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John Saunders


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Event: 49th Varsity Match • Venue: City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC • Date: Friday 20 March 1925
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1924 • Forward to 1926 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 12:15 PM

The 49th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC, on Friday 20 March 1925. Six of the seven game scores from this match are available. Board 3, H.Herrick-A.Stonier, is missing.

1924«     1925 Varsity Chess Match     »1926
Bd Oxford University 1925 Cambridge University
1b Alexander Oppenheim (Balliol) 0-1 John Elliott West (Downing)
2w George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (New) 1-0 Andrew Rowland Benedick Thomas (St John's)
3b Alfred William Stonier (Christ Church) 0-1 Herbert John Charles Herrick (St John's)
4w Napier Baliol Scott (Christ Church) 1-0 George Edmund Hewson (St Catharine's)
5b Kenneth Humphry Bancroft (Pembroke) ½-½ Edward Hugh Bateman (Trinity)
6w Graham Russell Mitchell (Magdalen) 1-0 John Edward Pepper (Trinity)
7b Hugh Findlay Sutherland (Balliol) ½-½ Philip L Sherman (Trinity)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1925, p177; The Times, 21 March 1925; A Century of British Chess by PW Sergeant; BCM, February 1925, p72 ('Past' match)

[BCM, April 1925, p177]

"Oxford v. Cambridge.—The 49th Annual Match between the rival universities was played on Friday, March 20th, at the City of London Chess Club, Oxford winning an interesting match by four games to three and bringing the record to : Cambridge 23, Oxford 22, 4 drawn.

"The first game finished was a win for Oxford on Board 6, the Cambridge player in defending the Queen’s Pawn game making an error in the middle game and losing the exchange ; a further mistake led to an early Mate.

"Shortly afterwards a win was recorded on Board No. 2, where Thomas, who has not done his chess powers credit in these matches abandoned a hopeless end-game resulting from the Cambridge Springs Defence of the Queen’s Gambit Declined, in which he early lost a Pawn, and later a Piece from having to sacrifice it to stop a Pawn from Queening.

"Oxford’s third success followed on Board 4, where Black’s weak Queen’s side Pawns resulting from a Sicilian Defence, causing his resignation in a Rook and Pawn ending.

"This was followed by a draw on Board 5. Here Bateman replied to the Sicilian Defence of his opponent by the “ Wing ” Gambit, and got a good attack which he carried out well and thereby won a Piece ; this should have led to an easy win but he sacrificed the exchange unnecessarily and then got his pieces badly tied up so that at one period Bancroft had a chance of winning.

"Another draw on Board 7 on which Black adopted Alekhine’s Defence, the resulting game was well contested, both attack and defence being well balanced, here the struggle resulted in Bishops of opposite colours and an inevitable draw—this gained Oxford the victory.

"The remaining two games were won by Cambridge, Stonier’s Pawn position was inferior as a result of defending an irregular Queen’s Pawn Opening, and in a Rook and Pawn ending, Herrick secured sufficient advantage for a win on adjudication. The game on Board 1 was worthy of the occasion and was a fine struggle between two good players opened on modern lines,the game resulted in White securing two Passed Pawns in the centre, while Black had the advantage of two Pawns on the Queen’s wing but the centre Pawns gained the day. It is an interesting fact that of the three games in which White played 1 P—K 4 Black played an irregular defence and that in the other four games the present modern theories were followed. We cannot help wishing that in these matches the fine attacks and counterattacks of the King’s-side openings are not more in evidence."

[The Times, 21 March 1925, p16]


"The 49th annual match between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was played yesterday afternoon at the rooms of the City of London Chess Club. Wardrobe-court, E.C., Oxford winning by four games to three. The record for the series now stands:—Cambridge 23 matches; Oxford, 22; and four drawn.

"The first result, was a win for Oxford on board No. 6, his opponent going astray in the middle game in a manner that cost him the exchange and a pawn. Mr. Pepper made a worse oversight at his 26th move, through which the end came sooner, but in any case, there was only one end, with correct play by Mr. Mitchell.

"Oxford soon afterwards scored again on board No. 2, the Cambridge representative having somewhat mishandled the Cambridge springs defence against a queen's pawn opening. Mr. Thomas got his bishop tied up at QR6, costing a valuable pawn in the effort to extricate it, and then the attack by Mr. Wheatcroft on that side finally broke up the position. The latter actually was a knight to the good in the ending, but he gave this up for a pawn in order to force the win more quickly.

"Oxford’s third success followed on board No. 4, Mr. Baliol-Scott outplaying his opponent in a rook and pawn ending. He was not exactly happy in the opening, but once into the middle game he obtained a good grip of the position, his opponent making several weak moves. The gain of a pawn through several exchanges brought about the ending. But the most fortunate man on the Oxford side was the player on board No. 5, for he completely lost his way early in the game against the Wing Gambit variation played by Mr Bateman. The latter should have won easily by simply exchanging when a piece to the good, but he let his opportunitv slip, and in the end was perhaps fortunate to escape with a draw.

"Oxford were now quite safe from defeat, and another draw on board No. 7 made their victory certain. This game had come down to a bishop and pawn ending, with bishops of opposite colours, and there was nothing that either could do. The agreement came on the 51st move.

"The remaining two games were won by Cambridge. Mr. Herrick, on board No. 3, had to go to the 57th move before he could secure sufficient advantage in a rook and pawn ending for Mr. Amos Burn to adjudicate the game in his favour. This was the only game unfinished at the call of time, and makes up for Mr. Herrick's misfortune in missing his game last year through a misunderstanding regarding the time when play was to open. Mr. Oppenheim, on board No. 1, was also defeated in a rook and pawn ending, his opponent getting two pawns up the centre in a manner which there was no resisting.

"The following is the full score, Cambridge having the White pieces on the odd-numbered boards:—"

Universities' Week

Mar 14 Combined Univs 6½-9½ University of London (Past & Present)
Mar 16 Combined Univs 12½-7½ Insurance
Mar 17 Combined Univs 8½-9½ Hampstead
Mar 18 Combined Univs 5-15 City of London
Mar 19 Cambridge Univ 5-6 United Banks
Mar 19 Oxford Univ 1-3 Lud-Eagle (Consultation Match)
Mar 21 Combined Univs 6½-5½ West London
Mar 21 (evening) Combined Univs 5½-5½ North London
Mar 23 Combined Univs 8-3 Athenaeum and Reform Clubs

Oxford Past vs Cambridge Past, 10 January 1925 at the City of London CC (7th match)

Bd Oxford University Past 1925 Cambridge University Past
1b Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) ½-½ William Hewison Gunston (St John's)
2w Herbert Gibson Rhodes, M.C. (New) 0-1 (Creassey Edward) Cecil Tattersall (Trinity)
3b Godfrey Davies (Pembroke) ½-½ Edward Lancelot Raymond (Christ's)
4w Henry Delacombe Roome (Merton) 1-0 Bertram Goulding Brown (Trinity)
5b John Harold Morrison (Wadham) 0-1 George Leathem (St John's)
6w Alan Hamilton Crothers (Queen's) 0-1 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's)
7b Edward Paice (Merton) ½-½ Lachlan McLean (King's)
8w Edward Algernon Michell (Queen's) 1-0 Harold John Snowden (Queens')
9b Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) 0-1 Charles Edward Taylor (Trinity)
10w Major Edgar Montague-Jones (New) 0-1 Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
11b Philip Wilson (Balliol) 0-1 Sir Edgar Wigram (Trinity Hall)
12w Hon. Frederick Gustavus Hamilton-Russell (Christ Church) 0-1 Paul Ian Wyndham (Trinity)

[BCM, February 1925, p72-73] "OXFORD PAST v. CAMBRIDGE PAST.

"As the experiment last year of playing this match during the Universities’ week in town did not result in getting better teams together, it was decided to revert to the January date this year; and on Saturday afternoon, the 10th ult., [10 January 1925] two sides of twelve met at the City of London Chess Club. As was the case last year, there were numerous disappointments, and again Oxford were the chief sufferers, E M. Jackson, G. E. Wainwright, T. H. Tylor, J. A. J. Drewitt, Major Barnett and T. A. Staynes, among others, being obliged to decline the invitation to play. Cambridge lacked the help of H. E. Atkins; but in numbers they were well represented and had four more players ready, could Oxford have furnished opponents for them.

"Nearly four hours were allowed for the match, with the result that adjudication was only necessary on two boards, the 7th and 8th. These two games added a badly wanted 1½ to the Dark Blues’ score, which previously had been made up of a win by H. D. Roome and draws by P. W. Sergeant, G. Davies and D. M. Morrah. Cambridge had a comfortable win for the third year in succession."

"Cambridge had the move on the odd-numbered boards. It may be of interest to name the openings, as they were very varied in character: 1, Petroff; 2, Q.P. (Dutch Defence) ; 3, Ponziani; 4, Irregular Q.P. ; 5, Nimzovitch’s Defence (1 P—K 4, Kt—Q B 3) ; 6, Q.P. (Dutch Defence) ; 7, Evans Accepted; 8, Q.P. (Tchigorin Defence, without the King’s fianchetto) ; 9, Ruy Lopez ; 10, Q.P. (Kings Fianchetto Defence) ; 11, French ; and 12, Queen’s Gambit Declined. The following was the game on Board 1:—

File updated

Date Notes
8 March 2022 Original upload.
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