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‘The queen ain’t no bitch. She got all the moves.’

Chess scene from ‘The Wire’ ‘The Buys’ (2002) D’Angelo Barksdale: Yo, what was that? Wallace: Hm? D’Angelo Barksdale: Castle can’t move like that. Yo, castle move up and down and sideways like. Preston ‘Bodie’ Broadus: Nah, we ain’t playing that. Wallace: Yeah, look at the…

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Where Did Nigel Get his Nickname?

‘If Gary is Gazza, Nigel is Nosher. Etymology? “Nigel Short” anagrams schoolboyishly into Nosher L. Git.’ Julian Barnes, ‘TDF: The World Chess Championship’ The New Yorker (December 1993) reproduced in Letters from London 1990-1995 (Picador, 1995), p.269 Background Short had said there were too many grandmasters around…

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Keene on . . .

Journalism ‘I tend to make the articles in The Spectator more wordy and The Times I make a little bit more lapidary in the style.’ Tunisgate ‘When I did my accounts after that event, I think I’d made eleven pounds profit.’ Being expelled from the…

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Has Karpov Lost His Marbles?

Tony Miles   As it happens I am in a position to reveal exclusively to Kingpin readers (unless, of course, someone else actually offers to pay me) the true and tragic story of why the invincible Anatoly failed to dispose of that young upstart Kasparov….

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Misha’s Vodka

Stuart Conquest The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal M. Tal Cadogan, 1997, 496 pp., £17.99 I recently had the good fortune to pass the night chez one of the strongest Swiss players of all time. Drooling over his amply stocked bookshelves I came across…

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Samurai Chess

Samurai Chess: Mastering the Martial Art of the Mind Michael Gelb and Raymond Keene Aurum Press, 1997, 224pp., £15.95   Frankly I wish I’d never agreed to review this book. Criticism of it will inevitably seem like gratuitous Mondo knocking, and praise will be seriously…

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Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw

  Carl Haffner’s Love of the Draw by Thomas Glavinic Harvill, 1999 First published in German as Carl Haffners Liebe zum Unentschieden, this English translation was even mini-launched at the Austrian Institute in London in the presence of (wait for it) GM Raymond Keene, a…

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Penthouse Pet

The Pawn was not impressed at all by Alexandra Kosteniuk’s decision to prostitute the royal game by her appearance in Penthouse. ChessBase helpfully provided a link to the Penthouse website, and as far as the Pawn could see there were plenty of perfectly nice-looking girls…

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Burmese GM Oo Kyaw Tun Nay

What is your earliest memory of playing chess? It was a few weeks ago. I was watching some other Burmese Grandmasters playing, and I said, what’s that horsey bit, and how does it move? They kindly showed me how all the bits moved, and next…

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Armageddon

  The Pawn likes nothing better than an undignified catfight, and the rumpus over the Krush–Zatonskih Armageddon game which decided the US women’s championship is one of the finest of recent years in that regard. For anyone who’s missed it, Zatonskih won on time in…

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