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Old November 22nd 07, 02:22 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default The Keres-Botvinnik controversy

THE SEARCH FOR A SMOKING GUN

The search for an elusive smoking gun in the Botvinnik-Keres dispute
was covered extensively over the years ever since Larry Evans
rekindled the issue in THE TRAGEDY OF PAUL KERES (Chess Life, October
1996, page 40) where he alluded to KGB files: "The answer to whether
the games were rigged exists not only in the KGB files but also in the
games themselves," he noted.

The issue evolved over the years in Evans On Chess. Apparently GM
Evans later came to doubt that a smoking gun would ever surface, as
indicated by the following item in Chess Life, March 1997 (page 13):

THE TRAGEDY OF PAUL KERES (Cont'd)

[Note: Last October's article on how Keres was forced to throw games
to Botvinnik in the 1948 World Championship generated many responses --
shock, disbelief, indignation, and relief that Keres finally received
justice.]

Despite a demand from Estonia, all the KGB files dealing with Keres
have still not been released. More investigative journalism is taking
place in the Baltic republics, but for some skeptics no evidence will
be enough. Even if a 'smoking gun' is found, somebody is sure to say:
'The files could have been forged. Why should we believe that the
secret service of a totalitarian regime can be a source of reliable
information?'

Our only answer is that the evidence exists in the games themselves.
As noted last October: 'Close analysis of these games leaves little
doubt that Keres was forced to take a dive.' The sad fact is that we
are dealing here with a political decision that was made in the
Kremlin far from the 64 squares.


Many letters from readers pro and con appeared in Chess Life,. Evans
On Chess (September 2001 page 14) awarded the Best Question to an item
submitted by Richard Laurie. Here is the Q&A in full, not just a
snipped sentence.

KERES-BOTVINNIK SCANDAL (CASE CLOSED!)

Richard Laurie, Erie, Pennsylvania

Q. In THE TRAGEDY OF PAUL KERES (October 1996) you wrote: "Keres was
in trouble for having competed in Nazi-organized tournaments during
the war. The KGB wanted to execute Keres for treason, and his family
was also in peril. His case was examined at the highest level in the
Kremlin; they let him rejoin his family in Estonia, but the price of
his reprieve was to abandon his quest for the crown."

Euwe played a match against Bogoljubov at Carlsbad in 1941 under the
Nazis, so he was not "pure" either according to Pablo Moran in AGONY
OF A GENIUS. In researching this period, I also discovered that
Alekhine warned Keres not to return to Soviet-occupied Estonia.

Botvinnik became a true Soviet hero after he tied for first with
Capablanca at Nottingham 1936, and he was coddled by the Kremlin. The
British magazine Chess (July-Aug-Sept 1949 with follow up letters by
Pachman, Wade, and others) reported that Bogartyrchuk, who won the
USSR Championship in 1927, later was warned "by a Communist Propaganda
Dept. official in Kiev that his failure to participate regularly in
chess events and his excellent record against Botvinnik might be held
against him and be interpreted in a way that could be dangerous for
him."

A. Richard Laurie is author of KNIGHT OF THE ID, a fine play about the
last days of Alekhine in Lisbon 1946. His view is substantiated by THE
OXFORD COMPANION TO CHESS: "When the war in Europe ended Keres
returned home, but not before making a deal with Soviet authorities.
He would be 'forgiven' for playing in German tournaments i.e.,
collaborating with the enemy. In return Keres promised not to
interfere with Botvinnik's challenge to Alekhine."

Kenneth Whyld, the book's co-author, said Keres confided to him that
he was not directly ordered to lose but "was given a broader
instruction that if Botvinnik failed to become world champion, it must
not be the fault of Keres."

Translation: Keres' life hung by a thread and he was forbidden to
finish ahead of Soviet hero Botvinnik. While I was in London last year
for the Kasparov-Kramnik match, Polish IM Andrei Filipowicz, the chief
arbiter, told me it wasn't necessary for Stalin to issue a direct
order because Keres knew what was expected of him in a nation where
terror reigned supreme.

In a letter to the editor of KINGPIN (Spring 2000) Taylor Kingston
claimed I misrepresented his views about the Keres-Botvinnik
controversy. But his SURVEY OF THE EVIDENCE (Chess Life, May 1998)
devotes six pagtes to the topic without reaching any conclusion
despite what Keres told Whyld and Botvinnik's startling admission in a
1991 interview that Stalin did intervene. Mr. Kingston, whose work I
generally admire, probably is unfamiliar with a syndicated newspaper
column I wrote in 1999 entitled AN OLD SCANDAL. Here is an excerpt:

CASE CLOSED

I analyzed all five games, sadly concluding Keres was probably
coerced. Alas, his dilemma was how to lose and make it look real. "Who
wouldn't throw games to save his own life and his family?" I asked,
reviving an old scandal.

Taylor Kingston, an amateur, wrote a laudatory letter to the editor of
CHESS LIFE: "Larry Evans' article The Tragedy of Paul Keres in October
1996 was one of the best pieces of historical writing you've ever run.
Evans' analysis of games in the 1948 World Championship makes a strong
case that Keres' failure was the result of coercion by Soviet
authorities. We should investigate further and find out the facts. We
could be on the verge of uncovering a major scandal in chess history."

Kingston later wrote an article disputing my theory, mostly ignoring
my critique of Keres' strange moves. This was like dismissing the
Zapruder film in the Kennedy assassination.

Recently THE MITROKHIN ARCHIVE: THE KGB IN EUROPE AND THE WEST by
Chris Andrews and Vasili Mitrokhin was based on documents smuggled out
of Russia. Page 728 reveals that in 1978 no less than 18 secret
service agents helped Anatoly Karpov retain his title against defector
Viktor Korchnoi! 'A book remains to be written about KGB involvement
in Soviet chess,' noted the authors.

Clearly the Soviets used dirty tricks in chess for decades. The truth
about Botvinnik and Keres may never be known, but until a smoking gun
is found in KGB files, I firmly believe the games themselves contain
the best evidence of a fix.

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Old November 22nd 07, 03:06 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default The Keres-Botvinnik controversy


Isn't it pretty clear-cut what really happened. Many russian
chessplayers who lived at that time and then came to america seem to
say the same thing or have had similiar stories. Bronsteins book "
The Sorcerer's Apprentice " takes a jab at Botvinnik when they took
the group photo before the WC match saying all good communists on the
right of Folke Rogard. Make it plain and simple: Botvinnik was not a
nice guy at all, but as some russian chessplayers told me you did what
you had to do to live.

EZoto
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Old November 22nd 07, 03:42 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default The Keres-Botvinnik controversy

On Nov 22, 9:22 am, " wrote:

From EVANS ON CHESS, Chess Life, September 2000:

In a letter to the editor of KINGPIN (Spring 2000) Taylor Kingston
claimed I misrepresented his views about the Keres-Botvinnik
controversy. But his SURVEY OF THE EVIDENCE (Chess Life, May 1998)
devotes six pagtes to the topic without reaching any conclusion
DESPITE what Keres told Whyld and Botvinnik's startling admission in a
1991 interview that Stalin did intervene.

(emphasis added)

Evans, like his buddy Larry Parr, suffers from frequent time
trouble. By this I mean not 5 minutes to make 20 moves, but rather
mixing up dates, and even confusing past and future. The key point
here is Evans saying that in May 1998, I reached no conclusion
"DESPITE what Keres told Whyld and Botvinnik's startling admission."
As I pointed out he

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/skittles165.pdf

the Evans scenario is a chronological impossibility. The relevant
passage:

"By saying 'despite' Evans alleges that in 1998 I overlooked or
dismissed important evidence. Yet in 1998 this evidence was unknown to
me. Furthermore, it was also unknown to Evans. The Botvinnik interview
was not published in English until 10 December 1999. Whyld never
allowed publication of his 1962 secret until 11 June 2000. I have
corroboration of the dates and facts from Pam, Krabbé, and Whyld
themselves. Evans' 'despite' gambit is the low trick of a dirty
politician, not the act of a responsible historian/journalist."

The actual chronology is this:

October 1996: Chess Life publishes Evans' article "The Tragedy of
Paul Keres." It mentions neither Whyld's nor Botvinnik's statements.

May 1998: Chess Life publishes Kingston's article "The Keres-
Botvinnik Case: A Survey of the Evidence." It mentions neither Whyld's
nor Botvinnik's statements.

December 1999: The Botvinnik interview, heretofore buried in a Dutch
magazine not devoted to chess, appears in English for the first time
on Tim Krabbe's web-site.

June 2000: Whyld finally reveals for the first time his 1962
conversation with Keres, a secret he had never published until then.

September 2000: Evans faults Kingston for failing to include the
Whyld and Botvinnik statements in his 1998 article. Evans fails to
mention that Evans too failed to include them in 1996.

Mr. Kingston, whose work I generally admire,


Apparently Evans' admiration does not prevent him from stooping to
very clumsy mendacity.
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Old November 22nd 07, 05:30 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
Rob Rob is offline
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Default most often visited and boring subject: The Keres-Botvinnikcontroversy

Why not discuss Lee's campaign in Northern Virginia? Or may be
Cornwall's failure at Yorktown? This discussion never gets anywhere.
It' as productive as listening to Sloan .

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Old November 22nd 07, 08:19 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc
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Default most often visited and boring subject: The Keres-Botvinnik controversy

On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 09:30:10 -0800 (PST), Rob
wrote:

Why not discuss Lee's campaign in Northern Virginia? Or may be
Cornwall's failure at Yorktown? This discussion never gets anywhere.
It' as productive as listening to Sloan .


I was going to say, "because this is a chess group". But then,,
that's never stopped any of us, myself included, before.


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Old November 22nd 07, 08:27 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default The Keres-Botvinnik controversy

On Nov 22, 2:22 pm, " wrote:
....
Taylor Kingston, an amateur, wrote a laudatory letter to the editor of
CHESS LIFE: "Larry Evans' article The Tragedy of Paul Keres in October
1996 was one of the best pieces of historical writing you've ever run.
Evans' analysis of games in the 1948 World Championship makes a strong
case that Keres' failure was the result of coercion by Soviet
authorities. We should investigate further and find out the facts. We
could be on the verge of uncovering a major scandal in chess history."

.....
Kingston later wrote an article disputing my theory, mostly ignoring
my critique of Keres' strange moves. This was like dismissing the
Zapruder film in the Kennedy assassination.


Look, let's have everything here... You've made a start - an
undisputed start - now cut and paste all the other items you mention:

1: The laudatory letter to the editor of CHESS LIFE.
2: TK's later article, "Kingston later wrote an article disputing my
theory..."

By the way, are people allowed to change their minds? I used to
idolise Fischer up until I was about 25. I now think he is a ****. Is
that allowed?
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Old November 22nd 07, 08:39 PM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default The Keres-Botvinnik controversy

On Nov 22, 3:27 pm, Offramp wrote:
On Nov 22, 2:22 pm, " wrote:
...

Taylor Kingston, an amateur, wrote a laudatory letter to the editor of
CHESS LIFE: "Larry Evans' article The Tragedy of Paul Keres in October
1996 was one of the best pieces of historical writing you've ever run.
Evans' analysis of games in the 1948 World Championship makes a strong
case that Keres' failure was the result of coercion by Soviet
authorities. We should investigate further and find out the facts. We
could be on the verge of uncovering a major scandal in chess history."

....
Kingston later wrote an article disputing my theory, mostly ignoring
my critique of Keres' strange moves. This was like dismissing the
Zapruder film in the Kennedy assassination.


Look, let's have everything here... You've made a start - an
undisputed start - now cut and paste all the other items you mention:

1: The laudatory letter to the editor of CHESS LIFE.


That's what Parr posted above. He and Evans keep doing that even
though they know I changed my mind long ago.

2: TK's later article, "Kingston later wrote an article disputing my
theory..."


If I had a dollar for every time I've posted these links, I'd be
rich, but here goes again:

http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kb1.txt
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/kb2.txt
http://www.chesscafe.com/text/skittles165.pdf

By the way, are people allowed to change their minds? I used to
idolise Fischer up until I was about 25. I now think he is a ****. Is
that allowed?


It certainly is.

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Old November 23rd 07, 04:10 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default most often visited and boring subject: The Keres-Botvinnikcontroversy

On Nov 22, 12:30 pm, Rob wrote:
Why not discuss Lee's campaign in Northern Virginia? Or may be
Cornwall's failure at Yorktown?


There's only one failure from Cornwall on this newsgroup. Has Innes
been to Yorktown? But perhaps you meant to type "Cornwallis."

This discussion never gets anywhere.
It' as productive as listening to Sloan .


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Old November 23rd 07, 04:33 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
Rob Rob is offline
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Default most often visited and boring subject: The Keres-Botvinnikcontroversy

On Nov 22, 10:10 pm, The Historian
wrote:
On Nov 22, 12:30 pm, Rob wrote:

Why not discuss Lee's campaign in Northern Virginia? Or may be
Cornwall's failure at Yorktown?


There's only one failure from Cornwall on this newsgroup. Has Innes
been to Yorktown? But perhaps you meant to type "Cornwallis."

This discussion never gets anywhere.



It' as productive as listening to Sloan .- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -

Yes, I ment to say Cornwallis. Thanks!
Thats what I get for trying to cook a ham and a turkey for
Thanksgiving and trying to think clearly about anything other than
food!
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Old November 23rd 07, 04:41 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics, rec.games.chess.misc
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Default most often visited and boring subject: The Keres-Botvinnikcontroversy

On Nov 22, 11:33 pm, Rob wrote:
On Nov 22, 10:10 pm, The Historian
wrote: On Nov 22, 12:30 pm, Rob wrote:

Why not discuss Lee's campaign in Northern Virginia? Or may be
Cornwall's failure at Yorktown?


There's only one failure from Cornwall on this newsgroup. Has Innes
been to Yorktown? But perhaps you meant to type "Cornwallis."


This discussion never gets anywhere.


It' as productive as listening to Sloan .- Hide quoted text -


- Show quoted text -


Yes, I ment to say Cornwallis. Thanks!
Thats what I get for trying to cook a ham and a turkey for
Thanksgiving ...


Did Philsy fit into the oven whole, or did you need to de-bone him
first?
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