© 1997-2024
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 35th Varsity Match • Venue: St George's Chess Club, Savile Row, London • Date: Monday 25 March 1907
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1906 • Forward to 1908 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 5:47 PM

The 35th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St George's Chess Club, Savile Row, London, on Monday 25 March 1907.

1906«     1907 Varsity Chess Match     »1908
Bd Oxford University   vs   Cambridge University
1b Herbert Jennings Rose (Balliol) ½-½ Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
2w Noel James Roughton (New) 1-0 William Herbert Humphreys (Christ's)
3b John Rowland Hanning (New) 0-1 Arthur Cousen Bottomley (Clare)
4w John Gordon Archibald (New) 0-1 Coventry Ernest Woodhouse (Pembroke)
5b Reuben Lob (Worcester) 0-1 Bertram Herbert Russell Stower (Queens')
6w Robert Petrie (Balliol) 1-0 Robert Edward Harold Crosbie (Pembroke)
7b Cholmondeley Sherwood James (Christ Church) 1-0 Hyman Lob (King's)

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. The Field (30 March 1907) All seven games are available in the download.


(1) The date of the match was given erroneously in BCM, 1907, p183, as "Monday, March 26th" which Gaige has followed but in fact it was Monday 25 March 1907. (There was a match against the House of Commons on Tuesday 26 March.)
(2) Three days before this match, the Oxford top board HJ Rose had drawn with Capablanca on the top board of the GB Universities vs US Universities cable match. The day after it, he lost a match game to Andrew Bonar Law, future British prime minister.

BCM, April 1907, ppn 183-184

Oxford v. Cambridge.

The contest between the two Universities was decided on Monday, March 26th [wrong - it was Monday 25 March 1907 - JS], at the St. George’s Club, Saville [sic] Row, and proved one of the most interesting of the long series played since the institution of the match in 1873. The Oxford team was composed of five players who took part in the 1906 contest, and two freshmen—Messrs. Lob and James. On the Cambridge side six of the players made their first appearance on this occasion, Mr. Stower being the only representative who had played previously.

The match started shortly after noon, Cambridge having first move on the odd-numbered boards, and with the exception of an interval for luncheon—1-30-2-30—play continued until 6 p.m. The first decisive result was a win for Oxford at board 6, Mr. Crosbie resigning to Mr. Petrie shortly after four o'clock. The immediate cause of resignation was loss of Queen by oversight, but it is doubtful whether the Cantab could have saved the game ; his position being difficult to defend. The next game also went to the credit of Oxford. Mr. James finally defeating Mr. H. Lob in a Guioco [sic] Piano, in which the latter gave up a piece for Pawns. This proceeding was probably the result of over-confidence, as Mr. Lob had none the worst of matters in the early stages; indeed, his opponent had a difficult game to conduct. Cambridge scored next at board 3, where Mr. Bottomley, in a Ruy Lopez, sacrificed a piece for a Pawn and the attack, which he skilfully conducted to a successful issue.

The next result was a draw between Messrs. Illingworth and Rose. At one stage the Oxford player won the exchange, but lost it again, and finally consented to the draw, when a Pawn plus. This draw, as events subsequently went, affected the score of the contest materially. Had Mr. Rose been able to force a win, Oxford would have won the match. The position was, however, somewhat difficult. Mr. Stower was the next to finish, and his victory equalised the scores — 2½ each. Mr. Woodhouse met the Ruy Lopez with 3 Kt—B 3 defence. Mr. Archbald responded with 4 Castles and the play went on 4.., B—K 2 ; 5 P—Q 4, Kt X P; 6 Q—K 2, Kt— Q 3; 7 BxKt, Kt PxB ; 8 Px P, Kt—Kt 2 ; 9 R—Q sq, Castles ; 10 Kt—Q 4, Q—K sq ; 11 R—K sq, B—B 4. After White’s 29th move P—B 3, the appended position appeared on the board:— Mr. Woodhouse now offered the sacrifice of his Knight, with 29.., Kt—Kt 6 ch, which could not be captured. Mr. Archbald played 30 K—Kt sq, which was met with '30.., P—B 5 dis ch, and the White Rook was interposed at B 2. Now the Cantab might have finished brilliantly with RxR, leaving his Queen to be taken, under penalty of mate. He missed this chance and played Q R to K B sq, which move still leads to mate if the Black Queen is captured. From this stage the game went on 32 P x Kt, Q—Kt 3 ; 33 B Q 4, R—Q 3 ; 34Q-R3,BxB; 35K-B5,BxR, and White was in a hopeless case.

The last game concluded was that between Messrs. Roughton and Humphreys, the former securing the victory by pretty play, and bringing the scores equal—3½ each. Cambridge has now won 21 matches, Oxford 12, and three encounters have ended in draws. The most interesting game of the match was undoubtedly the encounter between Messrs. Archbald and Woodhouse.

BCM, April 1907, p181

Oxford and Cambridge Matches in London.—The number and importance of the contests arranged in London this year by the Universities surpassed all previous records. The full programme, for which we are indebted to the kindness of Mr. C. E. Woodhouse, vice-president of the Cambridge University Chess Club, was as follows:—

Date Team Ox/Ca Score Opponents Venue
19 March 1907 Combined Univs 15½ West London CC Brook Green Hotel
20 March 1907 Combined Univs 11½ 11½ Mrs Bowles' Team Inns of Court Hotel, Holborn
21 March 1907 Combined Univs 11½ 13½ Metropolitan CC Inns of Court Hotel, Holborn
22 March 1907 Combined Univs St George's CC Savile Row
25 March 1907 Oxford University Cambridge University St George's, Savile Row
26 March 1907 Combined Univs House of Commons Houses of Parliament
27 March 1907 Combined Univs 18½ City of London CC 7 Grocers' Hall Court
28 March 1907 Combined Univs 3 3 US Universities Cable Match - Inns of Court Hotel, Holborn

BCM, April 1907, p185

House of Commons v. Combined Universities.—This contest, regarded by many chess enthusiasts as the most interesting item in the Universities' programme, was the outcome of a challenge sent on behalf of the Combined Universities to Mr. Henniker Heaton, M.P., who organised the Parliamentary Cable Match, House of Commons versus United States House of Representatives in 1897. After consulting some of the chess-playing members of Parliament, Mr. Henniker Heaton was deputed to accept the challenge and make the necessary arrangements for playing the match, which took place in Committee-room No. 12, the venue of the international contest of 1897.

The Universities were represented by the senior officials of the respective clubs, and each player was in excellent practice, having on the previous day represented his Alma Mater in the inter-University contest. Of the Parliamentary team, Mr. Bonar Law, Mr. W. W. Rutherford, and Mr. L. A. Atherley-Jones are all well known in the chess world. Mr. Law has been a supporter of Scottish chess for many years, and is, we believe, still a member of the Glasgow Chess Club. Some years ago he competed in the tournament for the championship of Scotland, and we recollect with pleasure his personal interest in the first match played in Glasgow between the Scottish Association and the Northern Counties Union. Although now-a-days engaged in the more serious business of legislating for his country, yet we have good reasons for thinking that Mr. Bonar Law is au fait with the chief events of the chess world. Mr. W. W. Rutherford was, within quite a recent period, a pillar of support to the Liverpool Club; indeed, it was mainly owing to his influence and help that the Liverpool Chess Club is now located in its present comfortable quarters. Mr. W. W. Rutherford has in past years played for Lancashire in county matches with marked success, and has filled high places in the county team. Mr. Atherley-Jones, Q.C., is best known in Metropolitan chess circles. A few years ago he was regarded as one of the strongest of the amateurs who were chiefly identified with the now defunct British Chess Club. In the palmy days of that club Mr. Atherley-Jones played a strong game, but we believe that of late years his opportunities for good practice have been very few.

Before the match started the visitors were welcomed by the Honourable F. D. Smith, who also entertained the combatants to dinner. Play proved very one-sided, the only win scored for the House of Commons being by Mr. Bonar Law, and this game proved very exciting, first one player and then the other securing a winning advantage. Full score:—

Bd House of Commons v Combined Universities Opening
1b? Andrew Bonar Law 1-0 Herbert Jennings Rose (Balliol, Oxford) Ruy Lopez
2w? Llewellyn Archer Atherley-Jones 0-1 Noel James Roughton (New, Oxford) Vienna
3b? William Watson Rutherford ½-½ Arthur Cousen Bottomley (Clare, Cambridge) Ruy Lopez
4w? (Thomas Frederick) Charles Edward Shaw 0-1 Coventry Ernest Woodhouse (Pembroke, Cambridge) Ruy Lopez
5b? Sir Henry John Stedman Cotton 0-1 John Rowland Hanning (New, Oxford) King's Gambit Declined
6w? Dr. Vickerman Henzell Rutherford 0-1 Bertram Herbert Russell Stower (Queens', Cambridge) Alapin Opening
    1½-4½ 26 March 1907  

n.b. colours not known for certain but The Field (30 March 1907) reported that "Mr Rutherford adopted an old-fashioned defence of the Ruy Lopez". However, the board order given by BCM differs from that in The Field, with BCM showing boards 2 and 3 round the other way compared to the above. No game scores discovered to date.

Daily News (London), 27 March 1907

The Oxford and Cambridge students who visited the House of Commons yesterday to play a friendly chess match with a team of M.P.‘s proved too strong for their opponents, and won easily by 4½ to 1½. Mr. W. W. Rutherford, who is an experienced match player, and had much practice with the Liverpool Chess Club, played a steady game against A. C. Bottomley, and drew; while Mr. Bonar Law, also formerly well known in the chess world, won, not without luck, an ending with bishops of opposite colours which for a long time he had stood to lose. The lower four boards presented an unbroken succession of University wins. The Hon. W. F. D. Smith, M.P., entertained the visiting team at. dinner. [match scores]

File updated

Date Notes
17 April 2022 Original upload.
18 March 2024 Added match reports and score of W.Ward 1-0 C.Tattersall (City of London match).
All material © 2022 John Saunders