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Tournament: 41st Varsity Match • Venue: City of London CC, London • Date: Monday 17 March 1913
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The 41st Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the City of London Chess Club, 7 Grocers' Hall Court, London E.C. on Monday 17 March 1913. Three game scores (boards 2, 3 and 6) are available.

1912«     1913 Varsity Chess Match     »1914
Bd Oxford University 1913 Cambridge University
1b Franklin Ferriss Russell (Brasenose) ½-½ Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity)
2w Godfrey Davies (Pembroke) 1-0 Edward Kingsley Wakeford (Trinity)
3b George Carruthers (Merton) 1-0 Ralph Nicholas Chubb (Selwyn)
4w Frank Colin Bryan (Jesus) 1-0 Ernest Elton Ede (St Catharine's)
5b Walter Roland Tracy Whatmore (Christ Church) 1-0 Hyman Weisberg (Christ's)
6w Harry Joseph Mandelbrote (Merton) 1-0 Mark Daniels (Sidney Sussex)
7b Ernest Guibal Le Breton Banks (Worcester) 1-0 John Owen Iles (Caius)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1913, p153-154; Yorkshire Post, 18 March 1913; The Sunday Times 23 March 1913; Times Literary Supplement, 20 March 1913; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.co.uk;

Notes: Coad-Pryor was CUCC president. Jacques Mieses was match referee and adjudicator.

Times Literary Supplement, 20 March 1913: "For the following account we are indebted to Mr. A. W. Foster, the Organizing Secretary of the Universities’ recent match programme in London:—In preparation for the annual encounter over the chess-board botween Oxford and Cambridge, the teams, as usual, spent Boat Race week in a series of matches against prominent London clubs.

"The series of matches this year started on Tuesday, March 11, when six seniors and twelve of the present team visited the powerful Hampstead Club, the champions of the London Chess League, and were defeated by 10½ to 7½. On tho top boards and at the bottom they held their own, but the seasoned match players of the Hampstead Club, in the middle of the team, were too strong for the present University men.

"On Wednesday [12 March] the hardest ordeal of the week was faced, in a match against the City of London Chess Club, the Universities team this time consisting of eleven seniors and nine of the present team, but even with this accession of strength the City was too strong for the combination, as the premier club (whose representatives included Mr. J. H. Blake, Herr Edward Lasker, and Messrs. A. J. Maas, E. Macdonald, and H. Saunders) won comfortably by 12½ to 7½. Mr. C. E. C. Tattersall, on the top board, defeated Mr. J. H. Blake in a fine game, ending with a sacrifice of the Queen to force mate.

"On Thursday [13 March] a team including only four seniors beat the Insurance Chess Club by 12½ to 7½, and the present representatives of the Universities distinguished themselves particularly, the eight Cambridge men scoring eight wins, and the five Oxford men securing three wins and two draws.

"On Friday night [14 March] the combined team (this time with eight seniors) was victorious by 11 to 9 over a representative Metropolitan team, headed by Herr Edward Lasker [who drew on top board with Lachlan McLean - JS], and Messrs. McBean and Davidson.

"On Saturday [15 March] came the annual encounter with London University, and the combined team, which was mainly composed of the present Cambridge representatives, scored 7 to 9 by the London team, tho latter having the assistance of Mr. Herbert Jacobs on board 1, and being also strengthened by the presence of Messrs. Miller, Dunkelsbuhler, and Ridley Dale, of the Metropolitan Ciub.

"The annual Inter-University match took place at the City of London Club on Monday afternoon, March 17. Special interest was attached to this event, owing to the presence of Sir Walter Parratt, who took part in the first Oxford v. Cambridge match just 40 years ago. On the present occasion Oxford won very easily by 6½ to ½."

BCM, April 1913, p153-154: "The Universities’ London Week.—Oxford and Cambridge made their usual tour of the London clubs during boat-race week, in preparation for the annual encounter between the present representatives of the rival blues. The tour was arranged by the Cambridge officials, Messrs. Coad-Pryor, of Trinity (president), Chubb, of Selwyn (vice-president), and Mellersh, of Selwyn (secretary).

"The programme was opened with a return match between the Cambridge team and the Ladies’ Chess Club (who visited Cambridge this term), in which the Ladies were victorious by 4 points to 3.

"On Tuesday, March 11th, six seniors and twelve of the present teams visited the Hampstead Club, and met defeat by 10½ to7½. On Wednesday, March 12th, even a stronger infusion of seniors (only 10 of the 20 being present team) proved insufficient to overcome the resources of the City of London Chess Club, the score being 12½ to 7½. In both these matches the Universities held their own at the top and bottom of the team, but in the middle the seasoned players of Hampstead and the City Club were too strong for the University men.

"On Thursday the combined team, with four seniors only, and giving two games by default, beat Insurance by 12½ to 7½. On Friday 8 seniors and 12 present men accounted for a strong team of the Metropolitan Club by 11 to 9. Saturday's match was against the University of London, whose strong contingent of players, with Herbert Jacobs, Miller and Dunkelsbuhler at their head, defeated 16 of the combined forces (five of whom were seniors) by 9 to 7.

"After the week-end rest came the inter-’varsity match. It was generally recognised that Oxford, with five old choices, were considerably stronger than Cambridge, who had five new men engaged, but few people expected the overwhelming figure (6½ to ½) by which Oxford won. The match was played, as in the previous two years, at the City of London Chess Club, and the teams, together with a number of members of past teams (among whom were Messrs. C. E. C. Tattersall, P. W. Sergeant, H. J. Snowden and B. Goulding Brown) were the guests of the City Club at the tea interval. Special interest was lent to this occasion, the 40th anniversary of the first match between Oxford and Cambridge, by the presence of Sir Walter Parratt, who played top board for Oxford in 1873, and won two games against Mr. (afterwards Rev.) J. de Soyres. Sir Walter was in good form. When called upon for a few words he delighted everybody by his pleasing reminiscences and ready wit. Another notable fact in connection with this year's match was that, for the first time for many years, Mr. Hoffer did not adjudicate. With his customary genial courtesy he abdicated in favour of Herr Jacques Mieses, who is staying in London and was visiting the City Club.

"The winning team is considerably above the average strength of ’Varsity teams. Mr. Russell, the American Rhodes scholar, who played board 1, appeared to be suffering from too much chess. His play did not show the same vitality as last year. He adopted a weak line in the King’s Gambit Declined, and had to draw by repetition on the 9th move. Mr. Davies, in spite of health difficulties, has improved during the year; he held his opponent quite safe from the start. Mr Carruthers has all the essentials which make a strong match player: cool, calm and forcible. Mr. Bryan, though not quite reliable, has moments of inspiration. Mr. Whatmore has not improved as much as expected since last year. He seems to be suffering from reluctance to win a won game. The two new men, Mr. Mandelbrote and Mr. Banks, won very easily; they were not really seriously tested.

"The Cambridge team, in spite of its crushing defeat, will improve in the future. Mr. Coad-Pryor is an excellent match player. Mr. Wakeford, one of the freshmen of the team, shows no sign of nervousness. His record for the week was excellent. Mr. Chubb was out of form—and probably out of practice. Mr. Ede has greatly improved since last year; his play was milk and water then, but it is something much stronger now. Mr. Weisberg suffered from nervousness, which should wear off with more experience. Mr. Daniels, who devotes himself to the Centre Counter Gambit, was unequal in his play, though he won nicely against the Metropolitan Club. Mr Iles has chess intuition, and may very possibly come on surprisingly next year.

"We append the score of the Universities’ match, together with summary of results of the other contests referred to; we are compelled to hold over the full records until next month owing to heavy pressure on our space.

Date Winning Team Score Losing Team Score
10 March 1913 Ladies' Chess Club 4 Cambridge University 3
11 March 1913 Hampstead 10½ Combined Universities
12 March 1913 City of London 12½ Combined Universities
13 March 1913 Combined Universities 12½ Insurance
14 March 1913 Combined Universities 11 Metropolitan 9
15 March 1913 London University 9 Combined Universities 7

[Sunday Times, March 23, 1913; pg. 15 - columnist Louis van Vliet] VARSITY CHESS. "Oxford University had a walk-over this time in the annual Inter-Universlty Chess match, contested at the City of London Chess Club on Monday. The game on the top board ended in a draw, but Oxford won every one of the remaining six games! Too much importance need not, however, be attached to this one-slded result as neither University represents any particular school of chess. Stelnitz, who was a decided optimist where chess was concerned, had once[?] visions of chess masters ruling as professors of chess at the rival Universities. But with the exception of an occasional simultaneous exhibition by some master atOxford or Cambridge, no real expert of chess has ever been engaged at either University to coach undergraduates in the science of the game. Perhaps this may account for the fact that during the last forty years the only player of first rank hailing from the universities is Mr. H. E. Atkins, who has won so much renown in the congresses of the British Chess Federation, and Mr. Atkins is a Cambridge man. Cambridge can also boast of Messrs. W. H. Gunston and C. E. C. Tattersall, both amateurs of exceptional ability; while Oxford, at present at any rate, can only match this formidable trio with Messrs. G. E. Wainwright, C. D. Locock, and E. G. Sergeant*—all brilliant exponents of the game, be it said. There are other past Oxonians like Mr. Philip W. Sergeant, the well-known litterateur, Mr. George Spencer-Churchill, &c., who play chess far above the average. But then Cambridge can point to good players like Messrs. Goulding-Brown, McLean, &c., to make things level. Moreover, of the total number of matches contested since 1873, Cambridge has still a lead of six matches over thelr opponents. [* van Vliet is mistaken: Edward Guthlac Sergeant did not attend nor play for Oxford University - JS]

"In their annual contests with leading London clubs, Cambridge lost to the Ladies’ Chess Club by 3 to 4. The combined teams (past and present) were defeated by Hampstead by 10½ to 7½ and by the City of London Chess Club by 12½ to 7½. They were, however, successful against the Metropolitans by 11 to 9 and against the Insurance Chess Club by 12½ to 7½. A match with the London University Chess Club resulted in a score of 7½ to 5½ (with three games left for adjudication) in favour of London Unlversity."

London Evening Standard - Tuesday 18 March 1913: "... In the evening both teams and friends dined together at the Divan Café, 110, Strand, Mr. E. Paice in the chair, to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of these contests."

Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette, 28 March 1913: "OXFORD v CAMBRIDGE. The annual encounter between the Universities was disappointing, as oxford had a walk-over from the start, in spite of Cambridge having had the first move on the four odd numbered boards, the Light Blue having won the toss. It will be seen from the games that the Dark Blues showed more experience, owing to the fact that two of them, Davies and Bryan, had already played in two previous matches, and three others, Russell, Carruthers and Whatmore, once; while Cambridge had five Freshmen, only Coad-Pryor having played twice before, and Chubb once. Coad-Pryor gave up his game as drawn too early, and Weisberg, on Board No.5, had also the best of it; but in the other games Oxford's greater experience was noticeable.

"The match started at one o'clock, and ended at 5.30 p.m., when only one game, on board No. 5, was unfinished, and this was adjudicated (at Mr. Hoffer’s suggestion, out of courtesy to the distinguished visitor) by Herr Mieses. Among the visitors was Sir Walter Parratt, the King's organist at Windsor Castle, who, at the conclusion of the match, in an address to the players incidentally mentioned that he had played in the very first Oxford v. Cambridge match, board No. 1, for Oxford, and also the following year. He found University chess of a higher order now than at the time, forty years ago, when he was at the University. Cambridge should not be discouraged, as they achieved a similar victory in 1881, when they scored eleven games, with two draws, without a single loss, and so they had still a number of matches in hand."

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Date Notes
22 March 2022 First uploaded.
All material © 2022 John Saunders