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A life-size chess match!


A life-size chess match!


This was May 29th 1950 in the Fellows Garden at Merton, when the Warden and Professor Garrod played a giant game of chess for a bit of fun.
The pieces were the 1st VIII and the 2nd VIII and they all had individual pawns. Now I know that because two of my good friends were in this - Michael Yates and Andrew Potter, in the 2nd and 1st boats respectively – although I don’t know which ones they were as they all have hats on. In the 1948 matriculation photograph, I am right at the back right, with Andrew next to me and Michael next to him. Professor Garrod is seated at the very front with his dog.
The 1st VIII were in white and the 2nd VIII were in black. Standing behind the 1st VIII is, I think, Professor Garrod, who was playing the Warden – I suspect that’s him, but I don’t know where the other one was. They would shout out ‘Now you move two squares’ and so on. They marked out the chess board in chalk on the lawn, and I was up in the windows in Fellows Quad when I took this photo, which is the only one I took.

Story collected by Catherine Farfan as part of the Merton@750 Birthday Weekend collection days (September 2014), and added to the Merton@750 Anniversary Collection by Catherine Farfan.


Derek Richards


29 May 1950


Fellows Garden, Merton College, Oxford


Derek Richards


Merton@750 Anniversary Collection


© Derek Richards

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