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John Saunders


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Event: 65th Varsity Match • Venue: London, St Brides (but see below) • Date: 17 March 1947
List of Varsity Matches • Back to 1946 • Forward to 1948 • last edited: Sunday July 11, 2021 2:12 PM

The 65th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St Brides' Institute on 17 March 1947. No game scores from this match are available.

Bd Oxford University  1947 Cambridge University Openings
1b Leonard Judah Richenberg (Corpus Christi) 0-1 John Edward Richardson (Jesus) English
2w Dennis Morton Horne (Oriel) 1-0 Kenneth Preston Charlesworth (Emmanuel) Ruy Lopez
3b Clifford Leak (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Alan Phillips (Magdalene) KP Hungarian Def
4w John Edwin Jones (Hertford) 0-1 John Harwood (Queens') Dutch Def
5b Robin Charles Oliver Matthews (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity) French
6w David le Brun Jones (Trinity) ½-½ John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's) QP Catalan
7b Richard Shermer Lankester (Jesus) 1-0 Francis Henry Charles Marriott (Emmanuel) QGA

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 18 March 1947; BCM, Jan 1949, p11 (nearly two years after the event!).


Venue: Lud-Eagle Chess Club is cited as hosts by the Times, which would mean St Bride's Institute. A participant, David Jones, also commented in 2007 that St Bride's was the venue. However, BCM gives West London CC.

[The Times, 18 March 1947, p7] "UNIVERSITY CHESS - The Oxford and. Cambridge chess match was played yesterday at the Ludeagle Chess Club, London, and resulted in a draw of 3½ points each. The result was:— [as above] Cambridge had white on the odd numbered boards." [no more text - no game scores]

There was no report of this match in the Manchester Guardian.

[BCM, Feb 1947, p57] "A match, Oxford Past v. Cambridge Past, was played in London on 21 December 1946 at St Bride's.

Bd Oxford University Past  1946 Cambridge University Past
1 Dr James Macrae Aitken (Balliol) 1-0 William Winter (Clare)
2 Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol) 1-0 C Hugh O'D Alexander (King's)
3 Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) 0-1 P Stuart Milner-Barry (Trinity)
4 Dr Hans Georg Schenk (Exeter) 0-1 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's)
5 Reginald Walter Bonham (St Catherine's) 0-1 Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
6 John Warcup Cornforth (St Catherine's) 1-0 John David Solomon (Downing)
7 George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (New) 1-0 Lionel Sharples Penrose (St John's)
8 William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke) 1-0 Ronald Grubb Stansfield (Clare)
9 Nicholas Anthony Perkins (St John's) 1-0 Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity)
10 Robert Douglas Wormald (Balliol) 1-0 Jacob Bronowski (Jesus)
11 Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) ½-½ Richard William Barnes Clarke (Clare)
12 Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) 1-0 default

[n.b. there were various typos in this table of results in BCM which I have resolved]

Robert Douglas Wormald (1900-64). Did not play in a Varsity match. Assistant master, Manchester Grammar School, 1921; Classics master, Monmouth Grammar School, 1922-26; Classics master at Worcester Royal Grammar School from 1927 to the 1960s. High board for Worcestershire, president and captain of the county and Worcester Evening News chess columnist for ten years. Co-authored, with Reginald Walter Bonham (also playing for this team), Chess Questions Answered (1945) and More Chess Questions Answered (1948), both published by Jordan & Sons, London. (BCM obit, October 1964, p300)

John David Solomon (1906-98). Did not play in a Varsity match. Member of Hampstead CC and very active as a player with some extant games. According to the 1939 census, he was resident in Hampstead and a music student / research geologist. Referred to in BCM (Jan 1943) as representing the Musicians' Union. Taught Geography at Wandsworth School. [Richard James commented at the Streatham & Brixton blog, 2015] "... played for Richmond. Rejoined Richmond & Twickenham CC briefly possibly late 70s/early 80s. Also a strong bridge player." In the 1954 BCF Grading List listed as affiliated to Battersea CC and graded 3b (201-208).

Ronald Grubb Stansfield (1915-1993). Played in the 1935, 1936 and 1937 matches. [Gaige has Robert Grubb Stansfield for the 1935 and 1936 matches but this seems to be an error.] Born 17 September 1915 (Southampton), died 25 December 1993 (Canterbury, Kent, England) Was at King Edward VI's School, Southampton (BCM, June 1933, p244). Played in the 1933 British Boys' Championship. Ronald Grubb Stansfield (b. 1915), sociologist, was the only child of the physicist Herbert Stansfield (1872-1960) and his wife Edith Grubb. He matriculated at Clare College, Cambridge, in 1933, and was awarded his B.A. in 1936, and M.A. in 1940. Stansfield was educated at Clare College Cambridge and undertook particle physics research at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. During the war he became a Member of the Operational Research Section of Fighter Command. After the war he went to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) later moving to City University as Reader in Industrial Sociology. In addition to being a founder member of the Ergonomics Society he was actively involved with numerous societies concerned with anthropology, history of science, operational research, physics, psychology (BPS), sociology and the British Association. [Various sources online]

Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (1890-1958). Played in the 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914 matches. Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor, b 1890 (Dorchester), d 1958 as a result of a road accident. [BCM, Dec 1958, p325] "The tragic death of Mr. Coad-Pryor, as the result of a road accident near his home in Beckenham, means an irreparable loss to the chess life of this country, and a brief outline of his career will be of interest to our readers. Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor was born at Dorchester in 1890. He was educated at Haileybury and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with honours in the Natural Science Tripos. Leaving the university, he entered the metallurgical department of the National Physical Laboratory. In 1921 he became director of the research laboratories of the United Glass Bottle Manufacturers, and in this capacity served on a number of national and international technical committees. In 1931 he was invited to join the John Lewis Partnership, with which he had remained ever since, being, in the end, the Assistant Chief Inspector. His accomplishments were varied and many: in photography he was outstandingly skilful; he was an enthusiastic member of more than one dramatic society; he was a Kent county tennis player, and as a musician he was an excellent pianist. Chess was a dominant interest in his life. He played in the universities' match, and amongst much else was a vice-President of the Kent County C.A., and one-time Champion, a vice-President of the British Chess Federation, where, in particular, his liaison work in connection with the National Chess Centre will be sadly missed; and a vice-President of the London Commercial Chess League. In his later life, he had given great encouragement to junior players: he was Deputy President of the Chess Education Society and had shown much practical interest in its work for many years. Above all, there remains the abiding impression of a personality of great charm, quiet but decisive in his deliberations on committee, and always showing outstanding zest and loyalty in work, in play, and in companionship. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife and daughters. - D. J. M[organ].

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974). Played in the 1931 match. Polish-born British mathematician and historian. Best known as the presenter and writer of the 13-part 1973 BBC television documentary series, and accompanying book, The Ascent of Man. Wikipedia. Strong player and widely-published problemist. Long obituary in BCM (Dec 1974, pps441-443) by Harry Golmbek. Excerpts: "His gifts were too many and various for him to have become a great chess-player since a sole dedication is necessary for that; but he certainly was a good player and I have recently come across the table of a tournament in which he played at Cambridge University in the late 1920's and in which he was first without losing a game, ahead of, amongst others, the late C.H.O'D.Alexander. By a series of odd coincidences, he and I met each other on numerous occasions so that in fact my acquaintance with Bronowski extended for some 50 years... After the war, when he joined the Coal Board and came to live in Chalfont St.Giles, I met him quite often since the Board had a college in the vicinity. He became a subscriber to the 'B.C.M.' of which he was a fervent supporter and, many years later, when I had to give up the Games Editorship through over-work, he wrote a most kind letter to me saying that I had the satisfaction of having written much that would endure. I did not believe this but it was nice of him to say so. By then he was in America but still maintaining a keen interest in English chess. He wrote to me another nice note congratulating me on receiving the O.B.E. for my services to chess and we still met on occasion when he made return visits to England. The last time I saw him was in London this year just a month before he died."

File Updated

Date Notes
2018 Original Upload
20 November 2020 Added commentary sent me by Leonard Barden, for which many thanks.
All material © 2019 John Saunders