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John Saunders


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Event: 75th Varsity Match • Venue: Hampstead CC, Burgh House, Hampstead, London • Date: 23 March 1957
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1956 • Forward to 1958 • last edited: Tuesday November 17, 2020 3:59 PM

The 75th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at Hampstead Chess Club, Burgh House, Hampstead, London, on 23 March 1957. All game scores from this match are available.

Bd Oxford University 1957 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1b Henry Gerald Mutkin (Wadham, capt) ½-½ Denis John Pereira Gray (St John's, capt) Sicilian
2w David John Richards (Magdalen) 1-0 Malcolm Frank Collins (Selwyn) Sicilian
3b Michael Philip Furmston (Exeter) 0-1 John Dudley Taylor (Caius) Sicilian
4w William Stanley Deeth (St Peter's Hall) ½-½ Michael Davis (Trinity) English
5b Arthur Hall (Queen's) 0-1 Brian Medhurst (Trinity) Sicilian
6w Ralph Hollinghurst (Keble) 1-0 John Andrew Everson (Christ's) King's Indian Def
7b Nigel Guy Wilson (Corpus Christi) ½-½ Derek Thomas Anthony Lamport (Pembroke) English

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 25 Mar 1957; The Guardian, 25 March 1957; BCM, April 1957, p96.


Gaige gives 'David John Pereira Gray' but it is definitely 'Denis John Pereira Gray' (English & Wales BMD, Wikipedia, etc).

Everson's college: Gaige gives Pembroke; Times, Guardian & BCM give Christ's.

[BCM, April 1957, p96] "Oxford and Cambridge Universities drew their annual match which was played at the Hampstead C.C., on March 23rd. [This was the seventy-third encounter and the series, which began in 1873, now stands at 36½ each.*] Writing in the Cambridge Review of March 2nd, Mr. B. Goulding Brown remarked that "It is probable that no team as strong as the Cambridge team will be this year has ever faced Oxford at the seven boards. We have had better players at Board 1 - notably Atkins, Winter, Milner-Barry, Alexander - but have we ever before at Board 4 had such a player as M. Davis? Tattersall, also a Trinity freshman, in 1897, is the only possible name that suggests itself." Yet despite their apparent superiority Cambridge were unable to win and at the end of the match Oxford having scored 3½ points needed only a draw on Board 5 - the last game to finish - to win the match and with it the lead in the series, which they last held in 1877. As frequently in these matches nerves played a big part; furthermore the numerous time controls (after every sixteen moves) broke the rhythm of play and led to fluctuating struggles. The [following] game, played on Board 2, was probably the best of the match. [Richards-Collins]" [*these statistics were later revised - see 1958 match]

[The Times, 25 March 1957, p14] "UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH DRAWN - SCORE IN SERIES REMAINS LEVEL - FROM A CHESS CORRESPONDENT [Harry Golombek] - Oxford and Cambridge Universities drew their annual chess match, which was played over seven boards at the Hampstead Chess Club, London, on Saturday. The scores were 3½ each. This was the seventy-third fixture in the series, in which the scores are level at 36½-points. [See 1958 match - JS] Most games in Saturday’s match were played in enterprising style, with players going all out for wins to break the tied match score, the result of Oxford’s victory last year. This led to some critical play and both teams in turn were unlucky in not gaining the extra half-point to take the lead. On board six the Cambridge player made an early sacrifice of a pawn and in the middle game embarked on a surprising combination which gained him the material advantage of a bishop and knight for a rook and pawn; but he failed to blockade the advanced opposing queen’s pawn later and resigned when his opponent made a winning exchange which could have been advantageously played on the previous move. OXFORD’S ADVANTAGE The end of the match came with Oxford having scored 3½ points and needing only a draw on the sole unfinished game, that on board five, to win the match. Early in this game the Oxford player had overlooked a check by which his king was compelled to move and cramp his position. He extricated himself at the cost of trebled pawns, but in compensation had mounted pressure in an ending in which each player was left with two rooks. The Cambridge player defended stubbornly and countered on the pawn weakness, and on adjudication was awarded the point which would have given Oxford the lead in the series which the records show they last held in 1877." [All games given]

[The Guardian, 25 March 1957] "University chess - MATCH DRAWN - Oxford spring surprise - By our Chess Correspondent [Leonard Barden] - The annual Oxford - Cambridge University chess match, played on Saturday, resulted in a 3½ to 3½ draw, leaving the sides level in the series, which began in 1873. At the lunch interval it seemed that Cambridge would win by a good margin, but, as often in this matdh, nerves, played a big part and two of the Cambridge players agreed to draws in favourable positions. One of the most interesting aspects of the match was a prepared variation of the Sicilian Defence, which the Oxford team had worked out to surprise their opponents. One of the three games in which this opening was adopted was the top board game between H. G. Mutkin (Wadham), the Oxford match captain, and the Cambridge president. D. J. P. Gray (St John’s). Here the advantage veered to and fro in alarming fashion and Gray still had winning chances when a draw was agreed in 38 moves. The Oxford second board, D. J. Richards (Magdalen), has had considerable tournament experience and the way in which he made the best of a minimum advantage to defeat M. F. Collins (Selwyn) stamped the game as the best of the match. The prepared Sicilian Defence misfired on the third board, where M. F. Furmston (Exeter) lost a pawn against J. D. Taylor (Gonville and Caius) and was thereafter given no chance. Cambridge’s board four, M. Davis (Trinity), had some advantage in a complicated position against W. S. Deeth (St Peter’s Hall) when the draw was agreed. B. Medhurst (Trinity) played well for Cambridge on board five, and the pawn weaknesses of his opponent, A. Hall (Queen's) lost him the game on the decision of the adjudicator. The most exciting game was between R. Hollinghurst (Keble) and J. A. Everson (Christ’s) on board six. Both sides attacked violently and in mutual time pressure it was Everson who made the decisive mistake. The English Opening between N. G. Wilson (Corpus Christi) and D. T. A. Lamport (Pembroke) was a steady drawn [sic] in 29 moves."

Michael Davis (born 12 April 1935, St Alban's, Herts, died 8 April 1998, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia). Michael Davis was a foundation member of La Trobe University’s Department of Organic Chemistry. He was involved in the first ever synthetic production of penicillin. Biography by Brian Denman.

Arthur Hall (born 10 March 1935, Northolt, Middlesex, died 24 August 2012, Worthing, Sussex). Schoolteacher and private tutor. Biography by Brian Denman.

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