes, Bart., M.P., in the the chair. The toasts of the evening were: ‘‘Both Houses of Parliament,” proposed in a humorous speech by Mr Wordsworth Donisthorpe. Mr Henniker Heaton M.P., and Mr Oldroyd, M.P., replied. Sir George Newnes proposed "The Universities," coupled with the names of the two captains. Mr Sergeant and Mr Snowden replied, the latter including ‘‘The British Chess Club." Mr Fleming, M.P., proposed "The Press," and Mr T. P. O'Connor replied. Mr Atherley Jones, M.P., proposed “The Visitors.” Messrs. Newbolt and Lasker replied. At this stage the Lord Mayor, who was detained elsewhere, arrived. His health was proposed by Sir George Newnes, and his lordship replied. An entertaining smoking concert followed; and the next day the teams were the guests of Sir George Newnes to witness the boat race in the electric launch, the Viscountess Bury.

File updated

Date Notes
14 April 2022 Original upload.
25 March 2024 Added the full score of W.Gunston 1-0 H.Leonard, from the City of London match.
All material © 2022-2023 John Saunders