Magazine article The Spectator

Playing the Blues

Magazine article The Spectator

Playing the Blues

Article excerpt

Oxford and Cambridge play their annual Varsity Match on Saturday, 13 March at the RAC in Pall Mall. Spectators are welcome to come, with the match starting around midday, hut anyone who wishes to observe the players in action should remember that informal dress is unwelcome in the hallowed precincts of the venue. Oxford, with grandmaster Luke McShane on top board - the strongest player to appear for either Oxford or Cambridge since 1874, when the scries began - are the clear favourites. Cambridge lead in the scries overall, by 54 to 49, but it is difficult to foresee any result this year other than an Oxford victory. The match is organised by Henry Mutkin of the RAC Chess Circle and supported by the chessplaying artist Barry Martin, who was indeed the official match artist for the 1993 World Championship between Short and Kasparov.

Among the likely attenders on the day will be the Oxford and Cambridge alumni Adrian Hollis and William Hartston. Hollis went on to become a correspondence chess grandmaster while Hartston twice won the British Championship. Here is a spectacular clash from their early days. This week's puzzle redresses the balance to show a Cambridge victory.

Teams for the match


Luke MeShane (University College)

Richard Palliser (Worcester College)

Edward J. Dearing (Oxford Institute of Legal Practice)

Merim Bilalic (BIH, Wadham College)

Andrew Bigg (Jesus College)

Kemal Ozeren (Balliol College)

Sophie Tidman (Queen's College)

David Shaw (Worcester College)


Joe Conlon (Christ's College)

David Hodge (Trinity College)

Ben Morgan (Magdalene College)

Bernhard Klein (Downing College)

Richard Mycroft (Jesus College)

Olly Cooley (Trinity College)

Rosalind Kieran (Newnham College)

Qiang Yi (Queens' College)

Hartston-Hollis: Paignton 1966; Reti Opening 1 g3 Nf6 2 Bg2 d5 3 Nt3 g6 4 h4 This method of handling the Reti has been played by Symslov. …

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