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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 27th Varsity Match • Venue: British Chess Club, 37 King Street, London • Date: Friday 24 March 1899
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1898 • Forward to 1900 • last edited: Friday December 22, 2023 6:16 PM

The 27th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at British Chess Club, 37 King Street, Covent Garden, London, on Friday 24 March 1899.

1898«     1899 Varsity Chess Match     »1900
Bd Oxford University   vs   Cambridge University
1b Arthur Hereford Wykeham George (New) 0-1 Creassey Edward Cecil Tattersall (Trinity)
2w Arthur Percival Lacy Hulbert (Keble) 0-1 Lachlan McLean (King's)
3b Gerald Edward Harold Ellis (Lincoln) 0-1 Harold Goodlake Softlaw (Trinity Hall)
4w Frederick Soddy (Merton) 0-1 Alexander Fotheringham (Emmanuel)
5b Frederick Augustus Babcock (Wadham) ½-½ Richard Samuel Makower (Trinity)
6w Harold Hilton (Magdalen) 1-0 Joseph Edmund Wright (Trinity)
7b Lionel Giles (Wadham) 0-1 Clement Christopher Wiles (St John's)
  24.03.1899 1½-5½  

Main 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); Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.com; Who Was Who 1897-2007; Wikipedia. All seven games are available in the download.

Notes: the captains were the two top boards, George and Tattersall.

Universities Week

18/03/1899 Combined Universities Hastings
20/03/1899 Combined Universities 10½ Metropolitan
21/03/1899 Combined Universities 6 15 British Chess Club
22/03/1899 Combined Universities 8 14 City of London

Full scores of the London matches (the Hastings match was played in Hastings) are given in BCM 1899, ppn 174-175, available online

The Times, 25 March 1899

The Cambridge representatives made short work of the annual match against Oxford yesterday at the British Chess Club. Messrs. Tattersall, Softlaw, McLean, and other new men are uncommonly strong, as previous notes have suggested. In yesterday’s match Oxford could only win one game and draw another out of seven.

Morning Post - Saturday 25 March 1899

The twenty-seventh annual chess match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities was played at the British Chess Club yesterday, and resulted in a decisive victory for the Cambridge representatives, who have proved themselves remarkably strong this year, and have thus made the record since 1873, when the annual series began, 17 to 9 in their favour, one contest having resulted in a draw.

It was arranged to begin the match at twelve o’clock yesterday, in order that the games might be played out and the need for adjudication avoided. Only one of the games, however, was prolonged, the others being rapidly concluded after the luncheon interval, chiefly by reason of the smart play of the Cambridge men. The best game of the day occurred between the two Captains, Mr. George, of Oxford, and Mr. Tattersall, of Cambridge. The last-named, having the move, adopted the Ruy Lopez attack, and. advancing on the King’s side, placed his adversary under the necessity of conducting a difficult defence while short of time. In tlese circumstances Mr. George selected an inferior move at a critical moment, with the result that the Cambridge Leader was able to concentrate further forces on the weak point, and thereby obtain a mating position.

Mr. Softlaw, of Cambridge, also successfully played a Ruy Lopez, and scored his game against Mr. Ellis.

A similar opening played by Mr. Soddy, of Oxford, was defended by Mr. Fotheringham with the risky move P—K B 4, which in this instance yielded a winning counterattack.

A King’s Gambit was won for Oxford by Mr. Hilton against Mr. Wright, and this proved the only victory .scored for the University, for Mr. Wiles, of Cambridge, defeated Mr. Giles, who declined the Pawn in the same gambit. Mr. Babcock and Mr. Makower agreed to draw, while in the remaining game Mr. Hulbert, of Oxford, was already at a serious disadvantage with Mr. M Lean. and though the contest was continued until nearly the 60th move the Oxford man, despite many persevering efforts, was unable to avert defeat. The final score thus became—Cambridge 5½, Oxford 1½.

The players were entertained by the British Chess Club for dinner and a smoking concert after the match.

Bristol Mercury - Saturday 01 April 1899

1899 Oxford University vs Wiltshire Oxonians
Bd Oxford University   vs   Wiltshire Oxonians
1 Arthur Hereford Wykeham George (New) 0-1 Rev. Alexander George Gordon Ross (New)
2 Gerald Edward Harold Ellis (Lincoln) ½-½* Arthur Schomberg (Oriel)
3 Arthur Percival Lacy Hulbert (Keble) 0-1* Rev. John Francis Welsh (Christ Church)
4 Frederick Augustus Babcock (Wadham) 0-1 Rev. Richard Edward Coles (Pembroke)
5 Frederick Soddy (Merton) 1-0 Rev. Edward Wells (Exeter)
6 Lionel Giles (Wadham) 1-0 Rev. Edmund Schuyler Sutton Caudwell (Oriel)
7 S Walter (Christ Church) 1-0 Ernest William Ormerod (Non-Coll)
8 Harold Hilton (Magdalen) 0-1 William Cecil Wigan (St John's)
  Date: 27 February 1899, Randolph Hotel 3½-4½ * adjudicated by Hoffer

For further details of the unlinked Wiltshire Oxonian players Coles and Wigan, see the 1903 Varsity match page. Rev. Edward Wells (1854-?), rector of West Dea, 1886. Rev. Edmund Schuyler Sutton Caudwell (b 18 March 1866 - 27 December 1938). Ormerod (1869-1944) was a medical practitioner. The date of the match (27 February 1899) and venue (Randolph Hotel, Oxford) were given in the Wiltshire Times and Trowbridge Advertiser - Saturday 04 March 1899.

File updated

Date Notes
17 April 2022 Original upload.
22 December 2023 Contemporary reports added plus games from the additional matches.
All material © 2022 John Saunders