John Nunn becomes fellow of Oriel College, Oxford

John Nunn (left) with the Provost Lord Mendoza

Grandmaster John Nunn has been made an honorary fellow of Oriel College, Oxford, the highest award that a college can make. It symbolises recognition of the enormous contributions John has made to chess as well as his academic achievements. John can place this honour alongside that of honorary life vice-president of Kingston Chess Club. The college interviewed John Nunn last October, and he explained that the difference between playing chess as a young man and now is that once it was about improving and learning whereas now it is managed decline.

John played for Kingston Chess Club as a junior, winning the club championship in 1969 and 1970. He went up to Oxford in 1970 to read mathematics at the age of 15, the youngest undergraduate since 1520. He became a grandmaster and was awarded his doctorate in the same year, 1978, when he was aged 23.

John kindly returned to play for Kingston in the 2018 Alexander Cup final. He won his game in a narrow defeat to Surbiton. The previous time John had played for us was in 1974, a golden period for the club when it won both the Surrey Trophy and the Alexander Cup. The gap of 44 years in games played for the club must be a record. Kingston finally captured the coveted cup again in 2022.

John Foley

John Nunn early 1970s

Chris Briscoe v John Nunn, Alexander Cup Final, 2018

A grandmaster class in defence. Chris Briscoe goes all out in a kingside attack, but John Nunn has it covered.

John Nunn v Matthew Sadler, Lloyds Bank, 1993

John Nunn at his peak at brushing aside the 19-year-old Matthew Sadler, who went on to be one of England’s strongest grandmasters.

See also: Why I gave up chess because of John Nunn