Chess - The Scotsman 13/03/13

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Question: How does Black win?

THE annual Varsity Match between Oxford and Cambridge Universities is the world’s oldest chess fixture, going right back to 1853 when it was first mooted by the unofficial world champion of his day – and one of Britain’s leading Shakespeare scholars – Howard Staunton.

Initially played by correspondence, the first over-the-board encounter between the Light Blues and the Dark Blues was on 28 March 1873; the latest, on Saturday, in the opulent surroundings of the RAC Club in Pall Mall, London – once again generously sponsored by Henry Mutkin – is the 131st fixture.

Over the years the format has changed, but nowadays the matches are always contested over eight boards, with each team including at least one woman player. After a tough and extremely close battle, the glittering prize went yet again to rating underdogs Cambridge, who won 4.5-3.5, to move the overall score in the series to 58-53 in their favour, with 20 draws.

Former alumni from past matches have included author and left-wing journalist Kingsley Martin, astronomer Fred Hoyle, and polymath Jacob Bronowski of The Ascent of Man fame. Many Scots have also played, including GMs Jonathan Rowson and Colin McNab, IM Eddie Dearing and FM Tim Upton. The latest to join the hallowed ranks is Andrew McClement from Oban – now studying at Trinity, Cambridge – who played a big part in sealing victory for Cambridge with an impressive win.

J Tan - A McClement

131st Varsity Match, (Bd.7)

King’s Indian Attack

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d3 Nc6 4 g3 g6 5 Bg2 Bg7 6 0–0 Nf6 7 c3 0–0 8 Nbd2 Rb8 9 a4 a6 10 Re1 b5 11 axb5 axb5 12 Nf1 b4 13 c4 Bg4 14 Be3 Nd7 15 Qd2 Ra8 16 Nh4 Qb6 17 f4 Rxa1 18 Rxa1 Na5 19 Qf2 Nb3 20 Ra2 Nb8 21 f5 Nc6 22 h3 Bd1 23 Bf3 Bxf3 24 Nxf3 Qb7! 25 g4 Ra8 26 Rxa8+ Qxa8 27 Qh4 Qa1 28 Ng5 h6 29 Nxf7 Kxf7 30 fxg6+ Kg8 31 Qf2 Ne5 32 Qf5 Bf8 33 Qe6+ Kg7 34 h4 Nd4 35 Bxh6+ 0–1