Warden on Architecture
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Adrian Hollis, Keble's Sub-Warden and member of the British team which won the World Postal Chess Championship, comments on a remarkable concentration of talent.
The first outstanding Keble chess player of recent times was David Goodman ('77). He had shown exceptional ability as a schoolboy, winning the Junior World Championship. David happened to be brother-in-law to Grandmaster Raymond Keene, chess correspondent of The Times, who introduced to us David Norwood ('88), Keble's first Grandmaster, now a columnist in The Daily Telegraph and several times captain of England in world team tournaments.
Our second Grandmaster was Dharshan Kumaran ('93), who had tied for the British Championship (losing the play-off) before coming to Keble, and he will soon be joined by Jonathan Rowson ('96). The latter has a mysterious benefactor, who has several times put up £5,000 for Jonathan to play matches against established Grandmasters.
Oxford chess altogether is of a higher standard, nationally and internationally, than almost any other sport or game played by the University. All the more perverse, therefore, that chess should be denied at least a half-blue. After graduation such talented players have to decide whether or not to become professional tournament chess players not an easy living except for those who prove to be world class Grandmasters. This dilemma may be faced by Harriet Hunt (daughter of our medical Tutor, Simon Hunt), who has followed the Hungarian Polgar sisters in showing that women's underachievement in chess was a matter of social conditioning. In the 1998 University match Oxford beat Cambridge, but the top three boards could be considered a 3 0 victory for Keble, since Dharshan and Jonathan won for Oxford and Harriet no less impressively for Cambridge. In Michaelmas Term 1998 Keble should acquire one of the best young women players, if the A-level examiners concur.
The position shown comes from a postal game, won by Adrian Hollis against a Dutch Grandmaster. White's first move is obvious enough, but a solution must show how white can achieve a quick checkmate or decisive gain of material against each of Black's four possible replies.
Solutions, please, to The Development Office, Keble College, Oxford, OX1 3PG, to arrive no later than 1 October. Adrian will adjudicate, and the winner's prize will, as ever, be dinner for two at High Table.
The Warden, Professor Averil Cameron, opening the session on 'Practical Buildings and Dreaming Spires: Architecture in Oxford' at the University's New York Reunion, held at the Waldorf Hotel in March.
copyright © 1998 Keble College, Oxford OX1 3PG