© 1997-2024
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 90th Varsity Match • Venue: Jesus College, Cambridge • Date: Sunday 19 March 1972
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1971 • Forward to 1973 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 9:24 AM

The 90th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at Jesus College, Cambridge, on 19* March 1972. Match arbiters were ?? (Golombek? Wade?). Five game scores from this match are available - can anyone supply the other two?

1971«     1972 Varsity Chess Match     »1973
Bd Oxford University 1972 Cambridge University
1b Peter Richard Markland (Balliol) 0-1 Arthur Howard Williams (Downing)
2w John Larkin Moles (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Richard Geoffrey Eales (Christ's)
3b Roger Rance Smith (Jesus) 0-1 Trevor William Robbins (Jesus)
4w Sean Thrower (St Catherine's) 0-1 Akihiro Kanamori (King's)
5b Ronald Leslie Johannes (Balliol) ½-½ Richard Bailey (Selwyn)
6w Graham Paul Burton (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Roger Webb (Jesus)
7b Geoffrey Thomas Haigh (Christ Church) 0-1 Alan Garth Trangmar (Trinity)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 20 March 1972; BCM, May 1972, p171; Dragon (Cambridge University Chess Club magazine), Easter Term 1972.


* Golombek's report in the Monday 20 March edition of The Times is dated 19 March and refers to the match as taking place "today" - which was a little unusual for a match that was nearly always played on a Saturday. Having said which, the BCM report mentions that Moberly may have declined to play on religious grounds, so it might well have been the Sunday.

[The Times, published 20 Mar 1972, Golombek's report dated 19 March 1972] "Oxford and Cambridge Universities played their annual chess match over seven boards at Jesus College, Cambridge, today and somewhat unexpectedly the event was an easy victory for Cambridge by 5½ to 1½. In spite of an early loss on board two, where the Cambridge player blundered in an inferior position, the match soon looked favourable for Cambridge, and Robbins on board three and Trangmar on board seven outplayed their opponents. Oxford did not win another game and the issue was clinched on the top board, where Williams won in confident style against Peter Markland."

[BCM, May 1972, p171-2 - Keene] "As one who has played in or attended the Varsity Match for the last five years I must admit that the 1972 fixture struck me as a disappointment - not from the chess viewpoint, since one really superb game (Robbins-Smith) was produced, which must number amongst the very finest to have occurred in the annual clash of our premier Universities - but as a social gathering of two of England's leading clubs I felt there was much to be desired. Let me say at once that neither team was truly representative of the genuine strength of the respective sides. Inexplicably, the Cambridge President (R[oger].Webb) chose to ignore the talents of M.Stean - one of England's leading young players, now at Trinity Cambridge; and this omission could have been fatal had not Oxford sadly depleted their own playing force by failing to include J.Nunn and [R.]W[alter L].Moberly (it is rumoured that the latter declined to play on religious grounds). The traditional post-match dinner was also a sorry affair, despite Nigel Holloway's excellent organisation. Only two Oxford players saw fit to attend, while no Oxford guests were in evidence. Next year will be the Varsity Centenary, and I hope Oxford can put up a more impressive display then to mark this important occasion. Given Oxford's general lack of interest this year the crushing defeat seemed only just. The redeeming feature was the play - Robbins' brilliancy and Williams' sure positional victory in the classical style against Markland. Although Williams missed some quicker wins (28 Re7+) his eventual triumph was competent enough and never really in doubt."

[Dragon, Cambridge University Chess Club Magazine, Easter Term 1972, No. 39, pages 10-11 - author(s) given in the index (p2) as 'Rory O'Kelly et al'] "In our annual chess match as in the boat race, the tenacity and determination of the Oxford team demand respect. Fortunately the only game that Oxford have won in the past two years has already been published, by H. Golombek, so we may feel relieved of this neighbourly duty. It is true, incidentally, that Moles-Eales was also the worst game of its year, but since either fact would have been a sufficient motive for Mr. Golombek we can adapt the more charitable explanation.

"The match itself was of less competitive interest than, for example, the selection of the Cambridge team. It is true that various Oxford players were called away by the superior claims of piety and motherhood, but it might be suspected that this flabby attitude of mind would have been equally fatal in actual play. The actual struggle was a virtual repetition of last year's in that Cambridge first scattered the flanks and then broke through the Oxford centre at leisure, though it terminated still more successfully when A.H. Williams succeeded in capturing the enemy standard.

"By way of apology, we maintain that there are several good reasons for publishing the following game. Firstly, there would otherwise be a large gap at the bottom of the page. Secondly, Mr. Bailey is otherwise unrepresented in this issue, having failed to become 'Mr. Wirral 1972', in, we have been told, somewhat humiliating fashion. Thirdly, we must not give the impression that Oxford gained no points at all. Finally, the game may prove instructive for readers who do not possess a copy of 'Flank Openings'. [Game score] It may be that the moves given above were not played in that order, or indeed at all. To such tedious criticisms we reply that the position reached above is probably similar to that of the game and that, in any case, the result is correct."

All material © 2018 John Saunders