132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

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John Saunders
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John Saunders » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:28 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote: No, just someone who wants mainstream chess journalism to tackle all subjects of legitimate interest to the chess community. You don't hear a dickie bird about the allegations of plagiarism against Keene in the mainstream chess media (they don't even refer to them, even though much of the non-playing chess community, eg anyone who reads Private Eye, knows of them by now). A very good example of something that is not political and also not of little interest - several readers of the mainstream chess magazines quite possibly still buy his books - but which is apparently quite off-limits.

Apparently Keene wonders why Justin writes so much about him. It seems to me that Justin is filling the void vacated by official chess journalism; and if the established magzines wrote more on such things, or perhaps even acknowledged them, then he would write less.
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:46 am

Justin's posts have been acknowledged widely in the external chess world, including by Chessbase. It is the English journalists whose potency resembles that of the eunuch! (and you know, international chess journalists are potentially liable in English courts for defamation too ...)

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Mar 10, 2014 11:39 am

IM Jack Rudd wrote:
RobertStarley wrote: There are more of the really strong players at varsity than BUCA as the 2 strongest universities in the UK either didn't enter at all this year (Oxford) or had what was effectively a B team (Cambridge).
I think a citation might be needed here. Are Oxford stronger than Imperial these days?
Imperial's team was weakened too. Here are the ratings of the Imperial team, if they put it out:
FM Ryan Rhys-Griffiths 2350
WIM Veronica Foisor 2271
Alex Galliano 2114
James Hookham 2104
Arijit Gupta 2098

I don't know if they have any other 2000+ players, but this is a decent start.

As I explained at BUCA, Oxford didn't enter, apparently, because they didn't have the money. No idea if it's true or not, but that's what their President said to me.

University sport is only interested in Oxford v Cambridge. Take the Boat Race as an example. Even BUCS, the national governing body for university sport in the UK, is irrelevant compared with the Cambridge v Oxford rivalry.

If you compare this with the NCAA in the United States, where the students are amateur save for the scholarships, it explains why the US Universities like Dallas and Webster have half a dozen (foreign) GMs, but we have nothing approaching that standard.

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:25 am

Roger de Coverly wrote: There are plenty of historic parallels for "the press" taking sides. It's only recently that silence has reigned, now that it no longer defines the debate.
While clearly there’s an issue currently, but perhaps we should be wary of imagining a golden age in the past. Not convinced it ever existed.


So, yes, you’ll find CHESS directly challenging RDK to respond to allegations about his conduct before and during the 78 World Championship match - something it’s hard to imagine being repeated these days - but there’s plenty that wasn’t said. Absurd as it might seem looking back, while Korchnoi defecting was literally front page news in the national press the BCM didn’t find it worth mentioning at all. Not a single word.

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:00 am

Jonathan Rogers wrote:Apparently Keene wonders why Justin writes so much about him. It seems to me that Justin is filling the void vacated by official chess journalism; and if the established magzines wrote more on such things, or perhaps even acknowledged them, then he would write less.
It's not unlikely. One of the functions of the non-mainstream media is always to fill the gaps, as it were, that the mainstream leaves. (It was the same when I was writing about football a couple of decades ago.) Also, y'know, I'd write less about him if something were done about him.

Of course after a while, the very fact that the mainstream doesn't cover issues properly becomes a matter of comment an interst in itself. It's a real elephant in the room situation. Or, in this case, penguin.

Just to echo what JB says above, I don't know why John Saunders has chosen to approach this in the way he has. There is plenty of scope for a civilised discussion about the merits and demerits of the mainstream and extra-mainstream, and (for instance) cany onstraints that might affect the former but not the latter. But that's not what we're getting. Perhaps a separate thread might be a better place to start anew.
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John Saunders
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John Saunders » Tue Mar 11, 2014 8:28 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Maybe entrepreneurs? I think 'shyster' is a bit too harsh
Not in the slighest, in one case at least.
So, after the various scurrilous and facetious comments upthread, we now have the sanctimony and self-righteousness. I'm sorry, that's not my idea of a civilised discussion.

The bottom line is that editors of chess magazines tend to be reluctant to let people use their magazine as a platform for witch hunts and kangaroo courts. We've seen too many of those in this place and elsewhere online in the last year or two.
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Tue Mar 11, 2014 9:47 am

Well, the question has been put to John more than once now, in case he can offer an insight - why do the English magazines not even mention the allegations of plagiarism against Keene, given that the international chess media think them to be of interest as well as the non-chess media in England, and given that many of their readers presumably still buy his books?

I will be very interested to hear an answer to that which does not involve an ad hominem attack on Justin or anyone else who asks the question.

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John Saunders » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:06 am

Non ad hominem, sed ad forum.
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John McKenna » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:06 pm

Delenda est Forum?
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:14 pm

John McKenna wrote:Delenda est Forum?
maybe "forum delendum est" because, if John is right on the previous page, this forum is to be regarded as a neuter noun :P

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John Saunders » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:30 pm

OK, seriously (and I'm not sure my Latin was terribly stylish anyway)...

I think I have actually answered the questions put to me quite succinctly if you read them carefully. (My words have been twisted and misrepresented in a couple of places up-thread but that is par for the course here.)

I should say first of all that I am no longer an editor of a chess magazine. I'm a columnist for CHESS but the title of 'associate editor' on the mast head means little more than that I am happy to go on being associated with CHESS Magazine and vice versa. I am not involved in day to day editing or policy making. So anything I write here is on my own account (I've switched off my 'sig' to make that clear - EDIT - or at least tried to but it has appeared anyway).

Speaking for myself, I would be very wary of publishing the plagiarism allegations you refer to were I still a mag editor. Aside from the defamation factor, there is the tedium factor. These allegations are almost like Jarndyce and Jarndyce - they go back 30+ years and Kingpin has published this sort of stuff many times. Before the internet, Kingpin was the appropriate place for such material to go if it had to go anywhere (as the exact comparator of Private Eye) but after a while it became rather repetitive. A lot of people used to comment on this to me. It hasn't led to Kingpin thriving, has it? As far as I can see, its sporadic publication has dried up completely, while old articles from the 1980s and 1990s are repubished on the web. So the commercial imperative is evidently not there.

There is also the resource factor. Printed chess magazines are under intolerable pressure from freebie internet news publishing and there is not a lot of money or editing resources available. It is hard enough as it is to commission articles on tiny budgets and make sure the content is fair and accurate. People have to be paid for articles and photos (while a lot of online outlets simply help themselves to images they find, and pay peanuts, or more usually nothing, for articles).

Chess mags can't waste time and resource seeking legal advice about whether something can be written or not. Bloggers can perhaps afford to be a bit braver (particularly when they live abroad) and they don't have to worry about the commercial imperative.

I suppose what I'm saying is that it would involve extra resource and effort for no more commercial value. Of course, Jonathan Bryant is right that Barry Wood used to mount campaigns himself. BHW was an amazing man - I remain in awe of how he accomplished everything he did. That said, he never had to co-exist with the internet and the contemporary competition was negligible.

This sort of thing belongs on the internet. It would, I repeat, be circulation suicide to use up large amounts of space on such stories in the print chess press.
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by John Upham » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:38 pm

I very much concur with the previous comments of JS.

BCM is more constrained for physical space (56 pages pcm) than perhaps CHESS or New in Chess.

These matters have been discussed during production meetings and the owners and Editor (which is not myself) have taken the same view as JS.
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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Thanks to both Johns for their replies. The points are well made and perhaps the better question would have been why comparable matters tended not to be pursued also in earlier days when there was no internet (and there seemed to be quite a lot of money splashing around the relaunched CHESS in 1988. For a couple of issues in 1991 or so, there was even some coverage - albeit, as ever, prompted by the well known Sunday Times article - over the circumstances in which Keene left the BCF).

I suspect that KINGPIN was always going to fold because it was largely a one man operation and sideline, and not actually aimed at the ordinary club player but rather a more informed readership.

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by PeterFarr » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:25 pm

I have some sympathy too with what John and John have said, and I like both magazines, while still hankering for the 60's - 70's style Chess under B.H. Wood - foolish nostalgia I guess.

It seems a matter of degree; perhaps there is a middle ground between ignoring chess politics, scandals etc., and going on about such issues forever, which is undoubtedly best left to blogs and forums.

Maybe a route for a monthly magazine is to pen the occasional thoughtful comment piece, that doesn't depend on internet immediacy, and probably taking a broader perspective; e.g. on FIDE, what actually has been the impact of Kirsan's years in power; for the ECF, why do problems with the President / Board constantly re-occur and is there a better structure (stealing from Paul Sanders' comments in another thread this morning); or on "plagiarism", perhaps a wider piece on the quality of chess writing in general, rather than a hatchet job on one person.

There is no need to fill up magazines with such stuff, which of course can be a turn-off for a readership that is actually paying for chess content, but a page or two every so often wouldn't perhaps go amiss. John U says BCM has limited space, but 56 pages a month is still 672 pages a year. It's not so little.

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Re: 132nd Varsity Match, Saturday 8th March

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Tue Mar 11, 2014 6:21 pm

I first read CHESS magazine at the end of the 1970s - before I had even started "serious" play - and loved it. Those were the days :)
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