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John Saunders


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Tournament: 87th Varsity Match • Venue: University of London Union, Malet St* • Date: 22 March 1969
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1968 • Forward to 1970 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 9:31 AM

The 87th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the University of London Union, Malet Street, London*, on 22 March 1969. Three game scores from this match are available - can anyone supply any others?

1968«     1969 Varsity Chess Match     »1970
Bd Oxford University 1969 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1b Andrew Jonathan Whiteley (Pembroke) 0-1 Raymond Dennis Keene (Trinity) Reti, 43
2w George Steven Botterill (Pembroke) 1-0 William Roland Hartston (Jesus) Grunfeld, 25
3b Martyn John Corden (St Edmund Hall) ½-½ Arthur Howard Williams (Downing) Dutch Def, 25
4w Ronald Hanno Watson (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Nicholas James Patterson (Trinity Hall) QP Richter Var, 50
5b Roger de Lacy Holmes (Balliol) 1-0 Trevor William Robbins (Jesus) Sicilian
6w John Larkin Moles (Corpus Christi) ½-½ John Neil Sugden (St John's) Sicilian
7b William Anthony Linton (Wadham) ½-½ Gavin Nigel Henderson (Downing) King's Indian Attack, 27

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 24 March 1969; BCM, April 1969, p106.


* Bill Linton told me he thought the venue might have been the Russell Hotel, Russell Square, London.

[BCM, April 1969, p106 - Golombek]"With two of the leading young players in the country heading their team this year, the Cambridge University side was reckoned to be certain of winning easily in the annual match which took place at the [University of London Union in Malet Street] on March 22nd. But to the surprise of everybody (including it seems the winners) it was Oxford that scored a resounding victory by 4½-2½. Possibly last year's overwhelming win had given Cambridge an excess of confidence since they owed some of their losses to a sort of relaxation of effort in turn due to an under-estimation of the adversary. But Oxford played well and on the day was the better side."

"The first game to finish was on the bottom board where a levelly contested encounter ended in a draw after 27 moves. Then came a complete surprise that showed the confidently anticipated victory for Cambridge to be more than doubtful. Hartston, in a position where he held the advantage of two Bishops, rightly conceived the plan of opening up diagonals for these pieces; but he did it prematurely and as a result his King was laid bare to a winning attack which Botterill conducted with considerable vigour."

"Instead of 15 ..., P-K B 4 Black should prepare the move with 15 ..., K-R 1 so as to be able to recapture with the King's pawn when White exchanges pawns. Next came a lively game on Board 3 where Corden sacrificed a piece for three pawns; here a draw was agreed on the 25th move. Another draw was agreed on Board 6 in a game in which both players were in acute time-trouble. The score was now 2½-1½ in Oxford's favour and the match was decided when both the next two games went their way. In fact, Board 5 at first looked very good for Cambridge, since Robbins was the exchange and a pawn to the good by move 18; but then he went rapidly downhill and Holmes took advantage of some indifferent play to force a win. The other game won by Oxford was on Board 4, where, with Black, Patterson had established at least equality out of the opening. But he weakened badly later on and allowed Watson to make a decisive break-through on the King's side. The Cambridge team had the consolation of scoring a win on top board, where Keene enjoyed some advantage throughout against Whiteley. He won a pawn after gaining possession of the open Queen's Bishop's file and the game was given as a win for Keene by the adjudicators. Cambridge had White on the odd-numbered boards."

[The Times (London, England), Monday, Mar 24, 1969; pg. 3]
'Surprise Chess Victory for Oxford' by Harry Golombek, Chess Correspondent

"The annual chess match between Oxford and Cambridge universities was held at London University on Saturday. Cambridge, with the top two boards occupied by the country's leading younger players, were generally reckoned to be sure of a comfortable victory. But Oxford won easily, by 4½ to 2½ points. Since on the whole the match was free from outright blunders, this score must be deemed a true reflection of the run of play. The first surprising result came on board two, where Hartston, with an excellent position and black in a Grunfeld defence, opened up prematurely and left his king bare to attack. Botterill, attacking incisively, won in 25 moves. Oxford’s other wins were on board four, where Patterson, after establishing his quality out of the opening, weakened badly in the later middle game and lost to Watson in 50 moves, and on board five, where the Cambridge player seemed to gain a winning material advantage quite early on but was outplayed in some further complications. Cambridge had the consolation of winning on the top board, where Keene always held some advantage against Whiteley. He eventually won a pawn and this proved sufficient to give him the win on adjudication."

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2018 First uploaded.
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