© 1997-2021
John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Event: 74th Varsity Match • Venue: St Bride's Institute, near Fleet Street, London • Date: 24 March 1956
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1955 • Forward to 1957 • last edited: Tuesday November 17, 2020 4:02 PM

The 74th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St Bride's Institute, near Fleet Street, London, on 24 March 1956. All game scores from this match are available.

Bd Oxford University 1956 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1w Raaphi Persitz (Balliol) 1-0 David Edward Lloyd (Caius) French
2b Kenneth Leslie Gardner (St John's) ½-½ Leon Rosselson (Fitzwilliam) QGD Exchange
3w Henry Gerald Mutkin (Wadham) 1-0 Malcolm Frank Collins (Selwyn) Dutch
4b Ken Stern (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Denis John Pereira Gray (St John's) Sicilian
5w David John Richards (Magdalen) ½-½ Peter Walker (Pembroke) Dutch
6b Robert James Ball (Queen's) ½-½ John Dudley Taylor (Caius) Bird's Opening
7w Michael Philip Furmston (Exeter) ½-½ John Crowle Cock (Jesus) Sicilian

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 26 Mar 1956; The Guardian, 22 & 26 March 1956; BCM, May 1956, p140; CHESS, Vol.21, no.264, 31 March 1956, p202.


Gaige gives 'David John Pereira Gray' but it is definitely 'Denis John Pereira Gray' (English & Wales BMD, Wikipedia, etc).

[BCM, May 1956, p140] "The seventy-second annual match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities was played at St. Bride's Institute, London, on March 24th, and resulted in a 4-3 victory for Oxford, as follows [results] By their victory, which was well deserved, Oxford levelled the scores in the series at 36 matches each. The outstanding game of the match was played on Board 1, where Persitz took the utmost advantage of minor opening lapses by Lloyd to force through a mating attack."

[The Times, 26 March 1956, p16] "UNIVERSITY MATCH - OXFORD’S NARROW WIN - FROM OUR CHESS CORRESPONDENT - Oxford University scored a narrow victory over Cambridge University by four points to three in London on Saturday. On the whole, the run of play justified this result. The Cambridge first and third boards were well and truly beaten; the draws on the last three boards were the outcome of levelly contested struggles and the Oxford fourth board’s loss was due to an unfortunate blunder in what was probably a winning position. The outstanding game was played on board one, where Persitz once again revealed what a fine attacking player he is by taking the utmost advantage of minor opening lapses by Lloyd to force through a mating attack. UNLUCKY CONTESTANTS - Both contestants on the second board might be regarded as having been unlucky. For Cambridge Rosselson played vigorously and well for almost all the game and had what looked like a winning advantage until just before the end of the day’s play, when, afflicted by time pressure, he left a pawn en prise. Then it was Gardner’s turn to be unlucky; for the adjudicator felt that the position did not quite warrant his awarding a win to the Oxford player and so gave it a draw—which no doubt it would have been had the game been played out to a finish."

[The Guardian, 22 March 1956 - Leonard Barden] "Oxford v. Cambridge - The annual Oxford and Cambridge match will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at St Bride's Institute, Ludgate Circus. Cambridge, who last year won 4-3, again seem to have the more reliable team, including four players, Lloyd, Gray, Collins, and Taylor, who have had good results in junior tournaments. Taylor is the present British under-21 champion. Oxford have a post-war tradition of producing outstanding top board players and this year they have the Israeli master Persitz, who recently won the International events at Southend and Paignton. Gardner and Richards are two other Oxford players with tournament successes and on the top boards, at any rate, Oxford should at least hold their own."

[The Guardian, 26 March 1956 - Leonard Barden] "Oxford beat Cambridge 4-3 in the annual chess match to-day, thus levelling the scores in the series at 36 matches each. As expected. Oxford did well on the top three boards where they scored 2½ points, and their lower boards held their more experienced Cambridge opponents. Oxford had white on the odd-numbered boards... [results] Persitz was soon on the attack against Lloyd who fell into an inferior variation of the French Defence. The Israeli master concentrated his pieces on the king's side and broke through to mate in 25 moves. Mutkin also won in good style for Oxford, taking advantage of his opponent s weak white squares to win a pawn and obtain an overwhelming game in 27 moves. The game on Board Four was a disaster for Oxford for Stern gained control of the centre and by a fine knight sacrifice obtained what should have been a winning attack. However, he then went completely astray, first failing to continue the attack correctly and then blundering away a rook. The four drawn games were all well fought. Both Rosselson and Cock had the initiative all through their games but in each case the Oxford players held the draw by careful defence. Oxford should have won on Board Six, where Ball’s grip on the centre led to the win of a pawn by a neat combination. However, in a situation with excellent winning chances, he unaccountably allowed a draw by repetition of positions."

[CHESS, 31 March 1956, p202] "By beating Cambridge 4-3 in the annual Universities' match, Oxford once again levelled the score in the series. Not for over half a century have they been ahead. [results - game score of Persitz-D.Lloyd given in CHESS, 7 July 1956, p282]

Raaphi Persitz (born 26 July 1934, Tel Aviv, died 4 February 2009). Chess master, writer, financial analyst. Full name was Raphael Joseph Arie Persitz - Wikipedia

David John Richards: author of Soviet Chess: Chess and Communism in the USSR (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1965) and the translator of Alexei Suetin's Modern Chess Opening Theory (Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1965)

Sir (Robert) James Ball CBE (born 15 July 1933, died 15 January 2018) - economics professor. co-creator of the Oxford Econometric Model. Knighted 1984. Wikipedia.

Leon Rosselson (born 22 June 1934, Harrow, Middlesex) - songwriter, folk singer, children's writer. Wikipedia.

All material © 2018 John Saunders