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John Saunders


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Tournament: 103rd Varsity Match • Venue: RAC Club, Pall Mall, London • Date: 9 March 1985
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1984 • Forward to 1986 • last edited: Sunday November 15, 2020 11:43 PM

The 103rd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London on 9* March 1985. The sponsors were Lloyds Bank. Only two game scores available (boards 1 and 6) - can anyone supply other scores?

Bd Oxford University Rating 1985 Cambridge University Rating Openings, No of Moves
1b Colin Anderson McNab (Queen's) (219) 0-1 Nicholas Wilson Ivell (Magdalene)   Pirc def, 59
2w Jonathan Paul Levitt (Magdalen) (217) 1-0 Andrew Charles Louis Dyson (Trinity)   Dutch def, 79
3b John Crofton Hawksworth (Nuffield) (216) ½-½ Stephen David Bell (Emmanuel) (203) Catalan, 43
4w Peter Kenneth Wells (Jesus) (217) ½-½ David John Walker (Trinity)   King's ID, 55
5b Karl Bowden (Jesus) (209) ½-½ Matthew A Eke (Trinity)   Nimzo-Indian, 95
6w Neil F Dickenson (Hertford) (206) ½-½ Gareth Anthony (Trinity Hall) (182) QP, 24
7b Kenneth Shovel (Wadham) (208) 1-0 David Douglas Alexander Lawson (Trinity)   Alekhine def, 82
8w Anita Rakshit (St Hilda's)   1-0 Laura Jane Rachel Cohen (Newnham)   Sicilian, 27

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987 (* Gaige gives the date as 10 March 1985 but this was a Sunday - The Times says it was played on 9 March which is more probable); BCM, May 1985, p199; The Times, 11 Mar 1985; Nick Ivell (score of top board game).

Play 1-6pm. Time control: 45 moves in 2½ hours, 15 minutes for 20 moves; 10 minutes for all remaining moves.


Laura Cohen's college - Newnham acc. Times - Churchill acc. BCM.

"After the first time control an upset seemed certain, as Nicholas Ivell was winning against IM Colin McNab on top board, and Cambridge seemed to have prospects of a 5-3 score in their favour, despite an early loss on the ladies' board. However some rank bad play let the advantage slip, so much so that Bill Hartston joked that Campomanes in Moscow would surely have terminated it long before 7.00pm" (BCM).

Lloyds Bank trophies for the best game went to Bowden for Oxford and Ivell for Cambridge (Times)

"An hour before the end Cambridge missed winning chances on boards 4, 6 and 7 and their second board even lost an ending which should have been won for him." (The Times)

1985 Oxford University chess team
Picture of the victorious Oxford team: left to right, Peter Wells (Portsmouth), Karl Bowden (Brentwood), Anita Rakshit (N London), Kenneth Shovel (N London), IM Colin McNab (Dundee), IM Jonathan Levitt (N London), FM Neil Dickenson (Sevenoaks), FM John Hawksworth (Cranleigh), correspondence GM Adrian Hollis (Oxford, club president)
(Photo Lloyds Bank)


1985 Varsity Chess Match
Players, left to right: Laura Cohen (Cambridge) vs Anita Rakshit (Oxford).
Spectators, left to right: Brian Reilly, William Hartston, Adrian Hollis, Leonard Barden, Bob Wade (arbiter).
(Photo Lloyds Bank)

All material exc. photos © 2017 John Saunders