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John Saunders


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Tournament: 43rd Varsity Match • Venue: City of London CC, London • Date: Friday 14 March 1919
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The 43rd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held in Oxford on Friday (night) 14 March 1919. One game score from the match is available (top board).

1914«     1919 Varsity Chess Match     »1920
Bd Oxford University 1919 Cambridge University
1b Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol, capt) 0-1 William Winter (Clare, capt)
2w Milivoje B Gavrilovic (Balliol) 0-1 James Haydn Barnes (St John's)
3b Edmund Samuel Woodley (St Edmund Hall) 0-1 Lionel Sharples Penrose (St John's)
4w Conrad Eric Ormond (New) 0-1 Capt. Ralph Carlyle St John Dix (Clare)
5b George Lewis Drake (Christ Church) 0-1 Basil Kingsley Martin (Magdalene)
6w Chellappah Suntharalingam (Balliol) 0-1 Kenneth Frederick Thomas Mills (St John's)
7b Charles Dalton (Hertford) 0-1 Reginald Walter Perry (Peterhouse)

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, April 1919, p129; Times Literary Supplement, 20 March 1919; Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer, 15 March 1919; Ancestry.com; FindMyPast.co.uk; William Winter's Memoirs (CHESS Magazine 1962/63)

Notes: adjudicator was F S Smith - Frank Scuse Smith (1874-1943*), who played in the 1910 British Championship. Note on names: Oxford board 6 - original sources give the spelling 'Santharalingam' but 'Suntharalingam' accords with Gaige and subsequent research. Oxford board 4 - some sources refer to him as Henri Eric Conrad Ormond.

The precise Oxford venue remains a mystery as it is not given in any of the sources. The Oxford City CC met at The Creamery Café, 23 Cornmarket Street, Oxford, of which the proprietor was the above-mentioned Frank Scuse Smith, so that is one possibility; another is Balliol College, the college of the Oxford captain (and we know that the Cambridge captain spent the night there as his guest). But this is pure speculation.

BCM, April 1919, p128-129: "THE UNIVERSITY CHESS MATCH. On March 23rd, 1914, the series of annual contests between the chess clubs of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge came to a temporary end. On that day the forty-second encounter between the representatives of the two clubs took place. In the following year it was agreed to abandon the fixture for the duration of the war. On the 14th of last month [March] the contest was renewed, though shorn of its usual ceremonies and, for the first time, not played in London. The Oxford University Chess Club practically ceased to exist during the war; but when a challenge came from Cambridge, where the club had surmounted the difficulties of the times better, an effort was made to accept it. and a team was got together. The Light Blues agreed to come over to Oxford to play, and the match was duly brought off on the night of Friday, March 14th. In the circumstances it is not surprising that Cambridge, headed by Mr. W. Winter, the well-known young City of London and Metropolitan player, who is President of the Cambridge University Chess Club, gained a crushing victory. The Oxford President. Mr. G[odfrey]. Davies (Pembroke) did not play. We understand that the match is to be counted in the Inter-University series, so that the record now stands: Cambridge, 23 wins; Oxford, 17 wins; drawn, 3. Mr F. S. Smith, of Oxford City, acted as adjudicator."

BCM, June 1919, p192: With reference to the recent inter-University chess match, a Cambridge subscriber writes to point out that the C.U.Ch.C. did not, as might have been inferred from the reports, carry on its existence right through the war. In fact, it only recommenced its meetings, after an interval of about two years, in the second week of the Lent Term, 1919, and did not elect its present officers until the very night before the team started for Oxford.

A Century of Chess by Philip W Sergeant: "There had naturally been very little chess at either University during the War years, and none at all of a public nature. The chess clubs had, indeed, been in a state of suspension. Cambridge was the earlier to revive, and sent a challenge to Oxford to begin the series again at Easter, 1919. The challenge was accepted; but, in view of the state of affairs still prevailing, it was decided to play for the first time out of London, at Oxford on March 14th..."

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 15 March 1919: "CHESS: OXFORD v. CAMBRIDGE. The first inter-University chess contest for five years was played at Oxford last night, and resulted in a hollow victory for the Light Blues. Hitherto the matches have been played in London. The challenge came from Cambridge to renew the contests, and though the Dark Blues had no organised club in existence one was immediately formed. This unpreparedness of the Oxford representatives will account for the utter defeat they sustained. Cambridge won by seven points to none. Scores (Cambridge names first):—W. Winter (Clare, capt) 1 v. T. H. Taylor [sic] (Balliol), captain, 0. S. H. Barnes [sic] (St. John’s) 1 v. M. B. Gavrilovic (Balliol) 0, L. S. Penrose (St. John’s) 1 v. E. S. Woodley (St. Edmund Hall) 0, Capt. R. St. S. Dix (Clare) 1 v. C. E. Ormond (New College) 0, B. K. G. Martin (Magdalene) 1 v. G. L. Drake (Christ Church) 0, K. F. Mills (St. John’s) 1 v. C. Suntharalingam (Balliol) 0, R. W. Perry (Peterhouse) 1 v. C. Dalton 0."

Times Literary Supplement, 20 March 1919: "As a consequence of the demobilization since the armistice was signed many of the University chess players have been released, and quite naturally turned their attention to reviving the inter-University matches that were suspended at the outbreak of war. Cambridge sent a challenge to Oxford for another match in this series, and though Oxford had no organized club in existence one was immediately formed and the challenge accepted. The match was played at Oxford on Friday night last, and resulted in an overwhelming victory for the challengers. Mr F. S. Smith, of Oxford, acted as an adjudicator.

From William Winter's Memoirs (published CHESS Magazine, between October 1962 and March 1963): "My next step was to revive the annual matches against Oxford which had been in abeyance since 1914. Usually these were played in London during the Easter Vacation, but as there was some difficulty this year about finding accommodation, our opponents offered us hospitality in Oxford. I was a one man selection committee and found it a difficult job. After the first three places the rest of the candidates were of very much the same strength or weakness – however one likes to put it. As finally constituted the team contained some names since well known in other walks of life. The third board was L. S. Penrose, now a professor at London University, and the fifth was occupied by Kingsley Martin now [1955] the editor of the New Statesman. Disappointed candidates for places suggested that his selection was due rather to his political opinions than his ability as a chess player, but he gave the best answer by winning brilliantly. In fact we all won, and the score of 7-0 stands a record for either side in these events. On the first board my opponent was T. H. Tylor of Balliol with whom I have had many a stern struggle since. I was very proud of this game which was published in The Field with highly complimentary notes by the famous master Amos Burn. I spent the night in Balliol as Tylor’s guest, and made the acquaintance of the famous college port. I believe we played some friendly games afterwards but I have little recollection of them. I left the Cambridge club with a membership of seventy-five and, though the numbers have dropped, I am glad to say it has flourished consistently ever since. I have taken every opportunity of visiting it as a member of the Hampstead touring side, and always enjoy reviving old memories. I think it is a pity it now meets in a teashop instead of ‘The Blue Pig.’"

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Date Notes
20 March 2022 First uploaded.
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