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Old April 29th 06, 02:37 PM posted to,
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Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)


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

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
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
....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.

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Old April 29th 06, 02:52 PM posted to,
Taylor Kingston
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Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)


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.

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Old April 29th 06, 02:59 PM posted to,
[email protected]
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Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 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,
for Keene to imply that it should be named for Nimzowitsch is

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
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

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

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Old April 29th 06, 03:11 PM posted to,
[email protected]
Posts: n/a
Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 2)


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

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Old April 29th 06, 04:36 PM posted to,
Vince Hart
Posts: n/a
Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)

I wish Keene had worked as hard on Winning with the Nimzo-Indian as he
did on that review of Kingston.

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Old April 29th 06, 07:04 PM posted to,
Taylor Kingston
Posts: n/a
Default Parr violates CJA Code of Ethics (Part 1 of ?)

The Historian wrote:
Taylor Kingston 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.
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.

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Old April 29th 06, 09:50 PM posted to,
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Default Keene reviews Kingston

* 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. *

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?

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Old April 30th 06, 02:16 AM posted to,
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Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)


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

"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.

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Old April 30th 06, 07:19 AM posted to,
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Default Keene reviews Kingston (part 1)

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,
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

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.

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