Enquiry: English Chess Association

Historical knowledge and information regarding our great game.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:56 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:attacks on him have proved damaging to the credibility of this forum
With whom?
Andrew Zigmond wrote:when I challenged him on Twitter about comments made on another issue he said that he chooses not to get involved on here `as the knowledge and ... standard of debate is not high`.
Whatever the "standard of debate", the level of knowledge here is actually very high, which I suggest is among Mr Keene's reasons for staying away.

By the way, I have been making direct accusations against him for seven months without a breath of legal action.
PeterFarr wrote: 2) "MA from Trinity College, Cambridge, where he shared lodgings with HRH the Prince of Wales"
Last time I checked out this story, it involved him having a room on the same floor as the titled gentleman. I don't know the truth of this. I guess they might have shared bathroom and maybe even kitchen facilities.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:22 am

JustinHorton wrote: Last time I checked out this story, it involved him having a room on the same floor as the titled gentleman. I don't know the truth of this. I guess they might have shared bathroom and maybe even kitchen facilities.
As I believe you are an Oxford person, presumably you will be familiar with the concept of a "staircase". RDK was on the same staircase as HRH and from memory their rooms were opposite. This was in one of the more historic parts of Trinity College, so facilities involving water were probably elsewhere.

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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by PeterFarr » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:11 am

I mentioned the HRH thing more because it seemed an odd sort of 'achievement' for an author to claim rather than doubting the truth of it.

Also, I was actually quite interested in the thing about being the first western GM to play in China; it would be interesting to know the history of it.

However, it is rather getting a long way from the point of the thread, as Carl said, so sorry about that.

O.G. Urcan
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by O.G. Urcan » Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:13 am

Some further information about the ECA, although there's still no recent news.

Page 343 of the August 1989 British Chess Magazine reported briefly on the "ECA/Granada Tournament; Preston", which "suffered from withdrawals. The Polgar sisters wanted to renegotiate terms when they heard that Akhmylovskaya would be playing! Akhmylovskaya withdrew at the very last minute, exhausted after her trip to the USSR".

So far in this thread we've learned about only one person, John Philpott, who paid £8 to join the English Chess Association ("largely out of curiosity"). I now have information about somebody else who did the same. He received a membership card dated 1989, a small paperback book and, over the ensuing months, occasional mail-shots for Batsford books, sent direct from Batsford. There was also some publicity material for Eureka Electronics (Paul Cohen, Brighton). Paul Cohen's name and address were on the back of the ECA membership card, along with the name and address of the "ECA Secretary" (Julian Simpole, Brighton).

The member also received a leaflet about the London Chess Centre, Granada Social Club, 58 St John's Hill, Clapham, London SW11, described by the ECA as "our London base, so generously provided by Granada Leisure". Raymond Keene's name was not mentioned in the leaflet. The contact person for the Association ("ECA General Secretary/Treasurer") was Julian Simpole.

Raymond Keene's book, published by Sam Sloan, on the Carlsen v Anand match refers to "Proof Reader Julian Simpole Commonwealth Chess Association Life Vice President and Official FIDE Organiser".

After 1989 the ECA member I've mentioned heard nothing more from the English Chess Association, and even the Batsford publicity material dried up.

Olimpiu G. Urcan

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Thu Jan 16, 2014 10:38 am

On about the fourth time of asking why do you not pursue your enquiry with Mr Keene who can be contacted via the Times Chess Twitter feed? Your initial query about the ECA - which was a reasonable enough one - has been answered repeated times. The organisation is dormant and has been for over twenty years.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:07 am

PeterFarr wrote: Also, I was actually quite interested in the thing about being the first western GM to play in China; it would be interesting to know the history of it.
Reluctant as one must be to use chessgames.com as a source, I think this game provides a clue
http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1555041

It was played between Lamford and Keene in Canton in 1981.

From what I recall, a small party of Batsford authors got an invite. These included Bellin and Blackstock.

There's a write up by Robert Bellin on pages 140 to 143 of the April 1981 BCM. Other British players were Speelman and Pritchett, with Bob Wade as arbiter. Although an 11 round APA with 6 Chinese players , it was structured in part as a match between British players and Chinese players.

The contemporary report starts "History was made during February 7-21"

The trip was noted as "a brainchild of Bob Wade" with sponsors of Batsford and British Caledonian (a now forgotten airline)

Bellin was tournament winner with 8.5. ahead of Chinese IMs Liang and Liu and Speelman on 7. Ray Keene was fifth with 6.5.

Speelman had become a GM by the time of the tournament, so he would deserve equal billing as "first Western GM to play in China".

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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by PeterFarr » Thu Jan 16, 2014 11:37 am

Thanks very much Roger, interesting stuff.

O.G. Urcan
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by O.G. Urcan » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:26 am

This thread has been very helpful so far in providing a factual overview of the English Chess Association and in highlighting the confusion that has occurred - sometimes by accident and sometimes by design - between the English Chess Association and the English Chess Federation/British Chess Federation.

In addition, some opinions have been expressed by Andrew Zigmond, and it is difficult to follow his line of reasoning.

On 19 December he wrote, "Mr Keene does use twitter and I'm sure he would respond to direct queries." Both Andrew Zigmond and I also have twitter accounts, but to me the idea that any enquiry on the subject to Mr Keene would elicit factual information is unrealistic.

On 5 January Andrew Zigmond reiterated his point. He also allowed for the possibility that the Association is still active: "the ECA and its current activities (if indeed there are any)."

On 15 January he speculated that "the English Chess Association has presumably never been wound up, even if it is now largely dormant."

On 16 January he stated categorically that "the organisation is dormant and has been for over twenty years."

Neil Graham
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Neil Graham » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:13 am

O.G. Urcan wrote:This thread has been very helpful so far in providing a factual overview of the English Chess Association and in highlighting the confusion that has occurred - sometimes by accident and sometimes by design - between the English Chess Association and the English Chess Federation/British Chess Federation.

In addition, some opinions have been expressed by Andrew Zigmond, and it is difficult to follow his line of reasoning.

On 19 December he wrote, "Mr Keene does use twitter and I'm sure he would respond to direct queries." Both Andrew Zigmond and I also have twitter accounts, but to me the idea that any enquiry on the subject to Mr Keene would elicit factual information is unrealistic.

On 5 January Andrew Zigmond reiterated his point. He also allowed for the possibility that the Association is still active: "the ECA and its current activities (if indeed there are any)."

On 15 January he speculated that "the English Chess Association has presumably never been wound up, even if it is now largely dormant."

On 16 January he stated categorically that "the organisation is dormant and has been for over twenty years."
There is no confusion between these organisations. The English Chess Association was probably in existence for a couple of years in the late 1980's. By 1991 it was moribund. My previous note in this thread where Ray Keene had spoken to John Poole (BCF Board meeting of March 1991) was the last that was ever heard of the ECA. No-one, as far as can be ascertained, ever saw any accounts or any membership details of the ECA and it reflects great credit on Mr Keene that he tried to sell this non-existent organisation to Martin Regan in the manner of Maundy Gregory.

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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by John Upham » Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:34 am

O.G. Urcan wrote: Raymond Keene's book, published by Sam Sloan, on the Carlsen v Anand match refers to "Proof Reader Julian Simpole Commonwealth Chess Association Life Vice President and Official FIDE Organiser".
I would be curious to read your review of this book. For example, you could focus on:

1. material that had not been previously published
2. material that is not relevant to the subject title of the book
3. new material written by the author
4. The role played by the alleged proof reader

Perhaps JH could do the same?
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by PeterFarr » Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:24 pm

John Upham wrote:
O.G. Urcan wrote: Raymond Keene's book, published by Sam Sloan, on the Carlsen v Anand match refers to "Proof Reader Julian Simpole Commonwealth Chess Association Life Vice President and Official FIDE Organiser".
I would be curious to read your review of this book. For example, you could focus on:

1. material that had not been previously published
2. material that is not relevant to the subject title of the book
3. new material written by the author
4. The role played by the alleged proof reader

Perhaps JH could do the same?
Well it promises ground-breaking material, which is a good sign. Although the following example isn't completely ground-breaking, in all honesty:

On page 149 we have the game Anand-Carlsen, Arctic Chess Stars 2010, with the following introduction:

"Strategic Squeeze

This game in my series previewing the Anand-Carlsen World Championship is a lengthy strategic squeeze, with play on both sides of the Board, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the 11th game of the World Championship match between Botvinnik and Tal from Moscow 1960....."


By way of contrast, here is 'The Times', 31st October 2013:

"Strategic squeeze

Today’s game in my series previewing the Anand-Carlsen World Championship is a lengthy strategic squeeze, with play on both sides of the board, which bears an uncanny resemblance to the 11th game of the World Championship match between Botvinnik and Tal from Moscow 1960....."


So, as regards proof-reading, I believe a shared credit for the sub-editors at 'The Times' may be in order.

No doubt this is an isolated case, and the rest of the book is fresh and original. On the whole though, I'm with Dr Johnson on this one "I never read a book before reviewing it. It prejudices a man so."

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:33 pm

O.G. Urcan wrote:This thread has been very helpful so far in providing a factual overview of the English Chess Association and in highlighting the confusion that has occurred - sometimes by accident and sometimes by design - between the English Chess Association and the English Chess Federation/British Chess Federation.

In addition, some opinions have been expressed by Andrew Zigmond, and it is difficult to follow his line of reasoning.

On 19 December he wrote, "Mr Keene does use twitter and I'm sure he would respond to direct queries." Both Andrew Zigmond and I also have twitter accounts, but to me the idea that any enquiry on the subject to Mr Keene would elicit factual information is unrealistic.

On 5 January Andrew Zigmond reiterated his point. He also allowed for the possibility that the Association is still active: "the ECA and its current activities (if indeed there are any)."

On 15 January he speculated that "the English Chess Association has presumably never been wound up, even if it is now largely dormant."

On 16 January he stated categorically that "the organisation is dormant and has been for over twenty years."
Mr Urcan

My `line of reasoning` is only difficult to follow when you selectively quote me. I have stated that your original question was a reasonable one. That question has been answered - the English Chess Association was founded by Raymond Keene in the late 1980s as a rival to the then British Chess Federation but any actual activity in the last 20 years has been pretty much non existant. However Mr Keene remains Chairman of the organisation and there is no legal bar to him describing himself as such.

I don't know how much of the history you are aware of, but I'm guessing you know that Mr Keene is a towering figure in English chess but also a divisive one and that there are many journalists and blogger who - rightly or wrongly - have written highly critical articles in recent years. Some of those individuals have contributed to this thread. You are probably not aware that criticism of Mr Keene on this forum has led to a) the owner being threatened with legal action and b) many of its contributors being lampooned and insulted by a controversial but occasionally brilliant journalist on his blog until about a year ago.

I appreciate that your interest in the history is genuine, however the substance of this thread is mainly twenty years old and is NOT a current ECF matter. Given the controversy that has swirled around English chess organisation in recent years I also feel that discussion of these historical matters is unhelpful. The moderators may or may not agree.

Finally, given that you wanted to know about the current activities of the ECA, attempting to contact its one known present official does seem a reasonable place to start.
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JustinHorton
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:46 pm

John Upham wrote: Perhaps JH could do the same?
I'm up for this, though not actually up for shelling out to get the book. If anybody would care to send me a copy I assure them I'll give the book my full attention.
Andrew Zigmond wrote:I also feel that discussion of these historical matters is unhelpful.
Au contraire, Andrew, it's been most informative in a variety of ways.
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by JonManley » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:22 pm

By the way, I have been making direct accusations against him for seven months without a breath of legal action.
Kingpin likewise, for years.
Last edited by JonManley on Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Enquiry: English Chess Association

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:23 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote:I also feel that discussion of these historical matters is unhelpful.
Au contraire, Andrew, it's been most informative in a variety of ways.
Just to clarify - helpful if you are interested in the life of Mr Keene, rather less helpful if your interest is in current ECF matters which is what I thought this section of the forum was for.
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