Tuesday 30 October 2018

600 million reasons not to read Dylan Loeb McClain

Anybody remember when Dylan Loeb McClain was a proper journalist?

Well those times ain't no more.

[Thanks to Adam Ponting in comments.]

Friday 26 October 2018

Monday 22 October 2018


I've been thinking about this image a bit. It comes from a documentary called The Making Of Them, screened by the BBC in 1994, about young boys at a boarding school.

The documentary itself is relatively gentle with its subject, if we're considering the subject as the school as well as the boys who it films there. (Viewers may not feel the same way.) This is not something that can be said of the book which recommended it, Alex Renton's Stiff Upper Lip, a genuinely angry, excoriating and most of all well-informed attack on the practice, almost unique to Britain, of sending children in large numbers to boarding schools.

Renton's work is a litany of physical, sexual and psychological abuse of boys by other boys, boys by older boys and boys by adults, and if it is uncomfortable reading, that is not a great deal of suffering compared to what it describes. This isn't something you see in The Making of Them and viewers have to locate their own signals to tell them about the happiness, or otherwise, of the stranded boys.

Which leads me on to the image, or rather the sequence, that interested me. It's worth watching the whole documentary, of course, but what caught my eye occurs just after 31 minutes.

Friday 19 October 2018

Invisible Man

The Isle of Man International is with us again, starting tomorrow, and once again the tournament sponsors include the Scheinberg family

the one-time owners of PokerStars whose founder, Isai Scheinberg, is still, as far as I am aware, on the run from the US authorities on a range of serious financial charges: described in 2016 as
under criminal indictment from the April 15, 2011 Black Friday action by the US Department of Justice.
As the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists wrote last December, the Isle of Man's role as a harbour for offshore funds played a crucial role in Scheinberg's activities prior to the indictment, and it's played a crucial role since in harbouring Mr Scheinberg himself.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

What a piece of work

Well I'm glad to see that New in Chess have got their scanner working again.

Not as glad as I might be, though, since while my latest emailing from that publisher may be free from photocopied sample pages, the nicely-scanned book it advertises is by the worst chess writer currently publishing in English, Cyrus Lakdawala.

The latest intellectual molehill that he's added to his mountain of published works is something called Clinch It, which from a brief glance (though alas, not brief enough) contains the usual mixture of waffle, irrelevance, impenetrable metaphor

What other kind of bullet lodges anywhere? What step has
been skipped when it does? What is he on about?

and pointless quotes.

Did I say "quotes"?

This is not a quote.

This is a quote.

I can see why Cyrus might be attracted to Polonius, given that the latter is a windbag who makes his way through life by repeating platitudes under the impression he's imparting wisdom to the young. But I reckon even Polonius could copy out a quote correctly if he had to, especially if it came from one of the best-known works of one of the greatest writers of the English language that we have.

But Cyrus Lakdawala can't even do that. Because he is one of the worst writers of the English language that we have.

Monday 15 October 2018

The Short is father

This came up a few days ago and boy, is it a bunch of humbug.

All right, it's Nigel's old man so let's not be as harsh as we might be, but the idea that you would combat corruption in sport by teaming up with the former Deputy Prime Minister of Russia is patently absurd - you might as well fight organised crime by linking up with Vito Corleone. It's a nonsense. A convenient nonsense, for all manner of people, but a nonsense nonetheless.

A complete nonsense, given stuff like this.

It's so very typical of Nigel to make a big noise about the Kremlin and the Skripals when it's a matter of somebody else's naked personal ambition. And then to make a big noise about how they're nothing to do with it, when it's a matter of his own.

Monday 1 October 2018

600 million chessplayers can't be right

We interrupt this series about Ray's iffy figures for some iffy figures from Ray.

Thanks to Olimpiu