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Tournament: 95th Varsity Match • Venue: Caius College, Cambridge • Date: 19 March 1977
Download PGN • List of Varsity Matches • Back to 1976 • Forward to 1978 • last edited: Monday March 12, 2018 1:08 PM

The 95th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, on 19 March 1977. Match arbiter Harry Golombek(?). No game scores of this match are available - can anyone supply any of them?

Bd Oxford University
Rating
Cambridge University
Rating
Opening, No. of Moves
1 Jonathan Simon Speelman (Worcester)
½-½
IM Andrew Jonathan Mestel (Trinity)
 
2 Jonathan Christopher Benjamin (Hertford)
0-1
Paul Edwin Littlewood (Christ's)
 
3 Anthony Lewarne Hosking (Balliol)
0-1
Emmanuel Rayner (Trinity)
 
4 Michael John Pitt (Brasenose)
0-1
Colin Stamford Crouch (Christ's)
 
5 M[ark] Bullock (Oriel)
0-1
Terence Peter Douglas Chapman (Churchill)
 
6 Peter John Sharp (Trinity)
½-½
Roger John Fairfax Sams (Corpus Christi)
 
7 Mark Lindsay Roberts (Christ Church)
½-½
Graham Duncan Hillyard (Caius)
 
     
1½-5½
     

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 21 March 1977; BCM, July 2000, p391; ChessMoves, June 2000.

Notes

Colours: not known which side won the toss or which had White on odds. Slight piece of evidence: the Times report lists the results with the Cambridge names first, so they may have been White on odds. Board four was adjudicated.

[The Times, 21 March 1977]: "The annual Oxford and Cambridge university chess match was held at Caius College, Cambridge, on Saturday, and after an interesting struggle Cambridge emerged easy victors by 5½ to 1½.

"They might in fact have won by an even greater margin, since on the top board Mestel looked to be winning nearly all the time until Speelman found an ingenious manoeuvre that saved the half point.

"But the most interesting game was on board four, where the Cambridge player, Crouch, gave a convincing imitation of the great Wilhelm Steinitz in wandering with his king to the centre of the board in the early middle game. Both sides ran into acute time trouble and when the dust subsided the game was adjudicated a win for Crouch."


Jonathan Benjamin (BCM, July 2000, p391)
b 25 Nov 1958, d. 12 May 2000

"... died 12 May 2000, aged 41. Jon Benjamin grew up in a chess-playing family in Richmond, Surrey - his father Bryan and brothers Nick and Martin are all strong players - and won a cluster of junior titles, including the British Under-14 Championship in 1973 and the British Under 18 Championship in 1976. After attending St Paul's School he went on to represent Oxford University twice in the annual Varsity match. [para] Thereafter he rarely competed in major events but continued to play league chess for Richmond and in other Surrey-based competitions, taking some notable scalps in the process and maintaining a grade of around 200 BCF. He won the Surrey Championship in 1981, 1986 and 1988, and jointly in 1999. Just before his death he finished 2nd= in the very strong Surrey Open tournament, scoring 5.5/7."

Obituary - Jonathan Benjamin (1958-2000) [ChessMoves, June 2000]
"The UK chess community will be saddened to learn that Jonathan C Benjamin died on 12 May 2000, aged 41.

"Born in 1958, Jon Benjamin grew up in a chess-playing family in the Richmond (Surrey) area - his father Bryan and brothers Nick and Martin are all strong players - and won a cluster of junior titles. These included the British Under 14 Championship in 1973, where he scored an outstanding 10½/11, two points ahead of the field, and the British Under 18 Championship in 1976, where he finished ahead of future grandmasters Nigel Davies and James Plaskett. He attended St. Paul's School and was part of a formidable chess team which has long dominated 'The Times' British Schools Tournament and which included grandmasters-to-be Julian Hodgson and William Watson amongst its pupils. He went on to represent Oxford University twice in the annual Varsity match, on board five (in 1977) and board two (in 1978).

"Thereafter, though he continued to play locally in the London and Surrey areas and was a long-time member of Richmond Chess Club, Jon rarely played in the sort of national and international events that would have helped him to build on his prodigious talent. Instead he concentrated on his job, working as a project manager for building firms, and family (he was married with two children). He nevertheless continued to play his own enterprising and unpredictable brand of attacking chess in the London League for Richmond as well as in other Surrey-based competitions, taking some notable scalps in the process and maintaining a grade of around 200 BCF. A few years ago he defeated Grandmaster Bogdan Lalic at the Surrey Easter Congress, despite arriving 40 minutes late for the game. Jon won the Surrey Championship in 1981, 1986 and 1988, and jointly in 1999.

"Jon had been suffering from cancer for about a year; yet less than three weeks before his death he finished 2nd= in the very strong Surrey Open tournament, scoring 5½/7 ahead of such notable players as GM Colin McNab and IM Danny Gormally. And he had been due to play off for the 1999 Surrey Championship title only a few days after his death.

"Jon will be remembered as the most courteous and generous of opponents, and will be greatly missed by his numerous chess friends."

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