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John Saunders


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Tournament: 42nd Varsity Match • Venue: City of London CC, London • Date: Monday 23 March 1914
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1913 • Forward to 1919 • last edited: Sunday March 10, 2024 8:42 AM

The 42nd 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 23 March 1914. Three game scores from the match are available.

1913«     1914 Varsity Chess Match     »1919
Bd Oxford University 1914 Cambridge University
1b Franklin Ferriss Russell (Brasenose) ½-½ Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity)
2w Percy Andrew Morris MacMahon (Hertford) 0-1 Edward Kingsley Wakeford (Trinity)
3b Godfrey Davies (Pembroke) 1-0 Hyman Weisberg (Christ's)
4w George Carruthers (Merton) 0-1 Ephraim Meyer Maccoby (St John's)
5b Frank Colin Bryan (Jesus) 1-0 George Ernest Smith (St John's)
6w Harry Marsden Smith (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Henry Clifford Care (St John's)
7b Walter Roland Tracy Whatmore (Christ Church) 1-0 John Owen Iles (Caius)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1914, p152; The Times, 24 March 1914; The Times, 25 March 1914; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.co.uk;

(1) match referee and adjudicator was Amos Burn.
(2) Coad-Pryor was president of CUCC.
(3) Boards 1 and 7 were adjudicated.
(4) The Cambridge team included three Wranglers from the Mathematical Tripos, Part 2, in 1913—Weisberg, Maccoby and Care—while Wakeford achieved a 1st in Mathematics, Part 1. Iles recorded a 2nd in Mathematics Part 1 in that year.
(5) Arnold Gordon Patton (St Johns; 1893-1960) was the Cambridge reserve player (Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette - Friday 20 March 1914).

BCM, April 1914, pps 151-152: "The Universities' Week.—The annual tour of Oxford and Cambridge was this year even more interesting than usual, owing to the excellent record of Oxford, who had defeated every visiting team throughout the season. Unfortunately examination requirements prevented the Oxford contingent from being at full strength until the end of the week and, on actual figures, the Cambridge men did better during the trial matches. Still, it was quite evident that the standard of play was considerably higher than the average, and Mr. Amos Burn expressed the opinion that the Universities were stronger than ever before. We should not like to say that either of this year's teams was better than the Oxford team in G. E. Wainwright's time, or than the Cambridge teams led by either H. E. Atkins or C. E. C. Tattersall, but we do not think that there has ever before been a University match in which both sides have been so powerful.

"The trial matches, in which Past and Present play side by side, resulted as follows :

Monday March 16th – Lud-Eagle 8 Universities 5
Tuesday March 17th – Hampstead 12½ Universities 5½
Wednesday March 18th – City of London 13½ Universities 6½
Thursday March 19th – Universities 12½ Insurance 7½
Friday March 20th – Universities 10½ Metropolitan 9½
Saturday March 21st – Universities 11 London University 4
Tuesday March 24th – Universities 9½ House of Commons ½

[n.b. full results of the above matches may be found in the Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette, 27 March 1914, p4. Note that Edward Lasker appeared for both Hampstead and Metropolitan clubs in these matches. Both game scores are available - see below]

"The University match was played on Monday, 23rd March, by invitation of the City of London Chess Club, at 7, Grocers' Hall Court, E.C., and among the onlookers were a number who took part in the match in days gone by, including Messrs. Tattersall, Stoney, Snowden, Goulding Brown, Greenhalgh, Paice and Foster. It was soon seen that the Cambridge men were making a much better show than they did last year, and, Mr. McMahon being early in difficulties, for a long time the match appeared to be in the balance. The tide turned, however, as the games progressed, and at the call of time Oxford was leading by 3 to 2, the top and bottom boards being unfinished. Mr. Amos Burn, who acted as umpire, found that the position on Board 1 was intricate enough to deserve further investigation, and it was only after long and careful analysis that the result of these two games, and of the match, could be decided.

"The Oxford team has been largely made what it is by the influence and example of Mr. Russell, whose loss will be greatly felt when he returns to his native air, and the hearty good wishes of all his English chess friends will go with him. Mr. MacMahon, though he did not "come off" in the match, made a sensational first appearance in the team in the Metropolitan match, and the game he played against Dr. Schumer is one of the most brilliant tit-bits of over-the-board play seen in London for years [see below]. Mr. Davies is steadily improving as a match player, and, in spite of health handicap, is now difficult to beat. Mr. Carruthers and Mr. Bryan seemed to be a little bit "stale," but they both possess the match-playing temperament. Mr. Whatmore has a good record in the University match, but has not quite realised the high expectations we formed of him two years ago. Mr. H. M. Smith, the only newcomer in the team, promises well, having a quick sight of the board and admirable enthusiasm.

"Mr. Coad Pryor seemed to feel the weight of his responsibility in leading Cambridge against such doughty opponents, and did not show his true form during the week, but he rose to the occasion in the match itself. Mr. Wakeford is developing rapidly, and played some fine chess during the tour. Mr. Weisberg has got rid of some of his nervousness, and played in better style altogether. Mr. Iles suffered from lack of practice, but his quick grasp of position counterbalanced this to some extent. Of the new men, Mr. Maccoby showed some excellent end-game strategy; Mr. G. E. Smith would be all the better for a little more enterprise, and Mr. Care, though outplayed in the match itself, was the most successful player of the week." (BCM)

[The Times, 24 March 1914] UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH. The annual chess match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was contested at the City of London Chess Club, Grocers' Hall-court, E.C., yesterday. When time was called, Oxford had won three games and lost two. The games at Boards 1 and 7 were left over for adjudication by Mr. Amos Burn. Cambridge had the move at the top board.

[The Times, 25 March 1914] Mr. Amos Burn has given his decision in tho two games left over for adjudication yesterday. The game at Board 1, between Mr. F. F. Russell (Oxford) and Mr. A. E. [sic] Coad-Pryor, was drawn. At Board 7, Mr W. R. T. Whatmore (Oxford) won against Mr. J. D. Iles (Cambridge) Thus Oxford won the match by 4½ to 2½.

Games from other 1914 Combined Universities matches

The following game seems not to have been published on the internet previously and I've not come across it in printed sources other than in the newspaper where I found it. It's not in the same class as Ed.Lasker-G.Thomas, the famous skittles game from 1912, and Lasker was dead lost at one stage—the queen sacrifice is simply a bluff—but it is very entertaining - JS

File updated

Date Notes
21 March 2022 First uploaded.
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