Check in: Update on chess at Catz

Tuesday 4 April 2023


St Catharine’s students are optimistic about the future after leading the Cambridge University Chess Club (CUCC) and attracting new members to the St Catharine’s College Chess Club.

CUCC successes

Omeet Atara, a second-year Human, Social & Political Sciences undergraduate at St Catharine’s, has been President and Varsity Captain for CUCC for the past two terms.

The Varsity chess match against Oxford was first played in 1873 and is widely known as the world’s oldest chess contest. This year’s event at the Royal Automobile Club in London was a competitive day. Omeet was able to win his individual game at the Varsity match and led Cambridge to an overall draw despite their underdog status this year.

He also led Cambridge to the British Universities Chess Association (BUCA) Championship victory and was one of only three players achieving a score of 7/7.

Omeet said, “It has been an incredible year as President and Varsity Captain! Securing a draw in the Varsity match was real point of pride after entering as underdogs, especially with Oxford having won the last few matches. To subsequently beat them at the British University Chess Association (BUCA) Championships and then win overall was amazing. The development of CUCC has been astronomical, with vast numbers of new members joining and the highest level of growth ever.”

Omeet is due to pass the baton to Koby Kalavannan, a third-year medic and the next CUCC President and Varsity Captain, so strong representation for St Catharine’s looks set to continue next year.

Omeet Atara sat with chess board at 2023 Varsity Match
Photos of Omeet at the 2023 Varsity Match by Svetlana Broussova
Omeet Atara at the 2023 Varsity Match

Growing support for College chess

The St Catharine’s College Chess Club entered the inter-collegiate league as defending champions. Unfortunately, after the loss of some key players, the team could only manage to finish ninth in Division 1.

As College Captain, Omeet explained, “Catz is fortunate that we have lots of younger players who have been able to step up and develop over the course of this year’s competition. The future looks bright and I can't wait for next year!”