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Town vs Gown

Every year Cambridge City Chess Club and the Cambridge University Chess Club have a friendly social match, also known as the Town vs Gown. Everyone plays two 30-minute rapidplay games (one with white, one with black), against different opponents.

2023 Match Report

After a three-year absence from the local chess calendar, 2023 saw the welcome return of the Town v Gown chess fixture. Despite the long intervening period, the University were still able to field a couple of players with prior TvG match experience; and with half their Varsity team present - it promised to be an exciting fixture. Contested over 16 boards, the two teams looked very evenly balanced by ratings this year. However, with a few ungraded players it was unclear which way the match might go…

In Round 1, despite being out-graded on most of the top boards, the Town took a surprising 4 points from the top 5 boards. The students fought back on the middle boards with victories against the Professors Robbins and Daugman! The first round finished with the Town securing a victory, but by the narrowest of margins, 8.5-7.5

Perhaps unsurprisingly with such a close match, Round 2 saw many of the games go down to the last few minutes and seconds remaining on the clock. The match could have gone either way but when the penultimate game finished in favour of the University – they sealed the Town’s fate.

Final score: Town 15-17 Gown, a result which extends the University’s lead in the overall series to 11 victories to 7. My thanks to all who helped make this event such an enjoyable one. We look forward to next year's match.

Philip Fallon

2019 Match Report

The 17th Town vs Gown match proved to be a popular fixture yet again. Contested over 21 boards, this was one of the largest matches in recent years. It was also great to see the University field six players from their 2019 Varsity team. Although the Town had managed to assemble several decent players on its top boards, they were unable to contain the University. In round 1, the University amassed a thumping 7 points from the top eight boards! Despite better results for the Town on the other boards, yet again the Gown took their customary first-round win over the Town; this time by 12 points to 9. Undaunted the Town fought back hard in round 2 and even picked up a positive score across the middle boards. As the final results were coming in, the Gown appeared to be closing the gap. In 2018, the Town were able to clinch the match right at the finish. This time, as the results from the final time-scrambles were posted, the Gown managed to pull away again. Round 2 had seen the teams fight to a standstill (10.5 points a-piece) which meant the Gown kept their overall 3-point match lead, and were deserving overall winners 22.5 - 19.5.

The series now stands at 10-7 in favour of the Gown.

My thanks to all who took part, making the event such an enjoyable one for all. We look forward to next year's match with anticipation!

Philip Fallon