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Event: 54th Varsity Match • Venue: City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC • Date: 22 March 1930
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1929 • Forward to 1931 • last edited: Friday February 18, 2022 3:10 AM

The 54th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe Court, London EC, on 22 March 1930. All game scores from this match are available.

Bd Oxford University 1930 Cambridge University
1b Harold Talbot Reeve (Oriel) 1-0 Ronald Langley Mitchell (Trinity)
2w Arthur Eric Smith (St Edmund Hall) ½-½ Max Black (Queens')
3b Solomon Adler (New) 1-0 Conel Hugh O'Donel Alexander (King's)
4w Eric John Francis James (Queen's) ½-½ Wilfrid Edward Sandbach (King's)
5b Cyril Aidan Oswald Warman (Pembroke) 0-1 John Morley Holford (Trinity Hall)
6w William Pitkin Wallace (New) 0-1 Roland Hartnett (Downing)
7b Eric Sigmund Bensinger (Wadham) 1-0 Richard William Barnes Clarke (Clare)
    4-3  

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1930, pps 135-136; The Times, 24 March 1930 (including all game scores)

Notes: boards 2 and 7 were adjudicated. Hugh Alexander and Wilfird Sandbach were friends from King Edward's School, Birmingham together and used to play chess and table tennis together at school, university and after.

THE UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH [BCM, April 1930, p135-136]

"On Thursday, March 20th, Oxford played their annual consultation match against the Lud-Eagle Chess Club, and drew 3 all, and on Friday, March 21st, the Combined team defeated West London by 12 to 8. A very successful finish to an excellent record.

"The 54th Inter University match was played on Saturday, March 22nd, at the City of London Chess Club, and it was anticipated that Cambridge, whose score was 25 against Oxford's 23 - with five drawn contests - would add another to their total, for they had done extremely well during the season against all comers; they won the toss, and had the move on the odd boards. There was general consternation among the Cambridge supporters when Mitchell made a sad oversight on the eleventh move on board No.1, allowing his Queen to be pinned by a Bishop, and at tea time, in two or three other games, Oxford looked to have the better position. Shortly after resuming, however, Hartnett won for Cambridge on board 6, followed by a win for Holford on Board 5, which gave Cambridge the lead. A draw was agreed on board 4, and Alexander shortly afterwards resigned, having in a difficult position had to give up a piece.

"The score was thus level at 2½ all, and at call of time Sir George Thomas adjudicated the two unfinished games - a draw to Smith and Max Black - a game in which Smith had had most of the attack, but Black's defence had just been adequate. On board 7 the Oxford player was the exchange up, and this advantage was just sufficient to entitle him to a win, and to give the match to Oxford by 4 to 3."


[The Times, 24 March 1930] "The 54th annual chess match between the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge was played on Saturday afternoon at the City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe-court, E.C., and was won by Oxford by four games to three. This result was quite unexpected, as Cambridge had shown the much better form throughout the last two terms, but there may be something in a suggestion, made to me before the match by one of the Oxford players, that they were just beginning to find their true form.

"The match began with a disaster for Cambridge, for their representative on the first board made an oversight at his 11th move which lost him his queen. The curious thing is that the same thing happened on this same board last year, when P. S. Milner-Barry lost his queen on the 17th move. Wins for Cambridge on Boards No.s 5 and 6 helped them it little, and then came a draw on No. 4 and a win for Oxford on No. 3. Thus only two games were left, and it soon became reasonably clear what the result would be, for there was a probable draw on No. 2 and a certain win for Oxford on No. 7. These two games were unfinished when time was called, and were adjudicated by Sir George A. Thomas.

"The Oxford player who won on Board No.7 [Eric Bensinger] came in for a great deal of quiet chaff from his colleagues for utilizing his spare time, during the early part of the game, in solving the Greek cross-word puzzle in The Times of Saturday. His explanation to me was that it kept him from looking too much at the board, as this had the effect of reducing him to a condition wherein he could see nothing."


Oxford Past vs Cambridge Past, 14 December 1929 at City of London CC (12th match)

Bd Oxford University Past 1929 Cambridge University Past
1w John Harold Morrison (Wadham) ½-½ John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's)
2b Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol) 0-1 Jonas Birnberg (Queens')
3w Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) ½-½ (Philip) Stuart Milner-Barry (Trinity)
4b Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) 0-1 George Ernest Smith (St John's)
5w Rev Ernest Walter Poynton (Exeter) 0-1 Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity)
6b Sir Richard Barnett (Wadham) 0-1 Lachlan McLean (King's)
7w Henry Delacombe Roome (Merton) 0-1 Paul Ian Wyndham (Trinity)
8b Graham Russell Mitchell (Magdalen) ½-½ Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
9w Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) ½-½ Harold John Snowden (Queens')
10b Alan Hamilton Crothers (Queen's) ½-½ Sir Edgar Wigram (Trinity Hall)
11w Edward Paice (Merton) 1-0 Rev William Rawson Greenhalgh (Pembroke)
12b Joseph Francis Palmer Deller (Lincoln) 1-0 Rev Alan Maurice Ewbank (St John's)
13w Bertram Maurice Hobby (Queen's) 1-0 Dr Vickerman Henzell Rutherford (Sidney Sussex)
14w Arthur John Morrell (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Frederick Russell Hoare (Trinity)
15b E Maxwell (Christ Church) 0-1 Philip L Sherman (Trinity)
16w Giovanni Marie Denis George Costigan (St John's) 0-1 George Cecil Ives (Magdalene)
    5½-10½  

Note: Five of the 1929 Cambridge Past team also turned out for the 1956 match: Bee, Birnberg, Milner-Barry, Coad-Pryor and Greenhalgh.

BCM, January 1930, p6: "Oxford Past v. Cambridge Past.—This match, now an annual fixture, was played at the City of London Chess Club on the afternoon of December 14th [1929], the teams on this occasion being sixteen a-side. The Light Blues took handsome revenge for their defeat last year and won by a margin of 5 points. They lacked the services of H. E. Atkins (playing for Yorkshire the same afternoon), C. E. C. Tattersall (who was obliged to decline at the last moment), W. H. Gunston, and B. Goulding Brown, while Oxford missed, among others, J. A. J. Drewitt, E. M. Jackson, G. S. A. Wheatcroft, and T. A. Staines (playing for Yorkshire).

"Perhaps the most exciting game of the match was that on Board 3, which we subjoin. Under pressure of the time-limit (which was 24, 6, 6, 6), White missed his way in the ending, and the adjudicators, J. H. Blake and T. F. Lawrence, gave the game a draw."

[The Times, 16 December 1929: "The annual match between past members of Oxford and Cambridge Universities was played at the City of London Chess Club, Wardrobe-court, E.C., on Saturday, with 16 players on each side. Cambridge began well by winning two games on the lower boards, and finally won by five games. The following is the full score :— [results]


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Date Notes
17 February 2022 Original upload.
All material © 2022 John Saunders