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Maria Manakova: 20 Questions

  What is your earliest memory of playing chess? I don’t remember this but my father told me that nobody taught me to play chess. Whenever he played chess with friends I’d watch intently and one day (when I was about 4 years old) I…

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A Saint-Amant Game

Olimpiu G. Urcan    Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (1800-1872) [From a feature in the Illustrated London News, 28 December 1844, page 416; also published in Edward Winter’s C.N. 7610] A complete and competent biography of Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant (1800–1872) would be something to truly…

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Peter Svidler’s Questionnaire

What is your earliest memory of playing chess? I have quite a few, including the ones my parents have described to me when I grew up, but the very earliest is the recollection of beating some dude a year older than me when at the…

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Plagiarism watch

In his blog on 7 March 2012 (‘Termitewatch’) Steve Giddins moaned about people . . . ‘. . . clambering repeatedly on their high horses over allegations that Ray Keene may or may not have purloined the odd bit of analysis of the Lisitsin Gambit.’…

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Chess in Venice

 ‘Birthplace of the physical fitness boom of the twentieth century’ mind meets body ‘No camping’ a couple celebrate their engagement with a photoshoot while Humphry defies the ‘dogs off leash’ regulation ‘No fire, fireworks or barbecues’ ‘No golfing’ ‘No silly hats’ On adjoining Venice Beach…

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Chess in NYC

On the street           the ‘Elvis’ sandwich (peanut butter, bacon, banana, maple syrup, optional mayonnaise) is available at the nearby Peanut Butter Company        An evening at Marshall Chess Club     Bill’s memoir Understanding Chess: My System, My…

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A Bad End to the Year

Olimpiu G. Urcan offers the following tragic-comic true story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer of December 30, 1910 (page 11). It’s not clear who won the game but we hope it was Carman.   G.B. Carman and his brother-in-law, Arthur Gradolph, living at 1343 E. 112th-st.,…

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‘The high-voltage board’: Arthur Koestler on chess

‘Chess is a game too noble to be left to the chess-players.’ So wrote Arthur Koestler, covering the Fischer–Spassky match for the Sunday Times in 1972. So bitter had he found the pre-match shenanigans that he likened his job to that of war correspondent. Of his two…

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New York 1927: Pen-portraits by George Currie

Olimpiu G. Urcan Literary descriptions of scenes from chess tournaments of the past were habitually the work of insiders (e.g. experienced chess columnists). How would a talented sportswriter with little or no chess expertise describe such an event? The February 24, 1927 edition of the…

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Bobby Fischer Writes to Kingpin

  Dear Kingpin,   Your magazine sure is great (not as great as me – I’m the greatest), way better than all those other lying chess rags whose editors have banded together to make me out to be some kinda villain! Those guys are out…

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