Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:47 pm

It's about ethics in gaming journalism.

Chris Rice
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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:50 pm

Hi Justin/Jon

What I'm arguing is the specific point that Mr Urcan made stating that Steve Giddins acknowledgement of RDK's book made him a crony but RDK's book on Nimzowitsch is acclaimed. So if you say anything good about that book it makes you an RDK crony? I would hope not.

Similarly that RDK's acknowledgement of Steve Giddins's book is somehow buttering him up for the sake of it when the truth is Steve Giddins book is really good. Therefore Mr Urcan's argument is a bit like saying "oh and another thing RDK leaves the top of the toothpaste every night". I really don't want to get into the rest of the history of RDK's behaviours where I know you've done a lot of work over the years. Believe me I'm not trying to defend all of that. I just wanted to make the point that if you criticise someone it ought to be a substantive point rather than just a slagging off.

Incidentally Steve says the Nunn book on Lasker is outstanding, does that make him a Nunn crony as well?

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JustinHorton
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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:57 pm

Well, it might be if he devoted anything like the same amount of time to praising Nunn as he does to buttering up Ray. But he doesn't.

I didn't read Olimpiu's note (or indeed his note on his note) as saying Giddins was a Keene crony because he praises Reappraisal. (Indeed it would be absurd to do so, since that would make us all Keene cronies. It's commonly and rightly held that Ray used to write fine books more than forty years ago, and that Reappraisal is one of the best of them.)

I read it as observing that RDK's more-than-acknowledgement of Giddins' book is connected to Giddins' status in Ray's circle. Because excellent or not (and I'm happy to take your word for it) it's an awful lot of mentions, and Ray does tend to direct an awful lot of mentions in his friends' directions - regardless of their excellence or otherwise.
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Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:56 pm

Chris Rice wrote:So if you say anything good about that book it makes you an RDK crony? I would hope not.
As Justin says, it’s the context that matters here.


If The Gidster was still in the habit of referring to Ray as "Mondo" would RDK still be mentioning his books quite so often? Would Ray have been quite so happy to mention this new book on Nimzo if the author was still writing stuff like
It was only when the above tome landed on my doormat that I realised one of the benefits of us not having had a world championship match for five years – a five-year sabbatical from Raymondo’s instant match books!
replete with all the usual crap
One might have thought that a Grandmaster, annotating the game in what purports to be the definitive book on the match, would make at least some attempt to analyse the position himself and express his view on such a fundamental difference of opinion. But oh no, not Mondo ....
http://www.kingpinchess.net/2011/10/bad-chess-writing/

?


Incidentally, the credit for the RDK historical stuff on the blog is due to Justin and a couple of others. I can’t claim any of it.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Tue Feb 03, 2015 3:14 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:It's about ethics in gaming journalism.
:lol: (though even mentioning that *****-gate can have, um, unintended side-effects)

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:50 pm

OK this is from RDK himself, he has been travelling to Gibraltar most of the day. He was little taken aback at the criticism of him not mentioning the John Nunn book in his column. The prime reason for this is that he did not even know Nunn had written a book on Lasker, because the publisher, Gambit, never send him review copies.

PS, he also admits that the claim of 22 national titles is incorrect, he says it should be 23 because he forgot about one.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:20 pm

Chris Rice wrote:The prime reason for this is that he did not even know Nunn had written a book on Lasker, because the publisher, Gambit, never send him review copies.
Fair enough. I mean, how is a chess journalist supposed to find out a book has been published unless he’s sent a free copy?

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Feb 04, 2015 7:13 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:The prime reason for this is that he did not even know Nunn had written a book on Lasker, because the publisher, Gambit, never send him review copies.
Fair enough. I mean, how is a chess journalist supposed to find out a book has been published unless he’s sent a free copy?
OK but chess book publishers normally send out free copies to the media, magazines etc to get some PR going for the books. If Gambit decided not to do that (there's history there) then you're relying on RDK finding out about it some other way but in any event I can't see how he's under any obligation to review any books he's been sent or decides to seek out. So criticising him for not seeking out a book he never knew existed seems a trifle unfair.

If on the other hand you are arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist because he doesn't cover significant matters of importance in the chess world like Chess Cafe book of the year (a stretch but I'll concede it) then that would be stronger grounds for criticism assuming that this is combined with other examples. Is that true? Afraid I have not read that many of RDK's columns so I'll defer to your judgement on that one. Personally on newspaper columnists I have tended to read columns written by Leonard Barden or Malcolm Pein as they are usually about current events going on. The RDK columns I have read in the past as far as I recall seemed to be too Staunton-centred and although that's of interest to a lot of people it wasn't to me.

Just to be clear on Mr Urcan's comments (and using Justin's interpretation of what he meant by them) my gripe is

Steve Giddins acknowledgement in his book of RDK's book on Nimzo because he thinks its good doesn't support an argument that makes him an RDK crony;

RDK's mentioning Steve Giddins book on Nimzowitsch a few times in his column because he thinks its good doesn't mean there's something mysterious going on and he's grooming him to be one of his entourage; and

Not mentioning John Nunn's book in RDK's column does not constitute a conspiracy against John Nunn. We now know this to be utter rubbish of course.

That Mr Urcan sought to form a narrative on the flimsiest of circumstantial evidence and then started jumping to conclusions on the basis of it to support his fixed prejudices on the matter was lazy research. That was really it, I wasn't seeking to defend either party. They can do that themselves.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Brian Towers » Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:06 am

Chris Rice wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Chris Rice wrote:The prime reason for this is that he did not even know Nunn had written a book on Lasker, because the publisher, Gambit, never send him review copies.
Fair enough. I mean, how is a chess journalist supposed to find out a book has been published unless he’s sent a free copy?
OK but chess book publishers normally send out free copies to the media, magazines etc to get some PR going for the books. If Gambit decided not to do that (there's history there) then you're relying on RDK finding out about it some other way but in any event I can't see how he's under any obligation to review any books he's been sent or decides to seek out. So criticising him for not seeking out a book he never knew existed seems a trifle unfair.

If on the other hand you are arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist because he doesn't cover significant matters of importance in the chess world like Chess Cafe book of the year (a stretch but I'll concede it) then that would be stronger grounds for criticism assuming that this is combined with other examples. Is that true?
I think an important point that is being overlooked here is that both The Times and ChessCafe.com are behind paywalls. In the case of Chesscafe.com this is very recent and a major blow. I used to be an ardent fan. I have to admit I don't remember ever reading RDK's Times articles although if you go back enough decades I probably read one or two in the print edition so I feel indifference to all this slagging off of RDK. Is he really that important?

In any case no blame can attach to RDK for not knowing what goes on behind a rival's paywall. For other non-subscribers who miss not being able to read archive material from ChessCafe.com there is an organization that archives parts of the internet which make it available -
https://web.archive.org/web/20140714190 ... chives.htm.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by O.G. Urcan » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:01 am

My brief note made no comment on the quality of either Nimzowitsch book but pointed out: (a) Raymond Keene and Steve Giddins' praise for each other's books, (b) the tone and frequency of Keene's praise for Giddins' book (in nine columns - and not "a few times", as Chris Rice wrote earlier today), and (c) the absence of any mention in Keene's columns of John Nunn's excellent book on Lasker.

Keene, we have been told, is saying that he was unaware until now of the very existence of Nunn's book. Well, it was published in April 2014 and has been widely discussed. For example, in the 7/2014 New in Chess Matthew Sadler gave it a three-page rave review.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:08 am

Chris Rice wrote: If on the other hand you are arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist because he doesn't cover significant matters of importance in the chess world like Chess Cafe book of the year (a stretch but I'll concede it) then that would be stronger grounds for criticism assuming that this is combined with other examples.
No. I’m just arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist.

The suggestion that he couldn’t be expected to know that a book has been published unless he’s been sent a copy is ridiculous. Journalists are supposed to find out stuff, right? Or at least be vaguely familiar with current events in their field.

I don’t give even the slightest of craps what RDK puts in his column. Not whether he covers the chess cafe book of the year. Not whether he writes about GIdders’ Nimzo book.

I do care about journalism in general and chess journalism in particular. Especially when that journalism is piss-poor.



As for Gidster being a crony or not we shall to agree to disagree. Your argument seems to be that coverage of the book in The Times is warranted. While not disagreeing with that point per se, my argument is that the merits of the book/author are not the principle reason why it has been covered by The Times’ Chess Correspondent.

I believe my argument is consistent with Keene’s treatment of his other friends’ - e.g. are the constant mentions of Buzan really justified but the quality of the man’s work? - but if you disagree then fine. Let’s leave it there.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:26 am

Chris Rice wrote: PS, he also admits that the claim of 22 national titles is incorrect, he says it should be 23 because he forgot about one.
In the same way as a football player would only claim a Cup medal rather than than Cup itself, surely the convention in the chess world is the same? You would expect then a claim of two individual titles and 21 appearances for title-winning teams. If this included Dutch events, the phrase home and abroad or similar could appear.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:50 am

O.G. Urcan wrote:My brief note made no comment on the quality of either Nimzowitsch book but pointed out: (a) Raymond Keene and Steve Giddins' praise for each other's books, (b) the tone and frequency of Keene's praise for Giddins' book (in nine columns - and not "a few times", as Chris Rice wrote earlier today), and (c) the absence of any mention in Keene's columns of John Nunn's excellent book on Lasker.

Keene, we have been told, is saying that he was unaware until now of the very existence of Nunn's book. Well, it was published in April 2014 and has been widely discussed. For example, in the 7/2014 New in Chess Matthew Sadler gave it a three-page rave review.
Yes I know what you said because I read the note. You did not make reference to the quality of either book, I understand that. I made reference to the quality of the books to make the point that if both the books were good it was not surprising that both authors praised the other. Whether nine times is a few or not is open to debate because there is no rule as far as I am aware. Let me put it another way that mentioning it nine times in his column, since Steve Giddins book was published on August 13, 2014, because RDK liked the book, is not statisically significant enough to draw conclusions about RDK's entourage.

Your second paragraph of this post infers that RDK should have been aware of John Nunn's book but as Brian Towers has already pointed out Chess Cafe is behind a paywall and RDK may not be a New In Chess subscriber either. Besides that is it his job to write book reviews? That may be a different argument about whether he's a good chess journalist or not and I'm arguing that point. What I'm simply saying is if you are going to criticise him at least be reasonable. How may other chess journalists have mentioned the John Nunn book in their columns. Are you going to villify them too?

PS Just like to add that anything Matthew Sadler writes is gold.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:55 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:
Chris Rice wrote: If on the other hand you are arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist because he doesn't cover significant matters of importance in the chess world like Chess Cafe book of the year (a stretch but I'll concede it) then that would be stronger grounds for criticism assuming that this is combined with other examples.
No. I’m just arguing that RDK is a poor chess journalist.

The suggestion that he couldn’t be expected to know that a book has been published unless he’s been sent a copy is ridiculous. Journalists are supposed to find out stuff, right? Or at least be vaguely familiar with current events in their field.

I don’t give even the slightest of craps what RDK puts in his column. Not whether he covers the chess cafe book of the year. Not whether he writes about GIdders’ Nimzo book.

I do care about journalism in general and chess journalism in particular. Especially when that journalism is piss-poor.
No arguments from me on those points Jon.

[/quote]As for Gidster being a crony or not we shall to agree to disagree. Your argument seems to be that coverage of the book in The Times is warranted. While not disagreeing with that point per se, my argument is that the merits of the book/author are not the principle reason why it has been covered by The Times’ Chess Correspondent.

I believe my argument is consistent with Keene’s treatment of his other friends’ - e.g. are the constant mentions of Buzan really justified but the quality of the man’s work? - but if you disagree then fine. Let’s leave it there.[/quote]

I didn't say the mentions were warranted, just understandable because there were two good books. Whereas mentions of the quality of other people's work such as Buzan may justify cronyism, I couldn't say.

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Re: Keene's claim to have won "22 national championship titles."

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:07 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Chris Rice wrote: PS, he also admits that the claim of 22 national titles is incorrect, he says it should be 23 because he forgot about one.
In the same way as a football player would only claim a Cup medal rather than than Cup itself, surely the convention in the chess world is the same? You would expect then a claim of two individual titles and 21 appearances for title-winning teams. If this included Dutch events, the phrase home and abroad or similar could appear.
I don’t have the list he’s referring to so really don’t know Roger. I guess “national titles” could include non-UK stuff without having to further qualify it “with home and abroad”.

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