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John Saunders


BRITBASE - British Chess Game Archive

Event: 65th Varsity Match • Venue: West London CC • Date: 17 March 1947
List of Varsity Matches • Back to 1946 • Forward to 1948 • last edited: Tuesday March 23, 2021 6:40 PM

The 65th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at St Brides' Institute on 17 March 1947. No game scores from this match are available.

Bd Oxford University  1947 Cambridge University Openings
1b Leonard Judah Richenberg (Corpus Christi) 0-1 John Edward Richardson (Jesus) English
2w Dennis Morton Horne (Oriel) 1-0 Kenneth Preston Charlesworth (Emmanuel) Ruy Lopez
3b Clifford Leak (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Alan Phillips (Magdalene) KP Hungarian Def
4w John Edwin Jones (Hertford) 0-1 John Harwood (Queens') Dutch Def
5b Robin Charles Oliver Matthews (Corpus Christi) 0-1 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity) French
6w David le Brun Jones (Trinity) ½-½ John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's) QP Catalan
7b Richard Shermer Lankester (Jesus) 1-0 Francis Henry Charles Marriott (Emmanuel) QGA

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 18 March 1947; BCM, Jan 1949, p11 (nearly two years after the event!).


Venue: West London CC according to BCM but the Times refers to Lud-Eagle Chess Club as hosts, which would mean St Bride's Institute. A participant, David Jones, also commented in 2007 that St Bride's was the venue.

[The Times, 18 March 1947, p7] "UNIVERSITY CHESS - The Oxford and. Cambridge chess match was played yesterday at the Ludeagle Chess Club, London, and resulted in a draw of 3½ points each. The result was:— [as above] Cambridge had white on the odd numbered boards." [no more text - no game scores]

There was no report of this match in the Manchester Guardian.

[BCM, Feb 1947, p57] "A match, Oxford Past v. Cambridge Past, was played in London on 21 December 1946 at St Bride's.

Bd Oxford University Past  1946 Cambridge University Past
1 Dr James Macrae Aitken (Balliol) 1-0 William Winter (Clare)
2 Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol) 1-0 C Hugh O'D Alexander (King's)
3 Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) 0-1 P Stuart Milner-Barry (Trinity)
4 Dr Hans Georg Schenk (Exeter) 0-1 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's)
5 Reginald Walter Bonham (St Catherine's) 0-1 Leonard Illingworth (Trinity)
6 John Warcup Cornforth (St Catherine's) 1-0 John David Solomon (Downing)
7 George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (New) 1-0 Lionel Sharples Penrose (St John's)
8 William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke) 1-0 Ronald Grubb Stansfield (Clare)
9 Nicholas Anthony Perkins (St John's) 1-0 Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity)
10 Robert Douglas Wormald (Balliol) 1-0 Jacob Bronowski (Jesus)
11 Philip Walsingham Sergeant (Trinity) ½-½ Richard William Barnes Clarke (Clare)
12 Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) 1-0 default

[n.b. there were various typos in this table of results in BCM which I have resolved]

Richard Hilary Newman (22 September 1908 - 21 June 1992). Worcester College, Oxford. Varsity matches 1928, 1929. Note on name: both BCM and Sergeant have RA Newman (Worcester) though RH Newman (Worcester) played in 1929. Gaige has 'Richard Hilary Newman for both. Born Sowerby, Thirsk, Yorkshire (father Frank Herbert Newman was an educational adviser). By profession a chartered accountant, living in Guildford with parents in 1939. Educ. Dulwich College. Gerrans Scholar (German) Taylorian Institute. Oxf. 1928 (matric?) (Dulwich College Register). BCM, Oct 1992, p525: "R. H. Newman, born 1908, died at Charing Cross Hospital in June [1992]. Richard Hilary Newman played for Oxford in 1928/9, belonged to the Brixton club in the days when it vied with Hampstead in the London League, won the Army Championship in 1943 [rank of Captain - JS] and met all the leading English players from R. P. Mitchell (sic) to J. Penrose. He played in a dozen British Championships (5th in 1947) and defeated Tolush in the 1947 match against the USSR." Grade 3a (=209-216), BCF Grading List, 1954. Personal note (JS): I played RH Newman in a correspondence game in the Ward-Higgs Counties' Correspondence Championship in 1978/79. He resigned very prematurely! His resignation letter was as follows : "50 Kensington Mansions, London SW5, 31 January 1979: Many thanks for the game which you played admirably. 50 years ago I would not have played such an anti-positional move as 16.P-KB4, but I'd wrongly hoped to be able to get my K-side Ps forward. Since I now have to lose the e3 P I won't insult you by dragging out the game. Best Wishes, RH Newman." Cautionary note for chess researchers: there were two RH Newmans of roughly the same vintage. BCM, May 1984, p194: "R. H. Newman, President of the West of England Chess Union, died in mid-March." A different RH Newman - in Gaige's Chess Personalia, the 1984 obit index has an entry for 'Newman, Ralph (sic) H. - 1984, p194' whereas BCM gives no first name. Note: The BCF Yearbook 1981/2 lists the president of the WECU as 'R.H.T. Newman, Rock Lodge, Lynton, Devon' though earlier editions have him simply as R.H. Newman. Another RH Newman played for Cambridgeshire on a low board, circa 1978-1980, but probably of a younger vintage.

Hans Georg Artur Victor Schenk (6 April 1912 – 22 August 1979) - represented Oxford in the unofficial Varsity match of 1942. Leonard Barden comments (he sent this substantial contribution to me some time ago - apologies to him and readers for not posting them before now - JS): "Hans was lecturer in European History at Exeter College, Oxford. He dearly wanted to be a professor but it was never awarded. His 1966 book The Mind of the European Romantics can still be found online.

"Hans had lived in Prague pre-war and knew Salo Flohr, so when the USSR team came here in 1947 he made a trip to London hoping for a reunion chat. But this was the occasion when Levenfish met [Dr Paul M] List for the first time since Carlsbad 1911, their reunion was seen by the security man, and Levenfish was barred permanently from travel. Probably Flohr knew that, so he terminated the reunion with Hans after a couple of minutes.

"Hans was Oxfordshire champion in 1948 and played in the Hastings Premier Reserves Major along with Horne, DB Scott and myself in 1948-9. He played on a high board in Oxfordshire's teams which won the inter-county title in 1951 and 1952. He was the university club President and took an active and friendly interest in my own career.  A charming man. When I failed Latin in my second term and was threatened with expulsion, his wife* gave me cramming during the summer so that I passed. I don't remember exactly when he died [JS note - Schenk, whose date of birth appears in the 1939 census as 6 April 1912, died on 22 August 1979] but it was on a trip to France in the 1970s when they were having an al fresco lunch and Hans suddenly complained of a headache and died within a few minutes. So I'm not sure if the death record would be here or in France. They lived in North Oxford so there should be a census record." (* Leonard thought Schenk's wife was called Hilda or Hazell but marriage records show she was called Joyce Marjorie Hazell - she married Schenk in Brentford in 1944. Joyce died in 2007, aged 88. Hans Schenk's 1939 address was 86C Banbury Road, Oxford. At the time of his death his address was 4 Capel Close, Summertown, Oxford.)

Reginald Walter Bonham (31 January 1906 - 16 March 1984). St Catherine's College, Oxford. Varsity matches 1927, 1928, 1929. Taught Braille and Mathematics at the Worcester College for the Blind, now known as RNIB, Worcester, which he had attended himself. Blind chess player known for his achievements in both blind and sighted chess. Founded the International Braille Chess Association in 1951. Won the Blind World Chess Championship in 1958 and the Correspondence Blind World Championship in 1957, 1959, 1961, 1964 (jointly) and 1966. On the 1954 BCF Grading List was graded 3b (= 201-208). Took part in five British Championships: 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1955. Wikipedia. See also Ray Collett's website.

George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (29 October 1905 - 2 December 1987). New College, Oxford. Varsity 1925, 1926. University law professor, expert on taxation. Professor of English Law, LSE (1959-68). Represented England at the Stockholm Chess Olympiad of 1937, served as president of the British Chess Federation (1953-56), and was an expert bridge player. Leonard Barden comments: "I always understood that he was the man who originated VAT." Indeed so - Wheatcroft's biography at the LSE website tells us that Wheatcroft was a "Professor of Law at the School from 1959-1968 and from 1971 to 1972 was the official advisor to the Customs and Excise on the introduction of VAT." His son Timothy Martin Wheatcroft (25 January 1934 – 13 June 1987) was also a chess player who played in the 1963 British Championship in 1963, scoring 5½ out of 11. Wikipedia.

William Ernest Baker Pryer (3 Feb 1902 - 26 April 1993). Pembroke College, Oxford. Varsity matches 1921, 1922, 1924. Born Axminster, Devon, died Watford, Middx. Listed as a Watford player, graded 188 on the 1969 BCF Grading List. Still playing in 1975. Was 3b (201-208) on the 1956 Grading List (Hertfordshire). No obit in BCM. Schoolmaster, teaching history at Elizabeth School, Guernsey, 1924/25.

Robert Douglas Wormald (1900-64). Did not play in a Varsity match. Assistant master, Manchester Grammar School, 1921; Classics master, Monmouth Grammar School, 1922-26; Classics master at Worcester Royal Grammar School from 1927 to the 1960s. High board for Worcestershire, president and captain of the county and Worcester Evening News chess columnist for ten years. Co-authored, with Reginald Walter Bonham (also playing for this team), Chess Questions Answered (1945) and More Chess Questions Answered (1948), both published by Jordan & Sons, London. (BCM obit, October 1964, p300)

Philip Walsingham Sergeant (1872-1952) Played in the 1892, 1893, 1894 and 1895 matches. Wikipedia. Writer on chess and popular historical subjects. Second cousin of British chess player Edward Guthlac Sergeant. Wrote A Century of British Chess (Hutchinson & Co, 1934), which was an extremely useful reference work in the creation of this website, with lists of British Championship crosstables and Varsity match results, etc.


Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (1896-1974), writer and expert on royalty and ceremony, genealogist. Obit. Represented Oxford in the Varsity match of 1920.

James Matthias Bee. Played in the 1908, 1909 and 1910 matches. John Matthias Bee, died at the age of 90 [1978/9?]. "For many years he was Match Captain and President of the Metropolitan CC and played for Cambridge University before the First World War. In the 1924-25 City of London CC Championship he finished 7-9 eq with F F L Alexander and V Buerger. In 1945 he played a leading part in re-opening the Met. C C in which he remained active until 1968." (BCM, March 1979, p120). Set chess problems in the Boy's Own Paper (1950s). Leonard Barden comments: "He was my predecessor as chess editor of the Evening Standard. It was barely a column, just a two-move problem with solutions and no other commentary and appeared anonymously, which is why I thought it must be some hack in the office. So I wrote to the Features Editor offering a better column with chess news, games, and game positions as well as problems. This was accepted, although the FE pulled a face when I stated my proposed fee which was quite modest but apparently several times more than Bee received. I still didn't know who I had replaced until some months later at a party I told somebody the story and that person, who knew Bee, claimed that Bee was broken-hearted by being sacked and that I was some kind of monster."

Leonard Illingworth. Played in the 1907 and 1908 matches. [BCM, Sept 1954, p289] Leonard Illingworth, musician, linguist, bee-keeper, and chess-player, died in hospital at Cambridge, aged seventy-two, on July 22nd [1954], after a long illness. He was a Yorkshire man, born at Bradford. His musical studies resulted in an open scholarship at the Royal College of Music. Later he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, and took his degree in modern languages. He played on Board 1 against Oxford in 1907 and 1908, drawing against H. J. Rose and N. J. Roughton. He was a regular competitor at chess congresses, appearing once in the British Championship, and on one occasion winning his section of the Major Open. He had been President of the Cambridgeshire County Chess Association, of the Cambridge Chess League, and of the Deaf Chess Club. He did much to spread a knowledge of chess among the deaf and dumb and among the young. In 1922 he settled at Foxton, a village near Cambridge, and started and developed a large apiary. He became Secretary of the Apis Club, and attended bee-keepers' congresses abroad. A keen churchman, he was for many years churchwarden of Foxton parish, and at times emergency organist. R.I.P. - B. G[oulding]. B[rown]. To the foregoing tribute, may we add a few words on Mr. Illingworth's services to correspondence chess. As a correspondence player he was in the first flight, as past victories in the B.C.C.A. Championship will testify. But he was also that rara avis who put back into the game much of what he took out. An active President of the British Correspondence Chess Championship for nine years, he also acted as Best Games Secretary; his services were also in constant demand as an adjudicator. Yet it was in a unique way that he left his mark, for on his own initiative he devised a correspondence course of instruction in chess. Pupils were also encouraged to send in their games for annotation and those who have experience in annotating games for weaker players will know the amount of work involved. From his work in this connection the Association profited by entry fees; the pupils profited by gaining an insight into the theory of the game; and we feel sure the instructor profited by the knowledge that he was helping others the better to enjoy and appreciate the game he loved so well himself. - S. S[edgwick]

John David Solomon. Did not play in a Varsity match. Member of Hampstead CC and very active as a player with some extant games. Born in 1906 and died in 1998. According to the 1939 census, he was resident in Hampstead and a music student / research geologist. Referred to in BCM (Jan 1943) as representing the Musicians' Union. Taught Geography at Wandsworth School. [Richard James commented at the Streatham & Brixton blog, 2015] "... played for Richmond. Rejoined Richmond & Twickenham CC briefly possibly late 70s/early 80s. Also a strong bridge player." In the 1954 BCF Grading List listed as affiliated to Battersea CC and graded 3b (201-208).

Ronald Grubb Stansfield (1915-1993). Played in the 1935, 1936 and 1937 matches. [Gaige has Robert Grubb Stansfield for the 1935 and 1936 matches but this seems to be an error.] Born 17 September 1915 (Southampton), died 25 December 1993 (Canterbury, Kent, England) Was at King Edward VI's School, Southampton (BCM, June 1933, p244). Played in the 1933 British Boys' Championship. Ronald Grubb Stansfield (b. 1915), sociologist, was the only child of the physicist Herbert Stansfield (1872-1960) and his wife Edith Grubb. He matriculated at Clare College, Cambridge, in 1933, and was awarded his B.A. in 1936, and M.A. in 1940. Stansfield was educated at Clare College Cambridge and undertook particle physics research at the Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge. During the war he became a Member of the Operational Research Section of Fighter Command. After the war he went to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) later moving to City University as Reader in Industrial Sociology. In addition to being a founder member of the Ergonomics Society he was actively involved with numerous societies concerned with anthropology, history of science, operational research, physics, psychology (BPS), sociology and the British Association. [Various sources online]

Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (1890-1958). Played in the 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914 matches. Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor, b 1890 (Dorchester), d 1958 as a result of a road accident. [BCM, Dec 1958, p325] "The tragic death of Mr. Coad-Pryor, as the result of a road accident near his home in Beckenham, means an irreparable loss to the chess life of this country, and a brief outline of his career will be of interest to our readers. Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor was born at Dorchester in 1890. He was educated at Haileybury and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with honours in the Natural Science Tripos. Leaving the university, he entered the metallurgical department of the National Physical Laboratory. In 1921 he became director of the research laboratories of the United Glass Bottle Manufacturers, and in this capacity served on a number of national and international technical committees. In 1931 he was invited to join the John Lewis Partnership, with which he had remained ever since, being, in the end, the Assistant Chief Inspector. His accomplishments were varied and many: in photography he was outstandingly skilful; he was an enthusiastic member of more than one dramatic society; he was a Kent county tennis player, and as a musician he was an excellent pianist. Chess was a dominant interest in his life. He played in the universities' match, and amongst much else was a vice-President of the Kent County C.A., and one-time Champion, a vice-President of the British Chess Federation, where, in particular, his liaison work in connection with the National Chess Centre will be sadly missed; and a vice-President of the London Commercial Chess League. In his later life, he had given great encouragement to junior players: he was Deputy President of the Chess Education Society and had shown much practical interest in its work for many years. Above all, there remains the abiding impression of a personality of great charm, quiet but decisive in his deliberations on committee, and always showing outstanding zest and loyalty in work, in play, and in companionship. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife and daughters. - D. J. M[organ].

Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974). Played in the 1931 match. Polish-born British mathematician and historian. Best known as the presenter and writer of the 13-part 1973 BBC television documentary series, and accompanying book, The Ascent of Man. Wikipedia. Strong player and widely-published problemist. Long obituary in BCM (Dec 1974, pps441-443) by Harry Golmbek. Excerpts: "His gifts were too many and various for him to have become a great chess-player since a sole dedication is necessary for that; but he certainly was a good player and I have recently come across the table of a tournament in which he played at Cambridge University in the late 1920's and in which he was first without losing a game, ahead of, amongst others, the late C.H.O'D.Alexander. By a series of odd coincidences, he and I met each other on numerous occasions so that in fact my acquaintance with Bronowski extended for some 50 years... After the war, when he joined the Coal Board and came to live in Chalfont St.Giles, I met him quite often since the Board had a college in the vicinity. He became a subscriber to the 'B.C.M.' of which he was a fervent supporter and, many years later, when I had to give up the Games Editorship through over-work, he wrote a most kind letter to me saying that I had the satisfaction of having written much that would endure. I did not believe this but it was nice of him to say so. By then he was in America but still maintaining a keen interest in English chess. He wrote to me another nice note congratulating me on receiving the O.B.E. for my services to chess and we still met on occasion when he made return visits to England. The last time I saw him was in London this year just a month before he died."

File Updated

Date Notes
2018 Original Upload
20 November 2020 Added commentary sent me by Leonard Barden, for which many thanks.
All material © 2019 John Saunders