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John Saunders


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Tournament: 105th Varsity Match • Venue: RAC Club, Pall Mall, London • Date: 14 March 1987
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1986 • Forward to 1988 • last edited: Monday March 18, 2024 8:36 AM

The 105th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the RAC Club, Pall Mall, London on 14 March 1987. The sponsors were Lloyds Bank. Only three complete game scores available (boards 1, 2 and 6), plus a position from the end of board 7 - can anyone supply other scores?

1986«     1987 Varsity Chess Match     »1988
Bd Oxford University Rating 1987 Cambridge University Rating
1w Peter Kenneth Wells (Jesus) 2400f 1-0 David John Watts (Sidney Sussex) 2265
2b James Clifford Howell (Jesus) 2380m 1-0 David Douglas Alexander Lawson (Trinity) 2200
3w Neil F Dickenson (Hertford) 2245 ½-½ Sukh David Singh (Queens') 2176
4b Martin Luke Hazelton (St Anne's) 2230 ½-½ Andrew David Harley (Selwyn) 2240
5w Dr. William Henry Gnam (Balliol) 2150 1-0 Robert Christopher Cannings (Trinity) 2112
6b Stephen G Walker (Oriel) 2032 0-1 Graham Kenneth Burgess (Downing) 2064
7w Neil David Crabb (St Edmund Hall) 1905 1-0 Mark Hardman Thornton (Sidney Sussex) 2024
8b Jane Sarah Riley (St Hugh's) 1608 0-1 Alison Margaret Franklin (later Bexfield) (Downing) 1568
  Av Elo = 2118.75   5-3 Av Elo = 2093.62  

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; BCM, May 1987, p184; The Guardian, 28 March 1987; 1987/88 BCF Yearbook, p85

[From 1987/88 BCF Yearbook, p85]

Sponsored by Lloyds Bank 14th March 1987
Oxford beat Cambridge 5-3 in the Varsity chess match. It was Oxford's seventh win in a row, following a record run of eleven Cambridge victories. The traditional series began in 1873 and this was the 105th match in the longest running annual fixture in the chess world.

Excluding wartime matches whose status is doubtful, Cambridge now lead 45-43 with 17 draws. The match was again sponsored by Lloyds Bank as part of a £36,000 programme to develop chess in schools and universities. The Bank also sponsors the varsity second team and freshers matches, and the British Universities Team Championship.

Lloyds Bank best game trophies went to James Howell of Oxford and Graham Burgess of Cambridge; runners-up awards were presented to Peter Wells of Oxford and Sukh Dave Singh of Cambridge.


1 FM Peter Wells (21; 2400) St John's College, Southsea - Jesus (3rd year philosophy, politics and economics)
2 IM James Howell (19; 2380) Harrogate Grammar - Jesus (2nd year modern languages)
3 Neil Dickenson (22; 2245) Sevenoaks School - Hertford (3rd year modern history)
4 Martin Hazelton (19; 2230) RGS Newcastle - St. Anne's (1st year mathematics
5 Dr William Gnam (24; 2150) McGill University, Montreal - Balliol (2nd year philosophy, politics and economics)
6 Stephen Walker (22; 2032) Sutton Manor High - Oriel (3rd year mathematics)
7 Neil Crabb (19; 1905) King's Grammar, Grantham - St. Edmund Hall (2nd year experimental psychology)
8 Jane Sarah Riley (20; 1608) Gloucester Girls HS - St. Hugh's (2nd year jurisprudence)


1 David Watts (20; 2265) Harrow Weald 6th form College - Sidney Sussex (2nd year mathematics)
2 David Lawson (21; 2200) Glenalmond College, Perth - Trinity (3rd year medicine)
3 Sukh Dave Singh (19; 2176) Colchester RGS - Queens' (1st year medicine)
4 Andrew Harley (19; 2240) Simon Balle, Hertford - Selwyn (2nd year mathematics)
5 Robert Cannings (19; 2112) King Edward VII, Sheffield - Trinity (2nd year mathematics)
6 Graham Burgess (19; 2064) Hanham High, Bristol - Downing (1st year mathematics)
7 Mark Thornton (20; 2024) RGS Newcastle - Sidney Sussex (2nd year engineering)
8 Alison Franklin (19; 1568) Croydon High - Downing (1st year geography)

From the International Who's Who in Poetry 2004 By Europa Publications: LAWSON, David Douglas Alexander; b. 20 June 1965, London, England. Writer. Poet. Education: Trinity College, Glenalmond, Scotland, 1979; Trinity College, Cambridge, 1984-87. Trinity College, Oxford, 1987-90. Publications: Contributions: Haiku Hundred. Honours Powell Prize. Membership: School of Poets. Edinburgh Address: [...] Abernethy, Tayside, Scotland.

1987 Oxford University chess team
Winning Oxford team. Left to right: Jane Sarah Riley, Martin Hazelton, William H Gnam, James Howell, Neil Dickenson, Neil Crabb, Stephen Walker, Peter Wells (seated).

All material © 2017-2023 John Saunders, except photo (Lloyds Bank)

File Updated

Date Notes
2017 Original upload
18 July 2020 Added the game P.Wells-Watts, found in a contemporary Guardian column annotated by Leonard Barden.
23 January 2023 Cosmetic amendments
7 May 2023 Added the final moves of the board 7 game, Crabb 1-0 Thornton, found in BCM.