Magazine article The Spectator

True Blues

Magazine article The Spectator

True Blues

Article excerpt

On Saturday 5 March the annual Varsity Match takes place at the RAC London between the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. The contest dates back to 1874, when both Staunton and Steinitz were among the spectators, and is the world's longest-running chess fixture. As usual, this year's competition is supported by Henry Mutkin, former top board for Oxford and doyen of the RAC chess circle. Since the days when I played on first board for Cambridge the player demographics have altered considerably.

F rom being primarily home-grown undergraduates, the shift has been to postgraduate students from overseas.

This week, a game and puzzle featuring two of the most illustrious former representatives of Cambridge and Oxford.

Hartston (Jesus College, Cambridge)-Patterson (Trinity Hall); Cambridge 1967; Reti Opening 1 g3 The normal Reti occurs after 1 Nf3 followed by g3. However, Reti also pioneered the more provocative 1 g3 followed by Nf3 as in the game Reti-Alekhine, Baden Baden 1925, 1 g3 e5 2 Nf3 e4 3 Nd4 d5 4 d3 exd3 5 Qxd3. 1 . . .

e5 2 Bg2 c6 3 Nf3 e4 4 Nd4 d5 5 0-0 Nf6 6 d3 exd3 7 cxd3 Be7 8 e4 0-0 Black should simplify with 8 . . . dxe4 9 dxe4 Bc5 10 Nb3 Qxd1 with approximate equality. 9 e5 Ne8 10 Nc3 f6 11 e6 Na6 I f 11 . . . c5 12 Nf5 Bxe6 13 Nxe7+ Qxe7 14 Re1 Qf7 15 Rxe6 winning. 12 Re1 Nac7 13 Bf4 (see diagram 1) 13 . . . c5 Black's last chance to resist was 13 . . . f5 in order to prevent White's knight occupying this square.

After the text White provides a classic demonstration of the power of a central passed pawn rammed into Black's position. …

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