Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by John Saunders » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:43 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
John Saunders wrote:It could be explained by different audiences. Perhaps your blog readers are titillated by juicy scandal)
I don't think anybody is "titillated" by plagiarism.
You are absolutely right but they are titillated by no-holds-barred verbal assaults on another person. Are you totally naive or just deliberately obtuse? I note, of course, that you twisted my words. I wrote 'titillated by scandal'. Typical forum trick.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 3868
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:16 pm

John Saunders wrote:It could be explained by different audiences. Perhaps your blog readers are titillated by juicy scandal, which they get free from you and your buddies. Readers of printed magazines prefer to get value for money in the shape of quality articles and features prepared by titled players, regular columns and good quality photos, etc. They may be turned off by chess politics. In fact, there is no 'may' about it: we know this to be true. CHESS Magazine commissioned a readers' survey in its February issue and Malcolm revealed in his March editorial that paying subscribers readers really didn't want chess politics. (As it happens, they got some chess politics anyway in March - two pages on the Paulson affair.)
I expect there are some differences in typical audience expectation - there must be many average players who just like to push the pieces around on a club night, but have no other time for the hobby and I should surmise that they would be readers of the print magazine rather than looking up current chess affairs on the internet.

But I doubt that we know how different the groups are. In order to place any significant weight on the CHESS survey, we would need to know how the questions were phrased. (I am afraid I don't know, but I will assume that the only relevant question referred to "chess politics" without further definition). If subscribers were actually asked "do you want to read chess politics" then I woud guess that most readers took that to mean how many council votes their county association should have, and what game fee should be and so on - so of course they would say "no" and quite resoundingly too. (And on those sorts of issues, quite rightly, in my view!) Probably the same would have been true about gossip. But were they asked anything like "do you expect us to cover chess related stories that appear in the mainstream media" or "would you like to see discussions on how to improve the level of chess playing in England" or "when it appears that a director of the ECF or President is forced to resign, would you expect the event to be covered?" If CHESS had done this, the answers might have been very different. They might even have got some further comments to the effect "what, you actually decide not to do these things at the moment?"

User avatar
John Saunders
Posts: 1227
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 3:10 pm
Location: Kingston-upon-Thames
Contact:

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by John Saunders » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:37 pm

We don't have either the wording of the survey or the final results in front of us so perhaps that can be discussed another day. I'm not privy to any of the data, by the way, or any of planning that went into it. But we do have Malcolm's precise words in his editorial: "The survey showed that chess politics was not a popular subject".

And, of course, as regards the blog audience, we have what Justin wrote up-thread:
JustinHorton wrote: For the record, every time we write about chess scandal, our hit count goes up.
Chess scandal. Interesting choice of words.
Personal Twitter @johnchess / Personal Website http://www.saund.co.uk / Britbase http://www.britbase.co.uk

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3146
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:47 pm

John Saunders wrote:Perhaps your blog readers are titillated by juicy scandal
I don’t think so. They’re much more likely to tell us they’re bored.

And yet the page view count rises. Over recent years in general, but also specifically over recent months whilst we’ve been running the Ray Keene plagiarism stuff. 50% than when Chessbase picked up the story (we didn’t drop back to normal after that little bump contrary to my expectations at the time).

Fact is, those reports aren’t ‘juicy’ at all. They take a lot of painstaking work. A lot of that work is dull. It’s work you say chess mags can’t afford to do and wouldn’t make commercial sense. No doubt that is true.

But since we have the freedom to ignore readers who tell us that we should’t write something, what’s left carries a certain honesty. It’s our view of the world and how it works. Agree with it or not - and I have no problem with the latter - but what you’re getting is genuine and that’s an attractive quality for some. Especially if the subject matter isn’t being covered elsewhere.

Truth is, simply bandying insults about doesn’t make interesting reading. Sooner or later you run out of steam because actually you have no message and nothing real to say. As other bloggers with less stamina have discovered.

IanDavis
Posts: 255
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:41 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by IanDavis » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:17 pm

Why let something naughty get in the way of the enjoyment of the game? I mean where would rugby be without tales of how a giant punch up defeated Apartheid?

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18092
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:31 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote: I don’t think so. They’re much more likely to tell us they’re bored.

And yet the page view count rises. Over recent years in general, but also specifically over recent months whilst we’ve been running the Ray Keene plagiarism stuff. 50% than when Chessbase picked up the story (we didn’t drop back to normal after that little bump contrary to my expectations at the time).
I would be inclined to suggest that having identified the general principle, that a line by line dissection is no longer necessary. It's investigating shadowy background figures, but what role do typesetters and ghost writers play in all this?

Kasparov on twitter claims to be aware of his material being recycled, but leaves it in the hands of publishers and agents.

O.G. Urcan
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:37 am

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by O.G. Urcan » Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:56 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Kasparov on twitter claims to be aware of his material being recycled, but leaves it in the hands of publishers and agents.
Yes, Kasparov confirmed his awareness on Twitter a few days ago, though the words "recycled" and "agents" were not used. As shown at http://keenipedia.com/plagiarism-2, he was asked by Jeremy Duns:

- "Mr Kasparov, are you aware that British chess journalist Ray Keene has plagiarised you extensively?"

Kasparov replied:

- "Is the greatest form of flattery, no?! I am aware, yes. Is for my publisher & lawyers to deal with such things."

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 6435
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:18 am

John Saunders wrote:I note, of course, that you twisted my words.
No-one's twisted your words, John. You wrote "titillated by sccandal" - as the scandal which we were immediately discussing was plagiarisn, I observed that plagiarism is not titillating.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18092
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:41 am

O.G. Urcan wrote: Yes, Kasparov confirmed his awareness on Twitter a few days ago, though the words "recycled" and "agents" were not used.
Yes he did say lawyers rather than agents.

Are his publishers involved in some way by allowing the source data to leak? If columnists are writing columns using previously published material, are they really typing it all in? It would be far easier if they have access to an electronic version to copy and paste. The columns are always under Ray's name, but are not at least some of them ghost written?

User avatar
JustinHorton
Posts: 6435
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Somewhere you're not

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:42 am

I see from the other thread that I'm not the only one kind of puzzled to the classification of Ray's misdeeds as "chess politics". Without employing a narrow definition of the term "politics", I don't think people would normally make that choice, still less consider Ray's activities (or most other controversies in British chess) as the sort of politics they don't want to read about.

It's also a bit of a strange thing to say (though not as strange as "witch hunts and kangaroo courts") given that chess magazines do touch on chess politics: they do attack Kirsan, they do interview figures involved in controversies, and so on, it's just that the controversial stuff tends to disappear.

I don't, by the way, think this only applies to the British chess press, nor that it applies only to issues involving Ray, common though the latter be.

Of course if the British chess press are going to continue to take the approach that they have, then they're quite entitled to do so and there's nothing I can do about it. And of course it doesn't stop me doing anything I want to do. I just think it's a shame.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18092
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 12, 2014 8:54 am

JustinHorton wrote: I don't think people would normally make that choice, still less consider Ray's activities (or most other controversies in British chess) as the sort of politics they don't want to read about.
Magazines are often parts of a business empire, book selling in particular. I wouldn't know the present day sales volumes, but there have been a lot of books with Ray's name on the cover as well as his interests in the Hardinge Simpole publishing business.

I'm sure magazines would claim editorial independence from the shop side of a business, but it's an explanation of sorts that they didn't want to damage an author's image in the eyes of a chess book buying public. It's not a marvellous conspiracy theory as back in time, anyway, there's already been lots of anti-Keene stuff.

John Upham
Posts: 4338
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by John Upham » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:29 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: they didn't want to damage an author's image in the eyes of a chess book buying public.
You might wish to read BCMs review of RDKs most recent book on the Anand - Carlsen match.

I would not say it falls in line with your statement. RDK alluded to as much at the RAC Club last weekend.

Sometime ago we had a review of a book by Bob Long (about CJS Purdy) by Paul Gheorghiu that kicked off an email exchange that was somewhat difficult.
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

Jonathan Rogers
Posts: 3868
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:57 am

Book reviews have always been a relative strong point of BCM, certainly in comparison with CHESS (I should perhaps declare an interest in that I recently reviewed a book for BCM, albeit about a year late and I still don't know whether it ever got published!).

But it isn't exactly the same as mentioning, and perhaps more prominently, that the author's reputation is an international affair.

It could be a five line news entry under Home or International news, every six months or so, eg "GARY KASPAROV has confirmed knowledge of the allegations that Raymond Keene plagiarised passages from Kasparov's series My Great Predecessors in several of his Times columns in 2013. He said that he had left the matter with his publishers and lawyers and we await further developments".

Any possible objection to that? I actually think BCM would have room for it, as well!

PeterFarr
Posts: 586
Joined: Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:20 pm
Location: Horsham, Sussex

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by PeterFarr » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:20 am

John Upham wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote: they didn't want to damage an author's image in the eyes of a chess book buying public.
You might wish to read BCMs review of RDKs most recent book on the Anand - Carlsen match.

I would not say it falls in line with your statement. RDK alluded to as much at the RAC Club last weekend.

Sometime ago we had a review of a book by Bob Long (about CJS Purdy) by Paul Gheorghiu that kicked off an email exchange that was somewhat difficult.
The BCM review of the Carlsen-Anand book is pretty scathing, though it only touches on the re-cycling issue. I imagine the keyboard on which that book was produced is in pristine condition, except for very well worn Ctrl, C, and V keys.

John Upham
Posts: 4338
Joined: Wed Apr 04, 2007 10:29 am
Location: Cove, Hampshire, England.
Contact:

Re: Chess magazines' coverage of chess literature scandals

Post by John Upham » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:23 am

PeterFarr wrote: I imagine the keyboard on which that book was produced is in pristine condition, except for very well worn Ctrl, C, and V keys.
The keyboard used to produce the book is located in the USA and belongs to Sam Sloan.
British Chess News : britishchessnews.com
Twitter: @BritishChess
Facebook: facebook.com/groups/britishchess :D

Post Reply