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PUCL results

Congratulations to our Pro Uni Chess League Team, who narrowly lost in the national final today against Southampton Uni on tiebreak. After making it all the way from the group stages, which started back in October, they beat LSE and Cambridge in the knockout stages to make today's final. Despite being 7-5 down going into the last round of games against an extremely strong Southampton team, they mounted a stunning comeback to tie the match 8-8, before losing a nail-biting tiebreak round. Thanks to everyone who played in the competition this year: Max French, Chris Finn, Thomas Moss, Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, Karthik Saravanan, Victor Altherr, and a particular shout-out to Filip Mihov, who came second in the tournament's MVP leaderboard. You can check out the results here:

Awarded ECF 'Club of the Year'

We are proud to announce that we have been recognised for the English Chess Federation award ‘Club of the Year’.

The last year has been one of the most successful in living memory for the club as we have sought to establish new avenues to play chess while also improving upon established ones. Membership has risen dramatically, and this has enabled us to become a significant force on the competitive chess scene. We have become national (BUCA) champions, winning several inter-universities matches and having all three teams finish first in their respective regional leagues.

On the social side, we’ve been able to run weekly club nights and regularly pub chess nights. College chess has seen a resurgence with the resurrection of the inter-College Cuppers league and tournament. Simuls with GMs Keith Arkell and Hou Yifan have been particular highlights of the year as well. We have also seen an unprecedented increase in Outreach programmes and the creation of weekly teaching sessions, establishing our place in the community and as the centre of Chess in Oxford.

We’d like to thank the current and previous committees for all their hard work and the members for making this success possible. We couldn’t run all these events if you were not willing to come and play chess so thank you. We’re hoping build on the success of this year and we’ve got a lot of exciting events planned and so keep an eye on this page.

Annual Report 2020

We're proud to release our 'Annual Report' - the document we submitted to the ECF that won us the award. It contains our highlights for the year. Enjoy!

Committee 2020-21

Thanks to everyone who attended our AGM last night. It was full of bughouse and pizza, plus a certain Vice President-elect losing many many games. Shout out to Andrew Rogozinski for beating a random guy at the KA blindfold 4 pints in. We're also pleased to announce we have elected a new committee for 2020-21! It is as follows:

President: Aloysius Lip Vice President: Ben Greenbury Treasurer: Callum Evans Secretary: Akshaya Kalaiyalahan Varsity Captain: Victor Văsieșiu First Team Captain: Dan Sutton Second Team Captain: Jack Virgin Third Team Captain: George Dumitrescu Outreach Officer: Dan Sutton Cuppers League Officer: Kevin Henbest Teaching Officer: Victor Văsieșiu Women's Officer: Akshaya Kalaiyalahan Graduates' Officer: Süleyman Selim Social Officer: Rachel Wong Digital Officer: Andrew Rogozinski

Many thanks to our last year's committee, for what has been one of the most successful years in the history of Oxford University Chess Club ever. It's quite unnecessary to show it in terms of mere appreciation, the record itself demonstrates it. This year we became British Universities' Chess Association champions (for the first time in 9 years) with a perfect score, qualified to represent #TeamGB at EUSA Chess, won the ODCL's first division, finished first in a 2020 Chess Qualifiers round, restarted and won the historic Valentines Cup match with Imperial College London, launched a successful new University of Oxford Cuppers League with 11 teams taking part, reached out to 3 of our nearby friendly universities and organised matches against them, invited GM WGM Yifan Hou and GM Keith Arkell for simultaneous exhibition events, and have secured funding ensuring the club's continued welfare with our new partners Jane Street Recruiting and Chess and Bridge Shop. We also donated over £150 to Oxfam, through our collaboration with 2020 chess, including donating our £100 prize money from its regional qualifiers. It's only gonna get better from here folks. The outgoing committee for 2019-20:

President: Andrew Rogozinski Treasurer: Aloysius Lip Vice President: George Dumitrescu Secretary: Filip Mihov Varsity Captain: Daniel Abbas First Team Captain: Filip Mihov Second Team Captain: Kevin Henbest Third Team Captain: Boris Gusev Outreach Officer: Dan Sutton Cuppers League Officer: Ben Greenbury Teaching Officer: Victor Văsieșiu Digital Officer: Aloysius Lip

Simultaneous Exhibition with GM Keith Arkell

In Hilary Term 2020, GM Keith Arkell came to Oxford University to give a simultaneous exhibition.

Keith Arkell is an English Grandmaster and the current 16th highest-ranked player in the country. He achieved his GM title in 1995. In 1998, he was the British Rapidplay Chess Champion. In 2008, he won the English Chess Championship and in 2014 won the European Senior (50+) Championship and was tied first for the World Senior (50+) Championship. Arkell has had a peak ELO of 2545 and currently plays competitively for London's Hammersmith Chess Club.

With 23 boards and 3.5 hours, Keith achieved an outstanding score of 20.5/23: 1 loss and 3 draws. Congratulations to Richard Zhu, St Hilda's College, who scored the win on Board 2.

Full list of players:

  1. Arya Cont (193, Oxford City)
  2. Richard Zhu (190)
  3. Jack Virgin (157)
  4. Chris Finn (157)
  5. Taylor M Pearson (145)
  6. Callum Evans (142)
  7. John Bamford (140)
  8. Kiran Rebholz (135)
  9. Thomas Moss (133)
  10. Kevin Bruggeman (130)
  11. Cameron Fordham (120)
  12. Jack Nguyen (120)
  13. Jeroen Frijters (120)
  14. Kevin Henbest (120)
  15. Roy Goode (107)
  16. Fernando Almansa (91)
  17. Kieran Mayo (45)
  18. Stephen Shellard (0)
  19. Süleyman Selim Çınaroğlu (0)
  20. Victor Altherr (0)
  21. Arkadij Bojko (0)
  22. Charlie Richards (0)
  23. Yuting Fu (0)

Uni2 snubbed by Bicester1

Tuesday 25th February - by Kevin Henbest

Thanks to everyone who played tonight especially Dan, who rushed back from his conference to play and made his own way to the venue.

We had a tough evening, Dan put up a good fight but finally lost a rook and pawn ending, Jack sacrificed a pawn and ended up not getting a much compensation and ended up facing two passed pawns that decided the issue. Tudor continued his good form and won a good game but Andrei and myself could only draw, myself being lucky to draw a pawn down. Suleyman Selim put up a great fight right to the last few minutes but the material imbalance eventually made itself apparent. So we got beat 4:2. We were unlucky because Dan was better at one point we could easily have drawn the match, It was a cold dark night so much appreciation to everyone who supported Uni2 tonight. Despite this I think everyone enjoyed their games. Full result below.

Oxford wins BUCA

Monday 24th February 2020 - by Joris Gerlagh

Oxford dominated the British Universities Chess Association Championship, winning all of their matches.

The British Universities Chess Association (BUCA) Championship is the official annual tournament between universities in chess. It was played this year on 22nd - 23rd February in Birmingham as a 5-round Swiss tournament with the 10 strongest British universities. Oxford sent 4 of their strongest players: Joris Gerlagh, a 4th-year chemistry student at Univ; Filip Mihov, a 2nd-year computer scientist at Balliol, and freshers FM Victor Vasiesiu, and FM Akshaya Kalaiyalahan, at Hertford and Regent's Park College respectively. The goal: to win glory for a title not seen by Oxford since 2011 and qualify for a place at the subsequent European championship. Though seeded second and facing strong challengers, Oxford triumped throughout the weekend, winning the tournament with a perfect score of 10 out of 10 match points and an unbeaten record for every team member.

The first round was played against Imperial proved a close matchup. A strong university club featuring the national champion of Malaysia among their members, Imperial had achieved a 1-1 record over the course of two friendly matches with Oxford organised in Michaelmas and Hilary. Here they lay down an impressive challenge, with each game spanning nearly three hours. Finally, Oxford took home an overall victory with hard-fought draws on boards 1, 2 and 4 and Victor winning on board 3 for a game score of 2.5-1.5.

In the second round, Oxford were paired against first seed Cambridge, in a match that held significance both for the tournament tournament and symbolically, in lieu of the upcoming Varsity match. After a quick draw on board 3, an opposite colour bishop's endgame led to a draw on board 1. This left the fate in the hands of board 2, where Filip had just made an impressive exchange sacrifice, and board 4, where Akshaya had been winning from early on in the opening, but lacked time to rest easy. Both games were soon converted into wins, bringing the team to a celebratory mood as the competition's strongest team with a better record than Oxford on paper had just been conquered. From hereon, it seemed victory was inevitable.

The following rounds served as an exercise for Oxford's well-trained players to execute their victories. The third round against Warwick, the only other team still with a perfect score, was won with wins on boards 2 and 3 and draws on 1 and 4, cementing our position on top. The 4th round against LSE, played the next day, began with a quick draw on board 1, followed some time later by draws on board 2 and 4. Unease arose - all players felt that more could have been achieved from their games and the fate of the match was still in balance. Victor quickly decided the match with a win on board 3. That placed a humble demand on the fifth and final round against Bristol; a mere 2-2 draw would suffice to win the Championship. Yet Oxford's players were not content without a perfect score. After a quick draw on board 1, punishing wins on boards 2 and 3 and draw on board 4 sealed the victory. Oxford had achieved total domination of the championship, with wins in all their matches and an unbeaten record for every player.

Thus, Oxford managed to win BUCA for the first time in 9 years and now march on towards the European Championship as national champions.

The tournament also featured a Blitz tournament on the Saturday night, in which Filip was the only Oxford player to participate, finishing joint 6th on 6.5/9. The team's score in the Championship was 8 individual wins and 12 draws. Particular accolades go to Victor, who won a gold medal for his unrivalled performance of 4.5/5.

Full results

Uni2 upset win against City2

Thursday 20th February - by Kevin Henbest

Many thanks to everyone who played tonight despite being significantly out graded we won a storming match versus City 2 tonight. 5:1. Excellent games all of them. Good swindle from Tom, who showed his experience against a younger player. Shree mated his opponent in the middle of the board. Tudor played really well right up to the end, beating a 177, who is a very experienced player. John had a very quick win in a complex Queen Rook and pawn endgame, and Callum keeps on winning, another excellent game. Jack was always going to find it tough on board 1 versus 193, however it was an enterprising game with lots of tactics.

The full result is available on the ODCL website

Comfortable win from Uni2 against Cowley3

Monday 27th January - by Kevin Henbest

Thanks to everyone who played today a real team effort to win 4:2. Wins for Dan, Tudor, John, and Shree on the top four boards beating some good players. Dan converted a very nice rook and pawn versus rook ending with some nice skills. Tudor's game was slow burner and last to finish but he also won a rook and pawn ending with considerably more pawns on the board forking his opponents remaining pawns. John won a nice game when his opponent allowed him two connected passed pawns in the center and they steamrollered down the board, a nice conversion. Shree exchanged into a two minor piece ending and then proceeded to outplay Maria and picked up her pawns with a fork with his knight. Fernando had a tougher time dropping a pawn and having to give up the exchange to complicate but his opponent consolidated and Gabrielė got caught in a nasty pin and had to give up material but played actively and got some compensation and created threats, and played a competitive game so lots to be positive about in her game, all good experience.

Full result below

Oxford makes a triumphant return to the 2020chess

Saturday 25th January - by Aloysius Lip

University of Birmingham

The 2020chess championship, previously known as the Northern Universities Chess Championship (NUCC), is an annual Charity chess tournament. Its format is a team rapidplay, with a 4 regional qualifiers across the country and 1 grand final. We attended the Birmingham Qualifier on Saturday and we won with a perfect score, in-keeping with our long-standing reputation as second-ever victors of the NUCC when it launched in 2016. It raises money for Oxfam. This qualifier raised over £320.

This year, with the Qualifiers in Birmingham and in a rapidplay mood, all pumped up for our rapidplay tournament against LSE that would be happening the following day, we sent up a team of four of our best to Birmingham:

  1. Joris Geralgh (221)
  2. Filip Mihov (223)
  3. Andrew Rogozinski (182)
  4. Aloysius Lip (171)

In all respects, we smashed it out the park, coming away with a team score of 5.5 and individual scores by Filip and Aloysius of 5/5 each.

Our first round opponents were the University of Bath, a highly comical affair as we'd arrived 1 minute before the close of registration and the round-start owing to a delayed train, so were somewhat in a state of fluster when we sat down at our boards. The whole situation was made more bizarre as two minutes into the tournament's start, Aloysius mated his opponent on Board 4 and promptly went off to get lunch, Joris followed suit some 5 minutes later. That left Andrew and Filip battling out against their respective hard-fighting opponents, to bring home a 4-0 win.

Round 2 and we played Warwick, our local university rivals in the Midlands. We brought home a comfortable 3-1 victory here, spotting some familiar faces on their side from our match against them last term.

There were 18 teams competing in a Swiss system, so round 3 paired against the "Durham Alumni", with only 4 teams still on a perfect score. This round had the unusual feature of the tournament organiser playing on Board 4, himself a Durham alumni, and high-pressued, long-lasting games across the board.

In round 4 we played our toughest match; a club called Broadlands which featured a variety of local enthusiasts, from an Oxford Alumni to a junior. Filip firmly put the latter in his place with crushing middlegame play that would have cowered even the sharpest of players; Aloysius ensnared the former in a set of tactics to win a piece and a mating nate; another victory ensued here.

The final round was the battle to secure an outright victory. The team beat Manchester University's first team, though both teams qualified through to the final.

The club took home a set of medals, certificates, vouchers to various chess resources, and £100 in cash prizes, which we have donated back to Oxfam to support the tournament's cause. Onwards to the final!

Other notable occurrences:

  • Filip: "That was the best tournament I ever played in my life"
  • Andrew: "F*ck I hung a piece again, but it's ok I drew"

Oxford pipped in friendly matches against Warwick

Sunday 1st December - by Aloysius Lip

University of Warwick

Sunday's match against Warwick was beset by an onslaught of difficulties, from struggling to find players, to transport complications, to clock troubles. Nevertheless, our Oxford first team and second team put in a strong challenge against Warwick's, finishing just short of a victory with 2.5-3.5 in both matches.

BoardOxford IResultWarwick I
1Joris Gerlagh (221)0-1FM Sam Chow (226)
2FM Victor Vasiesiu (210)0.5-0.5Guy Moss (217)
3Aloysius Lip (171)1-0FM Ninoslav Pesic (219)
4Alexandre Warr-Esser (170)0-1Louise Head (200)
5Hashim Jusoh (161)0-1Andy Pollock (175)
6Tudor Enescu (162)1-0Jonathan Fowler (174)
BoardOxford IIResultWarwick II
1Taylor Pearson (150)1-0William Thomas (158)
2Dilhan Manawadu (126)1-0Benedick Moricz (157)
3Christopher Finn (106R)0.5-0.5Daniel Koltai (-)
4Donald Flynn (115R)0-1Saso Nikk (-)
5Gregor Aubrey (109)0-1Daniel Muir (138)
6Stefan Enescu (-)0-1Nur Izzah (120)

Our Oxford warriors had the odds set against them from the start against the Warwick opposition. First off, we had a total of 4 confirmed for a 12-board match not two days before the match start. Frantic messaging and some favours called in from long-time players only just clinched us a full roster ready for the match. Disaster then struck when we accidentally leaked our whole team list to the Warwick side, posting to our Facebook group of which the Warwick captain was an intruder due to his advertisements of the Warwick rapidplay a week earlier. The Warwick team were kind enough to send us their team list in fair play in response. Only then did we discover that they'd poached to our finest - the Boards 1 of both their teams, FM Sam Chow and William Thomas are proud Oxford alumni. Fuming at the cheek of it, we set off on many a bus and train to Warwick, with one number short - Hashim hurried after us, a train behind - and one down for the count - though there in body, our captain Aloysius was absent in the mind having had a heavy one at a ball the night previous.

Nevertheless, we all arrived safely in Warwick and readied ourselves for our matches, surrounded (I might add) by medieval swordplay equipment and a depleted Warwick team, owing to their tradition of organising 5-a-side football socials on a Sunday. Anyway, once we'd sat and said our prayers to our Lord and Saviours Optiver, as one must do when attending any chess event at Warwick University, the matches were off.

Things looked like they were swiftly turning around for Oxford. A 15-move victory for the now-sober Aloysius on Board 3 against a reconditioning FM gave us a quick headstart swiftly followed by a slow crush on board 6 by the elder Enescu brother. This was unfortunately mirrored in the second team by losses by late draft Donald Flynn on board 4 and the younger Enescu on board 6.

2-0 up first team, 0-2 down second team. Games looking good on all the remaining boards.

From here, things just didn't go Oxford's way. The second team sustained a further loss and a draw on boards 3 and 5; hard fought but nonetheless definitive, concluding the match on the second team. Taylor and Dilhan's strongly fought subsequent victories then came in, brave-hearted, yet futile. Meanwhile on the first team, a strong defence by Joris against Sam Chow on board 1 suddenly crumbled, taking us from what had been a -+ or at the very least a ∓ to a loss. Secondly, a sure-fire win on Board 2 turned out to be drawn despite all appearances. Victor conceded to his opponent's persistent perpetual requests, bringing us to an agonisingly close 2.5-1.5.

Finally, tragedy struck as both final boards came under serious time pressure. Both Hashim and Alex had played their ways to incredibly close, slightly worse-off, endgame positions. From there they went their separate ways. Hashim suffered under the time pressure to concede an otherwise bravely-fought game. Alex dominanted his opponent's time pressure and started gaining the advantage, comfortably maneuvering Rook and Good Knight vs Rook and Bad Bishop. From there however, Alex,solely-focussed on his game, ignorant of the 2.5-2.5 score at that final moment, simply sat still for 2 minutes on the clock, after which his opponent promptly pointed out that he had run out of time. Despair all-round. Oxford 2.5-3.5 Warwick.

And so Oxford trudged back, disappointed as can be. Hungry, however, for a rematch.

Our team and Warwick's hope to make this event a termly thing, so a rematch shall be forthcoming! Though we might have lost, the matches was a success most of all for inter-university collaboration. The coming terms will bring more and more matches! Our thanks to Warwick for hosting us.

Oxford victorious over Imperial to win the Valentine Cup

Saturday 23rd November

Oxford takes back the Valentine

Against all odds, we managed to steal a victory on this one. Special shout out to Joris for securing a draw against IM Li Tian Yeoh, the 2-time champion of national champion for Malaysia and owner of a GM norm. Convincing strength in depth from all.

1Joris Gerlagh (221)0.5-0.5IM Li Tian Yeoh (260)
2FM Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (200)0.5-0.5FM Aron Teh (212)
3Richard Zhu (190)1-0Aluna Rizzoli (174)
4Andrew Rogozinski (182)0.5-0.5Elliott Macneil (156)
5Aloysius Lip (171)1-0Tony Wang (161)
6Alexander Hardwick (169)0-1Imran Rahman (137)
7Yuting Fu (154)1-0Nikunj Sinha (132)

On board 1, Joris Gerlagh challenged IM Li Tian Yeoh, Malaysia Chess Champion in 2015 and 2016. Joris remarks:

Though I already knew I would almost certainly be playing Ti Lian, I had only prepared with the black pieces, unfortunate when I came up with white after the coin toss. I then decided to play a sideline against the Dutch defence so that neither of us would know the opening theory.

Proceeding with a quick exchange of all minor pieces in the early midgame, though slightly worse due to piece inactivity, Joris sacrificed a pawn to gain a kingside attack and achieved an entirely drawn rook endgame during the time scramble, in which a draw was quickly agreed.

After an opening inaccuracy in the Tarrasch QGD from my opponent, Richard was left on board 3 with an IQP position with very little compensation for the pawn weakness. The middlegame was mostly quiet and he was able to take trades into a favrouable endgame, which he converted by winning Black's Queen-Pawn.

After Akshaya had misplayed the opening, her opponent on Board 2 opponent made a crucial mistake in simplifying the position by exchanging knights, enabling her to launch an affront on the queenside. Although the position was mostly equal in the middlegame, she nevertheless had an edge due to her superior pawn structure. After a few moves of relentless maneuvering, she was eventually able to win a pawn as her opponent failed to notice a potential tactic involving a skewer. However, despite having an extra pawn in the endgame, she decided to repeat the position as she barely had 20 seconds left, and her opponent was defending excellently, resulting in a perpetual.

After an opening inaccuracy in the Tarrasch QGD from my opponent, Richard's oppoonent was left with an IQP position with very little compensation for the pawn weakness. The middlegame was mostly quiet and so Richard was able to take trades into a favourable endgame, which he converted by winning Black's Queen-Pawn.

On board 4, Andrew had a messy game in the King's Indian Fianchetto variation. He managed to win a pawn on the queenside after some lines opened, but his opponent had some pressure with his active pieces. Various complications ensued, and with both players quite low on time, the game ended in a draw when the Imperial player failed to spot a winning plan in the endgame and liquidated instead.

On board 5, Aloysius ruthlessly steamrolled his hapless opponent in a Nimzo-Indian Samisch, executing a deadly rook-lift on move 15 which skewered black's queen to his kingside. Imperial's board 5 simply declined to defend, offering up a piece to belay the attack which Aloysius promptly declined in favour of trapping the queen. A time-pressured clean-up secured the win. Study link

Alex Hardwick played a Najdorf Sicilian, and decided to wander into a ...e5 Boleslavsky structure and see if "just understanding the basic positional principles" would be enough to win the game. For a while, this plan seemed to work surprisingly well. White's odd decision to recapture on d5 (and remove Black's biggest weakness) gave Black a delightful menu of counterplay choices. White then decided to go for an immensely slow kingside attack with h4, g4 etc, which gave Black all the time in the world to pick an option. Unfortunately, while delightfully spoiled for choice, Alex made a fatal error. He rushed the tempting ...b5 pawn break, which allowed White's knight to lodge in the very heart of his position on c6 and win a metric shit-tonne of material. After briefly attempting to play on while down a bishop for two rooks, Alex resigned to concede Oxford's only loss of the day.

On board 7, Yuting was unfamiliar with the old Benoni defense as white and played too aggressive to create weakness on her own side. Fortunately, her opponent missed a chance to win a pawn. On move 21, her opponent did not notice a tactic which led to a winning position for her.

We're very grateful for Imperial for coming up to Oxford to play and look forward to future matches with the team. See the article on the last time the Valentine Cup was played in 2008. Source.


New website release

12th November 2018 - by Aloysius Lip

The website has undergone a rewrite to a technology called React.JS. To the casual user, you might see a few new cool features (like our news bar and our Termcard). The main change from our side however is that we can update and post a lot more frequently! It's a lot easier to change things. Add the site as a bookmark and check back frequently to see the latest updates.

How do you contribute? All you need is a GitHub account. Once you've made that, navigate to here and read the guide on getting started! It's super easy!

If you have talents and feel like contributing to this community, why don't you help out:

  • Writing: We've made it super easy to contribute to these articles and we're looking for more content! Anyone willing to write on match reports, events, or just anything else interesting in the chess world to be published righ here on this site, please contact us! It's super easy to do.
    • No requirements
  • Fixing bugs
    • Requires: introductory programming web/development knowledge
  • Designing artwork: we showcased a huge amount of art for our Facebook events last term, anyone who could contribute to do the same again would be much appreciated!
    • Requires: basic graphic design

OUCC relaunches teaching sessions

8th November 2019 - by Aloysius Lip

Pleased to see a relaunch of the weekly teaching sessions for our club members. Whilst we are somewhat hindered by a lack of local IMs who can drop in our teach, we have two excellent teachers from within our own club ranks to run these sessions - Victor Văsieșiu (FM, 1st Team Board 1) and Filip Mihov (1st Team Captain). They're to take place on Fridays at 5:30 at Christ Church for the rest of the term, open to all members.

Oxford's First Team Captain wins the Witney Congress

Sunday 3rd November - by Aloysius Lip

Filip Mihov, the OUCC's first team captain and runaway star of the university's high-level chess, scored another tournament win at the Witney Congress

The tournament was played on 2nd - 3rd Novermber, it was a 5 round Swiss with 18 people participating. By ECF ratings, Filip would have been seeded joint 1st, but by FIDE ratings he was seeded 3rd, behind FMs David Zakarian and Andrew Bigg. It was played at Cokethorpe School, close to Witney.

The first day went well, in the first round when paired black against a promising young talent Britnell Jonathan (169). Filip won a fine game in a Sicilian. But the most surprising result of the round was Otto Rasanen's win with black against the top seed FM David Zakarian (2372 fide).

The second round brought Filip's first serious challenge. He was white against the only person against whom he drew in the ODCL last year, Paul Girdlestone. A very complicated battle in a Nimzo-Indian ensued, where Filip emerged on top. Again, a surprise came from Otto, who only drew from a much better position against the other FM Andrew Bigg (2266).

Then in the third round Filip pliad black against the fourth seed Stephen Peters (196). He won a nice attacking game with black and was leading on 3/3. Otto also won and was on 2.5/3.

The two were paired against each other in the fourth round. There was a complicated middlegame where he was playing incredebly well, was practically winning, but failed to find a clear-cut path to victory, and although in time trouble, Filip somehow miraculously saved a draw, so was half a point ahead of the field going to the last round.

In the fifth round Filip was paired white against Richard McNally, played very safely with white and won, clinching the first place on 4.5/5.

This comes on the back of Filip's victory in the Cowley Blitz tournament last term and his award for the best player in the ODCL first division last season.

Full results

Uni1 off to a good start

October 31st, 2019 - by Filip Mihov

After winning in the first round, the first University team won in the second round as well against Witney2. The match was played at Rose Hill Methodist Church on October 31st.

The first game to finish was board 1 between FM Victor Vasiesiu and Miguel Ballester. Victor having the white pieces played an interesting sideline in the French defense and posed serious problems to his opponent who wasn’t familiar with the theory. White got a pleasant edge out of the opening and went on to win a nice game.

After not managing to create any serious chances in her game, Yuting Fu drew as white on the fifth board. Her opponent was Neil Buchanan.

Yours truly tried a sideline in the Sicilian defense with the white pieces and (as it usually happens) failed to gain any particular advantage. However black, Graham Cole, played some slow moves and allowed white’s typical kingside attack to get stronger and stronger until a queen sacrifice finally forced resignation.

Victory was secured by Nick Clanchy who won with the black pieces in a Kings Indian. After white, Cyril Foster, went for the typical idea Ng5-e6, Nick calmly took the knight, won the pawn on e6 and converted his material advantage with patient and precise play.

By this point the match was already decided and there were two boards remaining. FM Dan Abbas played a strange game where it seemed like he should have obtained an advantage because his lovely centralized knight on d4 and white’s weak color complex on the dark squares. However, he was unable to find a clear path and after several failing attempts to muddy the waters, he bailed out into a perpetual check. Nalin Kadadwala handled the complications very well, so draw was agreed.

The last game to finish was the sixth board between Callum Evans and Asif Hameed. It was a very interesting dynamic game which ended in a threefold repetition.

Overall, good performance and fighting chess by both teams. Our next match is on November 7th home against Banbury1.

Wednesday Clubnights

30th October 2019 - by Aloysius Lip

Please to see that our club nights are maintaining popularity! We're taking on board suggestions of lesson proposals and a greater variety of tournaments. In the mean time, enjoy our weekly club nights!

Cambridge throws down the gauntlet

Oxford 1-7 Cambridge at Freshers Varsity

26th October 2019 - by Aloysius Lip

Rated 200 points higher than us on every board, our Freshers were up against tough competition from the Cambridge side. Final results were:

Victor Vasiesiu0.5-0.5Jon Tayar
Yuting Fu0-1Harry Grieve
Paul Calderon0-1Daniel Gallagher
George Dumitrescu (c)0-1Declan Shafi
Andrei Eftime0.5-0.5Andrew Ng
Kiran Rebholz0-1Imogen Camp
Fernando Almansa0-1Vugai Nasibov
Antoni Krupp0-1Adranik Aiunte

A first team stretching its legs overpowers Witney

Uni1 wins 5.5-0.5 against Witney1

24th October 2019 - by Filip MIhov

The new season has started and the first University team played against one of their main rivals for the title – the team of Witney1. The match was played on October 24th.

The first game to finish was board 5 between Alex (169) playing black against Alan (143). In a London system Alex played more precisely and won a pawn which turned into a miniature after a somewhat unnecessary desperado attack by white.

On board 4, Paul had a somewhat more active position against Daniel in a Maroczy bind which came out of an English opening. He refused a draw offer in a slightly better position for him. White would have had to show some good technique had Black not blundered a pawn. After that the win was smoothly converted in a bishop endgame.

Joris won a fine game on board 2 playing the white side in a Catalan. He found interesting ways to pose problems to Lewis, and managed to end on top. By this point the Uni team was leading 3-0.

Kiran saved a draw on board 6 against Adam playing the white pieces in an Alapin Sicilian. Black was a pawn to the good in a knight vs bishop endgame and must have been winning somehow, but Kiran defended the position living on increment for pretty much the whole endgame.

Filip, the captain, on board 3 had a large advantage in the early middle game as black in a closed Sicilian, but blundered a full exchange in a single move. Nevertheless, he continued playing as if nothing happened, declined a draw several times and ended up pressing in a 4 vs 3 R+B vs R+B endgame with bishops of opposite colors. It seemed like black was making progress when white, Dave, blundered a full piece and had to resign.

The last game to finish was the battle between the titled players FM Victor Vasiesiu and IM Marcus Harvey. The evaluation was about even throughout the whole game, but in the endgame Marcus playing white managed to create some chances and win a pawn. Both players were in time trouble, so chances had been missed by the point when they reached the position below:

fen: 8/8/8/8/1RK5/2P5/2r5/3k4 w - - 0 1

All in all a very interesting match where the Uni team had better quality on the lower boards.

A multitude of fighting chess

Uni2 team draws 3:3 Uni2 vs Cowley 3 in their first ODCL match

24th October 2019 - by Kevin Henbest

The University 2 chess team drew their opening match 3-3. After being 2.5-0.5 up, we then lost two games almost at the same moment and were then under pressure to scramble a draw in the last game to tie the match. George Dumitrescu managed to save the match with a fighting draw versus Maria Mate.

Board 1, Tudor, had a complex game versus young Selvaraj Hari, Tudor gave up the exchange for some compensation but the initiative turned out to be ephemeral. White missed many wining before finding the correct plan.

Board 2, Dilhan had a cramped position from the opening, and poorer placed pieces and Black managed to convert his advantage into active queenside play and picked up pawns with his Queen, however during that time White generated enough counter play to secure the draw.

Board 3, Jack on had a nice tactical win, crashing through vs Neil.

Board 4, Tom had much the better of the position for most of his game but in a complex two rooks endgame Asif’s passed pawn finally gave him some initiative and tied up Tom’s rook and the game slipped away from Tom. It was a sharp position.

Board 5 George had a very interesting game which had a complex middle game, Maria had what looked like a dominating attacking position but George hung on and simplified into a pawn endgame that was race on both sides of the board and Maria had more pawns but it is not clear how Maria missed winning chances and the game was finally drawn in a time scramble.

Board 6, Shree, won a nice game, gaining the advantage of two bishops then picking up a pawn and then invading on good outposts to win a nice positional game.

Overall lots of fighting chess games from two very evenly matched teams.

A house out of order

The third team takes an early loss against Didcot

21st October 2019 - by Boris Gusev

The third team lost 1.5-4.5, but given how close some of the games were, a rematch should be a strong challenge.

Our board 1, Ben Greenbury, had Alekhine’s defence with a very early queen trade resulting in a draw.

Board 2, our Vice President, had a nail biter with 3 passes connected pawns vs a bishop, but with very little time left. A small crowd formed watching moves being blitzed out in a tense game. Unfortunately, we finally ended up flagging.

Gregor Aubrey on board 3 had a nice positional advantage with two strong knights in a closed position. However a QR battery looked too intimidating, and a wrong step with a pawn in front of the king blocking the only escape square for the knight left us a piece down.

Board 4, our captain, Boris, ended with a rushed miscalculation and what should have been a pawn advantage turned into being a rook down.

Board 5 saw the debut of Fernando Almansa, a Fresher, who secured a nice advantage being a couple pawns up in mid game left his opponent spending a lot of time hoping for some counter play. None was found and a win was secured.

We unfortunately had a default on board 6, emphasising the opportunities and importance for Freshers and any potential players to get involved and respond to posts if you want to play. Onwards and upwards for the rest of term!

Scouting talent for a new season!

9th October 2019 - by Aloysius Lip

We really enjoyed meeting you all at freshers' fair and welcome drinks!

There's a whole host of exciting chess on offer this term. We play at club nights every Wednesday at Christ Church at 7pm. Coming soon is the Freshers "Varsity" tournament, where we send down our best of our new intake to challenge their opposite numbers on the Cambridge side.

Make sure to bookmark our termcard to keep up with everything going on.

Finally, like our Facebook page and join our Facebook group to stay updated on all the latest announcements as they're released.

Filip wins the Cowley Blitz, Hashim takes best unrated

Saturday 24th June - by Aloysius Lip

Two of our members, Filip Mihov (1st Team Captain, Secretary) and Hashim Jusoh, went down to our neighbouring club Cowley Chess Club to play in their annual Summer Blitz Tournament. The tournament was 5 rounds of 3+2, with 2 games per round.

Filip won the tournament with a competition-sweeping 9.5/10; Hashim scored the prize for best unrated player with 6/10. Congratulations to them both!

Simultaneous Exhibition with GM Hou Yifan

Magdalen claim victory in Chess Cuppers tournament 2018

6th June 2019 - by Alex Hardwick

Originally published in Cherwell, 6th June 2019

Few crowds ever out-flock the bustling tourists of Christ Church’s Tom Quad, but on one sunny Saturday afternoon, the feat was achieved by a set of chess players, brought together by the Oxford University Chess Club (OUCC) for the annual Cuppers tournament. Seventeen teams, each of four players, entered from thirteen different colleges. The three-hour tournament resulted in a victory for Magdalen College’s first team.

Several teams threw down a serious challenge for the title. Magdalen I, looking to defend their title after last year’s victory, fielded former national English player Daniel Abbas and former national Singaporean player Ben Foo. Christ Church I proved stiff competition though with Isaac Sanders, a UK top-50 player, and Aloysius Lip, another England squad alumnus. Balliol and St Hilda’s were also threatening contenders, with highly rated captains Filip Mihov and Richard Zhu. The tournament featured five rounds of ‘blitz’ in which each player had only ten minutes to make all their moves, far faster than multi-hour ‘standard’ games. The result was many exciting and heated finishes.

Early round pairings were a slaughterhouse. Magdalen I took an emphatic 4-0 win against Lincoln; Balliol demolished Magdalen II; St Hilda’s showed no mercy against Christ Church III; and Christ Church I stole a confident 3-1 against Linacre. Magdalen I progressed with two more clean sweeps against St Hilda’s and Pembroke gaining an all-important lead. Christ Church I, Worcester, Lady Margaret Hall, and St Hilda’s chased narrowly behind, all drawing their Round Three matches.

The drama peaked in Round Four with the long-awaited clash between Christ Church I and Magdalen I. The Magdalen skipper on Board Three set the tone with a quick win, and it was followed soon by flawlessly commanding games by Magdalen Boards Two and Four to claim the match. Magdalen I were only denied a clean sweep in the face-off between the tournament’s two strongest players, Sanders and Abbas. Both clocks ticked down to two seconds apiece in a highly-tactical endgame, before Abbas snatched a last-gasp draw, sealing a 3.5-0.5 Magdalen win.

The final round cleared up the score table. LMH yearned for a last-minute steal for the title; Magdalen cruelly crushed their hopes in Round Five with a 3-1 putdown. They did, however, score a notable upset win of Luke Herlihy against Foo, and the team finished third, edging out St Peter’s I and Christ Church I on tiebreak. Pembroke took second place with an admirable four wins. The “best second team” title was awarded to St Peter’s II, slipping past a hard-battling Christ Church II. The overall champions were inevitably Magdalen I. The team’s performance was hugely impressive: they claimed a victory in all five rounds and conceded only a single loss and a draw on game points. Many congratulations to Daniel Abbas, Ben Foo, Alexander Hardwick, and Christopher Finn for an unassailable performance.

In the end, all agreed that the tournament was thrilling to play in for relative beginners and experienced competitors alike and ran seamlessly. The seamless organisation of the tournament by the Oxford University Chess Club night was certainly a credit to them, and if the hotly-contested competition this year has been anything to go by, who knows who will be fighting to take the title in Chess Cuppers 2020.