© 1997-2021
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 84th Varsity Match • Venue: University of London Union, Malet Street • Date: 19 March 1966
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1965 • Forward to 1967 • last edited: Wednesday September 13, 2023 2:21 AM

The 84th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the University of London Union, Malet Street, London, on 19 March 1966. Only two game scores from this match are available - can anyone supply others?

Bd Oxford University 1966 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1w Peter Nicholas Lee (Exeter) 1-0 William Roland Hartston (Jesus) King's Indian Attack, 38
2b Andrew Jonathan Whiteley (Pembroke) 1-0 John David Lincoln Ball (Trinity) Sicilian
3w Baruch Noel Green (Jesus) 0-1 Alexander Munro Davie (Pembroke) Sicilian
4b Christopher Francis Woodcock (Balliol) ½-½ Brian Leslie Kerr (Caius) King's Indian Def
5w Geoffrey Alan Hollis (Hertford, capt) 0-1 Barry Hopewell (Trinity, capt) King's Indian Attack
6b Michael Harry Miller (Pembroke) ½-½ Raymond Graham Lee (Sidney Sussex) Caro-Kann, 14
7w Peter Graham Storry (St Catherine's) ½-½ Alexander Neil Brilliant (Selwyn) King's Indian Def

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 21 March 1966; BCM, April 1966, p98.


[BCM, Apr 1966, p98 - Peter Clarke]"The annual match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the eighty-fourth in the series, was held in London on Saturday, March 19th, at Atlantic House, Holborn, and resulted in a 3½-3½ draw. As Oxford were the stronger side on paper and in the position of being not only the holders of the Margaret Pugh Cup but also unbeaten in the event since 1958, the final outcome was not unsatisfactory for Cambridge.

"On the run of the play Oxford were perhaps slightly fortunate even to draw. After a quiet beginning, reflected by a 14-move draw on Board 6, the balance swung in favour of Cambridge when it became clear that Green's optimistic sacrifices were making no impression on his opponent. Furthermore, although Whiteley had the upper hand on Board 2, the top encounter between Lee and Hartston turned sharply towards Black as soon as the game was resumed after lunch. In the position shown in the diagram there followed: 21 ...KtxBP; 22 KtxPch,QxKt; 23 QxKt,Kt-Kt5; 24 Q-K 2, B x B; 25 KxB, Q-B 4; 26 KR-Q 1, Kt-Q4 (26 ... , P-B5! was also very strong); 27 Q-K4, QxQ ch; 28 P x Q, Kt-B 6; 29 R-Q 3, Kt x K P; 30 P-B3, Kt-B 6; 31 P-Kt4.

"Black's best was now to protect his Queen's pawn by 31 ... , K R-Q1, but instead he tried to force matters at once with his advanced pawns. This gave White a fine chance for a counterattack, and the British Champion seized it gratefully. The game concluded: 31 ... , PxP; 32 RxP, KtxP; 33 R-Q7!, Kt-B 6; 34 Kt-B 6, Rx Kt; 35 Px R, Kt-Q 4; 36 Rx Kt!. P X R; 37 P-B 7, P-R 7; 38 R-K 1, Resigns.

"Since Whiteley had already disposed of Ball, Oxford were now two up. However, Davie's material advantage told at last on Board 3 and Cambridge had every hope of recovering the other point from the remaining three games. That on Board 4 ended with perpetual check in the offing, while the clash between the two captains on the next board saw Hopewell increase his superiority to a total of three pawns during a time scramble. The last game was unfinished at the call of time, with the Cambridge player a pawn up in the ending. But the presence of a bad Bishop on Black's side made progress impossible, and Wade quickly adjudicated it as a draw.

"The detailed results (with Oxford White on the odd-numbered boards) were as follows ... To conclude, here is the well-played win by the British Junior Champion [Whiteley]."

"Ray Lee (... of Sidney) is a strong player and a former President-elect of the CU Chess Club... Mr Lee is interested only in helpmates..." (source: Cambridge Chess by RG Eales, Chess Ltd, 1978)

Alexander Neil Brilliant (born 30 August 1945, Paddington, London, died June 1973, Derby)

“Alex Brilliant was reading Wittgenstein at sixteen, and writing poetry that rippled with ambiguities — double, triple, quadruple, like heart bypasses. He took a scholarship to Cambridge, after which I lost sight of him; but I would occasionally think of him down the years, assuming that he had forged ahead in one of the liberal professions. I was over fifty when I learned that for more than half my life I had been thinking of someone as alive who was in fact dead. Brilliant had killed himself in his twenties, for no reason my informant could determine.” – An excerpt from The Past Conditional by Julian Barnes, The New Yorker, 25 December 2006.

"... my Jewish friends, one of whom was named, rightly it seemed, Alex Brilliant. The son of a tobacconist, Alex was reading Wittgenstein at 16, and writing poetry which pulsed with ambiguities - double, triple, quadruple, like heart by-passes. He was better than me at English, and took a scholarship to Cambridge, after which I lost sight of him. Down the years I would occasionally imagine his presumed success in one of the liberal professions. I was over fifty when I learnt that such biography-giving was an idle fantasy. Alex had killed himself—with pills, over a woman—in his late twenties, half my life ago." Julian Barnes, Nothing to be Frightened Of, 2008)

All material © 2018 John Saunders