Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)

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Apr 29, 2006, 9:37:57 AM4/29/06
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GM KEENE REVIEWS THE REVIEWER

Before the Duras-Teichmann fracas I dimly felt that I had
heard of Taylor Kingston somewhere. Then it occurred to me where he has
swum into my ken.

He reviewed the algebraic version of my book "Aron Nimzowitsch a
Reappraisal" published by Batsford in 1999 after two earlier editions
of 1974 and 1991. I had forgotten this but then it popped back into my
mind.The review is to be found in the archives of Chess Cafe and I am
sure that in the interest of historical veracity Taylor Kingston will
not object if I quote it in full with my annotations. Readers should be
aware that the 1974 edition of my book was described as "splendid" by
his master, the infallible Edward Winter.

So let us begin our journey through the Reappraisal of Taylor Kingston.
My comments are interspersed in double brackets.

Taylor Kingston

Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal, by Raymond Keene, 1999
Batsford, Softcover, English Algebraic Notation, 256pp., $17.95.

Along with Morphy, Steinitz, Tarrasch, and a very few others, the
Latvian master Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) is considered a
major contributor to the theoretical foundation of chess. His
writings, such as My System and Chess Praxis, are considered
essential to a full understanding of the game. At his peak (circa
1926-31) he was one of the top four or five players in the world,
and was always one of the game's more colorful and controversial
personalities. It is a measure of his impact that books continue to
be written about him.

<<Excellent start. I like it. Concisely written, to the point and well
done.>>

This one is making its third appearance. Earlier editions were
published in 1974 and 1991, both in descriptive notation. This
edition has algebraic notation and some additional games, some as
recent as 1995, that show Nimzowitsch's influence. British
grandmaster Raymond Keene, an extremely prolific but often
careless author (he admits to having written entire books in a few
days) this time appears to have some genuine passion and respect
for his subject, and has taken more than usual care (though perhaps
still not enough). Though this is a third edition, your reviewer will
approach it as he would a new work.

<<Hang on a moment. What are these generalisations about being
careless?
I imagine he will soon be trying to produce some evidence for this
libellous assertion. His evidence so far is that I admit to having
written a book in a few days. This is true, but it was not by choice.
Also I had been thinking and writing notes for weeks in advance. It was
the actual writing which took two days. In 1987 I organised and
commented on a six game speed match for Channel 4 TV held at London's
Hippodrome. We invited the chess public on the strict understanding
that nobody would reveal moves or results before the programmes were
aired. This was written as a contractually binding statement on every
ticket of admission. The players were Nigel Short and Garry Kasparov. I
also interviewed them both in depth after each game. We planned to
produce a book to go with the TV show.

Annoyingly on the night of the final game an eccentric London based
Egyptian, the late Ali Amin, announced that he was going to issue his
own book on the match and reveal all results and games well before the
shows were screened. He had apparently used two spies in the audience.
Had his book gone ahead we would have had to scrap both the TV show and
the book we were planning.

The TV station took Amin to court for breach of contract and we won.
However, this now left only a very brief window of time to write the
book and I had just one weekend to pull it all together. My wife
Annette stayed at the typewriter for 24 hours while I dictated. We only
had short breaks for coffee, but we made the deadline. It's called
Kasparov vs. Short Speed Chess Challenge and a second edition later
appeared under Kasparov vs. Short, The First Challenge. Under the
circumstances the book is remarkably good and I am very proud of it!>>

In his first chapter, Keene notes that Nimzowitsch's own major
written works stopped before the most successful phase of his
career (ca. 1929-31). Keene intends Reappraisal as "a continuation
of his Chess Praxis covering the years 1928-1934." Even for
someone of Keene's pretensions this is a tall order, but he does
have some success. The result is an interesting though uneven
work, part biography, part games collection, part historical and
theoretical survey.

<<Damning with faint praise. Okay. Let's see what else he has to say.>>

Chapter 2 is of historical interest, consisting of excerpts from
Nimzowitsch's hard-to-find autobiography How I Became a
Grandmaster. It introduces us to his somewhat grandiose writing
style and conception of himself, and goes far to explain the
antipathy, both professional and personal, that developed between
him and German grandmaster Siegbert Tarrasch. Chapter 3
includes a discussion of positional themes in Nimzowitsch's
games, and a conversation with Danish GM Bent Larsen (logical,
since Nimzowitsch lived in Denmark for years, and Larsen is
considered something of a spiritual descendant).

<<Very good. Remember that point about Nimzo living in Denmark. It's
relevant to what follows.>>

Chapter 4, "The Influence of Nimzowitsch on Modern Opening
Play", discusses lines he either originated or enhanced, among
them the Philidor-Hanham (1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 Nf6 4 Nc3
Nbd7); the Nimzowitsch Defence (1 e4 Nc6); various lines, for
both colors, in the French; the Caro-Kann, especially (after 1 e4 c6
2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4) the lines 4...Nf6 and 4...Nd7; some
lines of the Sicilian, e.g. 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nf6; the Queen's Indian (1
d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf6 b6); the Nimzo-Indian (1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3
Nc3 Bb4); and the Nimzowitsch Attack (1 b3, or 1 Nf3 and 2 b3).
Keene makes some interesting points along the way, e.g. "many of
the original strategic ideas stem from Nimzowitsch himself while
... the actual variations we still employ were elaborated by the
arch-realist Alekhine." However, as we will see, Keene's factual
support for such points is spotty.

<<Spotty? We shall see!>>

Like some other writers, notably Fred Reinfeld in The Human Side
of Chess or Reuben Fine in various works, Keene occasionally
purports to psychoanalyze or even peer into "the very heart" of his
subject and relate the insights thus gained to chess style. Chapter 5,
"The Duality of Nimzowitsch" does this in a somewhat overblown
manner, quoting Goethe (Zwei Seelen wohnen, ach! in meiner
Brust / Die eine will sich von der andern trennen) and trying to
illustrate how these 'two souls living within his breast'
("Prophylaxis" and "Heroic Defence") manifested themselves in
Nimzowitsch's games. Such armchair insights are not always
valid, but if handled with sufficient style they make for interesting
reading. Whether one agrees that "with Nimzowitsch, we see a
powerful awareness of the presence of the opponent as someone
who must be restrained or provoked," or one associates "the direct,
positive action of an Alekhine, or a Fischer, with a homogeneous,
harmonious unity of chess style as opposed to the duality and
indirection which pervade Nimzowitsch," one can at least enjoy
Keene's polysyllabic prose. And an occasionally overblown style
is perhaps appropriate when discussing Nimzowitsch.

<<Yes. Fair enough. TK even picks up my stylistic homage to Nimzo. So
are we back on track?>>

Chapters 6 through 11 are (along with chapter 4) the best sections
of the book: about 70 games, most of them deeply annotated, from
different phases of Nimzowitsch's career: First Steps 1904-06,
Established Master 1907-14, Disaster and Recovery 1920-24,
World Championship Candidate 1925-28, The Crown Prince 1929-
31, and The Final Years 1932-35. They are accompanied by
tournament crosstables. The games often feature Nimzowitsch's
own notes, which are among the most stylized, idiosyncratic,
hyperbolic, and least humble ever written; as Keene's Danish
translators put it, "each game [is] turned into a drama more than
that, into a morality play in which Nimzowitsch becomes a very
special character: an almost invincible crusader, an embodiment of
all sapient virtues." For example, of this position (See Diagram).

<<Good. Well quoted! TK really seems to be getting into the spirit of
things now! Now he discusses a position from Nimzo-Romih, San Remo 1930
after 22 Bd5-c6.>>

While grandmasters tend to be an egotistical lot, it's hard to think
of many who would, with a straight face, describe their own moves
as "awe-inspiring." Elsewhere Nimzowitsch rejoices in the "thorn-
infested path to victory" that the complexity of his style forced
upon him, masochistically regarding the "renunciation of lunch" as
"a thoroughly welcome intensification of the pleasure". Not
without reason was he considered a bit strange.

Still, the instructive value of Nimzowitsch's games and the
complex intelligence behind them cannot be denied. Keene
perceptively points out many features of Nimzowitsch's play, such
as the concept of "ambush." This means more than just a trap or
combination, rather it is "a deep refutation of a course of action
which the opponent is under no compulsion to adopt," yet one
toward which Nimzowitsch's play strongly leads him. A prime
example is Rubinstein-Nimzowitsch, Marienbad 1925 (See
Diagram) where the key was the unusual and not at all obvious
18...Rfe8!!.
...The games section, the bulk of the book, features many such
instructive, perhaps even "awe-inspiring" moments.

In other areas Reappraisal comes off less well. While emulating
Reinfeld in the "psychological insight" department, Keene
criticizes Reinfeld's book on Nimzowitsch (Hypermodern Chess,
a/k/a Nimzovich the Hypermodern, 1948). For example, discussing
the game Nimzowitsch-Salwe, Carlsbad 1911 (See Diagram),

Reinfeld wrote that for playing 7 dxc5, "one of the deepest
[moves] ever played, Nimzowitsch was roundly damned by the
chess world." Keene cites Vidmar to show that "Unfortunately, the
facts contradict this pleasantly romantic view."

However, Keene has often been shown by Edward Winter and
others to be one of chessdom's worst offenders against historical
accuracy. Though in the above matter he may be right, for him to
criticize Reinfeld is rather like Jackie Gleason admonishing
someone to lose weight.

<<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
historical accuracy!
I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel. And what's
this about being right but now allowed to correct Reinfeld, a gifted
player who had a plus score against Reshevsky, beat Fine and drew with
Alekhine? Reinfeld wrote some potboilers but also some very good books
including his studies of Nimzo and Tarrasch. TK's remarks are a crude
slur which utterly fails to produce any worthwhile reason why I should
not criticise anyone or anything I find to be in error. I also find
this kind of criticism by innuendo highly distasteful and unworthy of
any decent reviewer who is supposed to be objective. Ah, but is
objectivity TK's real goal? Now we come to his so-called evidence of my
offenses against historical accuracy. This will be interesting. Winter
has decreed that Keene is a bad writer (let's try to forget or spin the
old Winter description of my book on Nimzo as "splendid"). Now TK must
fine something wrong with my book to justify the new dictates of his
stern lord and master.>>

Taylor Kingston

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Apr 29, 2006, 9:52:31 AM4/29/06
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parrt...@cs.com wrote:

> <<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
> historical accuracy!
> I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel.

GM Keene, as usual, is under-researched, even about himself. His
offenses against historical accuracy are many and well known. For his
elucidation, I repeat the first installment of a thread begun some time
ago, "Keene on Chessic Omniscience":

I hesitate to pit my own poor knowledge against GM Keene's vast
erudition, especially in view of the humbling omniscience he has
demonstrated on this newsgroup and in his books. A few examples of the
obscure facts GM Keene has had at his fingertips:

1. Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937 ("World Champion
Combinations," Cardoza 1998). Pity all the fools who have long
believed that Euwe won the title in 1935 and lost it in 1937!
2. Botvinnik won the 1954 world championship match against Smyslov
(ibid., p. 119). With deep contrition I confess that even I have always
mistakenly believed the match was drawn.
3. The 1983 Kasparov-Korchnoi match was for the World Championship.
Again, pity the illiterati who thought it was only a Candidates match.
4. New York 1927 was a de facto candidates tournament that would
determine who challenged Capablanca for the title ("Aron Nimzowitsch:
A Reappraisal," 1st edition 1974). It is a mark of Keene's dazzling
erudition that he knew this, while Capablanca and Alekhine did not.
5. Kasparov was "the first player in more than 75 years to come
from behind to win the world chess championship" (The Times, 21
December 1987). We again see Keene's amazing ability to debunk common
misconceptions. The rest of the world labored under the misapprehension
that comebacks occurred in about half of the title contests of that
period, starting with Alekhine-Capablanca 1927, and including both
Alekhine-Euwe matches, Botvinnik-Bronstein 1951, Botvinnik-Smyslov
1954, Botvinnik-Smyslov 1957, Petrosian-Botvinnik 1963,
Petrosian-Spassky 1969, and Fischer-Spassky 1972.

parrt...@cs.com

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Apr 29, 2006, 9:59:06 AM4/29/06
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GM KEENE REVIEWS THE REVIEWER (2)

Questions of opening nomenclature are often tricky; this line actually
was first analyzed by Orland Krause of Denmark in 1911.

<<Yes, we know about Dr. Krause, the Danish theoretician -- remember
Denmark? --where Nimzo emigrated after the first World War. Nimzo even
gives a game by Krause with this very line in his Chess Praxis.>>

--and played and analyzed further by Russian Vasily Panov ca. 1929-30.

<<Much later.>>

But as far as it concerns Nimzowitsch and Alekhine, Keene appears to
have cause and effect reversed! As far asI can find, their actual
chronology with the line is: (1) Alekhine-Tartakower,Paris 1925; (2)
Tartakower-Nimzowitsch, Liege 1930; and only then (3)
Nimzowitsch-Alekhine,Bled 1931. In other words, Nimzowitsch may well
have learned of the linefrom Alekhine, and not the other way around.

<<Try Nimzo-Jokstad, Bergen 1921 which as far as I can see normally
comes BEFORE 1925 and 1930. It seems pretty likely that when Nimzo went
to Denmark he became interested in this line by association with Dr.
Krause, whom he writes of very positively in Chess Praxis.>>

The Panov-Botvinnik might be more accurately called the Krause-Panov,
but
for Keene to imply that it should be named for Nimzowitsch is
ludicrous.

<<I did not write this at all! I merely wrote that I was surprisedit
was christened after Panov and Botvinnik. But to call it the
Panov-Botvinnikas I supposed we now must -- as sanctioned by usage --is
just another sadexample of Soviets hacks hijacking an opening system
worked out by others.It reminds of of Commander Chekhov, the Russian
Star Trek officer who automatically claims that everything was invented
in Moscow.>>

Other errors are more subtle.

<<What other errors? He hasn't found any at all yet!!>>

While Reappraisal is better researched than many other Keene books,
it still showsa certain superficiality, for example in its discussion
of the genesis ofthe
Nimzo-Indian Defense.

<<Superficiality is it now ? This had better be good!>>

Nimzowitsch first played 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6
3 Nc3 Bb4 against Janowsky at St. Petersburg 1914. Keene rightly notes
thatit had been played earlier (with a slight transposition), in
Englisch-Blackburne,London 1883, but neglects to state that it
had appeared even earlier, in Singleton-Casswell, correspondence,
England 1854.

<<I neglect to mention a game from 1854! I am here saying thatNimzo
neither invented the opening nor had a monopoly on its development.
Both true!>>

Admittedly not a point of great importance, but a harbinger of further
omission when Keene discusses the Nimzo-Indian's strategic ancestry. He
correctly notes that an important theme of the defense, Black's
pressure against White'sc3/c4/d4
pawn complex, may not have been completely original with Nimzowitsch,
citing this position (See Diagram), from a Dutch Defense,
Salwe-Tartakower, Carlsbad 1911. Keene says "the manner of play against
the doubled c-pawns and the whole concept of blockade ... [clearly
shows] there was some cross-fertilization between the livelier minds of
the pre-1914 chess world. The new ideas were not the sole intellectual
property of Nimzowitsch!"

True indeed, but Keene seems completely unaware that the idea
can be traced back much further. Consider this position (See Diagram).

<<And now I am allegedly unaware of an even more important mirror image
-- this time from 1867.>>

Interested readers please consult the database from Winawer-Neumann,
Paris 1867 where the Polish master continued
22 Ba3 Qf7 23 Nc3 a5 24 Na4 Na6 25 Rac1, pressuring the c5-pawn in a
perfect mirror image of the Nimzo-Indian strategy, nearly 50 years
before Nimzowitsch "originated" it.

This is not the only Winawer game with such ideas. As we noted
in the February 1999 Inside Chess, it is very hard to believe that
Winawer's games were unknown to the Latvian Nimzowitsch (not
to mention the Pole Tartakower), especially since (1) they all
moved in Russian chess circles at the time Nimzowitsch was
formulating his opening ideas; and (2) Nimzowitsch was very fond
of the line 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4, i.e., the Winawer French.
Nimzowitsch's affinity for Knights over Bishops is another sign of
Winawer influence. Winawer lived until 1920 and Nimzowitsch
almost surely knew him personally. I strongly doubt Nimzowitsch
was ignorant of Winawer's games, but it's clear Keene is.

<<No, Keene is not ignorant. I just thought everyone knew
aboutStaunton's win vs. the Bristol Chess Club of 1844-45 by
correspondence --a game far predating any references cited by TK! It's
#25
in my book on Howard Staunton, a pure mirror image Nimzo-Indian. TK
missesthe point. I wasn't trying to find the earliest reference, which
is in factStaunton's game, but simply showing that a well known 1883
game had reachedthe Nimzo basic position, which GMs of that era would
probably know and thatothers (Tartakower) also deserved some credit. I
am sure Winawer does too, but if we are playing the game of going as
far back as we can I doubt anyone will trump Staunton vs. Bristol. If
they do, please let me know!>>

He is further guilty of worse superficiality in discussing the
Advance French (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5), calling it "another of
Nimzowitsch's brain children," when it is well known that Louis
Paulsen (1833-91) was playing it years before Nimzowitsch was born.

<<Wake up Taylor Kingston. Anyone at home up there? Paulsen vs.
Tarrasch is on page 53 of my book!
And brain child doesn't mean Nimzo played it first, though it could. It
meansthat Nimzo nurtured and proselytised for it like no other GM ever
did. Heworked out a complete theory for 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 in the
French, contributingmore than anyone else.>>

Keene has at least deleted one error from his 1974 edition
(repeated from Reinfeld), that New York 1927 was a "candidates
tournament"in which, had Nimzowitsch finished first, or second to
Capablanca, he could have gained a world title match. While it is a
pleasant surprise to see Keene correcting himself, on the whole one
should not read Reappraisal as an historical work without substantial
salt at hand.

<<Salt? The belief that New York 1927 was a candidates' tournament was
widespread when I wrote the first edition. And no, I did not get it
from Reinfeld.
In fact I accepted the truth of a memoir of Capablanca by J. DuMont. It
is now believed that New York 1927 was almost certainly NOT a
candidates' tournament as we now understand the phrase, though heaven
knows how they would have handled matters had Nimzo won or come second.
But I certainly felt it safer to delete this based on what had been
unearthed since the first edition.

Now what's this assertion about
"at least deleted one error, implying there were lots more. I have
proved here that there aren't. I would even say, given the state of
knowledge at the time of writing, that referring to New York 1927 as a
candidates' tournament was NOT an error. Changing the description
showed an awareness of and sensitivity to more recent research. This
slur about a pleasant surprise to see Keene correcting himself is
unworthy of an objective reviewer. It would be more typical of a
reviewer with a preset agenda. I am always ready to correct something
if it can be done. For example, if a mistake occurs in my daily Times
column I always try to get it corrected as quickly as possible. Anyone
who reads it can verify this fact. TK"s pleasant surprise insult is
just another generalised attack without foundation.>>

As an instructional book, it is somewhat problematic, though not
through any fault of Keene's. As R. E. Fauber said, "If there were
a difficult way to play a chess game, Nimzovich would find it."
Few masters are harder for the amateur to emulate than the
eccentric Latvian. However, Keene deserves credit for making
some Nimzowitsch concepts easier to understand, and for
providing relevant illustrative examples. By itself, or used as
Keene recommends, in concert with My System and/or Chess
Praxis, Reappraisal should have instructive value, at least for
players of above-average strength. For less advanced players I
would recommend (at the risk of making Nimzowitsch spin in his
grave!) that they first try a book by his arch-rival Tarrasch, whose
more direct theory of the game is easier to grasp.

<This bit is more or less okay. TK even admits I mention Praxis
wherethe 1924-25 Krause game occurs, thus conceding that I did know
about Krause's contribution to the so-called Panov-Botvinnik Attack.>>

It is as a games collection that this book stands out: about 100
Nimzowitsch games, both famous and little-known, some with his
own annotations (hard to find anywhere else), others with good
notes by Keene. For all his eccentricity and bombast, Nimzowitsch
loved and understood chess as few men have ever done, and for all
his usual sloppiness

<<For all his uusual sloppiness?? Outrageous slur with no evidence at
all. Who has been sloppy here with his research? Me or the reviewer
whooverlooked Nimzo vs. Jokstad 1921 and Staunton vs. Bristol 1844?
Come offit. TK has not found one single instance of so-called
sloppiness, whereas I have unearthed several in his review.>>

Keene's respect and enthusiasm for Nimzowitsch have motivated him to
produce a book well above his norm. As long as one does not regard it
as an historical
reference, Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal will do little harm, and
will provide a good deal of interesting reading and educational study
material.

<<Damning with faint praise yet again. No historical reference? What
about all the tournament tables. What about unearthing Nimzo's "HowI
Became a GM" with his fabulous early game with Tarrasch?

Yet TK mentions respect and enthusiasm. My verdict on his review? Three
on a scale of ten. Not yet ready for prime time (as GM Evans puts it in
his 4/24/06 column at WCN). Taylor Kingston is evidently lying
throughout. Even worse, he is lying to himself, thus defeating the
purpose of his review.

His language at times betrays that he likes my book but he knows that
Winter now disapproves of Keene and he must toe the party line or be
hurled himself into outer darkness with the non-Winterians -- Parr,
Evans, and the redoubtable Innes. TK tried desperately to demolish my
book in spite of the fact that in truth he liked it! But he had to
dance to the official tune, hurl slurs and fire insults.

He either has to invent claims I patently never made and says I
overlooked games that are in my book (Paulsen vs. Tarrasch) and alleges
I showed historical ignorance. He could actually make a decent chess
writer if he didn't have such an agenda.

Finally I ask you, Mr. Kingston, what have I done to deserve this
attack from you?
You don't know me and I certainly had no idea of who you were before I
noticed your insulting material. What is wrong with my book, which many
consider a classic. and which has gone through three editions to
deserve this kind of shoddy treatment at your hands?>>

-- GM Ray Keene

parrt...@cs.com

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Apr 29, 2006, 10:11:45 AM4/29/06
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MY COMMENTS ON KEENE'S REVIEW

Ray Keene utterly eviscerates Taylor Kingston's
review of Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal.

My heavens, yes.

Keene notes that several criticisms by NM Taylor
Kingston, the man who lies about having "standards,"
are strawmen of his own devising. NM Kingston
criticizes Keene for failing to note earlier games
when such was not the author's purpose and when such
was clearly unnecessary. Then, embarrassingly,
Kingston himself does not know the stem games. For
example, Nimzo-Jokstad and Staunton-Bristol. Kingston
over looks Paulsen-Tarrasch, though it stares up at
him right on the page.

GM Keene points up the truly horrible and arid
pomposity of NM Kingston's prose by skewering the many
easy, false claims made by rgcp's most ungraciously
or, perhaps, disgraciously self-promoted pawn.

One of Keene's interesting points -- also made
by Alekhine in a somewhat different form in a letter
before NY 1927 -- is what would have happened if
Nimzowitsch had won or finished second in that
tournament. It is by no means certain that the Capa
match would have occurred. NY 1927 was a rare duck:
it walked and quacked like a candidates' tournament,
but it was not. Indeed, its walking and quacking were
so duck-like that even Alekhine was worried about his
status were he to perform poorly.

Any criticisms of Ray Keene's exposition? I
have one.He is a professional writer, and one of the
hallmarks of such a writer is not only writing prose
easy on the eye but also knowing what to leave out.
Edward Winter and some of the other ratpackers are
notable for treating all details equally. Not Keene.
Still even he nods now and then.

Look, Ray: when NM Kingston attacked you for
writing a book in a couple of days, I believe that
nearly every reader on this forum understood you
were meeting a deadline following a high-profile chess
match. Which indeed you were.

Ray: I don't believe you need to defend your many
books on top-level matches against the Winterian
ratpackers. Nearly every fairminded reader of this
forum understands that it is not an "admission" to
write a book in two days when you are under
market deadline. It is an ACHIEVEMENT, especially
when the volume shows spark and intelligence. (Of
course, you benefited from the post-mortems with Short
and Kasparov.)

The Winterians do not understand the world of
professional writing. They are windy amateurs whose
labors of love -- for we can give them that much
credit -- would benefit from selectivity (knowing what
to leave out) and a great deal more reading on their part.

Your citations leave NM Kingston gasping and, to
be sure, grasping for the next subject on which to
level another smear. Your comments on the stem games were
devastating, though we must not forget that searching for them
was never your purpose in the selections noted by Kingston.

Such, I know, was not your object. Yet the
unpleasant truth is that you have embarrassed NM
Kingston. You have incommoded his intellectual amour
propre. Based on his past behavior, you may encounter
two or three new anonymice attacking you and defending
him. These anonymice may be Niemand (who is NM
Kingston himself) or earlier incarnations such as Paulie Graf
and Xylothist, when he praised his own work!

-- Larry Parr

Taylor Kingston

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Apr 29, 2006, 10:24:58 AM4/29/06
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parrt...@cs.com wrote:

> <<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
> historical accuracy!

> I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel. -- GM Raymond Keene

As far as legally actionable offenses are concerned, I do not recall
granting permission to GM Keene to reproduce my entire copyrighted
review here. Nor do I recall him even asking for such permission. And
if it is libelous to point out factual errors, then free speech is
dead.

Below is the second installment of "Keene on Chessic Omniscience,"
detailing some of his historical howlers:

Honored by GM Raymond Keene's great kindness in castigating my
ignorance, I continue to do him homage by presenting a few more
examples of his dazzling chess erudition:

1. In "Karpov-Korchnoi 1978," Keene points out no less than three
times (pages 14, 124, and 138) that the 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine match
lasted 35 games. I think it is wonderful that Keene has corrected this
notorious error, apparently first made by Capablanca himself, who made
the mistake of resigning the title after only 34 games had been played.
With the exception of the alert Keene, the error seems to have been
mindlessly copied by most other historians; for example Skinner &
Verhoeven's supposedly well-researched 807-page tome on Alekhine also
gives only 34 games. Perhaps GM Keene will grace us with the actual
moves of this long-lost 35th game.
2. In "The Complete Book of Gambits" Keene lists two interesting
games: Lewitzky-Marshall, Breslau 1991 and Marshall-Duras, San
Sebastian 1991. It is shocking that even such a supposedly careful
historian as Jeremy Gaige has committed the absurd gaffe of telling us,
in "Chess Personalia," that Lewitzky died in 1924, Marshall in
1944, and Duras in 1957. Shocking, I say!
3. In The Times, November 16 1991, Keene reported that "chess games
were first recorded towards the end of the eighteenth century."
Another shocker - evidently the writings and games we have of Ruy
López (c. 1530-1580) and Greco (1600-1634), Philidor's manual
"Analyse de jeu des Echecs" (1749), not to mention works of the
earlier Islamic masters, must be forgeries!
4. On page 9 of "The Moscow Challenge" GM Keene delivered the
staggering news that Steinitz had an "abysmal" tournament record
over the years 1886-1894. This is perhaps one of Keene's greatest
contributions to chess history - virtually all other so-called
historians are deluded that Steinitz actually had NO tournament record
during this time - they think he played only matches!

Vince Hart

unread,
Apr 29, 2006, 11:36:44 AM4/29/06
to
I wish Keene had worked as hard on Winning with the Nimzo-Indian as he
did on that review of Kingston.

The Historian

unread,
Apr 29, 2006, 12:46:55 PM4/29/06
to

Taylor Kingston wrote:
> parrt...@cs.com wrote:
>
> > <<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
> > historical accuracy!
> > I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel. -- GM Raymond Keene
>
> As far as legally actionable offenses are concerned, I do not recall
> granting permission to GM Keene to reproduce my entire copyrighted
> review here. Nor do I recall him even asking for such permission.

Technically, it's Larry Parr that violated your copyright, Taylor,
since Mr. Keene didn't reprint the review. In addition to any legal
line Mr. Parr crossed, he seems to have violated the Code of Ethics of
the Chess Journalists of America. Mr. Parr is a CJA member.

9. No article or other proprietary work may be published without the
necessary proprietary consents.

I note Hanon Russel is a member of CJA; he could ask them to take
action of some kind against Parr.

Taylor Kingston

unread,
Apr 29, 2006, 2:04:17 PM4/29/06
to

Thank you, Neil -- I will definitely consider it.
In the meantime, I will be happy to respond to Keene's comments about
my review of his book, on one condition -- that he first acknowledge
and explain, in detail and without evasion, his many documented factual
errors that I have here pointed out, errors which he seems to claim
were never made.
I might add that Keene's errors are of much greater magnitude, on
matters far better known, common knowledge even, than anything he's
laid against me. I hardly feel threatened by an accusation of
jaywalking when it comes from a guy who's habitually DUI,
metaphorically speaking.

jr

unread,
Apr 29, 2006, 4:50:14 PM4/29/06
to
* Finally I ask you, Mr. Kingston, what have I done to deserve this

attack from you? You don't know me and I certainly had no idea of who
you were before I noticed your insulting material. What is wrong with
my book, which many consider a classic. and which has gone through
three editions to deserve this kind of shoddy treatment
at your hands? * (GM Keene)

* I hardly feel threatened by an accusation of jaywalking when it
comes from a guy who's habitually DUI, metaphorically speaking. *
(Kingston)

This guy is so predictable.

He cannot defend his putrid review.

The only thing threatened is Kingston's competence.

Instead he hurls more abuse, attacks the messenger, and
changes the subject as well as the name of the thread.

How about answering Keene point by point for a change
instead of evading the issue, which is your putrid review?

help bot

unread,
Apr 29, 2006, 9:16:03 PM4/29/06
to

SPEAKING OF SMEARS

Several comments by Taylor Kingston as quoted here by Ray Keene seem
to give very negative opinions without accompanying, supporting
evidence to back them up. Innuendo, as RK puts it.
I wonder if a book review really has the time and the space to back
up all such opinions? Some reviewers, let's say John Watson, for
example, often make the time and the space to back everything up. Some
such reviews can become very lengthy, yet they are well worth the time
it takes to read them; unfortunately, the reviewer is not well-paid for
his efforts -- unlike the author of a published book.

When I read this kind of opinion, expressed with nothing whatever to
back it up, I take note both of the expressed opinion, and of the fact
that nothing presented alongside backs it up. Research may or may not
uncover further facts relating to or in support of the opinion in
question. For example, one could do a Google search for other reviews
on the same book. In this particular case TK did mention Edward
Winter, who has a Web site in which further research might prove
interesting.

"TK's remarks are a crude slur which utterly fails to produce
any worthwhile reason why I should not criticise anyone or
anything I find to be in error."

This would appear to work both ways. If Ray Keene can
psychoanalyse Nimzowitch, why can't Taylor Kingston
assess Keene's historical accuracy? It's just giving one's
opinions, either way. I suppose the complaint is that TK
did not place several direct quotes of Edward Winter into his
book review. Earlier, Keene was complaining the reviews
were too long; now he has reversed himself.

"I also find this kind of criticism by innuendo highly distasteful
and unworthy of any decent reviewer who is supposed to be
objective. Ah, but is objectivity TK's real goal? Now we come to
his so-called evidence of my offenses against historical accuracy.
This will be interesting. Winter has decreed that Keene is a bad
writer (let's try to forget or spin the old Winter description of my
book on Nimzo as "splendid")."


Is Ray Keene suggesting that this (i.e. "splendid") was at one
time or is still Edward Winter's *overall assessment* of the book
in question? Or was this single word snatched out of context?
There is no way to tell from reading RK's post; he even fails to
explain how a single such word might prove sufficient to
encompass such a fine work as this one, noted for garnering
many positive reviews.


"Now TK must fine [=find] something wrong with my book to


justify the new dictates of his stern lord and master."


Another smear. Where has Ray Keene presented any real
evidence to back up this preposterous assertion? I would, for
example, like to see where TK has (carelessly) disagreed with
EW, then been given the "order" to stand down, and followed it
just as any mindless slave would.

On the contrary, it seems to me that what has happenned here
is that, like many others, Taylor Kingston found Winter's
arguments about Keene's work convincing, and now references
them as supporting evidence for his own opinions. Unfortunately,
this seems to affect even his review of one of Keene's best works.

This last smear of TK by Keene follows others, such as the
nitwitted idea that an OTB 1800 cannot see ...pxR, because he's
not a strong enough player. Nevermind that the 1800 relates to
competing OTB, while reviewing a chess book is done under
very different circumstances, such as skipping over the game
in question, reading only the intro. These mental lapses by
Keene remind us of the truism that his many works are of widely
varying quality.

Personally, I would find it far more interesting to read Keene's
(criticised) psychoanalysis of Nimzowitch than to replay all of the
master's old games (which I find dismal in comparison to many
other masters). Some of Nimzo's 80+ movers faintly remind me
of two total patzers lost in a chessic fog.


-- help bot

help bot

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 2:19:11 AM4/30/06
to
Taylor Kingston writes:

"GM Keene, as usual, is under-researched, even about himself. His
offenses against historical accuracy are many and well known. For his
elucidation, I repeat the first installment of a thread begun some time
ago, "Keene on Chessic Omniscience"


Well, it seems to me that Taylor Kingston has forgotten the
Millions-of-words Defense: the saving line first essayed by Larry Parr
around 1983, but later co-opted by others such as Larry Evans and
Raymond Keene. The key point is that the glaring weakness of the
kingside is defensible (despite gaping holes) by means of pointing out
the huge number of moves, or rather words, which an author has written
over time. With such a vast number of words, it is inevitable that a
few gremlins will "creep in".

In view of the iron-clad "logic" of this Defense, I am forced to
agree with Keene regarding his overall hysterical accuracy. In any
event, other "great" chess writers are no better: take Eric Schiller,
for example.

TK's points one through five have already been dealt with elsewhere.
One reviewer of my review thought TK had lapsed into Greek or pig
Latin, claiming "illiterati" had slipped into an otherwise entirely
English language posting, but I'm not convinced. This is akin to
claiming that, in the middle of a particular game, one player switches
from modern algebraic into the old, archaic notation, like so:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 P-QR3
4. Ba4

--

In part two (which I have only begun to read), there appears to be
much quibbling as to which of these two "world's leading authorities"
(read: overblown egos) has/had access to the oldest game involving the
so-called hypermodern strategy. Each of them -- Keene and Kingston --
reach back further and further in attempts to demonstrate a database
superiority of some sort. IMO, this is a pointless task, as everyone
knows that Eric Schiller is -- hands down -- the world's leading
authority on megabases and data dumps. It matters not how big their
egos may be, they simply can't compete (with the best) here.


Keene offers:

"TK misses the point. I wasn't trying to find the earliest reference,
which
is in fact Staunton's game, but simply showing that a well known 1883
game had reached the Nimzo basic position, which GMs of that era...".


Here, the world's leading authority (apart from Taylor Kingston, that
is) on chess appears to "forget" that there was no such title as "GMs"
in the era to which he refers.
Heck, one of his own books, Warriors of the Mind -- often criticised by
Edward Winter for "demoting" greats like Alekhine to also-ran staus --
probably has players like Staunton at or around the modern IM level,
reserving GM status for players like Lasker and Capablanca. That is,
unless one takes a top-down approach, assumming that there have always
been a few grandmasters, no matter how weak, but that there are far
more today for reasons unknown. My understanding was that this was not
the approach taken in Keene and Divinski's book, however. These guys
put Kasparov out in front by millions of points. Okay, hundreds of
points.

Further arguments occur regarding an error in the first edition of
Keene's book on Nimzowitch, with TK lashing out at an error which Keene
apparently has a legitimate defense for, as he had (quite reasonably)
relied upon Dumont's work on Capablanca. It's not Keene's fault that
this work has since been superceeded (by Edward Winter, #).

--

This is really odd. Keene & the dunderheads have managed to trick
the so-called ratpackers into discussing one of Keene's better works,
instead of focusing on the prior subject -- Keene's recent slop.
Slippery as an eel.


-- help bot

Chess One

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 8:04:55 AM4/30/06
to

"Taylor Kingston" <tkin...@chittenden.com> wrote in message
news:1146333857.7...@v46g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...

>
> The Historian wrote:
>> Taylor Kingston wrote:
>> > parrt...@cs.com wrote:
>> >
>> > > <<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
>> > > historical accuracy!
>> > > I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel. -- GM
>> > > Raymond Keene
>> >
>> > As far as legally actionable offenses are concerned, I do not recall
>> > granting permission to GM Keene to reproduce my entire copyrighted
>> > review here. Nor do I recall him even asking for such permission.
>>
>> Technically, it's Larry Parr that violated your copyright, Taylor,
>> since Mr. Keene didn't reprint the review. In addition to any legal
>> line Mr. Parr crossed, he seems to have violated the Code of Ethics of
>> the Chess Journalists of America. Mr. Parr is a CJA member.
>>
>> 9. No article or other proprietary work may be published without the
>> necessary proprietary consents.
>>
>> I note Hanon Russel is a member of CJA; he could ask them to take
>> action of some kind against Parr.
>
> Thank you, Neil -- I will definitely consider it.

I was just about to say what benefit there is in writing here compared to
Nolandland.

HYSTORYLAND

But the hapless Kingston choses to take ethical advice from Brennan! <g>

I would say that the likely result of accepting that advice would be a
countersuit which would sink both Kingston and the CJA, since Kingston
quoted FAR more in his own review than is permissable under copyright law -
and Ray Keene is now accused of, in effect, quoting himself inhis reply.

If there is anything else of substance in this post, rahteer than 'abstract
criticism' I am sure someone will reply to it.

Phil Innes

Taylor Kingston

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 8:39:22 AM4/30/06
to

jr wrote:

> How about answering Keene point by point for a change
> instead of evading the issue, which is your putrid review?

I am always amused when an anonymouse, who dodges questions about his
own documented lies, adopts an air of moral authority. How about you,
Larry Jr., anwer us point by point on your reverse memory that knows
things in January but finds them "all new" in April? It is hardly fair
to expect to receive answers while giving none.
And speaking of "answering point by point," I repeat my statement of
yesterday: I will be happy to respond to Keene's comments about my

Chess One

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 8:45:30 AM4/30/06
to

"Chess One" <inn...@verizon.net> wrote in message
news:HJ15g.413$b77.148@trndny03...

>
> "Taylor Kingston" <tkin...@chittenden.com> wrote in message
> news:1146333857.7...@v46g2000cwv.googlegroups.com...
>>
>> The Historian wrote:
>>> Taylor Kingston wrote:
>>> > parrt...@cs.com wrote:
>>> >
>>> > > <<Hang on. What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
>>> > > historical accuracy!
>>> > > I trust he's going to produce some evidence for this libel. -- GM
>>> > > Raymond Keene
>>> >
>>> > As far as legally actionable offenses are concerned, I do not recall
>>> > granting permission to GM Keene to reproduce my entire copyrighted
>>> > review here. Nor do I recall him even asking for such permission.
>>>
>>> Technically, it's Larry Parr that violated your copyright, Taylor,
>>> since Mr. Keene didn't reprint the review. In addition to any legal
>>> line Mr. Parr crossed, he seems to have violated the Code of Ethics of
>>> the Chess Journalists of America. Mr. Parr is a CJA member.
>>>
>>> 9. No article or other proprietary work may be published without the
>>> necessary proprietary consents.
>>>
>>> I note Hanon Russel is a member of CJA; he could ask them to take
>>> action of some kind against Parr.
>>
>> Thank you, Neil -- I will definitely consider it.

FAIR CHALLENGE?

I strongly suggest that Russel should be contacted - in fact if Taylor
Kingston doesn't I will.

What we would like to know about where Kingston wrote his
article -Chesscafe - and about the CJA Code of Ethics, that Kingston cites
as authority, is if Hanon Russel, who controls both, thinks Keene's
copyright was abridged by Kinston's review.

What could be fairer than that? :))

[[When Taylor Kingston has replied to this aspect of his own behavior -
let's do the same thing with the other bloke, Winter - let him write
whatever he wants in his own words - by writing to Winter but asking him a
direct question of what he was about when referring to Kasparov and BCO. I
wonder what the CJA would think of that! At least it doesn't abridge
Kasparov's copyright, since he never wrote anything... ]]

If Taylor Kingston decline to follow the first of these, allow me! If he
would kindly let me know in this forum if he intends to contact Hanon Russel
about a CJA ethical infraction, then we might expect an answer in a timely
way, since it is a serious accusation!

Of course, if the result of the CJA findings in this matter are not as
indicated above, and Parr is found not guilty, but other parties are, then I
am sure they will be able to impartially impose penalties upon themselves
and their agents.

If he does not intend to do so - then I am very willing to contact Hanon
Russel.

Phil Innes

jr

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:04:28 AM4/30/06
to
* This is really odd. Keene & the dunderheads have

anaged to trick the so-called ratpackers into discussing
one of Keene's better works...* (Help Bot)

Mr. Bot finally got something right.

* And speaking of "answering point by point," I repeat my statement of

yesterday: I will be happy to respond to Keene's comments about my
review of his book, on one condition -- that he first acknowledge and
explain, in detail and without evasion, his many documented factual
errors that I have here pointed out, errors which he seems to claim

were never made.* (Kingston)

Translation: This phony will never respond to Keene's devastating
critique of his putrid review because Keene is right.

Taylor Kingston

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:06:29 AM4/30/06
to

I already have, Phil, but feel free to contact him yourself if you
like. However, I suggest you spell his name correctly.

> What we would like to know about where Kingston wrote his
> article -Chesscafe - and about the CJA Code of Ethics, that Kingston cites
> as authority

I did not cite the CJA.

, is if Hanon Russel, who controls both,

You are saying that Hanon Russell controls the CJA??

> thinks Keene's
> copyright was abridged by Kinston's review.

Hitting the peyote again, Phil? The issue is whether Keene/Parr's
posting of a large part of *my* copyrighted review, without receiving
or asking permission, is a copyright violation.

> What could be fairer than that? :))

Probably any number of things, but to be sure it would first be
necessary for your position to be comprehensible.

The Historian

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:40:57 AM4/30/06
to

How can there be a "countersuit" if there is no lawsuit? DId I suggest
any legal action?

since Kingston
> quoted FAR more in his own review than is permissable under copyright law -

Excuse me, but where does copyright law in the US set a limit for fair
use? (Folks, this is a trick question.) Also, the issue with the CJA
isn't over fair use guidelines, but the fact that Parr, a CJA member,
reproduced Mr. Kingston's entire article without permission. As I
pointed out, this is a violation of the CJA Code of Ethics.

> and Ray Keene is now accused of, in effect, quoting himself inhis reply.
>
> If there is anything else of substance in this post, rahteer than 'abstract
> criticism' I am sure someone will reply to it.

As usual, there is next to nothing in your post aside from the errors.

Snip remaining Innes twaddle.

The Historian

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 10:11:10 AM4/30/06
to

Mr. Kingston does not 'cite' the CJA or the Code of Ethics.

>is if Hanon Russel, who controls both,

Hanon Russell does not control the CJA. If anyone, that would be Don
Schultz.

thinks Keene's
> copyright was abridged by Kinston's review.

Since Russell, a lawyer - a real one, not one of the mythical "legal
gentlemen" you often cite - published the review, most probably he,
unlike Phil Innes, understood the concept of fair use.

> What could be fairer than that? :))

Innes could fall down a rabbit hole somewhere. Then he can be the only
one living "Innes in Wonderland."

> [[When Taylor Kingston has replied to this aspect of his own behavior -
> let's do the same thing with the other bloke, Winter - let him write
> whatever he wants in his own words - by writing to Winter but asking him a
> direct question of what he was about when referring to Kasparov and BCO. I
> wonder what the CJA would think of that!

Mr. Winter is not a CJA member.

At least it doesn't abridge
> Kasparov's copyright, since he never wrote anything... ]]
>
> If Taylor Kingston decline to follow the first of these, allow me! If he
> would kindly let me know in this forum if he intends to contact Hanon Russel
> about a CJA ethical infraction, then we might expect an answer in a timely
> way, since it is a serious accusation!
>
> Of course, if the result of the CJA findings in this matter are not as
> indicated above, and Parr is found not guilty, but other parties are, then I
> am sure they will be able to impartially impose penalties upon themselves
> and their agents.
>
> If he does not intend to do so - then I am very willing to contact Hanon
> Russel.

Please do so. (Folks, now will follow a dozen posts threatening to do
so.)

Snip more Innes insanity.

Taylor Kingston

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 11:17:15 AM4/30/06
to

jr wrote:
> * And speaking of "answering point by point," I repeat my statement of
> yesterday: I will be happy to respond to Keene's comments about my
> review of his book, on one condition -- that he first acknowledge and
> explain, in detail and without evasion, his many documented factual
> errors that I have here pointed out, errors which he seems to claim
> were never made.* (Kingston)
>
> Translation: This phony will never respond to Keene's devastating
> critique of his putrid review because Keene is right.

Keene is right? On all of the following?

1. The 1927 Capablanca-Alekhine match lasted 35 games?
2. Marshall, Lewitzky and Duras all lived until at least 1991?
3. Chess games were first recorded towards the end of the eighteenth
century?
4. Steinitz had an "abysmal" tournament record over the years
1886-1894?
5. Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937?
6. Botvinnik won the 1954 world championship match against Smyslov?
7. The 1983 Kasparov-Korchnoi match was for the World Championship?
8. New York 1927 was a de facto candidates tournament?
9. Kasparov was "the first player in more than 75 years to come
from behind to win the world chess championship"?

These are all things Keene has written, all matters of public record
on which he was quite wrong. There are many more. With the exception of
#8, he has addressed none of them. I'll be happy to discuss my alleged
errors with Keene when he responds in full to all of the above.

avital...@gmail.com

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 4:41:14 PM4/30/06
to
<<Hang on a moment. What are these generalisations about being
careless? I imagine he will soon be trying to produce some evidence for
this
libellous assertion>>.

Be my guest:

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/keene.html

http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/copying.html

...and many, many more examples could be given. To say that you are a
careless author is about as much as a "libel" as saying that the sun
rises in the east.

<< His evidence so far is that I admit to having
written a book in a few days. This is true, but it was not by choice.
Also I had been thinking and writing notes for weeks in advance.>>

Wow! You actually spent a few WEEKS thinking and writing notes about
the book! I'm impressed.

Of course, some fools believe that just "thinking and writing notes"
for "a few weeks" is not enough, and that a good book usually requires
months, if not years, of collecting and shifting through primary
sources. But what the hell do THEY know.

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 6:46:52 PM4/30/06
to
Larry Parr reported (29 Apr 2006 06:59:06 -0700)

that GM Keene wrote:
> I am always ready to correct something if it can
> be done.

_
Does GM Keene maintain that Taylor Kingston
decided to "concentrate" on Duras-Teichman
(Ostend, 1906)?

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 6:51:01 PM4/30/06
to
Larry Parr reported (29 Apr 2006 06:59:06 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> I am always ready to correct something if it can
> be done.

_


Does GM Keene maintain that Taylor Kingston
decided to "concentrate" on Duras-Teichman
(Ostend, 1906)?

_
"there is ... a literary and historical problem:
a lack of context and setting for many of these
games. ... Occasionally, ... [Soltis] provides
good scene-setting, but in other cases, we
must content ourselves with the thumbnail
biographies.
_
... It's interesting that Oldrich Duras gave up
chess in 1914 after marrying a wealthy
woman, but this has no relevance to his win
over Teichmann at Ostende 1906. I am
surprised and amused that Veselin Topalov
once tried bullfighting, but ...
In short, too often we don't learn ... THE
STORY OF THE PARTICULAR GAME.
_
A contrasting approach is found in Ludek
Pachman's Decisive Games in Chess
History (1975). ...
...
... Pachman sets the stage, puts us on the
scene." - Taylor Kingston
_
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/review246.pdf

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 7:04:48 PM4/30/06
to
jr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)
wrote (29 Apr 2006 13:50:14 -0700):

> [Kingston] hurls more abuse, attacks the messenger,
> and changes the subject

_


"What's this? I'm one of the worst offenders against
historical accuracy! I trust he's going to produce

some evidence for this libel." - GM Keene quote
reported by Larry Parr (29 Apr 2006 06:37:57 -0700)

parrt...@cs.com

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 8:46:21 PM4/30/06
to
A BIASED REVIEWER

By GM Raymond Keene

Some time after the appearance of my critique of Taylor Kingstons
review of my book on Nimzowitsch -- to which I awarded 3 stars out of
ten -- the gent has still failed to address a single substantial point
I made. Instead he prefers to shift ground and even change the thread
name.

While awaiting a reply, I have no objection to opening a second front
if that will drag TK out of his bunker.

First of all a few general points, one of them being where Edward
Winter described my book as "splendid." One contributor asked if this
encomium was taken out of context. The answer is in the British
magazine CHESS, volume 49, Christmas 1984, page 232, nine lines from
the bottom of the page in the left hand column. Thus Winter's quote was
NOT taken out of context and means exactly what it says.

Meanwhile, something tells me TK has inadequate experience of
professional writing where sub-editors who "know better" intervene and
rewrite your copy. Often proofs are not made available and typesetters
chop things out at the last minute without first checking if it's okay.
One publisher of my acquaintance genuinely tried to put all the
diagrams in a book in the back to save space. He was persuaded against
this course only by a threat to withdraw the manuscript.

My impression is reinforced by Taylor Kingstons review of my book on
the Kasparov vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000. Why,
by the way, does he so often seem to review my books. Is it because he
secretly admires them or because he has a bias and can be guaranteed to
toe the winter line?

As usual the gratuitous insult about me quickly makes its mark. In
this case I stand accused of "a long history of substandard and
self-congratulatory hackwork." No evidence is offered, of course. This
allegation is just baldly stated with no back up whatsoever and just
sits there as a free-floating smear.

As for self congratulation, I raised millions for the London 2000
championship, organised it as match director, wrote daily reports for
the Times, explained the games during play, co-hosted the webcast with
GM Danny King and wrote notes to each game as it was being played for
the book -- sometimes dictating them by mobile phone as I was
explaining moves to the assembled guests

GM Larry Evans was present and can vouch for my various activities,
which also extended to entertaining eminent guest commentators, such as
himself. An instant book appeared soon after the match ended.

Now, along comes Taylor Kingston (or "Nieman" which means nobody in
German) and criticises some of my notes written during the games
without my even having had the advantage of knowing the eventual
outcome of the game in question. He proceeds to compare my instant
impressions with Kramnik's notes that appeared in New In Chess several
months later.

Frankly iIwas overjoyed at how little divergence there was my notes
and Kramnik, who not only played the games and conducted detailed
post-mortems but also had far more time to get things right!

However, Taylor kingston exploits the slightest divergence in our
notes in order to discredit my analysis. His conclusion is: save your
money and wait for something better to come along.

I have news for him. The world moves on and events are swiftly
forgotten. Nothing better came along. My book on that match, graced
with an introduction by prime minister Tony Blair, is the best you are
going to get. By the way, it has been reprinted twice!

Now let me return from this brief digression into TK's non existent
fantasy world which bears no relation to real book publishing to the
other points he raised in order to avoid confronting my criticism of
his Nimzo review.

1. There is a world of difference between a typographical error and
being fundamentally wrong about something. For example, were I to claim
that alekhine had played a world title match against nimzowitsch in
1928, it would be fundamentally wrong. However, if a sentence appears
under my name saying that Euwe's match victory against Alekhine was in
1937 rather then 1935,Ii think the reader might accept this as a typo
and not a fundamentally wrong assertion.

2. I have been accused by TK of all sorts of historical blunders,
involving Alekhine vs. Capablanca, Alekhine vs. Euwe, Botvinnik vs.
Smyslov and so on. If one were to accept everything he alleges then my
books would presumably not be so successful. But the truth is they have
sold well over a million copies and been translated into French,
German, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Turkish,
Hungarian and Spanish.

I have written 130 plus books which may be a world record. And I
probably still hold the record for the number of chess books in print.
I write daily chess columns for the Times and the International Herald
Tribune, as well as weekly in the Sunday Times and the Spectator. I am
probably the most widely read chess writer in the world, apart perhaps
from GM Evans whose book New Ideas in Chess helped me on the path to
becoming a grandmaster, and whom I deeply respect.

Furthermore I have extensive experience with the chess greats. I
visited Buenos Aires and actually handled the board and pieces Alekhine
and Capablanca played with in 1927. I have twice played in
international matches against former world champion Dr. Max Euwe, and I
also used to play alongside him in team matches for a Dutch club. On
many occasions I discussed his matches against Alekhine with him
-- a rare honour! I have defeated former world champion Botvinnik and
drawn with his perennial rival Smyslov.

So does Taylor Kingston really believe in his heart of hearts that
I am so disrespectful to the giants of chess that I don't know how many
games were played in the 1927 world championship and that I really
suffer from the delusion that Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937 rather
than 1935? Or that Frank Marshall had not died by 1991? Or does he
know, as I suspect he does, that such errors -- and I agree they are
errors -- are typos rather than fundamentally held misconceptions?

Now let me address all of the various accusations that have been
raised by Taylor Kingston instead of responding to my critique of his
Nimzo review. These may not be in the order they were made but I
nevertheless hope that the list will be complete. If I have omitted
something, I am sure TK will remind me.

a) TK harps on about the new york 1927 tournament not being a
candidates' event. He concedes that I clarified this issue (his point
8).

b) TK further attacks me for something I wrote in a book a quarter of
a century ago where I excoriated Steinitz's tournament record during
a certain period. I described it as abysmal. Well it was during this
periodbecause he didn't play any tournaments at all. I have used the
same word, or one similar, to describe Bobby Fischer's record as world
champion because hd did not play at all. I fail to see what's wrong
with that.

. c) TK says I wrote that Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937. I looked
at the page in world champion combinations and directly above it states
that Euwe was world champion from 1935-1937. However, the sentence
beneath did indeed contain a typo. If Eric Schiller and I ever produce
another edition of this book we will correct it. Thank you TK, I am in
fact grateful for typos to be pointed out in order to correct future
editions. Go ahead -- please point out more!
-
d) The same for two game headings from my complete book of gambits
which places two games in 1991 after the players concerned were dead. I
did not spot this when checking. Thjs book is fortunately going to be
reprinted and I will fix the typos. Thanks again for pointing them out.

e) TK says -- quite rightly -- that my book on Baguio 1978 three times
gives 35 and not 34 as the number of games in the 1927 Capablanca
vs.Alekhine world championship. Since I have never been under any
delusion as to the correct number of games, I suspect that this was
down to last minute editorial interference. The same thing happened to
my book on Kasparov vs. Deep Blue 1997 when an editor "who knew
better" went through it at the last minute changing right through the
book the name of the German chessbase expert Friedel. It made me look
stupid in front of an old friend!

Fortunately this 1978 match book is still in print and I guarantee that
the error will be corrected in future editions. Thanks once again.

f) TK says that I wrongly described Kasparov's match save in 1987 as
the first time in 75 years that a player had come from behind to secure
the title. I would appreciate a little more chapter, verse and context
here. I am confident TK will be able to produce his precise source for
newspaper quotes, which are otherwise notoriously hard to find if they
predate computer indexing. It is also important for obvious reasons
that the surrounding text be identified. For example, had the sentence
gone "the first time a player had come from behind in 75 years to win
the title by winning the final game" then my assertion would be true!

g) TK also mentions an allegedly mistaken reference to the 1983
Kasparov vs. Korchnoi match as a world championship, but no precise
reference or context is supplied. Please do so as I did with Winter and
cite the exact reference. We shall see what emerges. As TK surely
knows, context can make all the difference!
-
h) I am criticised for writing that only in the late 18th century were
games recorded. Again a little context would be helpful, but I still
maintain that this is broadly true. The habit of writing down a game as
it was being played did not catch on for a long time. The first full
scale recording of a major event was the 1834 Labourdonnais vs.
McDonnell clash, all faithfully written down by the devoted scribe
William Greenwood Walker. Earlier games often lacked full
identification and were probably recalled from memory. To go back to
the Arabic days of shatranj -- as TK ambitiously proposes -- is pure
speculation. We have no guarantee that the surviving moves are game
fragments or analysis or what. We just don't know.

Now I quote from Whyld's and Hooper's Oxford Companion to Chess, who
even put the proper recording of chess games somewhat later than I do.
"George Walker -1803-1879 -- established the custom of recording games
-- for the first time players could study the game as it was played and
not as authors, each with his own bias, supposed it should be played"
(444-5).

While on the topic of early references Help Bot seems to demur from my
use of the term grandmaster in the early 20th century. Well, in Kagan's
"Neueste Schachnachrichten" it is recorded that Tartakower used to
address Nimzowitsch as "herr grosskollega" (my grand colleague). But
more seriously the first use of the word grandmaster in a chess context
comes from Bell's Life (2/18/1838). Again see the Oxford Companion.

i) Next TK squeals that by quoting his review of my Nimzo book in depth
that his copyright was infringed. I would reply that in his original
review of my book he quoted far more than would until recently have
been the permissible norm in the UK, and he didn't ask me first! I
should mention that the recent Da Vinci copyright case in London
appeared, however, to establish that copyright cannot be breached if
the author is supplying fact. If fiction, then that is another matter.

Since I am sure of the facts in my book on Nimzo I actually dont
mind if TK quotes it at vast length. If he admits his review was
largely fiction, then he might have a case!

Finally, I never claimed to be infallible. I know I make mistakes and
have overlooked checkmates, occasionally hung pieces in notes and
missed all sorts of things which I should have spotted at proof stage.
When I find such mistakes or others point them out, I try to correct
them. "Errare humanum est."

I certainly do not demand impossible standards of accuracy from TK
and others. I would merely like to point out that in this
"infallibility contest" (for want of a better phrase) that I did not
cast the first stone! TK came to my attention notice because of what I
consider to be his unjustified prior attacks on me and his own
fundamental errors -- not just typos -- in these attacks.

Vince Hart

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:12:59 PM4/30/06
to

As I recall, part of Keene's critique was a complaint about the lack of
specificity regarding his historical inaccuracies. I don't see why
Keene should not be expected to respond to previously documented
errors.

Of course, when Bauer criticized Keene, he also demanded chapter and
verse, but he has never responded to those specifications either.

The Historian

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:23:11 PM4/30/06
to

parrt...@cs.com wrote:

(Snip tiresome Keene drivel)

> i) Next TK squeals that by quoting his review of my Nimzo book in depth
> that his copyright was infringed.

It appears Mr. Keene, or rather his waterboy Mr. Parr, in fact
republished the entire review, infringing Mr. Kingston's copyright.

I would reply that in his original
> review of my book he quoted far more than would until recently have
> been the permissible norm in the UK, and he didn't ask me first!

I'd suggest Mr. Keene consider that US copyright law might apply to a
US publication or website. Mr. Kingston's quotations from Mr. Keene's
book are considered "fair use". Now, if Mr. Kingston were to, say,
reprint a John Donaldson article in its entirety, that would be a
different matter.

The Historian

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:34:37 PM4/30/06
to

parrt...@cs.com wrote:

(Snip tiresome Keene drivel)

> i) Next TK squeals that by quoting his review of my Nimzo book in depth


> that his copyright was infringed.

It appears Mr. Keene, or rather his waterboy Mr. Parr, in fact


republished the entire review, infringing Mr. Kingston's copyright.

I would reply that in his original


> review of my book he quoted far more than would until recently have
> been the permissible norm in the UK, and he didn't ask me first!

I'd suggest Mr. Keene consider that US copyright law might apply to a

Vince Hart

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 9:37:02 PM4/30/06
to
Of course Keene still hasn't addressed the chapter and verse he
demanded and received concerning his works, so who cares what he wants.
At least Kingston did not insult his readers.

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 10:22:57 PM4/30/06
to
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)

that GM Keene wrote:
> His conclusion is: save your money and wait for
> something better to come along. ... Nothing better

> came along. My book on that match, graced with
> an introduction by prime minister Tony Blair, is
> the best you are going to get.

_
Is GM Keene confident that his book will not be
surpassed by whatever Kasparov writes about the
match?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> I excoriated Steinitz's tournament record during
> a certain period. I described it as abysmal. Well
> it was during this periodbecause he didn't play
> any tournaments at all. I have used the same
> word, or one similar, to describe Bobby Fischer's
> record as world champion because hd did not play
> at all. I fail to see what's wrong with that.

_
Writing that someone had an abysmal record as
world champion is not the same as writing that
someone had an abysmal tournament record.
Larry Parr seems to fancy himself as an expert
on what "99 percent of chessplayers" would
conclude when reading an "unadorned assertion".
Does Larry Parr want to say something about
what they would conclude after reading an
assertion that Steinitz has an abysmal


tournament record over the years 1886-1894?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> TK says that I wrongly described Kasparov's match
> save in 1987 as the first time in 75 years that a player
> had come from behind to secure the title. I would
> appreciate a little more chapter, verse and context
> here. I am confident TK will be able to produce his
> precise source for newspaper quotes,

_
"The Times, 21 December 1987" - Taylor
Kingston (29 Apr 2006 06:52:31 -0700)

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> It is also important for obvious reasons that the
> surrounding text be identified.

_
Will GM Keene be identifying the surrounding text
for his recently posted Edward Winter sentence
fragments?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> TK also mentions an allegedly mistaken reference
> to the 1983 Kasparov vs. Korchnoi match as a world
> championship, but no precise reference or context
> is supplied.

_
I would guess that this is what Taylor Kingston had in
mind:
_

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2554&item=8747192970
_

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2554&item=8747192970#ebayphotohosting

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> I am criticised for writing that only in the late 18th
> century were games recorded. Again a little context
> would be helpful, but I still maintain that this is broadly
> true.

_
Does GM Keene claim that it is broadly true that
"chess games were first recorded towards the end of
the eighteenth century"?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)


that GM Keene wrote:
> I should mention that the recent Da Vinci copyright
> case in London appeared, however, to establish that
> copyright cannot be breached if the author is
> supplying fact.

_
Does this mean that anyone can post as much as they
want of any Keene books?

_

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 10:28:59 PM4/30/06
to
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> His conclusion is: save your money and wait for
> something better to come along. ... Nothing better

> came along. My book on that match, graced with
> an introduction by prime minister Tony Blair, is
> the best you are going to get.

_


Is GM Keene confident that his book will not be
surpassed by whatever Kasparov writes about the
match?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> I excoriated Steinitz's tournament record during
> a certain period. I described it as abysmal. Well
> it was during this periodbecause he didn't play
> any tournaments at all. I have used the same
> word, or one similar, to describe Bobby Fischer's
> record as world champion because hd did not play
> at all. I fail to see what's wrong with that.

_


Writing that someone had an abysmal record as
world champion is not the same as writing that
someone had an abysmal tournament record.
Larry Parr seems to fancy himself as an expert
on what "99 percent of chessplayers" would
conclude when reading an "unadorned assertion".
Does Larry Parr want to say something about
what they would conclude after reading an

assertion that Steinitz had an abysmal


tournament record over the years 1886-1894?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> TK says that I wrongly described Kasparov's match
> save in 1987 as the first time in 75 years that a player
> had come from behind to secure the title. I would
> appreciate a little more chapter, verse and context
> here. I am confident TK will be able to produce his
> precise source for newspaper quotes,

_


"The Times, 21 December 1987" - Taylor
Kingston (29 Apr 2006 06:52:31 -0700)

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> It is also important for obvious reasons that the
> surrounding text be identified.

_


Will GM Keene be identifying the surrounding text
for his recently posted Edward Winter sentence
fragments?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> TK also mentions an allegedly mistaken reference
> to the 1983 Kasparov vs. Korchnoi match as a world
> championship, but no precise reference or context
> is supplied.

_


I would guess that this is what Taylor Kingston had in
mind:
_

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2554&item=8747192970
_

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=2554&item=8747192970#ebayphotohosting

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> I am criticised for writing that only in the late 18th
> century were games recorded. Again a little context
> would be helpful, but I still maintain that this is broadly
> true.

_


Does GM Keene claim that it is broadly true that
"chess games were first recorded towards the end of
the eighteenth century"?

_
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:

> I should mention that the recent Da Vinci copyright
> case in London appeared, however, to establish that
> copyright cannot be breached if the author is
> supplying fact.

_

jr

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 10:36:56 PM4/30/06
to
GM Keene: Please stop confusing Winter's brigade with facts.
There is nothing you can write or do that will stop their smears.

We now await Mr. Kingston's attempt to shift ground and
change the subject (perhaps even the name of the thread
again) instead of responding to your critique of his review
of your book on Nimzo.

Louis Blair

unread,
Apr 30, 2006, 10:47:25 PM4/30/06
to
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on Nimzowitsch
> ...
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on the Kasparov

> vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000.
> Why, by the way, does he so often seem to review my
> books. ...

_
Can GM Keene name any book of his other than the
above two that was reviewed by Taylor Kingston? Is
"so often" going to turn out to be another phrase like
"decides to concentrate on a particular game"?

jr

unread,
May 1, 2006, 3:41:23 AM5/1/06
to
GM Keene: "Casting pearls before swine" is the expression that comes to
mind.

When Kingston returns (and he will) you can expect more abuse.

Louis Blair

unread,
May 1, 2006, 8:20:49 AM5/1/06
to
Larry Parr reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on Nimzowitsch
> ...
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on the Kasparov
> vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000.
> Why, by the way, does he so often seem to review my
> books. ...
_
I wrote (30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700):
> Can GM Keene name any book of his other than the
> above two that was reviewed by Taylor Kingston? Is
> "so often" going to turn out to be another phrase like
> "decides to concentrate on a particular game"?

_
My 30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700 note had Message-ID:
_
<1146451645.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

_
jr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)


wrote (1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700):

> GM Keene: "Casting pearls before swine" is the
> expression that comes to mind.

>_


> When Kingston returns (and he will) you can expect
> more abuse.

_
The heading for the 1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700 jr
note specifies that it is In-Reply-To:
_
<1146451645.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

_
For some time now, jr has been telling us:
_
"this forum has become a more pleasurable
place for me since I plonked the nutty
professor. If Blair says ..." - jr
(16 Mar 2006 09:12:12 -0800)

Louis Blair

unread,
May 1, 2006, 8:25:14 AM5/1/06
to
Larry Parr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)

reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on Nimzowitsch
> ...
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on the Kasparov
> vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000.
> Why, by the way, does he so often seem to review my
> books. ...
_
I wrote (30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700):
> Can GM Keene name any book of his other than the
> above two that was reviewed by Taylor Kingston? Is
> "so often" going to turn out to be another phrase like
> "decides to concentrate on a particular game"?

_


My 30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700 note had Message-ID:
_

<1146451645.447571.296...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

_
jr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)
wrote (1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700):

> GM Keene: "Casting pearls before swine" is the
> expression that comes to mind.

>_


> When Kingston returns (and he will) you can expect
> more abuse.

_


The heading for the 1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700 jr
note specifies that it is In-Reply-To:
_

<1146451645.447571.296...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

Louis Blair

unread,
May 1, 2006, 8:28:50 AM5/1/06
to
Larry Parr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)

reported (30 Apr 2006 17:46:21 -0700)
that GM Keene wrote:
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on Nimzowitsch
> ...
> ... Taylor Kingstons review of my book on the Kasparov
> vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000.
> Why, by the way, does he so often seem to review my
> books. ...
_
I wrote (30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700):
> Can GM Keene name any book of his other than the
> above two that was reviewed by Taylor Kingston? Is
> "so often" going to turn out to be another phrase like
> "decides to concentrate on a particular game"?

_


My 30 Apr 2006 19:47:25 -0700 note had Message-ID:
_

<1146451645.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

_
jr (posting-host=207.200.116.66)
wrote (1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700):

> GM Keene: "Casting pearls before swine" is the
> expression that comes to mind.

>_


> When Kingston returns (and he will) you can expect
> more abuse.

_


The heading for the 1 May 2006 00:41:23 -0700 jr
note specifies that it is In-Reply-To:
_

<1146451645.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>

Taylor Kingston

unread,
May 1, 2006, 8:39:17 AM5/1/06
to

parrt...@cs.com wrote:
> A BIASED REVIEWER
>
> By GM Raymond Keene
> My impression is reinforced by Taylor Kingstons review of my book on
> the Kasparov vs. Kramnik world chess championship in London 2000. Why,
> by the way, does he so often seem to review my books.

I cannot imagine how GM Keene came to this conclusion. Over the last
7 or 8 years I have written about 120 reviews for ChessCafe.com. If
memory serves, only two were on books by Keene.

> Now let me return from this brief digression into TK's non existent
> fantasy world which bears no relation to real book publishing to the
> other points he raised in order to avoid confronting my criticism of
> his Nimzo review.

Excuse me? "To avoid confronting"?? I raised my points well
*_before_* this "Keene reviews Kingston" thread began. Please check the
header dates on the thread "Keene on Chessic Omniscience."

> I have been accused by TK of all sorts of historical blunders,
> involving Alekhine vs. Capablanca, Alekhine vs. Euwe, Botvinnik vs.
> Smyslov and so on. If one were to accept everything he alleges then my
> books would presumably not be so successful.

Much wiser men than I punctured that sort of logic long ago. Relevant
quotes from Lincoln and Barnum come to mind, for example.

> But the truth is they have
> sold well over a million copies and been translated into French,
> German, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Turkish,
> Hungarian and Spanish.

So, is GM Keene saying that an error in those languages is no longer
an error?

> So does Taylor Kingston really believe in his heart of hearts that
> I am so disrespectful to the giants of chess that I don't know how many
> games were played in the 1927 world championship and that I really
> suffer from the delusion that Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937 rather
> than 1935? Or that Frank Marshall had not died by 1991? Or does he
> know, as I suspect he does, that such errors -- and I agree they are
> errors -- are typos rather than fundamentally held misconceptions?

What GM Keene may or may not know is not the issue. The important
thing is what gets in the book. I'm kind of funny that way -- when I
review a book, I evaluate what's in the book, not what the author may
know that is not in the book.

> f) TK says that I wrongly described Kasparov's match save in 1987 as
> the first time in 75 years that a player had come from behind to secure
> the title. I would appreciate a little more chapter, verse and context
> here. I am confident TK will be able to produce his precise source for
> newspaper quotes, which are otherwise notoriously hard to find if they
> predate computer indexing.

Why does GM Keene need to read everything twice? Here is the relevant
sentence from my original post: "Kasparov was 'the first player in more
than 75 years to come from behind to win the world chess championship'
(The Times, 21 December 1987)."

> g) TK also mentions an allegedly mistaken reference to the 1983
> Kasparov vs. Korchnoi match as a world championship, but no precise
> reference or context is supplied.

Dr. Blair has kindly supplied a link to a photo of the cover in
question elsewhere in this thread.

> h) I am criticised for writing that only in the late 18th century were

> games recorded. Again a little context would be helpful ...

This is getting tiresome. Here we go again: "In The Times, November
16 1991, Keene reported that 'chess games were first recorded towards
the end of the eighteenth century.'"

It will be difficult to conduct a meaningful discussion if GM Keene
fails to read what I have actually posted here. Is he not reading for
himself, but getting only what Larry Parr supplies? If so, he must
realize that he is not being fully informed.
Still, I appreciate him taking the time to respond and actually
address at least some of the issues, which is more than I can say of
some others here. I will reply on the subject of "Aron Nizowitsch: A
Reappraisal" here soon, and on other issues as time permits.

Taylor Kingston

Chess One

unread,
May 1, 2006, 8:48:54 AM5/1/06
to

"Taylor Kingston" <tkin...@chittenden.com> wrote in message
news:1146402389.7...@y43g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...

>> FAIR CHALLENGE?
>>
>> I strongly suggest that Russel should be contacted - in fact if Taylor
>> Kingston doesn't I will.
>
> I already have, Phil, but feel free to contact him yourself if you
> like. However, I suggest you spell his name correctly.
>
>> What we would like to know about where Kingston wrote his
>> article -Chesscafe - and about the CJA Code of Ethics, that Kingston
>> cites
>> as authority
>
> I did not cite the CJA.

To whom? I thought that was the basis of Brennan's objection? Let me look it
up - why! here it is:-

> >>> Technically, it's Larry Parr that violated your copyright, Taylor,
> >>> since Mr. Keene didn't reprint the review. In addition to any legal
> >>> line Mr. Parr crossed, he seems to have violated the Code of Ethics of
> >>> the Chess Journalists of America. Mr. Parr is a CJA member.

I therefore wonder what you wrote to him? I myself wrote tot he CJA
president this morning in response to a dialogue he initiated with me.

> , is if Hanon Russel, who controls both,
>
> You are saying that Hanon Russell controls the CJA??

No, he controls what may be said about it.

>> thinks Keene's
>> copyright was abridged by Kinston's review.
>
> Hitting the peyote again, Phil?

Is that a Californian term?

I'll tell you what - I'll write to CJA on this matter directly and ask what
guidelines they have for protection of copyright, citing this instance of
your review of Keene. I will mention that your comment seems to be a
drug-culture one, and this was the entire sunstantive reply you made.

> The issue is whether Keene/Parr's
> posting of a large part of *my* copyrighted review, without receiving
> or asking permission, is a copyright violation.
>
>> What could be fairer than that? :))
>
> Probably any number of things, but to be sure it would first be
> necessary for your position to be comprehensible.

Which is why you snipped it? ROFL

Phil Innes


jr

unread,
May 1, 2006, 9:28:42 AM5/1/06
to
> I have been accused by TK of all sorts of historical blunders,
> involving Alekhine vs. Capablanca, Alekhine vs. Euwe, Botvinnik vs.
> Smyslov and so on. If one were to accept everything he alleges then my
> books would presumably not be so successful. (Keene quoted by Kingston)

* Much wiser men than I punctured that sort of logic long ago.
Relevant
quotes from Lincoln and Barnum come to mind, for example. * (Kingston)

As I predicted, GM Keene can expect more abuse from Taylor
Kingston. This time Kingston is trying to mask his bile.

The quote from Lincoln to which he refers is "You can't fool all
of the people all of the time." And the quote from Barnum is "A
sucker is born every minute." Please correct me if I'm wrong, sir.

Finally, I wish that both Kingston and Innes would stop confusing
the
issue by changing the name of this thread.

Over and out.

Skeptic

unread,
May 1, 2006, 9:50:08 AM5/1/06
to
>GM Larry Evans was present and can vouch for my various activities,
>which also extended to entertaining eminent guest commentators, such as
>himself. An instant book appeared soon after the match ended.

Did it occur to you, GM Keene, that this is PRECISELY THE PROBLEM?

You write a book during a match in which you you are also busy doing a
zillion other things and then "instantly" publish it. But writing a
good book requires taking your time writing, paying close attention to
what you write, and above all, *after* a rough draft is finished, great
effort to find mistakes, typos, omissions, and inaccuracies.

These are all things you obviously did not--and could not--do when you
write a book in the above manner. And most of your books are written in
just this way: on the fly, while doing a zillion other things, for
instant publication, before the public forgets about the
match/game/tournament in question.

It is a small wonder than you managed to write 130 books--and it is
also a small wonder that they are mostly crap. I mean, what else can
one expect from instant books written on the fly?

> Frankly iIwas overjoyed at how little divergence there was my notes
> and Kramnik, who not only played the games and conducted detailed
> post-mortems but also had far more time to get things right!

But once more, Mr. Keene, this is PRECISELY THE PROBLEM.

Sure, a GM like yourself is likely to get, say, 90% of the analysis
more-or-less correct even without putting any effort into it, just
writing on-the-fly notes during the game, like you did.

But the whole point of good writing, or good analysis, is to take the
trouble to make sure the analysis is not 80% or 90% correct, but 100%
correct, or at least as close to that as possible. Kramnik took care
and effort to do so. You couldn't be bothered.

You are a hack writer because you much prefer to have a book with 90%
correct analysis without any effort than to have a book with 100% (or
99%) correct analysis that DOES require effort.

It's the same with the typos in your book: you much prefer to make no
effort at all and get 99% of the words spelled correctly, than to make
an effort and make sure 99.9% are. Which means that your book will
contain (as they often do) ten times as many typos as books by more
careful writers.

This "close enough for government work", "I can't be expected to get
*everything* right", "hurry hurry hurry, let's publish before the
public loses interest" attitude, GM Keene, is *PRECISELY* what makes
you a hack writer. The result, naturally, are books which are full of
analytical, historical, and typographical howlers.

>am so disrespectful to the giants of chess that I don't know how many
>games were played in the 1927 world championship and that I really
>suffer from the delusion that Euwe dethroned Alekhine in 1937 rather
>than 1935? Or that Frank Marshall had not died by 1991?

No, you are so disrespectful to *YOUR READERS* that you don't care if
books which appear under your name say that Euwe dethroned Alekhine in
1937 and that Marshall died in 1991, in the same way you don't care if
they have numerous other typos, or feature hit-and-miss, on-the-fly
analysis dictated into your cell phone while doing a zillion other
things at the same time.

jr

unread,
May 1, 2006, 10:20:41 AM5/1/06
to
* An instant book appeared soon after the match ended. Did it occur to
you, GM Keene, that this is PRECISELY THE PROBLEM? * (Skeptic)

Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Pipel, that it is almost impossible
to earn a living from chess and that instant books are a cash cow
that pay the rent for chess pros?

Like your hero Edward Winter, you guys make mountains out of
tpos and wrong dates which are not fundamental errors (as Keene
pointed out). Often these are not even the fault of the authors who
don't always see the final proofs before articles go to press.

Many instant books appeared after Fischer-Spassky in 1972
(Gligoric, Reshevsky, etc.) which outsold more serious works
that hit the market later by Byrne, Evans, etc.

* But the whole point of good writing, or good analysis, is to take
thetrouble to make sure the analysis is not 80% or 90% correct,
but 100%correct, or at least as close to that as possible. Kramnik
took careand effort to do so. You couldn't be bothered.* (Skeptic)

Kramnik's notes came out much later in New In Chess which
pays a fraction of what instant books bring in. If you want 100%
perfection, leave the real world and try living on another planet.

Taylor Kingston

unread,
May 1, 2006, 10:33:52 AM5/1/06
to

"There is hardly a product of our culture that someone cannot make a
little worse and sell for a little less, and the one who puts price
above all other considerations is the natural prey of this man." -
John Ruskin

jr

unread,
May 1, 2006, 10:59:43 AM5/1/06
to
* "There is hardly a product of our culture that someone cannot make

a
little worse and sell for a little less, and the one who puts price
above all other considerations is the natural prey of this man." -
John Ruskin * (Kingston)

Instead of dishing out more homilies, how about fulfilling your
pledge to answer Keene's point by point critique of your putrid
review of his book about Nimzo?

Taylor Kingston

unread,
May 1, 2006, 12:35:57 PM5/1/06
to

jr wrote:
> Instead of dishing out more homilies, how about fulfilling your
> pledge to answer Keene's point by point critique of your putrid
> review of his book about Nimzo?

Instead of always evading the question, why don't you explain to us
why you lied about Richard Laurie? Or at least, be a man and admit that
you did lie?

Skeptic

unread,
May 1, 2006, 2:39:27 PM5/1/06
to
>Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Pipel, that it is almost impossible
>to earn a living from chess and that instant books are a cash cow
>that pay the rent for chess pros?

Are you saying one should buy Keene's worthless books as a charity, to
make sure he can pay the rent and afford to play chess?

Sorry, this one doesn't fly. Keene is one of the richest people in
chess. He is just about the LAST chess player who needs, let alone
deserves, financial help.

And, in any case, if he wants charity, he should ask for it--not expect
us to understand we are morally obliged to buy his crappy books as part
of our duty to support chess.

>Like your hero Edward Winter, you guys make mountains out of
>tpos and wrong dates which are not fundamental errors (as Keene
>pointed out). Often these are not even the fault of the authors who
>don't always see the final proofs before articles go to press.

Yet somehow, other writers manage to avoid these pitfalls to a far
greater degree than Keene. Why is that? Oh wait--they take some care
over their work, and don't churn our instant books for a quick buck, at
least not as habitually and shamelessly as Keene does.

>Kramnik's notes came out much later in New In Chess which
>pays a fraction of what instant books bring in. If you want 100%
>perfection, leave the real world and try living on another planet.

Or, just possibly, I could instead buy books by Richard Forster, John
Hilbert, Edward Winter, Botvinnik, Alehkine, Keres, Shirov,
Boleslavsky, Prudy, Capablanca, Bronstein, Seirawan (sp?) or many, many
other chess players and historians who--despite living in the real
world just as much as Keene--manage to actually write books that
present original material and analysis with care and without nearly as
many errors as Keene's books.

Perhaps there is no such thing as a perfect chess book (though, in my
view, Richard Forster's book about Amos Burn comes quite close), but
we're not asking for perfection. We're asking for some minimum degree
of care. Keene doesn't have it.

Louis Blair

unread,
May 1, 2006, 2:53:58 PM5/1/06
to
Taylor Kingston wrote (1 May 2006 09:35:57 -0700):

> Instead of always evading the question, why don't you
> explain to us why you lied about Richard Laurie? Or at
> least, be a man and admit that you did lie?

_
It would also be interesting to see jr explain how it came
about that he posted a note "In-Reply-To":
_
<1146451645.4...@u72g2000cwu.googlegroups.com>
(a note posted by me)
_
although, for months, he has been claiming to have
"plonked" me.

parrt...@cs.com

unread,
May 1, 2006, 9:25:13 PM5/1/06
to
ALL QUIET ON THE KINGSTON FRONT

>Instead of dishing out more homilies, how about fulfilling your
pledge to answer Keene's point by point critique of your putrid

review of his book about Nimzo? > -- jr

NM Kingston's response to Ray Keene's review of
his review simply ignored the re-review. That's all.

Gawd, how it must have seered. Like a hot awl up
a wolverine's southern exposure.

The Historian

unread,
May 1, 2006, 9:51:14 PM5/1/06
to

Chess One wrote:
> "Taylor Kingston" <tkin...@chittenden.com> wrote in message
> news:1146402389.7...@y43g2000cwc.googlegroups.com...
>
> >> FAIR CHALLENGE?
> >>
> >> I strongly suggest that Russel should be contacted - in fact if Taylor
> >> Kingston doesn't I will.
> >
> > I already have, Phil, but feel free to contact him yourself if you
> > like. However, I suggest you spell his name correctly.
> >
> >> What we would like to know about where Kingston wrote his
> >> article -Chesscafe - and about the CJA Code of Ethics, that Kingston
> >> cites
> >> as authority
> >
> > I did not cite the CJA.
>
> To whom? I thought that was the basis of Brennan's objection? Let me look it
> up - why! here it is:-
>
> > >>> Technically, it's Larry Parr that violated your copyright, Taylor,
> > >>> since Mr. Keene didn't reprint the review. In addition to any legal
> > >>> line Mr. Parr crossed, he seems to have violated the Code of Ethics of
> > >>> the Chess Journalists of America. Mr. Parr is a CJA member.

I realize, like many, that Philth Innes is insane, but surely he
realizes Taylor Kingston and I are two different persons?

> I therefore wonder what you wrote to him? I myself wrote tot he CJA
> president this morning in response to a dialogue he initiated with me.

Yeah, sure. Hanken 'initiated' the exchange by asking you to stop
spamming him, most probably.

> > , is if Hanon Russel, who controls both,
> >
> > You are saying that Hanon Russell controls the CJA??
>
> No, he controls what may be said about it.

Brattleboro is going to be renamed Peyote Place.

> >> thinks Keene's
> >> copyright was abridged by Kinston's review.
> >
> > Hitting the peyote again, Phil?
>
> Is that a Californian term?
>
> I'll tell you what - I'll write to CJA on this matter directly and ask what
> guidelines they have for protection of copyright,

Please tell us what the response was, Philth.

citing this instance of
> your review of Keene. I will mention that your comment seems to be a
> drug-culture one, and this was the entire sunstantive reply you made.

Oh, please tell us the response, Philth.

> > The issue is whether Keene/Parr's
> > posting of a large part of *my* copyrighted review, without receiving
> > or asking permission, is a copyright violation.
> >
> >> What could be fairer than that? :))
> >
> > Probably any number of things, but to be sure it would first be
> > necessary for your position to be comprehensible.
>
> Which is why you snipped it? ROFL

Snip remainder of Innes post.

parrt...@cs.com

unread,
May 1, 2006, 10:45:59 PM5/1/06
to
WINTER'S RATPACKERS

By GM Raymond Keene

This is the third part of my recent extended involvement in the
deliberations of this august forum. First of all, I would like to make
a number of general points before I go through everything that has
been introduced -- some might say rehashed without supporting evidence
-- since my last contribution.

I am enjoying this debate immensely and find the mental exercise
exhilarating. It provides useful copy for my forthcoming book WINTER OF
DISCONTENT, RAY KEENE AND THE RATPACKERS on which I am currently
working (to be published by HARDINGE SIMPOLE). I am truly grateful to
those who have pointed out typos -- it's a wonderful free proofreading
service. In fact some ratpackers have shown that chess proofreading
might have been their true calling in life.

Next I must remind everyone, as othersalready pointed out, that we are
still waiting for TAYLOR KINGSTONS promised response to my critique of
his review of my book on Nimzowitsch.

Next someone called Skeptic (a certain Mr. Pipel) has complained that
I am inaccurate compared with Alekhine, Purdy, Botvinnik, etc., etc.,
etc. Sadly this gent instantly undermines his own case by spelling
Purdy as Prudy and Alekhine as Alehkine. However, I won't make a
ratpackerish fuss about his typos.

A number of ratpackers have ganged up to prove that I am inaccurate,
careless, sloppy, and a hack just writing for the money. Some even
claim I am one of the wealthiest chessplayers around. I find this
amazing. How on earth do they know my motives for writing or details of
my bank account? Beats me. This is frankly idle speculation or smears.
I fear that chess defeats all of us in the end. It's a quasi infinite
activity that leaves the human brain struggling. If we know anything
about chess, it is next to nothing.

Just look at the computer-checked notes in Kasparovs Great
Predecessors series. Hallowed masterpieces and comments considered
sacrosanct for decades have now been exposed as fallible by Fritz.
Anyone who claims that perfection is possible when tackling the
immensity that is chess is either a fool or a knave. We humans do our
best, but it's seldom good enough.

KINGPIN, for example, is a magazine that has been very hostile to
me, taking the Winter stance/ It's a small circulation magazine whose
current issue indicates it may now appear perhaps three times a year.

Today I saw issue 38 for spring/summer 2006, the first one since issue
37 for 2003/2004. So it took around two years to produce 64 pages,
much less than any of my books. A swift 90 second glance reveals the
following mistakes -- who knows how many more had I spent another 30
seconds on this task.

No fewer than eight diagrams have the black queen missing

Page 43 suffers from the curious blunder of having most of the 3s
missing in a game that goes through moves 30 -39 WITH NOTES. Highly
disconcerting.

Page 25 performs a similar trick with the letter S.

Both diagrams on page 16 have great white chunks imposed on them, thus
rendering them unintelligible

How the ratpackers would howl if I committed such errors in so small
a space!

Let me bring more blunders to your attention. Mr. Skeptic quoted
Alekhine (sorry "alehkine") as a paragon. Don't get me wrong. I adore
him and prefer him to Capablanca because I see a huge element of human
striving as opposed to Capa's God given talent. To me Capa is the
mozart of chess and Alekhine the Beethoven.

Anyway, with profuse apologies to the immortal Alekhine, I must point
out that on pages 26 and 27 of the tournament book of London 1932
(Koltanowski vs. Sultan Khan) one of his notes just hangs a piece.
Larry Evans points out other errors by the great man in WHAT CAN WE WE
TRUST? at WCN on 4/3/06.

http://wcn.tentonhammer.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article
&sid=664

Jennifer Shahade's new book CHESS BITCH can't even spell
Gaprindashvili, the
former women's world champion correctly, as Sarah Hurst pointed out.
Andy Soltis' book on Frank Marshall hangs a knight to a simple queen
check on page 268. These two items that passed over my desk today!.

BUT NO. According to the ratpackers Ray Keene is the quintesssential
demon who commits numerous errors, writes much too quickly, and is a
hack. Does this also imply that KINGPIN is a hack magazine or that
Alekhine, Soltis and Shahade also show contempt for the public?

Of course not.

And when errors are pointed out I am sure that the editor of
KINGPIN
will be mortified and upset that these typos escaped him.

As far as contempt for the public goes, yesterday I received a quite
unsolicited email from the Icelandic Chess Federation thanking me for
my work in general. Last week W. Smith, England's largest book
retailer, ordered thousands of copies of one of my recent books. And my
mailbag from appreciative readers of my columns grows each week!

LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING HONESTLY. When I put together the 2000 world
chess championship, raised the money, organised the match, met my daily
deadline with Times reports, wrote the book, did theTV webcast with GM
Danny King and then still had energy to enjoy a fine dinner with an all
time great like GM Evans, I felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment. A
burst of energy. I doubt I could have written better notes for my book
than if I took 10 years. When I saw Kramnik's improvement for Kasparov
in game ten at move 15 published a few months later, I realised that
this was something beyond my powers. That's why Kramnik became world
champion and I am only a grandmaster.

I should add that Kramnik did not cover the whole match in his
article, just extracts. But what extracts! Anyone expecting Kasparov to
go into detail about this contest where he lost the title may have to
wait a very long time.

Now let's turn to other concrete points

1. I mentioned the frequency of Taylor Kingston's reviews of my books.
I found two on the ChessCafe archive, both reviewed by him. This looks
like 100% to me.

2. Copyright violation. I pointed out that much of his Nimzo review
was a quote from my material. Ditto for my 2000 book on the world
championship.

3. The vital importance of context is demonstrated by the next charge,
that I personally described the 1983 Kasparov vs. Korchnoi match as a
world championship. Well a TK cohort helpfully pointed out the origin
of this is the foto and subheading on the front cover of my match book.
Indeed, that was the official title of the match agreed by Campomanes
at the time as part of the sponsorship deal, ,justified by the fact
that the contest was an official part of the world championship cycle.
If you dont like it, please complain to campo and not to me.

4. Typos. Thanks, guys, it's a really useful free service for the new
editions of my books. Perhaps you should also volunteer your services
to the editor of KINGPIN. He needs it -- and how!

5. I continue to maintain that TK should have spotted the blunder in
Duras vs. Teichmann. Lots of squirming and wiggle room is indeed
possible but a class reviewer, having had that game swim into his ken,
would have spotted it and pointed it out. The debates have gone beyond
thatnow, but I wager that TK with hindsight is sorry he omitted
reference to the flawed combination. Yes, Soltis should have spotted it
too.

I could go on and on. But where do we stand now?

TK has promised a response to my critique of his Nimzo review. So
far nobody has pointed out a single substantial mistake. Instead--

Keene is very rich
Keene needs the money
Keene writes too fast
Keene does too much
Keene is careless
The quality must suffer

An amazing litany of smears and unproved assertions! Hot air and
whaffle.

I am winning this debate hands down, if I must say so myself. Not
with bluster, but by dealing with each issue as it arises. I have one
advantage over the ratpackers. They desperately must prove their
infallibility, a trait inherited from their guru Edward Winter, who
finds it hard to admit he ever makes a mistake. His insulting letter to
IM Anthony Saidy. who pointed one out, is a case in point.

When I am wrong, I say so. Typos have been found. I prefer to know
and correct them in the next edition, if possible.

Finally, best wishes and thanks to all those who criticised me or
wrote positively on my behalf.

-- GM Ray Keene

help bot

unread,
May 1, 2006, 11:04:44 PM5/1/06
to
Jr -- one of the dunderheads referred to below -- posted this:


* This is really odd. Keene & the dunderheads have
anaged to trick the so-called ratpackers into discussing
one of Keene's better works...* (Help Bot)

--

One can hardly expect a dunderhead like Jr to think or reason
correctly, but it should not be beyond his abilities to cut-and-paste
with reasonable competence.
Here is what I actually wrote:

"This is really odd. Keene & the dunderheads have managed to trick
the so-called ratpackers into discussing one of Keene's better works,
instead of focusing on the prior subject -- Keene's recent slop.
Slippery as an eel."

--

On second thought, cutting and pasting both require holding down the
control key with one (human) finger, while hitting "v" or "c" with
another -- and as one might expect, this is exceedingly difficult for a
parrot to accomplish. Sometimes my standards are simply too high. My
apologies, feathered one. You're doing quite well, considering....


Jr pecked out:

"This phony will never respond to Keene's devastating
critique of his putrid review because Keene is right."


In fact, while Keene ratpackers may seem to feel it is unfair to hold
their master to any standards of accountability while at the same time
demanding others answer their own "questions", most observers will find
that this sort of double-standard reveals a very deep-seated hypocrisy.

IMO, Keene was "right" in the sense that TK's frequent nastiness
revealed a bias which affected his assessment of one of Keene's better
books. It was the same sort of nastiness one can find in comments by
Edward Winter regarding anything Keene-related
The point of a book review ought to be to actually review the book in
question -- not to throw darts at the author for crimes committed in
his other works. Such comments could well be seperated and presented
(if necessary) in an editorial, in which the failings of many chess
authors are discussed in general. In such an editorial, Keene might be
lumped together with, say, Schiller, Soltis, Pandolfini, or even Al
Franken, and taken to task for all too often getting his dates and
spelling wrong. There simply isn't space in a decent book review for
this sort of thing.
A book review ought to focus on whether or not a given book is worthy
of purchase. Beyond this, it would be useful to compare the specific
work with its direct competition.
Is Keene's book better than others on Nimzowitch? What are the other
main choices here, and how do they compare overall to Keene's book?

-- help bot

Randy Bauer

unread,
May 1, 2006, 11:24:57 PM5/1/06
to

help bot wrote:
>
> IMO, Keene was "right" in the sense that TK's frequent nastiness
> revealed a bias which affected his assessment of one of Keene's better
> books. It was the same sort of nastiness one can find in comments by
> Edward Winter regarding anything Keene-related
> The point of a book review ought to be to actually review the book in
> question -- not to throw darts at the author for crimes committed in
> his other works. Such comments could well be seperated and presented
> (if necessary) in an editorial, in which the failings of many chess
> authors are discussed in general. In such an editorial, Keene might be
> lumped together with, say, Schiller, Soltis, Pandolfini, or even Al
> Franken, and taken to task for all too often getting his dates and
> spelling wrong. There simply isn't space in a decent book review for
> this sort of thing.
> A book review ought to focus on whether or not a given book is worthy
> of purchase. Beyond this, it would be useful to compare the specific
> work with its direct competition.
> Is Keene's book better than others on Nimzowitch? What are the other
> main choices here, and how do they compare overall to Keene's book?
>
> -- help bot

I think this is a fair assessment. I am sure that from time to time I
have let my general impression of an author creep into a review of a
specific book, but Greg is right that the focus should be on the book
in question.

So far, Keene, as he is shared with us through Parr and Innes, has not
chosen to respond to very specific criticisms of his book "Winning with
the Nimzo-Indian" by both Vince Hart and me. Sorry, claiming it is a
companion to another book on the Nimzo-Indian does not innoculate the
author from criticisms of this particular book. Lots of specific
concerns were presented, in "chapter and verse" as the author demanded.

The silence of the response is deafening.

Randy Bauer

parrt...@cs.com

unread,
May 2, 2006, 12:23:49 AM5/2/06
to
PIPEL PIPES UP

Skeptic (Mr. Pipel)knows -- and, worse luck for him and
NM Kingston, most readersalso know -- that the book
written in two days was an insta-book in which the
reader understands he is getting a work that relays
action recently completed.

During World War I, John Buchan produced a
20-plus volume ongoing history of the war for
Nelson's. These works were written under enormous
pressure and never purported to be the final word on
that great catastrophe.

Ray Keene's insta-books directly following matches
are written and produced under still greater time pressure
(Buchan dealt in weeks; Keene in hours, though on an
inherently lesser project). I confess to tossing angrily a
couple of Buchan's volumes at the wall when reading his praise
of Haig, but that is another matter. Buchan was
producing instant history to meet a need, just as GM
Keene meets a need by giving readers instant reports
on what has just happened in important chess matches.

The position of a Pipel or our NM Kingston,
the 2300+ ELO triumphalist who is actually rated
1800 or so, is that one may criticize Buchan's
biography of, say, Montrose or his treatment of Walter
Scott by pointing out his errors in the insta-histories
for Nelson's. So, too, it is fair to attack GM Keene's
oeuvre based on the man writing insta-books and making
a few dozen errors in 130-plus books.

Meanwhile, NM Kingston cannot address NM Keene's
demolition of his review of the latter's volume on
Nimzowitsch -- a review that was not, presumably,
written under a savage deadline.

THE SMEARS

The smears against GM Raymond Keene begin to turn.

Earlier Mr. Pipel and NM Taylor Kingston, who are both
admirers of Edward Winter, were simply presenting the fact
of an instant match book as a criticism of other works
written by GM Keene.

At some point, our Pipel and NM Kingston, realized
that most readers understand the limits and uses of insta-books
that appear directly following a major chess event or, for that
matter, following other milestones in the march of man.

They understand that it is not an "admission" to state that one
has written an instant book; it is instead a statement that one
has produced a book in demand from the marketplace.

In his latest posting, Mr.Pipel changes the charge. He
states the obvious: an instant book is not liable to be as swell
a product as a work produced at leisure months or years later.
We all know that, INCLUDING THOSE PURCHASING THE BOOK.

Then comes the turn by this Screw: most of GM Keene's books are
insta-books written in a couple of days.

As with the other smears, there is no proof.
Just the bald assertion. If the earlier charge that
it is somehow wrong to write insta-books won't fly,
then just state that most of the works written by the
famous GM are hack jobs.

Which is nonsense on its face.

parrt...@cs.com

unread,
May 2, 2006, 12:57:11 AM5/2/06
to
ANOTHER LULU

One of the little lulus pointed out by GM Ray
Keene has to be the ratpackerian claim that he
described the Kasparov-Korchnoi candidates' match as
one for the world championship.

The truth is that there was a FIDE backdrop in
which the match is thus described, and the players
stood for a photo. FIDE, which then had sole control
over the title or, at least, its title, could and did
describe any match as it wished. And if FIDE said
that such a match was being played for a title, then
so it was -- at least at that moment.

We are still waiting to find out if a quotation
attributed to Keene has been yanked out of context --
namely, whether he wrote accurately that Kasparov
became the player to come from behind in a title match
to win or keep the title in three-quarters of a
century. Context is all here. NM Kingston, who made
the charge, is under obligation to provide the context.

help bot

unread,
May 2, 2006, 2:29:12 AM5/2/06
to

THE DEAFENING SILENCE


That sound you hear is just the deafening silence which results when
a weakness is attacked, and a device known as "diversion" is used to
direct attention to something else -- anything else, but the sore spot.

We might hear frequent rustling of leaves in the form of muffled ad
hominem attacks on Taylor Kingston's 2300 rating. Or we could hear
sounds of moaning and groaning regarding one of Keene's better works,
to which our attention is happily directed. What we will *not* hear is
any sound whatever regarding the book on the Nimzo-Indian defense,
because it could be considered a Herculean task to defend it against
the hordes of criticism.

Heck, so far we have been treated to comments by Keene himself that
his notes to the games have stood up surprisingly well to scrutiny by
those not under time pressure, whereas he was literally forced (under
penalty of death, I suppose) to churn out certain books in two days or
less.
Similarly, we have been treated to comments as to how "objective"
Keene was to extract but a single word as fairly summing up Winter's
own assessment of one of Keene's books, and told we can easily verify
this "objectivity" by looking through our handy back issues of some
British magazine dating back to 1984. Naturally, we all have saved
these magazines from when we lived in Bristol on the strand (before
unwisely moving to America, when we had to make do with inferior stuff
put out by the USCF).


IMO, Taylor Kingston managed to reveal an anti-Keene bias in his
review of one of Keene's better works, but he nevertheless hit the mark
several times in his defense against Keene's attack on same.
When an author points to a specific game as showing that Nimzo did
not originate a certain idea, he gives readers the distinct impression
that the player in that game did -- whether this was his intention or
not. This is why great books are written with great care. In defense
of his book, Keene denies having attempted to root out the origins of
some "hypermodern" openings, at which I can only wonder why not?
Laziness?

It seems to me that both Larry Parr and Ray Keene are ready and
willing to "discuss" the insta-books, but not the one on the
Nimzo-Indian. The reason is obvious: the circumstances and deadline
for the insta-books is a handy "out", whereas in the case of a book on
some opening, there is really no handy excuse for doing a poor or even
mediocre job.
IMO, the all too frequent references to sales and multiple editions
tells the tale here: the "standards" by which Keene operates have not
the letter "s" fore and aft, but dollar signs. Make that British
pounds sterling. He's not attempting to create a masterpiece, a
classic or a work of art, but something else -- and this is the sole
"standard" by which he judges his own success, and expects to be judged
by others.


-- help bot