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Hypermodern Poem

I bought a book by Nimzowitsch But to me it made no sense For I thought that a prophylactic Was a form of French Defence. Jim Hayes First published in Kingpin 28 (Spring 1998)

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All the Potentialities of Vice

CHESS AND CHARACTER. To the Editor of The Daily Mail. Sir,—There appears to be a recrudescence of interest in the perennial game of chess. Most of us can play, indifferently or well; most of us play for amusement. But I wonder whether it is generally…

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Beards

How well I remember Steinitz!–short, squat, and stout, with thick red hair and beard, rejoicing in a nose unusually small for one of the Semitic race. He smoked and sipped claret and water, or gin and water–scrupulously iced notwithstanding the coldness of the weather–all the…

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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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Chess and Prison

The second art that I acquired in Pentonville was so-called ‘Marseilles chess’. It was invented by an elderly Frenchman, with a red scarf round hs neck, who taught it to me during exercise hours. In this game, each player in turn makes two moves instead…

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Playing for Peanuts

A couple of years ago, Hartston did the following calculation during a grandmaster tournament in Spain: assuming that all the prize money on offer was divided simply between the grandmasters (and there were some powerful IMs scrapping for the loot as well), their average earnings…

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Violence and Intellectuality

When you eavesdrop on the chatter of chess, you discover that it reproduces and confirms the game’s compelling mixture of violence and intellectuality. As pieces are finger-flipped around demonstration boards in swift refutation of some other grandmaster’s naïve proposition, half the language has a street-fighting…

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Florencio Campomanes 1927–2010

“An evil man who is not going to be missed. Thoroughly corrupt persecutor of those who wanted chess to move forward. Destroyer of our beloved World Championship. Some champagne with dinner tonight to wish him good riddance!” Eric Schiller’s moving eulogy to the former FIDE…

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