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Event: 67th Varsity Match • Venue: Stock Exchange Chess Club, Talbot Restaurant, London Wall • Date: 19 March 1949
Download PGNList of Varsity Matches • Back to 1948 • Forward to 1950 • last edited: Monday March 8, 2021 3:41 AM

The 67th Varsity Chess Match between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held at Stock Exchange Chess Club, Talbot Restaurant, London Wall (12 noon to 6pm) on 19 March 1949. Four game scores from this match are available (boards 1, 3, 6 and 7, though boards 1 and 7 are only part-games).

Bd Oxford University 1949 Cambridge University Opening, No. of Moves
1b Alan Fraser Truscott (Magdalen) 1-0 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity) King's Indian Def
2w Dennis Morton Horne (Oriel) 1-0 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House) French
3b John Edward Pike (Exeter) 0-1 Ernst Robert Reifenberg (Trinity) Two Knights' Def
4w Lionel Lewis (Merton) 1-0 George Spencer Brown (Trinity) Grunfeld
5b John Bradbury Sykes (Balliol) 1-0 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke) Ruy Lopez
6w John Anthony Wall (Balliol) 1-0 Roger John Tayler (Clare) King's Indian Def
7b Terence Colin Granville Jones (Wadham) 1-0 Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (Caius) King's Indian Def

Sources: Oxford-Cambridge Chess Matches (1873-1987), compiled by Jeremy Gaige, Philadelphia 1987; The Times, 21 March 1949; BCM, May 1949, p146; CHESS, May 1949, p186; London Chess Bulletin, Vo.1 No.8, 22 April 1949, etc.


Venue: Stock Exchange Chess Club, Talbot Restaurant, London Wall (12 noon to 6pm).

[The Times, 21 March 1949, p2] "UNIVERSITY CHESS - EASY WIN BY OXFORD - FROM OUR CHESS CORRESPONDENT - Oxford University played their annual match against Cambridge University on Saturday at the Stock Exchange Chess Club in London and routed their opponents by the striking score of 6-1. There was not a single draw, but three of the games were unfinished when time was called and were adjudicated by Sir George Thomas. On the first board Truscott chose a hazardous continuation of the King’s Indian Defence and might well have got into distinct trouble. But Swinnerton-Dyer overlooked the best move, came down to a drawn ending, and then misplayed it through a faulty desire to achieve a win. On the next board Horne always held the advantage against Verhoeff. In his play against the French Defence he rapidly built up a strong king side attack which led to the gain of several pawns. Reifenberg played a nice attacking game against Pike and won a piece in the middle game. This was adjudicated a win for him but the result was beyond any doubt long before the finish of play. The fourth and fifth boards, however, gave the adjudicator considerably more trouble. Lewis won a pawn in the middle game and came down to a difficult bishop and pawn ending which would have needed much care to win. A few weak moves towards the end by Brown sealed the fate of this game in Oxford’s favour. On the fifth board Barrett had the better of the opening against Sykes and had established what looked like a clearly won game. Both players were afflicted by time trouble and in the scramble that ensued Barrett lost the exchange. He obtained a passed pawn in return but this was not deemed sufficient compensation by the adjudicator. Tayler was no match at all for Wall, who won a bright little game in excellent style. Jones sacrificed the exchange against Moore to obtain a fierce attack. Moore repelled the attack, but soon afterwards contrived to get his queen trapped and could find nothing better than to surrender this piece in exchange for a knight. The results were:— [as above - no game scores]

[Manchester Guardian, 21 March 1949, p6] "OXFORD RETAINS CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP - Oxford defeated Cambridge by six games to one in the inter-university chess match which was played on Saturday. Having previously beaten London University by seven games to three, Oxford retains the championship of the Southern Universities' Association."

[BCM, May 1949, p146] "The University match ended in an easy win for Oxford. The games on boards 3, 4 and 5 were adjudicated by Sir George Thomas."

1949 Swinnerton-Dyer (white) v Truscott

The photo (above) of Swinnerton-Dyer (White) versus Truscott shows the position on the board, with Black to move, as follows:

So we can speculate the game began thus: 1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 c3 d6 4 g3 Nf6 5 Bg2 0-0 6 Ne2 e5 7 Qc2 Qe7 8 0-0...

1949 Varsity Match - Reifenberg v Pike
Ernst Reifenberg has White vs John Edward Pike. The player sitting next to
Reifenberg is George Spencer-Brown (ID confirmed by Leonard Barden, 2020)
(photo from the London Chess Bulletin, Vol.1, No.8, 22 April 1949 & also the Midland Chess Bulletin, Vol.1, No.11, 16 April 1949)

"A surprise collapse after the tea interval (when all looked fairly even) wrecked Cambridge's hopes this year in the inter-'varsity match" (CHESS, May 1949, p186)

[Midland Chess Bulletin, 2 Apr 1949] Oxford beat Cambridge - MIDLAND PLAYERS DO WELL IN 'VARSITY WEEK - This year's week commenced on March 14th, following the "warming-up" match reported in our last issue. Matches were played with a number of London clubs by the combined team which, during the week, had the assistance of a number of past "blues." A summary of the results shows that university chess is of very high standard, for the opposition was very strong in all the matches.

Monday March 14th: Metropolitan C.C. 10, Combined Universities 10

Bd Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1949.03.14 Metropolitan CC
1 Alan Fraser Truscott (Magdalen, Oxford) ½-½ David Miller
2 John Harwood (Queens', Cambridge) 0-1 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's, Cambridge)
3 John Edward Pike (Exeter, Oxford) ½-½ James Gilchrist
4 Ernst Robert Reifenberg (Trinity, Cambridge) 1-0 Abram Bernfield
5 W H Richards § 0-1 Arthur Henry Trott
6 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge) 1-0 M Shanson
7 Lionel Lewis (Merton, Oxford) 0-1 Jack Jean Moore
8 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke, Cambridge) 1-0 S Lathey
9 David Malet Armstrong (Exeter, Oxford) ½-½ John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's, Cambridge)
10 Rev. William Rawson Greenhalgh (Pembroke, Cambridge) ½-½ R P Rickard
11 William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke, Oxford) ½-½ R D Jackson
12 Roger John Tayler (Clare, Cambridge) 1-0 David le Brun Jones (Trinity, Oxford)
13 H R Douglas 0-1 Bernard Edward Glaze
14 Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (Caius, Cambridge) 0-1 J Goodfellow
15 Michael James Albery (Exeter, Oxford) 1-0 J Nottingham
16 John Rycroft Coward (Caius, Cambridge) ½-½ W Davidson
17 Taylor 0-1 J H Bennett
18 R W Payne ½-½ S C Hill
19 W L Howells 1-0 J F Tait
20 M A Jennings ½-½ T Breen
  Drawn 10-10 Venue: St Brides

§ I'm wondering if this is a slight typo for W E C Richards – William Edward Cole Richards (1907–14 April 1989) whom I believe was at Hertford College, Oxford, though he never appeared in a Varsity match. He worked at the Patent Office and represented them in the Civil Service League. He was also a member of the Harrow CC and played county chess for Surrey.

Tuesday March 15th: Hampstead C.C. 6, Combined Universities 13.

Bd Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1949.03.15 Hampstead CC
1 John W Cornforth (St Catherine's, Oxford) 1-0 Prof. David Bernard Scott (Magdalene, Cambridge)
2 Alan Fraser Truscott (Magdalen, Oxford) 1-0 David Brine Pritchard
3 Dr Hans Georg Artur Viktor Schenk (Exeter, Oxford) 1-0 Heinrich Fraenkel
4 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity, Cambridge) ½-½ Eileen Betsy Tranmer
5 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge) 1-0 J A Stewart
6 John Edward Pike (Exeter, Oxford) 0-1 Brian Reilly
7 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke, Cambridge) ½-½ Ervin Bernard Kraus
8 Ernst Robert Reifenberg (Trinity, Cambridge) ½-½ F Davy
9 John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's, Cambridge) 1-0 Edith Martha Holloway
10 Lionel Lewis (Merton, Oxford) 1-0 R C Somerville
11 John Anthony Wall (Balliol, Oxford) 1-0 Thomas Ivor Casswell (Pembroke, Oxford)
12 R W Payne 0-1 S T Harwich
13 H R Douglas 1-0 A G Lynch
14 Roger John Tayler (Clare, Cambridge) 0-1 H Hancock
15 Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (Caius, Cambridge) 0-1 H B Samuel
16 John Rycroft Coward (Caius, Cambridge) 1-0 G H Slater
17 W L Howells 1-0 George Bowen Quennell
18 W L Phillips 1-0 A Miodownik
19 M A Jennings ½-½ W B Stewart
  Won by Combined Universities 13-6  

Wednesday March 16th: West London C.C. 9, Combined Universities 11.

Bd Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1949.03.16 West London CC
1 Nicholas Anthony Perkins (St John's, Oxford) ½-½ Frederick Jackson Camm
2 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity, Cambridge) ½-½ Edward Guthlac Sergeant
3 Lionel Sharples Penrose (St John's, Cambridge) ½-½ F Fischer
4 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge) 0-1 M Sutherland
5 John Edward Pike (Exeter, Oxford) 1-0 A Grudniewicz
6 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke, Cambridge) 0-1 Anthony Rex Blagrove
7 Ernst Robert Reifenberg (Trinity, Cambridge) 1-0 A J Duke
8 Lionel Lewis (Merton, Oxford) ½-½ W Henderson
9 John Anthony Wall (Balliol, Oxford) 0-1 Mary Henniker-Heaton
10 R W Payne ½-½ S Roos
11 Roger John Tayler (Clare, Cambridge) ½-½ R J Mark
12 H R Douglas 1-0 F A Drey
13 Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (Caius, Cambridge) 1-0 C T Ley
14 William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke, Oxford) 1-0 D S Spratt
15 I V Helson 1-0 Rev. Kenneth Stuart Procter
16 John Rycroft Coward (Caius, Cambridge) 1-0 A C Hopkinson
17 W L Phillips 1-0 N A C-Poole
18 C Britton 0-1 Jean Craker
19 W L Howells 0-1 C R Rudolf
20 A Jochel 0-1 J Woolf
  Won by Combined Universities 11-9  

Thursday March 17th: Insurance C.C. 7½, Combined Universities 12½.

Bd Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1949.03.17 Insurance CC
1 James Macrae Aitken (Balliol, Oxford) 1-0 Douglas George Durham
2 Alan Fraser Truscott (Magdalen, Oxford) 1-0 Stephen Harding Crockett
3 Nicholas Anthony Perkins (St John's, Oxford) 1-0 Godfrey C Nurse
4 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity, Cambridge) ½-½ J Mason
5 John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's, Cambridge) 0-1 J Talbot
6 John Edward Pike (Exeter, Oxford) ½-½ L C Durham
7 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge) 0-1 (Richard) Nevil Coles
8 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke, Cambridge) ½-½ A Tooke
9 J Brown 0-1 Rodney E James
10 Ernst Robert Reifenberg (Trinity, Cambridge) 1-0 W K Murdoch
11 George Spencer Brown (Trinity, Cambridge) 1-0 F Leonard
12 John Bradbury Sykes (Balliol, Oxford) 0-1 H Hilton
13 H R Douglas 1-0 W Kingston
14 Michael James Albery (Exeter, Oxford) 1-0 C E Bourne
15 David le Brun Jones (Trinity, Oxford) 1-0 C F Ratcliff
16 John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's, Cambridge) 1-0 R W Williams
17 John Anthony Wall (Balliol, Oxford) 1-0 C J Leeder
18 W L Howells ½-½ C S Frost
19 Rev. William Rawson Greenhalgh (Pembroke, Cambridge) ½-½ S J Briggs
20 A Jochel 0-1 C H Wilmot
  Won by Combined Universities 12½-7½  

A curious position arose on Board No. 4 [of the Insurance vs Combined Universities match], where Swinnerton-Dyer, although a whole piece to the bad offered his opponent a draw. This was indignantly refused at first, but after a further study of the position White finally agreed.

White: Mason (Insurance, to play) Black: Swinnerton-Dyer (Combined Universities)


White's Bishop is quite powerless to do any useful work and his King has no point at which he can force an entry. The attempt by 1 g4, and if 1...hxg4+ 2 Kg3 g6 3 h5, or if 1...fxg4+ 2 Kg3 g6 3 f5, etc, is rendered quite valueless by the much stronger reply 1...g6! when the blockade remains complete.

Board 1 of the same match...

Friday March 18th: Civil Service 10½ Combined Universities 9½.

Bd Oxford and Cambridge Universities 1949.03.18 Civil Service
1 John W Cornforth (St Catherine's, Oxford) 1-0 Reginald J Broadbent
2 Nicholas Anthony Perkins (St John's, Oxford) 1-0 Edward Guthlac Sergeant
3 Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer (Trinity, Cambridge) 0-1 Dr Irving John Good (Jesus, Cambridge)
4 John Frederick Barrett (Pembroke, Cambridge) 1d Default
5 A Armstrong ½-½ Bernard Henry Newman Stronach
6 W Richards ½-½ David le Brun Jones (Trinity, Oxford)
7 Harry Frederick Moxon (Lincoln, Oxford) ½-½ D J Cooper
8 John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's, Cambridge) 0-1 Jeffrey Ansell
9 Abraham Verhoeff (Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge) 0-1 W H Law
10 J Brown 0-1 J Rowbotham
11 William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke, Oxford) 1-0 WJ Gillies
12 Michael James Albery (Exeter, Oxford) ½-½ R F Wright
13 John Bradbury Sykes (Balliol, Oxford) 0-1 S G Hill
14 K Matthews adjudicated Jean Craker
15 Terence Colin Granville Jones (Wadham, Oxford) 0-1 Edward Cecil Baker
16 H R Douglas 0-1 G Ashby
17 Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (Caius, Cambridge) 1-0 V H Norman
18 R W Payne 1-0 J G Buckle
19 N L Philip ½-½ L Stephens
20 M A Jennings 0-1 K Keeble
21 Roger John Tayler (Clare, Cambridge) 1-0 W R Joslin
  Won by Combined Universities 9½-10½  

In the last match there is one game remaining for adjudication.

THE INTER-VARSITY MATCH The Oxford and Cambridge teams lined up on the last day of the week for the annual battle of the Blues with Cambridge two matches ahead on the series (29-27 with 8 drawn) and determined to wipe out their heavy defeat of last year when they lost 5½-1½. Play was from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Talbot Restaurant, London Wall. The lists had a strong West Midland flavour, for on the Oxford side T. C. G. Jones (former Bishop Vesey G.S. and Sutton Coldfield player), Lionel Lewis (late K.E.H.S.), and J. Wall (Worcs. College for the Blind) were all among the chosen, whilst R. J. Tayler (Solihull School and Mutual C.C.) had won his way into the Cambridge team.

On the top board Swinnerton-Dyer had every chance of beating Truscott, who took some risks with the black pieces. Instead of consolidating he allowed Black too much counter-play and later threw away the draw by trying to play for a win without justification. Horne soon had Verhoeff in trouble and never gave him a chance to gain his second wind. At tea-time it still looked like proving a very close match, for Reifenberg, Barrett and Moore all had promising positions to counter-balance the expected losses of Verhoeff and Tayler, but then had a bad crack came. Brown threw away the draw after playing solidly for a long time. Barrett let his chance slip in time trouble and lost the exchange for a pawn, and Moore actually managed to lose from the following position:

White: Moore Black: Jones


Black played 22...h5 and the game continued: 23 Rfd1 Nf6 24 Re7 (Much sounder was 24 R7d33, threatening Qf4, and White would dominate the position) Qf3! (With threats of ...Bd4 and ...Ne4 which gives White plenty to worry about) 25 Re1 (25 Rf1 seems better) Ne4 26 Be3? (Completely overlooking the devastating reply) g5 and White could do nothing but give up his Queen. Who was it who said a game is never lost until it is won? In the end, with the adjudications going in Oxford's favour, Reifenberg was left the only Light Blue survivor. R. J. Tayler had had quite a successful week in the earlier matches, but he caught a tartar when he tried his luck against the Worcester player. [end]

[Illustrated London News, 7 May 1949, p30 - BH Wood commentary] Cambridge’s heavy loss this year was no reflection upon their President, Peter Swinnerton-Dyer, some of whose efforts for his players he confided to me a few weeks ago. The New Zealand master, R. G. Wade, was invited to coach them, and an unusually hard programme of matches against Essex, Suffolk, Warwickshire, Insurance and other associations was arranged to "toughen" them. Oxford had too many "big guns," however. A. F. Truscott and D. M. Horne, whilst in the Navy and Army respectively, developed to master-strength. Truscott reached the finals of the London Championship as long ago as 1945, and Horne nearly beat Dr. Euwe at Plymouth last year."

Biographical Information

John Edward Pike (26 September 1931, London - 23 April 2011 Shorewood, Michigan, USA) Medical doctor. "[Worked for the] Upjohn Company where he significantly contributed in the research of prostaglandins. He received his PhD. in chemistry from Exeter College at Oxford University. He achieved a master's level in chess ranking and won the 1976 American Open Chess Championship." (obituary notice) According to other sources (in particular this one) he was co-winner of the 1976 US Open with Walter Browne and Yasser Seirawan. Leonard Barden comments: "John Pike's victory with Browne and Seirawan was I think the American Open not the US Open. But the important point is that the three of them appeared on the front cover of Chess Life & Review in 1976/1977. I remember my first thought was 'what's John Pike doing there with these two big names?' The biog you link to says also that Pike shared a flat with Barden and Yanofsky. That is not quite correct. The address at 8 Abbey Road very near to Oxford station was discovered by Bill Bowen [Alfred William Bowen (1918-2021)] in 1938. Bowen played in the British Championship at Buxton 1950 and also at Felixstowe 1949." I've now found the magazine cover that Leonard referred to...

1976 cover of Chess Life and Review with John Pike, Yasser Seirawan and Walter Browne
Dr John Pike shares the front cover of Chess Life and Review with Yasser Seirawan and Walter Browne in January 1977,
having shared first place in the American Open with them in the previous November.

Chess Life & Review, February 1977, reported: "Here is one for the books. Our third top winner, Dr. John Pike, originally from England, was booked at the Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica, to attend a science convention. He saw the advertisement for the American Open to be held in the same hotel so he decided, since he was coming here anyway, to leave early and play in the
tournament. He not only entered it, and played in it, but came out one of the top winners. This is his first triumph in chess, never having placed high in tournaments back home in Kalamazoo." 12th American Open, Santa Monica CA, November 1976: 1-3 Yasser Seirawan (1st on tie-break), GM Walter Browne, Dr John Pike 7/8 ($833 each), 4-8 GM Anatoly Lein, GM Leonid Shamkovich, IM Peter Biyiasas, Nick de Firmian, Julius Loftsson 6½, etc.

Terence Colin Granville Jones (last two names sometimes shown hyphenated) (1924-?)

Lionel Lewis (1928–27 October 2020) Matriculated 1946. Made a donation to Merton College, Oxford, in 2004. Obituary published on the Birmingham & District Chess League website, 15 November 2020, written by his son John. Attended King Edward's School, Birmingham (which produced Hugh Alexander and Tony Miles) and learnt chess there during the war. After university, was a member of the City & Erdington Chess Club, and then Quinborne before joining Mutual Circle, of which he was a member for more than 40 years. Played in the 1949 Varsity chess match.

Henry Peter Francis Swinnerton-Dyer, or Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer (1927–2018). Wikipedia. Played in the 1946,1947,1948 and 1949 matches. Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Pure Mathematics, Cambridge University (Trinity and St Catherine's Colleges) (2004). Also an international bridge player. Son (born 2 viii 1927) of Sir Leonard Schroeder Swinnerton-Dyer (30 iii 1898 - 10 vi 1975), 15th bart., president of the British Chess Federation (1956-59)... "An occasional but welcome recruit to the top board for Shropshire was Sir Peter Swinnerton-Dyer (b.1927), the son of Sir Leonard Dyer. He has the distinction of being the only player to represent Shropshire who is mentioned in Modern Chess Openings (in the section on the rare Ponziani Opening). Sir Peter, 16th baronet and landowner of the Westhope Estate near Craven Arms, was later knighted for his outstanding contribution to Number Theory in his role as Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. Here he extricates himself from a bad opening against his well-known opponent and gains a pawn and then a piece when Black blunders in a bad position. In the early fifties Sir Peter gave up chess in favour of bridge. English Chess Forum discussion

Abraham Verhoeff (1925-2015) - Gaige has A___ Verhoeff (i.e. no full forename) but there was an Abraham Verhoeff who married Elisabeth J Verkerk in Cambridge in 1949 so I'm assuming that's him. Dutch Wikipedia has an academic of that name with the dates shown who specialised in Eng. Lit. so it seems very likely to be him.

Ernst Robert Reifenberg (28 Oct 1928, Berlin - 23 June 1964, Dolomites). [not to be confused with Leonard Richenberg/Reichenberg] Preferred to be called Peter. "He had from a very early age shown a remarkable talent for mathematics and chess—there is a story of him beating a surprised adult at chess on his way to Palestine at the age of five." (JC Shepherdson, Journal of the London Mathematical Society, 40 (1965) pps 370-377) Author of works on mathematics found on the web. German Wikipedia. Died as the result of a rock fall while rock-climbing in the Dolomites in 1964. left Germany for Czechoslovakia in 1933, then moved to Palestine later the same year, Tel Aviv 1934, Berlin in 1937, then UK from August 1938. Attended private school in London, then Bembridge School, Isle of Wight. Major scholarship in mathematics to Trinity, Cambridge, 1946. Prize Fellowship at Trinity in 1951. In 1952 he went to the University of California at Berkeley as a Commonwealth Fellow and in 1954, in the last year of his Trinity Fellowship, came to the University of Bristol as a lecturer. He spent the academic year 1959—1960 on leave of absence at Oregon State University. He was appointed Reader in Mathematics in the University of Bristol in 1961; he spent the summer of 1963 as a visitor at Brown University. "... main interests were in chess, bridge, mountaineering and motoring. He played chess for Cambridge against Oxford, but he began to feel that chess took too much of his time, and although he continued to play the occasional game for County teams his main game in recent years was bridge, which he played regularly and well. Mountaineering was his chief pleasure." (same source as above)

John Frederick Barrett - (dates? b 1928? - alive?). Played in the 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1954 matches. Went to Taunton's Grammar School, Southampton. Grade of 3a (=209-216) in the 1954 BCF Grading List. Worked on non-linear control systems in Engineering Dept at Cambridge (later at Southampton University). Leonard Barden comments: "Cambridge 1950, later Oxford, was fourth in the 1946 British Boys Championship behind John Fuller, Gordon Crown and myself." 1946 British Boys' Championship Final (Hastings, 12-17 April): 1 John A Fuller (Lenton, SCCU nominee) 5/5; 2 Gordon T Crown (Holt High School, Liverpool) 3½; 3 Leonard W Barden (Whitgift School) 3 (drew with Crown and Barrett); 4 John F Barrett (Taunton's School, Southampton) 2½; 5 E Houghton (Shipley) 1; 6 E A Goodman (Worcester RGS) 0.

Noel Ernest Ackroyd Moore (1928-2008) Under-Secretary, Management and Personnel Office (formerly Civil Service Department), 1975-86, and Principal of Civil Service College, 1981-86. Responsible for running the process leading to the decimalisation of the UK's currency in 1971. Played in the 1949 Varsity chess match. Wikipedia.

[BCM, May 1949, p147] Oxford Past vs Cambridge Past, St. Bride's Institute, London, 26 March 1949

Bd Oxford University Past 1949 Cambridge University Past Opening
1w Dr James Macrae Aitken (Balliol) ½-½ William Winter (Clare) French
2b Theodore Henry Tylor (Balliol) 0-1 P Stuart Milner-Barry (Trinity) Vienna Game
3w Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) ½-½ C Hugh O'D Alexander (King's) QP Old Indian
4b Alfred William Bowen (Oriel) ½-½ John Matthias Bee (St Catharine's) Sicilian
5w John W Cornforth (St Catherine's) 1-0 Eugene Ernest Colman (Trinity) English
6b William Ernest Baker Pryer (Pembroke) ½-½ Roland Hartnett (Downing) Ruy Lopez
7w Alfred Rupert Neale Cross (Worcester) 1-0 Lionel Sharples Penrose (St John's) King's Indian Def
8b George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (New) 0-1 John David Solomon (Downing) Sicilian
9w Graham Powell Britton (Jesus) ½-½ John Robert Gilbert (St Catharine's) Giuoco Piano
10b John Montgomerie (Corpus Christi) 1-0 Mervyn Edward Wise (Pembroke) Scotch Gambit
11w Dermot Michael Macgregor Morrah (New) 1-0 Eric Augustus Coad-Pryor (Trinity) QGD Slav
12b Napier Baliol-Scott (Christ Church) ** 0-1 John Dean (St Catharine's) QGD Semi-Slav

** BCM gives "D B Scott" which suggests David Bernard Scott (originally Schultz)... but for the fact that Scott/Schultz was at Cambridge! (He played for Cambridge in the 1936, 1937 and 1938 matches.) It was an editorial error for N.Baliol-Scott who was an Oxford man who also played in the 'Past' match. Another factor is that DB Scott was arguably too strong to have played below Morrah in the board order. The Times confirms this, giving the full name (though mispelt) "N. Balliol-Scott (Ch. Ch.)".

[The Times, 28 March 1949, p6] "CHESS - OXFORD WIN AFTER CLOSE STRUGGLE - FROM OUR CHESS CORRESPONDENT - Oxford University Past played their annual match against Cambridge University Past at St. Bride’s Institute, London, on Saturday [26 March 1949] and won, after a very close struggle, by 6½-5½. At one time it looked as though Oxford would win easily since they were leading with the score of 3½-½, but Cambridge fought back hard and eventually the decision rested on the unfinished game between Cross and Professor Penrose on board 7. This was adjudicated a win for Oxford, thus giving them the match. On board 1 Dr. Aitken obtained some pressure out of the opening against Winter but Black countered well in the middle game and the ending was clearly drawn. Milner-Barry won by an excellent King side attack on the second board, but was aided by a blunder on Tylor’s part towards the end of the game. On the next board early exchange of queens led to a certain draw. Of the other games the most interesting were those on boards 7 and 10. On board 7 Cross won his opponent’s queen for rook and bishop and played very cleverly to exploit this advantage. Board 10 was a wild game of fierce attacks and counter-attacks, with Black having the last word. Detailed results:— [as above] Oxford had White on the odd-numbered boards."

Alfred William Bowen - played in the 1937, 1938 and 1939 matches - further info

Richard Hilary Newman (Worcester) (1908-1992) - played in the 1928 and 1929 Varsity matches. Note: Both BCM and A Century of Chess have RA Newman (Worcester) though RH Newman (Worcester) played in 1929. Gaige's booklet has 'Richard Hilary Newman' for both. BCM obit: "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 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." (BCM, Oct 1992, p525). 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 RH Newman. Personal note (JS): I played Richard Hilary Newman in a correspondence game in the 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."

George Shorrock Ashcombe Wheatcroft (1905-1987). Played in the 1925 and 1926 matches. 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, and was an expert bridge player.

Graham Powell Britton (1913-1978). Played in the 1933, 1934, 1935 and 1936 matches. More biographical info here.

William Ernest Baker Pryer played in the 1921, 1922 and 1924 matches. William Ernest Baker Pryer (b 2 Feb 1902, Axminster Devon, d Apr qtr. 1993, Watford, Herts) 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.

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

Napier Baliol-Scott (25 December 1903 - ? September 1956). Played in the 1923, 1924 and 1925 matches. The Times obituary of 24 Sept 1956 referred to his death as "recent":"Mr N. Baliol Scott - Expert Organizer - Mr. N. Baliol Scott, who died recently at the age of 52 as the result of a road accident, had been an under-secretary at the Minister of Supply for the past four years or so first as Director of Organization and Methods and latterly in charge of the general division. Napier Baliol Scott was born on December 25, 1903, the edler son of Edward Baliol Scott, of the ancient family of Scott of Scot's Hall, Smeeth, Kent, which traces its descent from John de Baliol, founder of Balliol College, Oxford, and father of John Baliol, King of Scotland. He was educated at Westminster and was elected to an exhibition to Christ Church, Oxford, in 1922, where he graduated in 1926. He was an excellent chess player and represented Oxford against Cambridge in 1925..." Mentioned in the BCF Hon.Sec's report 1956, published in the 1956/57 BCF Yearbook (p16). Also in BCM, Oct 1956, p286: "We regret to report the death of the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Supply, Mr. Balliol Scott. He died on September 19th [1956] as a result of injuries received in collision with a motor vehicle on a pedestrian crossing. As President of the Ministry of Supply Chess Club he was greatly esteemed and his death has come as a great shock to those who knew him."

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."

Roland Hartnett. Played in the 1929 and 1930 matches. b 1908, d 1988. Occ. physics tutor (1939 census).

Eugene Ernest Colman. Played in the 1900 and 1901 matches. b 1878, d 1964. Wikipedia entry.

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).

John Dean (1917-1983). Played in the 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939 matches. Attended Wednesbury High School and played in the 1935 British Boys' Championship, finishing 3rd (BCM, June 1935, pps 272-275). Exhibition in Natural Sciences, 1st class degree. Became a paediatrician in Vancouver, British Columbia. MA MB BChir Cantab(1942) MRCP(1947) FRCP(1973) Full obit here.

John Robert Gilbert (1921 - 18 March 2011). Played in the 1946 and 1947 matches. "Gilbert (matr. 1940) [died] On 18 March 2011, John Robert Gilbert of Colwyn Bay, North Wales. John won a Scholarship to St Catharine’s from Epsom College, Surrey, and read Modern & Medieval Languages. His daughter Anne writes ‘My father was a keen chess player and, if any records of the chess club remain for the period he was at St Catharine’s, you may find his name there. He was called up during the war and served in the Intelligence Corps as a code breaker at Bletchley Park. He was a tax inspector his entire working life from 1947 to retirement in 1981.’ According to the College Magazine, he won the Naumann cup at the Metropolitan Chess Club in 1948." (St Catharine's Magazine, 2011, p91)

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].

Mervyn Edward Wise (1917-?). Played in the 1937, 1938 and 1939 matches. Academic, expert on the mathematics of medicine. (No death record found - may still be alive?)

File Updated

Date Notes
2019 Initial upload
29 February 2020 Added BH Wood comments from the ILN.
20 November 2020 Added biographical commentary supplied by Leonard Barden, for which many thanks.
All material © 2019 John Saunders