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John Saunders


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Tournament: 142nd Varsity Match • Venue: RAC, Pall Mall, London • Date: 2 March 2024
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 2023 • Forward to 2025 • edited Wednesday March 6, 2024 9:02 AM

John Saunders reports: The 142nd Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at the Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall, London on 2 March 2024. The match sponsors were the Royal Automobile Club. The chief match arbiter was Matthew Carr, assisted by Shohreh Bayat. Oxford won the toss and chose White on the odd boards. The time control was 110 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 50 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 10-second increment from move one.

2023«     2024 Varsity Chess Match     »2025
Bd Oxford University Rating Fed 2024 Cambridge University Rating Fed
1w Tom O'Gorman (Hertford, captain) 2321f IRL 1-0 Koby Kalavannan (St Catharine's, captain) 2324f ENG
2b Emil Powierski (Merton) 2288 GER ½-½ Freddie Hand (Trinity) 2190 ENG
3w Ashvin Sivakumar (Harris Manchester) 2182f SIN 1-0 Jan Petr (Trinity) 2282f CZE
4b Daniel G H Gallagher (Somerville) 2219 ENG 1-0 Johann Williams (Corpus Christi) 2038 SUI
5w Max French (Wadham) 2226 ENG ½-½ Ranesh Ratnesan (Jesus) 2138c ENG
6b Dominic Miller (Somerville) 2086 ENG ½-½ Remy Rushbrooke (Clare) 2085 ENG
7w Jem Gurner (Magdalen) 1968c JCI 0-1 Cameron Goh (Emmanuel) 1972 SGP
8b Imogen A L Camp (Somerville) 1896wc WLS ½-½ Arushi Ramaiya (Jesus) 1777 ENG
  Av. Rating 2148.25     5-3 Av. Rating 2100.75    

Reserves: Connor Clarke (Hertford College, Oxford, rating 1963), Ilya Misyura (Trinity College, Cambridge, rating 1868)

Link to results on chess-results.com

Cambridge team (left to right): Cameron Goh, Ilya Misyura (reserve), Johann Williams, Jan Petr,
Koby Kalavannan (captain), Remy Rushbrooke, Arushi Ramaiya, Ranesh Ratnesan, Freddie Hand
(move the mouse pointer over a face to identify players)

Oxford team
Oxford team (left to right): (not known), Jem Gurner, Daniel Gallagher, Ashvin Sivakumar,
Tom O'Gorman (captain), Emil Powierski, Max French, Dominic Miller, Imogen Camp, Connor Clarke (reserve)
(move the mouse pointer over a face to identify players)

RAC venue
The playing room prior to the start
playing room
Another view of the playing hall

First result at 4.05pm: a draw on board six. Looking round the room it looks like Oxford are generally in the ascendant, with a score line of 5-3 being the likeliest outcome as things stand.

5.00pm and Oxford deliver two hammer blows to Cambridge's chances, winning boards 1 and 3 to make the score 2½-½. Can Cambridge fight back?

5.20pm and two more solid draws make the score 3½-1½ in favour of Oxford. Looking at the remaining three games, it's not too early to call it in favour of the Dark Blues. All over bar the shouting, I would say...

... but what's this? Oof! The Cambridge board seven has just played a crunching move and now (5.40pm) looks certain to win. Oxford still have solid positions in the other two games but when the deficit comes down to one point, they might get nervous.

5.45pm: the Cambridge board seven secures the win while the Oxford board five gets a draw, so the score is now 4-3 in favour of Oxford. They need a draw from the remaining game to upgrade from a drawn match (like last year) to a win, and thus close the gap between the two teams over 142 matches to just one match win.

There was one notable individual achievement: Tom O'Gorman's win was his fourth out of four Varsity match games, equalling the record percentage score over the most games in these matches. Uniquely, his four wins have all been on the top board (and all with White). It is the first time that 4/4 has been achieved in the 21st century, having been done twice in the 20th century and three times in the 19th century.

6pm and Oxford clinch the full point to make the score 5-3 as predicted some hours previously. Well done, the Dark Blues, commiserations, Light Blues.

File Updated

Date Notes
2 March 2024 Photos and crosstable - results and games to go in later.
4 March 2024 Some updates - identification of players in team photos, etc.