The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

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MJMcCready
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by MJMcCready » Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:21 pm

Actually, keep them to yourself. To comment any further on this thread is clearly a waste of time. Think I'll go and watch some 1950's B-movies instead...

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JustinHorton
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:28 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:12 pm
Some of us have spent a life in acaedmia and have stood before others to defend what we have written. The first question you are usually asked is to define your purpose for writing, followed by a definiton of the terms you employ. If you can't question what you do, you shouldn't question others. What is the purpose of a review? What was the review written for and for whom? These are basic questions that define purpose and the first points that any informed reader will look for.
But as this wasn't an academic paper but a professional review, very little of this has anything to do with anything.

A publication asked me to do some work for them. They specified how much they would pay me for it, told me how much work they required, and in due course sent me the material on which to work. I then sought to produce work that would meet my professional standards and theirs. Just as if I had been fixing your plumbing or a car.
"Do you play chess?"
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John McKenna
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by John McKenna » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:26 pm

MJM>John, if you feel like you are up for it, you are welcome to explain yourself with opinion that is rationally informed. I take it you have read The Moves that Matter and see where I am coming from right?<

I see where you, Justin & Rowson are 'coming from' and I see the injury you are witnessing. However, Justin claims to be a literary paramedic who has been asked to attend the scene, limit the damage caused by the accident and patch things up as best he can.

As for me, I am travelling on the opposite carraigway going in the opposite direction just looking over at the carnage. I haven't actually seen anything material - except what I've seen in this thread. I may never know what really happened, but that's the way I am - a lightweight (deadweight say some) cruising along life's highway watching the world go by. And, with that I'm gone... and on to the next vista...
Last edited by John McKenna on Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Jacques Parry
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Jacques Parry » Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:27 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:20 pm
Do you honestly believe what you wrote says more about the publication you reviewed than yourself?
To me it does. It tells me that someone whom I know to be intelligent and conscientious had trouble following what the author is trying to say. And, having read some of Rowson's earlier stuff, I can't say I'm surprised.

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Jon Tait
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Jon Tait » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:26 pm

MJMcCready wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 9:59 am
I have bought that text and begun reading it. The review, I thought, is rather pedantic since it focuses so much on minor details and inaccuracies, and in doing so bypasses the normative aspects of the text; the richness of the text, the purpose of writing and writing process too. It's unforfunate that errors exist but what is to be gained by making such a big deal out of the odd inaccuracy? Why weren't they referred to in context instead of plucked out of the air at random? What can possibly be achieved by an approach like that? Thankfully, the author found it rather amusing and somewhat missing the point. But if the reviewer disliked the publication as much as he states, why on earth review it in the first place? It read more like a rant than a review, whichever it was, ist told me a lot more about the reviewer than the text itself.
This passage told me more than enough about the text itself...
Justin Horton wrote:It is a succession of anecdotes, propositions and quotations which stumble over one another for nearly 300 pages while chess weaves its way in and out of what passes for a narrative, less like a thread in a tapestry and more like a cat trying to get out of a car park. By “propositions” I mean contentions such as: “The spirit of Eros permeates the game”. Does it? “We are more like glass tables than we typically imagine.” Are we? “Chess symbolises the importance of sublimation.” Are you sure? “The closest historical parallel to the draw offer may be the poignant story of the Christmas truce between British … and German soldiers.” Is it really? “My chess experience tells me that there probably is another world in this world.” I beg your pardon? “The risk is that we are sleepwalking into a world where we are figuratively viewed as fish.” Are you all right?
Well, maybe there's more to Rowson's book, but I find that sort of stuff so :roll: :roll: :roll: that I won't be buying it to find out.
blog inspired by Bronstein's book, but using my own games: http://200opengames.blogspot.co.uk/

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Dec 25, 2019 2:00 pm

I have received the book as a Christmas present (in Kindle form, as I am down with the kids, not in a threatening way). I'm about a quarter of the way through and I take Justin's point that there are a huge number of quotes. I am reminded of one of the autobiographies of Freddie Trueman (greatest fast bowler to draw breath), which randomly says on a very early page, "Voltaire said..." I sincerely doubt that our Fred regularly quoted Voltaire down t'pit or on't pitch. But Rowson's book is very interesting.

I have just read the glass table bit, and in context it makes sense. It was about a glass table suddenly exploding - which they do sometimes. That's chemistry for you.

(Edited for typo)

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Thu Dec 26, 2019 5:52 pm

Father Christmas got me a copy of the book. I was very much looking forward if it as I’m quite the Rowson fan. The books, the NIC reviews, his contributions in the commentary room at Olympia.

But I’m afraid I’ve found the early pages very heavy going.

Still, I plough on. No definitive judgement formed as yet.

John McKenna
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by John McKenna » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:14 pm

The though has occurred to me that it is the fault of Justin's employer in that they asked a forensic sleuth - of the spotless mind kind - to review a chess book that was not his cup of tea as it was the type of stuff Finnegan's Wake is made of.

Horses for courses is more often than not a winner, particularly if the right jockey is on board.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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JustinHorton
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by JustinHorton » Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:42 pm

John McKenna wrote:
Thu Dec 26, 2019 6:14 pm
The though has occurred to me that it is the fault of Justin's employer in that they asked a forensic sleuth - of the spotless mind kind - to review a chess book that was not his cup of tea as it was the type of stuff Finnegan's Wake is made of.
Finnegans Wake.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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John McKenna
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by John McKenna » Thu Dec 26, 2019 10:04 pm

For a' that Finnegans Wake is most probably not the best comparison to make (I did once make a stab at reading that impenetrable thicket of a book but was left covered in mental abrasions.)
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

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JustinHorton
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Dec 27, 2019 2:59 pm

Here's Taylor Kingston's review of Seven Deadly Sins - you'll need* to open a pdf when you get there - which makes a lot of observations about Rowson's style, notably its pretension, lack of coherence and habit of needlessly crowbarring in quotations - that ring very loud bells with me.

[* well I did on my phone, on a laptop it seems to be more straightforward]
Last edited by JustinHorton on Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:02 pm

I did find that one somewhat hard going in places, though it had its good parts too.

Chess For Zebras was a lot better, and more accessible, however (and yes, the latter was a big part of the former)
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JustinHorton
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:30 pm

I liked both Sins and Zebras, but then again, for all their faults, they had a lot that was interesting and instructive to say about chess. Take that element out, though, and what's left?
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Nick Burrows
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by Nick Burrows » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:39 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:30 pm
Take that element out, though, and what's left?
For someone whose main interest is chess, not a lot. Perhaps for people whose main interests are thought and philosophy, quite a lot.

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JustinHorton
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Re: The Moves That Matter by Jonathan Rowson

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Dec 27, 2019 5:52 pm

Well yes, but I would want convincing that Jonathan Rowson is as expert in those fields as he is in chess. So far, I'm not seeing it.
"Do you play chess?"
"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

lostontime.blogspot.com

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