Oxford beats Cambridge again in longest annual chess match
Oxford beat Cambridge 4.5-3.5 last Saturday in the annual Varsity match. It was the 140th staging of the oldest continuous game in chess, first played in 1873 and interrupted only by the war years. Oxford have now won five of the last six matches, but Cambridge still lead the series 60-58 with 22 draws.
The match was played at its traditional home for nearly half a century, the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall, London. Current and future grandmasters and international masters have often competed there. For many decades the game was a proving ground for potential members of England’s Olympic team, but in the past two decades it has become much more cosmopolitan.
Now the nationality pattern changes once again, as 12 of this year’s 16 players were British. Another interesting development is in their study subjects. Long ago, Oxford arts students met Cambridge mathematicians, as in 2022 numeracy dominates. Nine of the 16 read computer science or mathematics, four are scientists and only three are art students.
A player is already an established international. Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, from Oxford, was British champion at 12 and has already competed in two Olympiads. There could be more to come, and his polished victory was one of the best performances Match.
Alexander Areshchenko vs Zbynek Hracek, Minsk 2017. Whito to move and win. It just seems that the puzzle of this week is a Ukrainian victory. More about winner Areshchenko in last week’s article.
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