Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Is this really a good way to promote women's chess? II

Well said.


It would be good to see less of this kind of tat in the future.

And, for that matter, this.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Theory

There's a Twitter account I follow and a Tweet last week happened to catch my eye.


If you have the sound on you might have recognised Baba O'Riley and you might even recognise the meme, though I confess I find this example a particuarly obscure rendering. But never mind that -

- what's this?


It's this.

I've never come across that cover before.

I've never come across the position before either, though I've been close once or twice.


Saturday, 16 March 2019

Three out of four

I logged on relatively early on Thursday for the last round of the World Team Championship, I guess an hour or so in, which is relatively early when it's kicked off at seven in the morning, Anyway I checked Chessbomb for early results and I could see that there were three of them, all in the Azerbaijan v Egypt match.

Naiditsch-Amin on board one had already finished early in a popular repetition


as indeed had Adly-Mamedov on board two, in another popular repetition


one so popular, in fact, that you could also see it on board four, in Hesham-Safarli.


Guseinov and Fawzy still seemed to be playing on board three, so I took a look, expecting to see another draw unfold before my very eyes.

Not a bit of it.


In fact I'm not totally sure whether it was before or after Black's twelfth when I looked in, but it's not of any importance, since the game was pretty much up already


and had been for a couple of moves.


So what's going on there then?

Friday, 15 March 2019

Chess in Art Revisits 3. Dorothea Tanning

This Revisit is to Tate Modern for the splendid retrospective of Dorothea Tanning (1910 - 2012) who passed away just a few years ago, but not before we had the chance - back in 2010 - to wish her 'Happy Birthday' on the occasion of her 100th. The exhibition runs until June 9th, so plenty of time to catch it. She has been insufficiently appreciated, perhaps, on this side of the pond, yet offers many treats - if you like her sort of thing.

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

"Sometimes"

Oh really?


One wonders which instances of players "sometimes" yelling Zugzwang Robert Macfarlane has in mind.


[Vaguely relevant]

Friday, 8 March 2019

Chess in Art Revisits 2. Tom Hackney

For the second of these Chess in Art Revisits, we catch up with Tom Hackney, about whom we have blogged frequently during his Chess in Art career (since 2012 in fact; see full list appended below). Back in January Tom was exhibiting at the London Art Fair, where we had a chance for a chat.


Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Follow by

I was saying just yesterday that carelessness is a Ray characteristic. There's a million examples to choose from, but here's a nice one from his Spectator column from the last issue but one, in which Ray annotates the game Artemiev v Nakamura from Gibraltar.

Better put, in which the game Artemiev v Nakamura from Gibraltar is annotated.

Not that Ray is pretending it's all his own work.


Based on? They surely are.

Gibraltar bulletin

After a couple of early notes of Ray's own making, most of what follows from move 21 onwards is straightforward copying out.

Ray in the Spectator

Well, that's what Ray does, it's what he's been doing for forty years. I particularly like this example, though, because, the Gibraltar bulletin being prepared for publication quite quickly, it contains, understandably enough, a couple of obvious errors. (Happens here all the time.)



But - and I do love this - although Ray is happy to change a word here and there just to make it look like he's doing some original work, he's left the errors entirely intact.


Monday, 4 March 2019

Examining the examiner

Coming back to Ray's fake charity, the Brain Trust, and its accounts, I mentioned before that up to year ending 31 March 2016 the accounts were examined by the accountancy firm Blick Rothenburg, but not subsequently.

This might help explain a couple of things, one of which1 might be the deterioration in quality of the 2017 accounts in particular, perhaps best illustrated by the fantastic upside-down, back-to-front page that appears there, giving the impression that whoever submitted them didn't really know what they were doing.


Other examples, of various kinds, include the section numbers skipping from 14 to 16, missing out 15


the retention of an x where there ought to be a specific figure


and a failure of arithmetic (it's £90,333).


Or from the latest accounts, year ending 31 March 2018, there's an inability to get the name right of one of the grant-receiving entities


and getting the wrong date for Eric Schiller's death (it was 3 November). Really you'd think they'd get that right.


But this kind of carelessness is of course a Ray characteristic. It might also be the sort of thing a professional would put right before approving and submitting the accounts. So why deprive yourself of their useful services? One possible reason might be the difference in remuneration due to the Independent Examiner, which hopped up to four grand in Blick Rothenburg's last year


and then hopped down.


Another possible reason might be that the new Independent Examiner, David Massey, doesn't just come cheap, but doesn't appear either to be independent, or to do any examination. Why would you care that all the major grants go to Ray's old friends and business partners, when you're one of them?

Friday, 1 March 2019

Chess in Art Revisits 1. John Ruskin

Chess in Art has been a bit thin on the ground recently. However, a few things of interest have popped up that encourage several visits to our back-catalogue (here and here) - which we'll do over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Brain Drain

Now here's a thing - the latest accounts for the Brain Trust, Ray Keene's fake charity, are out. They're late, but they're out.

What do they tell us? Not much we didn't know already, so if you were expecting all the large donations to have gone to Ray, Tony Buzan and their mates, there is nothing here to disappoint you.


If you look at the notes carefully, you'll be doing more than anybody was when they wrote them, or for that matter when they signed them off, since UK Schools Memory Initiative seems to have become UK Memory Sports Council between the list of grants and the notes to that list. Nevertheless, they were "approved by the Board of Trustees on 20 December 2018" and signed off by Ray, as well as the charity's Independent Examiner, Ray's old business partner David Massey.

I'm not actually sure that anything called the UK Schools Memory Initiative exists at all but no matter, the accounts themselves cite Ray and Tony as having an involvement in these two entities, organisations, bank accounts, whatever they may actually be. They don't suggest the same for the Chinese Memory Championship, perhaps surprisingly as the World Memory Statistics webpage, not updated for a while, trumpets the then-upcoming World Memory Championships, to be held in China, in December 2017


where they duly took place, with Ray and Tony visible in many of the photos.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Missing millions

Good spot Rog.


The Chessbase article on the FIDE campaign to be accepted as a sport at the 2024 Olympics is, as it says, a translation of a piece, in German, by Conrad Schormann, on the blog Perlen Vom Bodensee. It has appended to it, though, the text of a FIDE press release


whch as Roger observed, makes our favourite claim, and does so in two places.


We'll just note in passing the date on that press release (12 February, the day before the Chessbase piece) and the fact that it invites us to contact a VĂ©ronique Revoy who among other things is General Secretary of the French Chess Federation.

I took up that invitation and last Friday I swapped a few emails with Mme Revoy.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Cut Short

Funny thing is I was just wondering whether to renew my subscription.


I've not seen the first issue of 2019 yet - well, I've seen the front cover


but the rest of it, the last one that I've currently paid for, is late. And if it and when it does turn up, there's not going to be any Nigel Short in it.

This is a good thing.

I'd stopped reading his column some issues back anyway, partly because it really wasn't very well written (too much convoluted phrasing in preference to plain English) but partly because after a few years the combination of ego, obnoxiousness and permanent points-scoring just isn't that compelling any more.

I mean yes, if what you're looking for is controversy


then it's a good thing to have a motormouth on the scene.

But what if you're looking for is for women to be treated with respect? Is that important at all, Leon, or is the controversy the thing?

What if you would like other nationalities to be treated with respect too? What if you find his propensity to bullying and feuding distasteful?

It's not an optional extra, it's the whole man, the whole style. The "controversy" he produces is misogyny, prejudice and bullying. And I think we ought to be able to do better than that.

I'd like that to be the reason he's gone. Of course it isn't, whatever this may actually mean -


but it's the reason why, if and when my copy does turn up, I'll be renewing my subscription.

Monday, 28 January 2019

Is this really a good way to promote women's chess?

I doubt it


especially since the Opening Ceremony involved parading round a Miss Gibraltar


once again.

So maybe this observation from last year will do for this year too:
...let's go back to our image. An old guy surrounding himself with much younger women.

If you're anything like me, you might think that image wouldn't be happening if he wasn't the guy paying for it to happen.
No matter how much money he's spraying about, Brian Callaghan is a sleazy old man.

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Brain operation

If you haven't seen it yet, here's my email to Ray, as yet unanswered, in Kingpin.


Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Mechanical reproduction


Roger was kind enough to comment on last Monday's post, on the apparent discovery by Chess and Bridge that the Times chess correspondent produces rubbishy books in which material is copied and pasted from previous work and their subsequent decision to cease to stock his latest effort.

The question came up as to whether any of Ray's other stuff is still on the shelves there. I'm about a thousand kilometres away and not in a position to check, but Roger employed the shop's handy search function, and, apart from the volume at the centre of the present controversy, located
a couple of old books on Staunton and the Deep Blue match.
I've nothing against the Staunton, which I've not seen, but it's from several decades ago and for all I know is a fine effort, since Ray used to be capable of that back then. As for the Deep Blue book


I hadn't seen it either, but by chance, the US publisher has put the entire thing online, so I played around with the notes to see if and where - all right, where - they had been published prior to appearing in the book.

This isn't as much fun as it used to be, since The Spectator's archive has now disappeared behind a paywall, so you only get a brief look at the original column. You can't screenprint the notes and put them next to the reused versions any more. Nevertheless, the Google searches tell their own story.

Man Versus Machine

What happens when you Google

and both this and the following excerpt are from the notes to first game.



You'll find others if you look.