Saturday 29 September 2018

Counsel of despair

I was idling around with the accounts of Ray's Brain Trust "charity" yesterday and I found myself looking at some of the donations that it made in the year to March 2016

and in particular the five grand, plus a grand or so the year before, that the Trustees of the Brain Trust (Tony, Ray's sister, Ray's son, Ray, a couple of Ray's mates)

saw fit to donate to an organisation called World IQ Counsel Ltd.

This is one of the grants mentioned in the section relating to "transactions with related parties" (the one curiously missing from the next year's accounts).

Odd, in an amusing kind of way, that they've forgotten Ray's OBE on the line above, but there's also something odd about the company in the entry we've highlighted. But before we get on to that, who might World IQ Counsel be? Ray, obviously, who else?

Friday 28 September 2018

Brain you can't Trust

What's this, what's number 15 and why is it missing?

Since we're doing a couple of things on Ray's iffy organisations this week, the above is a little snippet from the latest accounts of the Brain Trust, Ray and Tony's* laughable "charity".

You can find the relevant documents at Companies House, and the accounts from which the above are taken are those for the year ending 31 March 2017. We'll get back to them shortly, but before we do, I'd like you to look at the previous set of accounts, for the year ending 31 March 2016. Have a look around, see if there's any names you recognise, but when you're ready, we'll start with this bit. It lists the various lucky beneficiaries to whom the Brain Trust chose to distribute money that year that it had raised.

You might find some of those names vaguely familiar - Mind Mapping is Tony Buzan of course, and long-memoried readers may remember Vesna Petkovic from here - but unless you're either an accountant or have spoken to one, you might not know what this is about.

Because I'm a good guy, I'll tell you as much as I know.

Thursday 27 September 2018

Guilt by association

Anyway, just in passing we were talking about how Ray had launched his new website, which is the crock you'd expect it to be, with the usual cast of Ray's dubious friends and links to iffy astroturf organisations.

One of these is The Gifted Academy, which has managed to escape my attention up to now. I don't know how active a grift it presently is, but at any rate Ray thinks enough of it to list it on his front page

on his brand new site so it's current as far as he's concerned.

So what's The Gifted Academy? It's a patently fraudulent educational establishment that reckons it offers
a variety of assessments, tests and consultancy in IQ, Personality, ability and cognitive tests; also the revision of educational programs and enrichment programs for Gifted and Talented students and individuals
as well as alleged Educational Consultancy (education? that's a stock photo of lawyers) and other bullshit much of which is the hallmark of Tony Buzan, whose cronies make up the entire personnel of this particular scam.

Including, naturally, your friend and mine.

Ray posing as a Trustee

Monday 24 September 2018

Tangled web we weave

I'm glad to say that Ray's found time out from launching his new website (packed, as you'd expected, with dubious and fraudulent claims) to weigh in on the matter of the English Chess Federation choosing not to back Nigel Short for FIDE President.

Now it's not like anybody who thinks Ray's opinion matters should have their opinions taken seriously themselves, but having had his own outrage echoed by three or four other goons, Ray feels able to declare:

Hey ho. Ray's not actually a member of the ECF of course, what with the little matter of defrauding us of a few hundred quid back in the day. Possibly he should run another twitter poll about whether he should pay us back that money before he has anything else to say on the subject.

He could also get Nigel Short, one of the two Likes on that tweet, to say whether he thinks cheating chess federations out of the members' money is the sort of conduct he hopes to encourage in FIDE.

Sunday 16 September 2018

Side order

So, on Friday I was wondering why Garry Kasparov was keeping quiet about the Short-Dvorkovich rapprochement, given that Garry's two main proccupations, about which he is usually anything but quiet, are chess, and Russian political influence.

Here's what Malcolm Pein reckons.

Do I believe that? Well it's plausible, kind of, but thing is, does Garry Kasparov strike anybody as the kind of person to stay dumbfounded for very long?

Certainly not the "dumb" part, I'd have said.

Besides, there's also the question of his sidekick, who's not much less voluble than his boss, and generally on the same subjects. But he doesn't seem to have had any more to say on Short-Dvorkovich than Garry. That's odd enough - but this, to my mind, is odder.

I don't even necessarily disagree with all of that - that's not what I find odd about it. It's that if you look at Mig's Twitter account, it is, like Garry's, wall-to-wall Russia-and-Putin.

What's wrong with that? Nothing, except that suddenly, when it comes to FIDE politics, in which the former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia is involved - somebody much closer to Vladimir Putin than Kirsan, somebody previously described as being "in the Kremlin chain of command" - the story is Makro. Makro, and nothing but.

As I said on Friday, I don't want to make large assumptions about what people think based on what they haven't said, but still - assuming Garry and Mig really are "dumbfounded", I wonder if they will rediscover their voices any time soon?

Saturday 15 September 2018

Friday 14 September 2018

Quiet game

It just occurred to me the other day that it was odd we've heard so little from Garry Kasparov during this campaign, particularly since the alliance between Arkady Dvorkovich and Nigel Short became apparent, what with one of these being Kasparov's friend (these days) and ally and the other being someone that Kasparov has referred to as
an agent of the Russian government.
Hang on, let me correct myself, it was actually Nigel who said that, a very long time ago in the middle of June. Still, a couple of days before, Kasparov himself was quoted thus:

Back then, Dvorkovich was an agent of Russian soft power, Nigel was against him and so was Kasparov, and everything was clear to us. Now, it's not so clear, and while we are hearing plenty from Nigel on the subject, none of it particularly easy to swallow, all seems quiet on the Kasparov front.

Which is his perfect right, of course, and I'm not much of a one for drawing many conclusions from what people don't say, as opposed to what they do.

But it's just a little curious, given that Garry's known interests include

(a) Vladimir Putin ; and
(b) the leadership of the chess world

and do not include

(c) keeping his opinions to himself on any subject, let alone (a) and (b).

So it seems to me that it would be at least potentially illuminating if any chess journalists were to ask him whether he has any thoughts on the matter of the FIDE Presidential contest, on Arkady Dvorkovich's proximity to Russian political power or on Nigel Short's proximity to Arkady Dvorkovich.

Garry's playing chess (sort of) in St Louis this week. Is there anybody who is in a position to ask him, while he's there?

Thursday 13 September 2018


A couple of days ago I was idly browsing chess books on Amazon and wondered what they had on the Queen's Gambit Declined, which I play, on the White side, extremely badly. I used the search term QGD, which is a mistake if you're looking for chess books (as, for different reasons, is QGA). But although it gets you no books, QGD will get you some kind of chess. This kind.

Yes, yes, the right-hand square, but who names a song after the Queen's Gambit Declined anyway? It might be (if I recall correctly) the only opening Kasparov and his team didn't think they could prove an advantage against, but as that doesn't seem to be the particular angle that the song is taking, I wrote to the artist to ask.

He replied:
I was learning a bit of chess and I thought QGD (for Queen's Gambit Declined) would be a cool song title. The song is kind of based around the idea of not taking something offered to you at face value - which I think is the point of QGD in chess - it's better for black in the long run to not accept the proffered pawn. I'm not amazing at chess though, so hopefully I didn't get that wrong.
Well don't worry mate, none of us are, and wrong is what we get it most of the time.

Anyway, I mostly divide my musical time between various periods of classical music and various iterations of folk, so I might not be quite the audience for this particular number. Play it, though, via the link above, and see what you think.

But this is still my favourite.

Wednesday 5 September 2018

Scanners live in vain

What's happening at New In Chess? Last year they forgot the difference between a rook and a bishop. Earlier this year they forgot to ask permission to use other publishers' work (preferring instead to re-translate it back to English instead). Now it seems they've forgotten how to use a scanner.

I got one of their emails yesterday - almost always a welcome sight, except when it concerns a book by Cyrus Lakdawala. This one is written by Jerzy Konikowski and Robert Ullrich, is about the King's Indian Attack and is the latest (the third, I think) in the Properly Played series.

Well you say "properly played", but if we click on the link in the email and on the New In Chess page that appears we click on Sample Pages, we get this.

Several pages of this.


All right, maybe they haven't forgotten how to use their scanner, maybe it's broken or something. As it happens mine is pretty rickety and I often prefer to give it a miss. Mind you, I'm just an amateur with a blog rather than a professional publisher and I can't think of another professional publisher who presents their publications like that. (What do I know? I'm a bookseller and a qualified librarian. I've spent the last twenty years looking at publishers' websites.) Are New In Chess really going to do this?

The rooks-and-bishops fiasco raised my eyebrows. The Shereshevsy fiasco made my jaw drop. The scanner fiasco?