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John Saunders


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Event: 53rd Varsity Match • Venue: City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC • Date: 23 March 1929
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1928 • Forward to 1930 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 12:06 PM

The 53rd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC, on 23 March 1929. All game scores from this match are available.

1928«     1929 Varsity Chess Match     »1930
Bd Oxford University 1929 Cambridge University
1b Gerald Abrahams (Wadham) 1-0 (Philip) Stuart Milner-Barry (Trinity)
2w Arthur Eric Smith (St Edmund Hall) ½-½ Ronald Langley Mitchell (Trinity)
3b Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) 0-1 Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander (King's)
4w Solomon Adler (New) 1-0 Max Black (Queens')
5b Reginald Walter Bonham (St Catherine's) ½-½ Wilfrid Edward Sandbach (King's)
6w Harold Talbot Reeve (Oriel) ½-½ John Morley Holford (Trinity Hall)
7b Eric Sigmund Bensinger (Wadham) 0-1 Roland Hartnett (Downing)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1929, pps 129-130; The Times, 25 March 1929 (including all game scores); BCM, February 1929, p57; n.b. The Times, 23 March 1929, has detailed results of the Combined Universities vs City of London match played 20.03.1929 and the Combined Universities vs West London match played 21.03.1929.

Notes: boards 2 and 5 were adjudicated.

BCM, April 1929, p129-130: "The annual chess week (it extended to eight days this time) kept University players busy from March 15th to March 23rd. On the 15th Cambridge alone visited the North London C.C. and received a sound beating by 6-1. Next day the combined team met and were defeated by London University, by the narrow margin of 6-5.

"On Monday, the 18th, the Universities beat the Insurance C.C. by 8-7; but next day they lost to Hampstead, 6½-12½; on the 20th to the City of London C.C. by 5-13; and on the 21st to West London by 5-9.

"The consultation-match with the Lud-Eagle, on March 22nd, was varied this year by not being played as an inter-club match, two members of the opposing sides being paired against a similar combination. We give one of the games below.

"The University contest itself took place on Saturday March 23rd, the same day as the Boat Race and the Sports. Oxford had the satisfaction of at least saving this event; indeed, at one time they looked like winning, though Cambridge had been strong favourites at the start.

"G. Abrahams gave Oxford the lead when, after a dubious combination, he caught P. S. Milner-Barry in his worst form for a long time and forked his King and Queen. Then S. Adler beat Max Black (who had had the distinction of twice defeating M. E. Goldstein during the week), and put Oxford two up. Before the adjournment the game on the sixth board, H. T. Reeve v. J. M. Holford, was drawn.

"On resumption, Cambridge began to make up leeway, R. Hartnett, who is said to have learnt the moves only nine months ago, took a point off E. S. Bensinger; and C. H. O'D. Alexander, in one of the most sensational games in the whole of the inter-University series, beat R. H. Newman.

"This left the score at 2½ all, and the remaining two games were still going at 7 o'clock. Soon after it was decided to leave them to the adjudication of T. F. Lawrence and F. D. Yates, who (with the assistance of some enthusiastic unofficial adjudicators) at length gave them both as draws. One, A. E. Smith v. E. L. Mitchell, in which Mitchell had missed a mate in three, was a pretty obvious draw at the finish. W. E. Sandbach had a superior-looking position against R. W. Bonham; but apparently not enough to win with. The result of this match makes the score in the whole series of games :- Cambridge, 25; Oxford, 23; drawn, 5."

[The Sunday Times (London, England), Sunday, March 24, 1929]: "The first game finished was at the top board, where Mr. Milner-Barry made an unfortunate oversight, which cost him his Queen, and immediately resigned, giving first “blood” to Oxford. Soon after Oxford scored another win at board No. 4, where Mr. S. Adler had played a capital game against Mr. M. Black.
Just before the tea adjournment Messrs. H. S, Reeve and J. M. Holford agreed to draw an evenly and rather uneventful game at board 6, making the score 2½ to ½ in favour of: Oxford. The Oxonians lead was, however, reduced shortly after the resumption of play by the resignation of Mr. E. S. Bensinger to Mr. R. Hartnett at board No. 7.

"A few minutes before seven o’clock the score was equalised by the Cantab at board No. 3 compelling the resignation of Mr. R. H. Newman. This game was the most exciting of the match. Mr. Newman adopted the French defence, but he allowed Mr. Alexander to obtain a strong attack, which he pursued with remarkable skill, ultimately getting two powerful passed pawns for the exchange. And the pawns proved irresistible.

"Two unfinished games were adjudicated—a draw at board No. 2 and another at board No. 5 having a Queen and five pawns. The final outcome, therefore, is a drawn match, and this leaves Cambridge with 2 points ahead on the series since 1873—25 wins to 23."

The Times, 25 March 1929, p14: "UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH. DRAW BETWEEN OXFORD AND CAMBRIDGE. (FROM OUR CHESS CORRESPONDENT.) The 53rd annual match between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was played at the rooms of the City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe-court, E.C., on Saturday afternoon, and, after a most exciting struggle, was drawn at 3½ games all.

"Oxford began well by winning on Boards Nos. 1 and 4, but a win on the last board for Cambridge helped matters, and then another win for Cambridge on Board No. 3, the most exciting game of the match, made the scores level. The game on the fifth board was drawn, and the two games remaining unfinished at the call of time were adjudicated by Messrs. T. F. Lawrence and F. D. Yates.

"Cambridge has now won 25 matches, Oxford 23, and five matches have been drawn."

Oxford Past vs Cambridge Past, 15 December 1928 at City of London CC (11th match)

Bd Oxford University Past 1928 Cambridge University Past
1w Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol) 1-0 William Hewison Gunston (St John's)
2b John Harold Morrison (Wadham) 1-0 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's)
3w George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (New) 1-0 John Elliott West (Downing)
4b Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) ½-½ George Ernest Smith (St John's)
5w Kenneth Humphry Bancroft (Pembroke) 0-1 Paul Ian Wyndham (Trinity)
6b Sir Richard Barnett (Wadham) 1-0 Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
7w Henry Delacombe Roome (Merton) 1-0 Harold John Snowden (Queens')
8b Alfred William Stonier (Christ Church) 0-1 Lachlan McLean (King's)
9w Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) 1-0 Rev Alan Maurice Ewbank (St John's)
10b Alan Hamilton Crothers (Queen's) 1-0 Dr Vickerman Henzell Rutherford (Sidney Sussex)
11w Charles Wreford-Brown (Oriel) 0-1 Frederick Russell Hoare (Trinity)
12b Edward Paice (Merton) 1-0 George Cecil Ives (Magdalene)

The Times, 17 December 1929: "The annual match between the "Past" members of Oxford and Cambridge Universities was played at the City of London Chess Club on Saturday afternoon with 12 players on each side. Oxford had much the betterof matters, winning with the following score..."

BCM, February 1929, p57: "The annual match between the past members of Oxford and Cambridge Universities was played at the City of London Chess Club, when Oxford won the the following score..."

File updated

Date Notes
24 February 2022 Original upload.
11 December 2022 Added two games from Combined Universities matches: (1) Black 1-0 Goldstein; (2) Abrahams 0-1 Scrimgeour.
All material © 2022 John Saunders