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John Saunders


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Event: (unofficial) Varsity Match • Venue: [unknown] • Date: [day ? month ?] 1942 • last edited: Monday November 16, 2020 1:22 AM
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This unofficial Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held in [not known] on [day?] [month?] 1942. Two game scores from this match are available (one is a part-game).

Bd Oxford University 1942 Cambridge University Opening
1w John Warcup Cornforth (St Catherine's) 1-0 John Edward Richardson (Jesus)  
2b Hans Georg Artur Viktor Schenk (Exeter) 1-0 Stanley Norman Collings (Emmanuel) Slav, 29
3w Leonard Judah Richenberg (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Edward Granville Broadbent (St Catharine's)  
4b Peter Fairbairn Copping (St Catherine's) 1-0 Wilfred Walker (Christ's)  
5w Richard Shermer Lankester (Jesus) 0-1 John Harley-Mason (Corpus Christi)  
6b David Le Brun Jones (Trinity) ½-½ Eric Foster (St John's)  
7w Laurence Jonathan Cohen (Balliol) 0-1 John Ogden Outwater (Trinity)  

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, May 1942, p108; CHESS, May 1942, p123.


Venue: not known. Oxford were white on the odd boards.

Biographical Notes

Sir John Warcup Cornforth (1917-2013), AC, CBE, FRS, FAA. Wikipedia. Chessgames.com. Australian–British chemist who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1975. Completely deaf by the age of 20. Gave a blindfold simul against 12 players whilst still an undegraduate in Australia in 1937. Played in the 1936 Australian Championship in Perth and the inaugural (1937) Australian Correspondence Chess Championship. Member of Hampstead CC in the 1950s, winning their club championship in 1953, 1956 and 1957. Played on a high board for Sussex for many years, with a playing strength equivalent to 2300 at his best. Was a student and academic colleague of Sir Robert Robinson, also a Nobel laureate and chess player.

Hans Georg Artur Viktor Schenk (1912-1979), D.Phil., M.A. (Oxon). Came to Oxford from Prague in 1939. Prior to then he had studied at Prague and Munich universities and later at The Hague. Author of historical works. 1939 - researching into international relations (European romanticism) at Exeter College, Oxford, taking his D.Phil. in 1944. 1949 - appointed lecturer, Oxford University. 1995 - fellow, University College, Oxford. 1968 - founding fellow (and later Dean) of Wolfson College, Oxford. In his 1947 book The Aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars (Oxford University Press), Schenk credits Peter Copping (board 4 in the same match) as helping him with his English style. Strong chess player who took part in the 1939 Hampstead Invitational, the 1946 BCF Major Open (Section 3) and 1947 BCF Premier. Seems to have played less into the 1950s. In 1935 he beat Capablanca in a simul in Prague. Died in 1979 in Nice/Marseilles, France. Primary biographical source (in German).

Leonard Judah Richenberg (Corpus Christi) (Corpus Christi) (1922-2000) (Gaige gives spelling as 'Reichenberg' but this is definitely wrong.) Company Director, Pan Polychord Ltd and others. Referred to as an "economics professor (sic) at Oxford and a former adviser to the MacMillan government" in the book "Can't Buy Me Love: The Beatles, Britain and America" by Jonathan Gould, and managing director of the Triumph Investment Group which at one time owned 25% of the Beatles' business. Former member of the RAC Club chess circle. Schoolfriend of Kingsley Amis at City of London School: quote from Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader: "Richenberg and Amis had been friends and desk-mates since the third form and were stars of the Classical side. But both came to question the utility of a Classical education. Richenberg was good at maths and wanted to become a mathematician; Amis wanted to be a writer and was keen on studying English. In the end, only Amis made the switch. At Oxford, Richenberg read PPE at Corpus Christi, was awarded a double First, took a B.Litt. in economics, and became an economics don at Jesus College, though only for a year. He then moved to the Treasury as an economic adviser and eventually went into business, where he made and lost a great deal of money. He and Amis remained friends even after a misunderstanding over Amis’s novel I Want It Now (1968), in the first chapter of which a party is held at the home of a rich, celebrity-seeking couple named Reichenberg. Len Dowsett, Richenberg’s successor as School Captain, remembers him as brilliant, on one occasion playing and winning three simultaneous games of chess while blindfolded. [Denis] Norden describes him as ‘dazzling, the one we thought would leave a mark’." See also Quotes & Queries entries 5819, 5827 and 5833 in the 2007 BCM.

Peter Fairbairn Copping (1922-1989). Solicitor, based in Swindon, Wiltshire. Played in the 1954 British Championship, scoring 5/11. Also played at Paignton and in the West of England (WECU) Championship, winning the WECU title in 1956. high board for Wiltshire. Was also a published problemist.

Richard Shermer Lankester (8 Feb 1922—15 July 2018). Former Officer of the House of Commons (Telegraph death notice). 1966 photo of him as a House of Commons official. Attended Haberdashers’ Aske’s School, where he played chess and cricket and attended concerts with his father, a music publisher. He arrived at Jesus in Trinity 1941 to read a shortened course in Modern History, and obtained a First in his Part I exams in Trinity 1942. He spent the rest of the war with the Royal Artillery, serving in North Africa and Italy, returning to Jesus to graduate in 1947. 1947-87, career in Westminster – served in the Department of the Clerk of the House of Commons, co-edited The Table 1962-67, and worked in Strasbourg for the Council of Europe. In 1967 he was Clerk to the Committee investigating the Torrey Canyon disaster. He was successively Clerk of Standing Committees (1973-75), Clerk of Expenditure Committee (1975-79), and Clerk of Committees (1979-87). He established a system of departmental select committees for scrutinising the expenditure, administration, and policy of government departments, which was agreed by the House of Commons in June 1979. He established the Register of Members’ interests and was Registrar 1974- 87. (Jesus College Oxford, Alumni Magazine 2018)

David Le Brun Jones (1923-alive 2020). CB 1975; Director, Long Term Office, International Energy Agency, 1982-88. Educ: City of London Sch.; Trinity Coll., Oxford. Work: Asst Principal, Min. of Power, 1947; Principal, MOP, 1952; Asst Sec., Office of the Minister for Science, 1962; Asst Sec., MOP, 1963; Under-Sec., MOP, later Min. of Technology and DTI, 1968-73; Dep. Sec., DTI, later DoI, 1973-76; Cabinet Office, 1976-77; Dept of Energy, 1978-82. Trustee, Nat. Energy Foundn, 1989-99 (Who's Who). Regularly attends Varsity chess matches as a spectator (present in 2018). Made a short speech at the 2007 dinner, mentioning his 1942, 1946 and 1947 appearances. David Jones was a code-breaker at Bletchley Park during the war. Between Autumn 1943 and July 1945 he had been in Block F, working on Japanese Army and Air Force codes.

Laurence Jonathan Cohen (1923-2006). British philosopher, usually referred to as L. Jonathan Cohen. Wikipedia. Fellow, Queen's College, Oxford (1957-1990). Codebreaker, Bletchley Park. Served in naval intelligence in the Far East from 1942-1945. Wrote an article ('Chess as a Model for Language', Philosophy 11, 1982, p51-87). No other chess references found.

John Edward Richardson (1923-1949). British Boys' (Under 18) Champion, April 1940 (at his fourth attempt, acc. BCM). Attended Stowe School, Bucks, from where he won an open exhibition in history to Jesus College, Cambridge. "It is difficult to realise it is five [sic] years since Stowe schoolboy Jack Richardson won the last British Boys' Championship. In 1941, he confirmed this early promise by defeating Imre Konig, the Hungarian-born Yugoslav expert, in a six-game match. Now, A/B Richardson is serving on a destroyer in foreign waters. Post-war chess should find well to the fore." (CHESS, Sept 1944, p189). "I've just received an email from ... the Old Stoic's (Stowe old boys) office who told me that John Edward Richardson died aged 26 on 22nd October 1949." (Jon D'Souza-Eva, English Chess Forum, 11 Oct 2010) Died on 22 October 1949 in Bromley, according to BMD records, but in Italy according to the Old Stoics' Magazine for December 1949. Funeral held in Redstone Cemetery, Reigate - coincidentally where another British junior chess champion Jessie Gilbert (1987-2006) is buried.

Stanley Norman Collings (1919-1987). Author of Theoretical Statistics: Basic Ideas (Transworld 1971). Reader in mathematics and statistics at the Open University, which has an annual Stanley Collings prize, awarded by the School of Mathematics and Statistics to the student whose Mathematics Education assignment best combines innovation in devising materials suitable for learners and insightful analysis of their learning. Receives an acknowledgement from MRB Clarke in her book Advances in Computer Chess: Pergamon Chess Series, Volume 3 for "providing the original inspiration for this project, an inexhaustible supply of intriguing problems and valuable comments on Example 5." Problemist.

Edward Granville Broadbent (1923-2008). Chartered engineer, Royal Aircraft Establishment. Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Institute of Mathematics and Applications, Royal Society London, Royal Academy Engineering. M.A. (Cantab) 1947, D.Sc. (Cantab) 1975. Deputy Chief Scientific Officer (Aerodynamics Department) 1969-1983. Visiting Professor, Department of Mathematics, Imperial College, London from 1983. "County-standard chess and bridge player" (Times obit) No other chess references found.

Wilfred Walker - no info found.

John Harley-Mason (1920-2003), Sc.D., Fellow (organic chemistry), Corpus Christi College, Cambridge (from 1947). Corpus has a Harley-Mason collection of 18th/19th century books). BCM, Jan 1942, p8, gives Harley-Mason's college as 'Trinity'. It might also have been Trinity Hall; but Gaige says Corpus. Difficult to know which is right JH-M was certainly a fellow of Corpus but he might conceivably have been an undergrad at Trinity [Hall]. Photo of John Harley-Mason.

Eric Foster (1923-2016). "After Oldham Municipal High School, he read Natural Sciences. His career was with Ferranti, for whom he worked for thirty five years. Eric was a good chess player, competing at the British Boys’ Championship [1937 - scored 3½ in preliminary section C behind the eventual winner AR Duff - JS] and for Cambridge against Oxford, travelling to Europe to watch the great masters and for ten years setting chess puzzles in the local newspaper." Obituary, The Eagle 2017 [St John's College Cambridge]. Matric. 1941.

John Ogden Outwater (1923-2009). Sc.D., Ph.D. Born in London, died in Vermont. Attended Amherst College and Stowe School. Graduated in 1943. Professor at the University of Vermont (1955-93). Expert on ski safety. Lifelong chess player, twice won the Vermont chess championship.

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