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Eye Told You So

‘John Witherow and Fraser Nelson, editors of the Times and Spectator respectively, are happy to employ a hack who regularly steals other writers’ work and passes it off as its own … This isn’t the first time the Penguin has been caught red-handed.’ Private Eye…

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Another One in the Eye

‘How many more daylight robberies can he get away with before the editors of the Times and Spectator call a halt to his criminal spree?’ Private Eye No.1354 29 November-12 Dec. 2013, p.8   Have you noticed that each time Raymond Keene appears in Private Eye these…

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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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