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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Tournament: 98th Varsity Match • Venue: RAC Club, Pall Mall, London • Date: 15 March 1980
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1979 • Forward to 1981 • last edited: Sunday February 11, 2024 10:23 AM

The 98th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the RAC clubhouse, Pall Mall, London on 15 March 1980. Match referee [arbiter] was Bernard Cafferty. The sponsors were Lloyds Bank. Only three full game scores available (boards 4, 6 and 7) plus a position from the board 2 game - can anyone supply other scores?

1979«     1980 Varsity Chess Match     »1981
Bd Oxford University Rating  1980  Cambridge University Rating Opening, No. of Moves
1b David Simon Charles Goodman (Keble)   0-1 Shaun Mark Taulbut (Downing)   Pirc Def, 43
2w Hugh Dugald Macpherson (Merton)   0-1 Simon John Bradley Knott (Trinity)   Reti, 47
3b Peter John Sowray (Exeter)   ½-½ Michael Ashley Pagden (Pembroke)   English, 35
4w Nicholas R Benjamin (St John's)   1-0 Michael Paul Townsend (Downing)   Bogo-Indian, 39
5b John W Branford (Wadham)   1-0 Kimberley Louis Harris (Queens')   Caro-Kann, 39
6w Volker Brendel (Trinity)   ½-½ Clive Anthony Frostick (Trinity)   QP, 24
7b Philip L Walden (Queen's)   0-1 Jonathan Samuel Friedland (Corpus Christi)   English Def(?), 31
8w Kari Thompson (New)   0-1 Jane Anson (Trinity Hall)   Four Knights Def, 38

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; CHESS, April 1980, p158; BCM, June 1980, p309-310; The Times, 17 March 1980; Clive Frostick; [unreported in The Guardian?]; Jane Eichmann (née Anson), emails January/February 2022

* It is not entirely clear whether the final score of the 1980 match should be given as 5-3 or 4-3. Hitherto, the 'Ladies' board' had not counted towards the match result except in the event of a 3½-3½ tie. In his 1981 BCM report (given below), Harry Golombek states categorically that the result on board eight would not count in the score of the 1981 match, but would do so the following year, 1982. However, he also gives the result of the 1981 match as 6-2 in both BCM and the Times, as does Leonard Barden in the Guardian - and BCM gives 5-3 as the score in 1980. However, Jane Anson (now Jane Eichmann) in an email to JS of 31 January 2022 says of the 1980 match that "it was always my understanding that board 8 was a tie-breaker only, and so the final score in 1980 was 4-3." - JS

CHESS, April 1980, p158, report by Bernard Cafferty: "The University match held at the RAC, Pall Mall, on March 15th looked as if it would put an end to Cambridge's long winning sequence, but the last three games to finish decided otherwise.

"On top board Goodman was two pawns up, but the presence of opposite bishops made a draw likely However, in time trouble he left his bishop en prise. Then the second board game which had looked drawish erupted in a flash of ten moves in a minute, again to Cambridge's advantage. At about the same time Philip Walden (son of former Staffs junior champion Brian Walden who may be better known to you as a former MP and London Weekend Television presenter) overlooked mate in one when he had about fifty seconds for his next 15 moves. To be fair he had long been under pressure after a speculative piece sacrifice from his opponent.

"Before this Oxford won prosaically on board 5 after an unsound sacrifice in the opening by White, and classically on board 4 where a bishop proved superior to a knight throughout.

" The best game jury of Leonard Barden, John Nunn and myself (deputising for Harry Golombek as neutral, non-Oxbridge arbiter) gave the best game prizes to the following: [Townsend & Friedland]"

The Times, 17 March 1980: "... Oxford led 2-0 and then 3-2, but Cambridge showed the greater steadiness in the critical stages. On the top board the international master, Shaun Taulbut, beat the former under-17 world champion, David Goodman, after being two pawns down. Lloyd's Bank, the sponsor, awarded trophies for the best games to Nicholas Benjamin, of Oxford, and Jonathan Friedland, of Cambridge."

1980 Varsity match
1980 Varsity match players - left to right: Nick Benjamin, Peter Sowray, David Goodman, John Branford, Philip Walden, Dugald Macpherson, Volker Brendel, Bernard Cafferty (arbiter), Shaun Taulbut, Simon Knott, Kim Harris, Paul Townsend, Michael Pagden, Jane Anson, Clive Frostick, Jonathan Friedland (Kari Thompson had to attend an exam according to BCM)
photo Lloyds Bank, colorised by John Saunders

Memories of the match from Jane Eichmann (née Anson): "This picture of me with the trophy was taken the day before the Varsity match (14 March 1980). My friend Anna who took it decided that the curtains in my room would provide a nice professional looking background so we balanced the chair on the window seat. In 1979 somebody at the match (don’t recall who) commented that the Oxford team was better dressed than the Cambridge team. So in 1980 we decided to make a real effort! I'm pretty sure we all dressed up — I borrowed my outfit from the organ scholar at Trinity Hall."

Jane Anson
Jane Anson, in her borrowed tuxedo, with the Margaret Pugh Trophy

1980 Cambridge University Varsity match team etc
"Champagne breakfast photo (the day after the 1980 match) from left to right: Paul Townsend, Shaun Taulbut, Jonathan Friedland, Mike Pagden,
Mike Stone (president of the chess club), Stephen Williams (chess player from Plymouth), Simon Knott (in the easy chair)"

Philip L Walden (1960-2022) played in the 1980 Varsity match. Son of Brian Walden (1932-2019), former Labour MP and TV broadcaster, and himself a strong chess player. Joint winner, 1981 Paignton Premier with 5/7 (together with Peter C Griffiths and R C Noel-Johnson). Played on a high board for Devon in the 1970s and Oxfordshire in the 1980s.

File Updated

Date Notes
2017 Uploaded for 1st time
18 Feb 2020 Added the score of Brendel-Frostick. Many thanks to Clive Frostick for supplying the score.
4 July 2021 Added position from Macpherson-Knott game.
8 February 2022 Jane Eichmann (née Anson) kindly provided me with two photos and much information about the match. I have also added (and colorised) the Lloyds Bank photo of the two teams.

All material © 2020 John Saunders