Oxford University Chess Club

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Oxford University Chess Club
Oucc logo.JPG
Formation 1869
Location
Website http://users.ox.ac.uk/~chess/

The Oxford University Chess Club (OUCC) was founded at the University of Oxford in 1869[1][2] and is the oldest university chess club in the United Kingdom.[2][3][4] The Club meets each Tuesday evening during University term time. They field two teams in the Oxfordshire Chess League.[4]

Foundation[edit]

On the day of the foundation of OUCC, the minutes book recorded:[5]

April 30th, [1869] – This day is memorable as being the date of the foundation of the Club, which was started under the auspices of the Reverend C. E. Ranken, of Wadham College, who was chosen as the first President. E. F. Linton, University, was elected Treasurer, and W. Braithwaite, Wadham, Secretary. A code of rules was drawn up, and the Club, having received its constitution, entered upon what we trust will prove to be a long and glorious career. No less than one hundred and three names were entered upon the first list of members. Amongst others were those of Lord Randolph Churchill, Merton, E. Anthony, Christ Church ("one of the best pupils Steinitz turned out"), E.W.B. Nicholson, Trinity, the present Bodleian Librarian, Lord Garvagh, Canon Grey, Christ Church &c., &c. The meetings were held weekly on Wednesdays, and the early members appear to have been more desirous of playing one another than of engaging in foreign matches.

Prince Leopold, later Duke of Albany (1853–1884) (and son of Queen Victoria) was President of OUCC in 1875.

Varsity match[edit]

The annual Varsity Match against Cambridge University was originally suggested by Howard Staunton in 1853.[1] It has been held annually since 1873[6][7] and is the oldest fixture on the chess calendar.[8] Edwin Anthony, then President of the Club, and Wilhelm Steinitz were responsible for establishing the match.[9]

With a twenty-year perspective on the matches, Henry Bird wrote that the greatest of the matches were the first two, held in 1873 and 1874 at the City of London Chess Club, City Restaurant (Perrott's), 34 Milk-street, Cheapside.[10] The first match was said to have had 600 to 800 spectators and the second no fewer than 700, thought to be record attendance at any chess tournament up to that time. Each team consisted of seven players, and sand glasses were used to time some of the games at the limit of 20 moves per hour. Oxford won the first year, and Cambridge the second.

The 1874 match was attended by nearly every London chess luminary of the time, including Howard Staunton, Wilhelm Steinitz (officiated as an umpire), Johann Löwenthal, Bernhard Horwitz, Johannes Zukertort, Henry Bird, Joseph Henry Blackburne, Cecil Valentine De Vere, George Alcock MacDonnell, Samuel Boden, Patrick Thomas Duffy, Adolf Zytogorski, John Wisker, and others. In addition to the university match the event included two exhibitions. Zukertort played six blindfold games (+2−1=3) and Blackburne played a seven-board simultaneous exhibition with fresh opponents starting on the boards as the games finished for a total of 20 games (+17−3=0).[11]

Oxford won the 2011 match, the 129th official contest, 4.5-3.5 to bring the overall score to Cambridge 66 Oxford 63.

Other events[edit]

  • On 2 December 1944 a famous 12-board match took place between OUCC and Bletchley Chess Club whose members consisted of the Bletchley Park code-breakers. Bletchley won 8-4 with C.H.O’D. Alexander and Harry Golombek on boards 1 and 2.[12]
  • On 15 February 2004 OUCC beat Wales 6-2.
  • OUCC 1sts won the 2004-05 Oxfordshire Chess League and David Shaw, top board, was awarded the prize for best player with a remarkable 9/10.[13]
  • OUCC 2nds won the 2006-07 Oxfordshire Chess League.[14]
  • On 18 February 2012 OUCC won the 2nds varsity match against Cambridge 5.5-4.5.

Notable games[edit]

In 1978 a memorable upset occurred when IM Michael Basman beat Oxford postgraduate GM John Nunn with the Grob, helping to establish this off-beat approach as a viable opening.[15][16]

Michael Basman vs. John Nunn, Oxford, 1978

1. g4 d5 2. h3 e5 3. d3 Bd6 4. c4 c6 5. Nc3 Ne7 6. Nf3 h5 7. gxh5 Rxh5 8. Bd2 a6 9. e4 dxc4 10. dxc4 Nd7 11. Ng5 Nf6 12. Qf3 Ng6 13. O-O-O Qe7 14. Kb1 Nf4 15. Rg1 Kf8 16. Ne2 Ne6 17. Nxe6+ Bxe6 18. Ng3 Rh8 19. Bg5 Rd8 20. Be2 Rxh3 21. Qg2 Bc7 22. Nh5 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 Rxh5 24. Bxh5 Qb4 25. Be2 Bxc4 26. Bxc4 Qxc4 27. Bxf6 gxf6 28. Qg4 Qe6 29. Qxe6 fxe6 30. Rd7 1-0

Notable members and officers[edit]

Notable members[edit]

Officers[edit]

President[edit]

First president of the club was founder Rev. Charles E. Ranken. At his peak, he was the 24th best player in the world[17] - a grandmaster by today's standards. The office, which was at first terminal, has been annual since 1884.[18]

Name College Served from Reference
Charles Ranken Wadham 30 April 1869 [19]
E. Anthony Christ Church 23 March 1870 [19]
E.W.B. Nicholson Trinity 9 December 1870 [19]
C.T. Wild Christ Church 6 March 1871 [19]
R.D.H. Gray Brasenose 5 December 1871 [19]
W.E. Foster University 12 March 1872 [19]
Falconer Madan Brasenose 4 June 1872 [19]
B. Whitefoord New 4 December 1872 [19]
J.S. Sinclair Oriel 12 March 1873 [19]
S.R. Meredith Brasenose 27 May 1873 [19]
Walter Parratt Magdalen 3 December 1873 [19]
Prince Leopold Christ Church 18 March 1874 [19]
Horace Plunkett University December 1875 [19]
C. Tracey Lincoln 26 October 1876 [19]
W. Grundy Worcester 14 March 1877 [19]
R.A. Germaine Brasenose December 1877 [19]
F.M. Wright Queen's 1 November 1878 [19]
Walter Montague Gattie Christ Church 5 December 1878 [19]
E.H. Kinder Brasenose 20 March 1879 [19]
C. Taylor Christ Church 1 December 1879 [19]
B.R.V. Mills Christ Church 5 March 1880 [19]
J.F. Welsh Christ Church 26 October 1880 [19]
C.A. Darley Christ Church 18 March 1881 [19]
T.A. Wise Lincoln 17 June 1881 [19]
W.N.P. Beebe Trinity 17 March 1882 [19]
G.E. Wainwright University 9 June 1882 [19]
C.C. Lynam Hertford Summer 1883 [18]
James Manders Walker Wadham Michaelmas 1883 [18]
H. Seward Balliol Midsummer 1884 [18]
C.D. Locock University Michaelmas 1884 [18]
Richard Barnett Wadham Michaelmas 1885 [20]
F.G. Newbolt Balliol Hilary 1887 [20]
W. Storey Christ Church October 1887 [20]
A.G.G. Ross New Michaelmas 1888 [20]
W.M. Le Patourel Balliol October 1889 [20]
J.F. Ure Christ Church October 1890 [20]
F.E. Jelly Magdalen October 1891 [20]
...
Harold Davidson Exeter Michaelmas 1900 [20]
...
G. Davies  ? Michaelmas 1909 [20]
...
Neil Crabb St Edmund Hall Trinity 1987
Mark Addis Mansfield Trinity 1988
Paul Muhkerjee Lady Margaret Hall Trinity 1989
Martin Hazelton St Anne's Trinity 1990
Mark Nightall Brasenose Trinity 1991
...
Matthew Piper Wadham 1993
Michael Gough New Trinity 1994
Shashi Jayakumar St Hugh's Trinity 1995
Maxim Devereaux Brasenose Trinity 1996
Ben Savage Lady Margaret Hall Trinity 1997
Emily Howard Lincoln Trinity 1998
Kieran Smallbone New Trinity 1999
Chris Dunsmore Lincoln Trinity 2000
Jon Smith Queen's Trinity 2001 [21]
Richard Palliser Worcester Trinity 2002 [22]
Chris Duggan University Trinity 2003 [23]
David Shaw Worcester Trinity 2004
Hervé Hansen Queen's Trinity 2005 [24]
Marco Zhang St Hugh's Trinity 2006 [25]
Mike Healey University Trinity 2007
Yi Ming Lai Exeter Trinity 2008
Eoin Devane Merton Trinity 2009
Stephen Belding St John's Trinity 2010
Erik Thörnblad St Hugh's Trinity 2011
David Hewitt St Edmund Hall Trinity 2012
Sam Bentham Christ Church Trinity 2013
Robert Collopy New College Trinity 2014
Sean Lim St Hilda's College Trinity 2015

Treasurer[edit]

Name College Served from Reference
E.F. Linton University 30 April 1869 [19]
E.L. Holland University 8 February 1870 [19]
Rev. C. Rodwell Trinity 23 March 1870 [19]
R.D.H. Gray Brasenose 9 December 1870 [19]
T.C.V. Bastow Trinity 5 June 1871 [19]
Falconer Madan Brasenose 12 March 1872 [19]
E. Petit Jelf Christ Church 4 June 1872 [19]
J.S. Leadam Brasenose 12 March 1873 [19]
F.H. Woods Jesus 3 May 1873 [19]
A.R.C. Connell Trinity 16 December 1874 [19]
S.R. Meredith Brasenose 14 April 1875 [19]
W.P. Emerton Christ Church December 1875 [19]
R.A. Germaine Brasenose 26 October 1876 [19]
E.J. Crosse Exeter 4 December 1876 [19]
W.M. Gattie Christ Church 6 June 1877 [19]
F.M. Wright Queen's 18 March 1878 [19]
E.H. Kinder Brasenose 1 November 1878 [19]
C. Taylor Christ Church 20 March 1879 [19]
B.R.V. Mills Christ Church 1 December 1879 [19]
J.F. Welsh Christ Church 5 March 1880 [19]
C.A. Darley Christ Church 26 October 1880 [19]
C.C. Lynam Hertford 18 March 1881 [19]
W.N.P. Beebe Trinity 17 June 1881 [19]
T.A. Wise Lincoln 17 March 1882 [19]
James Manders Walker Wadham Lent 1883 [18]
S. Weall St. John's Michaelmas 1883 [18]
F. Tracey Exeter Lent 1884 [18]
C.D. Locock University Midsummer 1884 [18]
James Manders Walker Wadham Lent 1885 [18]
F.G. Newbolt Balliol Winter 1885 [20]
S.J. Buchanan New Lent 1886 [20]
F.G. Newbolt Balliol Michaelmas 1886 [20]
W. Stoney Christ Church Hilary 1887 [20]
A.G.G. Ross New October 1887 [20]
W.M. Le Patourel Balliol Michaelmas 1888 [20]
Frank Edward Jelly Magdalen October 1889 [20]
R.G. Grimley Balliol October 1890 [20]
G.G. Lynam St. Catherine's October 1891 [20]
...
T.A. Staynes Brasenose Michaelmas 1920 [20]
...
Ian Webster St. Anne's Trinity 2001 [21][22]
Simon Breen Trinity Trinity 2003 [23]
Ed Stembridge Balliol Trinity 2004
Ed Stembridge Balliol Trinity 2005 [24]
Alexander Dutton Keble Trinity 2006 [25]
Ed Stembridge Balliol Trinity 2007
Zubin Siganporia St Catherine's Trinity 2008
Kevin Henbest (Unattached) Trinity 2009
Matthew Wills Trinity Trinity 2010
Samuel Woolacott Queen's Trinity 2011
Erik Thörnblad St Hugh's Trinity 2012
Sean Lim St Hilda's Trinity 2013

Secretary[edit]

Name College Served from Reference
W. Braithwaite Wadham 30 April 1869 [19]
W.H. Fisher Exeter 20 October 1869 [19]
E. Morgan Lincoln 8 February 1870 [19]
E.W.B. Nicholson Trinity 23 March 1870 [19]
T. Constable Magdalen 9 December 1870 [19]
J.T. Dodd Christ Church 6 March 1871 [19]
J.A. Curling St. Alban's 5 June 1871 [19]
Falconer Madan Brasenose 5 December 1871 [19]
E. Petit Jelf Christ Church 12 March 1872 [19]
J.S. Sinclair Oriel 4 June 1872 [19]
S.R. Meredith Brasenose 4 December 1872 [19]
A.E.P. Gray Brasenose 12 March 1873 [19]
F.H. Woods Jesus 28 May 1873 [19]
A.R.C. Connell Trinity 3 December 1873 [19]
Horace Plunkett University 4 June 1874 [19]
W. Parratt Magdalen 16 December 1874 [19]
A.F. Leupolt Brasenose December 1875 [19]
C.L. Brook Trinity 15 October 1876 [19]
W.M. Gattie Christ Church 4 December 1876 [19]
R.M. Latham Exeter 6 June 1877 [19]
F.M. Wright Queen's 8 February 1878 [19]
A.S. Perceval Trinity 18 March 1878 [19]
C. Taylor Christ Church 1 November 1878 [19]
B.R.V. Mills Christ Church 20 March 1879 [19]
C. Scott-Malden Trinity 1 December 1879 [19]
C.A. Darley Christ Church 8 March 1880 [19]
T.A. Wise Lincoln 26 October 1880 [19]
W.N.P. Beebe Trinity 18 March 1881 [19]
G.E. Wainwright University 17 June 1881 [19]
J. Moultrie New 17 March 1882 [19]
James Manders Walker Wadham 21 April 1882 [19]
S. Weall St. John's Lent 1883 [18]
S.H. Nash Balliol Summer 1883 [18]
C.D. Locock University Michaelmas 1883 [18]
W.A. Shearer Exeter Midsummer 1884 [18]
Richard Barnett Wadham Lent 1885 [18]
S.J. Buchanan New Winter 1885 [20]
A. Rutherford Brasenose Lent 1886 [20]
S.J. Buchanan New Michaelmas 1886 [20]
A.G.G. Ross New Hilary 1887 [20]
F. Tillyard Balliol October 1887 [20]
E.B. Osborne Magdalen Michaelmas 1888 [20]
L.C. Crump Balliol October 1889 [20]
F.E. Jelly Magdalen October 1890 [20]
A.B. Hinds Christ Church October 1891 [20]
P.W. Sergeant Trinity Michaelmas 1892 [20]
E.W. Poynton Exeter Michaelmas 1893 [20]
E.G. Spencer Churchill Exeter Michaelmas 1895 [20]
G. Fraser Corpus Christi Michaelmas 1896 [20]
A.H.W. George New Michaelmas 1897 [20]
Frederick Soddy Merton Michaelmas 1898 [20]
Harold Davidson Exeter Michaelmas 1900 [20]
A.C. von Ernshausen Balliol Michaelmas 1901 [20]
W.N. MacFarlane University Michaelmas 1904 [20]
H.J. Rose Balliol Michaelmas 1905 [20]
N.J. Roughton New Michaelmas 1906 [20]
A.P. Waterfield Christ Church Michaelmas 1908 [20]
Ernest Shepherd  ? Michaelmas 1909 [20]
B.A. Bull Jesus Michaelmas 1910 [20]
G. Davies Pembroke Michaelmas 1911 [20]
P.A. MacMahon Hertford Michaelmas 1914 [20]
H.D. Wells Pembroke Michaelmas 1915 [20]
C. Duffield St. John's Michaelmas 1916 [20]
H.R. Bigelow Balliol Michaelmas 1920 [20]
W.E.B. Pryer Pembroke Michaelmas 1921 [20]
G.S.A. Wheatcroft New Michaelmas 1924 [20]
K.H. Bancroft Pembroke Michaelmas 1926 [20]
G. Abraham Wadham Michaelmas 1927 [20]
...
Lucy Martin Somerville Trinity 1990
...
Kieran Smallbone New Trinity 2001 [21][22]
Adam Shardlow University Trinity 2003 [23]
Ben Kamil Brasenose Trinity 2004
Ben Kamil Brasenose Trinity 2005 [24][25]
Ben Kamil Brasenose Trinity 2007
James Worthen Brasenose Trinity 2008
Stephen Belding St John's Trinity 2009
Jay Unadkat St. Anne's Trinity 2010 [4]
Szymon Pozimski St. Peter's Trinity 2011 [4]
Michael Hopkins Lincoln Trinity 2012 [4]
David Hewitt St Edmund Hall Trinity 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Oxford-Cambridge Varsity history", OlimpBase - Encyclopaedia of Team Chess
  2. ^ a b "Difficult Chess Trivia", Susan Polgar Chess Blog, February 10, 2008
  3. ^ "Chess Trivia", Logical Chess
  4. ^ a b c d e Official site
  5. ^ 1869-1885 in The History of the Oxford University Chess Club, James Manders Walker, 1885
  6. ^ "Oxford vs Cambridge vol. 125 – the never ending game", ChessBase, 16 May 2007
  7. ^ ""Cambridge Chess", Richard Geoffrey Eales, ISBN 978-0-903500-24-1
  8. ^ "Oxford v Cambridge", Mind sports Worldwide, 4 March 2000
  9. ^ "The Steinitz Papers: Letters and Documents of the First World Chess Champion", William Steinitz and Kurt Landsberger, Page 280
  10. ^ Bird, Henry, Chess History and Reminiscences 
  11. ^ Potter, William N., ed. (1875), The City of London Chess Magazine, London: W. W. Morgan, pp. 71–73 
  12. ^ CHESS, February 1945, page 73
  13. ^ "2004-05 ODCL", Oxfordshire Chess Association
  14. ^ "2006-07 ODCL", Oxfordshire Chess Association
  15. ^ Opening Encyclopaedia 2004, ChessBase
  16. ^ Killer Grob, Michael Basman, Pergamon Chess Series, 1991, ISBN 978-0-08-037130-6
  17. ^ Sonas, Chessmetrics Player Profile: Charles Ranken
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The History of the Oxford University Chess Club (compiled from the club minute books), J.M. Walker, 1885
  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz ca cb cc Rules of the Oxford University Chess Club (together with a list of officers from its foundation, 30 April 1869), 1883
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Miscellaneous papers relating to the Oxford university chess club, c.1870–, Bodleian Library, Oxford
  21. ^ a b c 2001, Archive.org
  22. ^ a b c 2002, Archive.org
  23. ^ a b c website 2003, Archive.org
  24. ^ a b c Official website 2005, Archive.org
  25. ^ a b c Official website 2006, Archive.org