The Oxford professor who helped expose JK Rowling’s secret identity as crime writer Robert Galbraith is an International Correspondence Grandmaster.
Peter Millican, an expert in computer linguistics, told the BBC:
‘I was given some text by The Sunday Times – I had two known texts by JK Rowling, two by Ruth Rendell, two by PD James and two by Val McDermid.
What I did was clean up the texts, put them into my software and do a battery of tests to see what similarities there were. I was testing things like word length, sentence length, paragraph length, frequency of particular words and the pattern of punctuation.
What was striking about the tests was how often The Cuckoo’s Calling came closest to the texts by JK Rowling and it was closer to those than to any other crime novels.’
Peter became a Correspondence GM in 1997 after finishing fifth in what at the time was the strongest postal tournament ever staged (won by Ulf Andersson).
Kingpin wrote this about him in 1992:
What is the collective noun for ‘hacker’? A ‘gang’, a ‘pack’? A ‘rampage of hackers’, a ‘riot’, a ‘murder of hackers’? Or perhaps just ‘a lack of sophistication’?
Whatever the correct term, you are most likely to encounter such a gathering in a postal chess tournament. Here, hackers who in over-the-board play find their tactical fantasies rudely interrupted by the clock can cast aside all inhibitions and give full rein to their blood-lust. You’ll find the lunatic fringe, the real axe-wielding cavemen, in gambit tournaments where the rules force opponents to gobble all the material they are offered. Take Peter Millican, for example. Peter plays little over-the-board chess these days but in 1990 he won the British Postal Chess Championship. Not content with playing the Muzio Gambit, given half a chance he whacks out the Double Muzio. This man has Bxf7+ tattooed on his knuckles.