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John Saunders


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Tournament: 40th Varsity Match • Venue: City of London CC, London • Date: Monday 25 March 1912
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1911 • Forward to 1913 • last edited: Monday December 11, 2023 11:51 PM

The 40th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at City of London CC, Gordon's City Restaurant, 34 Milk Street, Cheapside, London, on Monday 25 March 1912. Leopold Hoffer and JH Blackburne officiated as adjudicators.

1911«     1912 Varsity Chess Match     »1913
Bd Oxford University 1912 Cambridge University Opening
1b Franklin Ferriss Russell (Brasenose) ½-½ Gilbert Henry Stevens (Caius) Four Knights
2w Herbert Neville Bewley (Wadham) 1-0 Arthur James Turner (Caius) QP
3b Godrey Davies (Pembroke) 0-1 Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity) Vienna Game
4w Frank Colin Bryan (Jesus) ½-½ Duncan Wakeman Wooldridge (St John's) QP
5b George Carruthers (Merton) 1-0 Allen Watkins (St John's) Italian Game
6w Everard Lindesay Brine (Christ Church) ½-½ Ralph Nicholas Chubb (Selwyn) Ruy Lopez
7b Walter Roland Tracy Whatmore (Christ Church) ½-½ Eric Leslie Mellersh (Selwyn) Ruy Lopez

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; Sunday Times (London, England), Sunday, March 31, 1912; pg. 13; BCM, 1912, p212. 3 games and 1 part-game available in the download.

Boards 4 and 7 were adjudicated (by Blackburne and Hoffer). Arthur Turner was President of the Cambridge University Club.

[BCM, 1912, p.212] The Universities' Chess Week in London.—We are indebted to Mr. Godfrey Davies, hon. secretary, Oxford University Chess Club, for the full scores of the matches played in London by the United Universities from March 19th to the 25th. The annual match between the 'Varsities was played at the City of London Chess Club on Monday, March 25th. Mr. J. H. Blackburne and Mr. Leopold Hoffer acted as umpires. The Cantabs had first move on the odd-numbered boards. On the proposal of the Oxford captain, a vote of thanks was tendered to the City Club for the invitation to play the match at the club. The hon. secretary, Mr. J. Walter Russell, responded.

[The Sunday Times (London, England), Sunday, March 31, 1912; pg. 13 - L.van Vliet] UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH. "In the annual chess contest between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, played at the City of London Chess Club, Oxford was again victorious, the Oxonlans winning by four games to three. Last year Oxford won by 4½ to 2½. We think It a great pity that these annual chess matches between the rival blues cannot take place at some public hall, where the general public would feel free to come and witness the match, In the same way that they flock to the University sports and cricket matches. The first chess match, in 1878 [sic - 1873, of course], played at the old Willis's Rooms, drew a very large attendance and of a kind that was very good for chess In general. But of late years, since the teams have met in private clubs, the "crowd" of spectators has usually consisted of about a half-dozen reporters and chess editors! We repeat that this is a great pity, and in the best interest of chess an effort should certainly be made In future to have these annual contests at a suitable public hall."

[Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 26 March 1912] "The fortieth annual match between the Light and Dark Blues took place yesterday at the City of London Chess Club. There were seven players on each side. And Cambridge had the move on the odd numbered boards, which gave them a slight advantage.
The openings adopted were:- Board No. 1. Four Knights; No. 2, Q P; No. 3. Vienna: No. 4. Q P; No. 5, Italian; No. 6. Ruy Lopez; No. 7. Ruy Lopez.
The game on Board No. 1 was the first to conclude, resulting in a draw.
On Board No. 2. Bewley (Oxford), playing a strong game, won the exchange, and finally the game.
On Board No. 3 the Cambridge player managed to win a piece in the middle game, and won the game.
On Board No. 4 Bryan overlooked a win. and although he was a pawn to the good in the ending, a draw was given in the adjudication.
Board No. 5 was a keen fight, but the Cantab lost too many pawns, and Carruthers won.
Boards Nos. 6 and 7 were both drawn.
The result was a win for Oxford by 4 games to 3.
The record up to date is Cambridge 22 wins, Oxford 15 wins, and 3 draws.
Mr. Blackburne was the adjudicator."

1912 Varsity Match

Photo from the Soulby's Ulverston Advertiser and General Intelligencer, 28 March 1912 - kindly supplied by Gerard Killoran

File updated

Date Notes
21 April 2019 First uploaded. My thanks to Gerard Killoran for supplying the photo.
9 January 2021 Added the board 3 game Coad-Pryor-Davies, which Alan Smith sent me quite some time ago. My thanks to Alan.
All material © 2019 John Saunders