However, at the weekend Grandmaster Keene provided a defence so powerful and persuasive, on his Chessgames.com entry, that we felt it ought to be brought to the attention of our readers.
The complaint against Grandmaster Keene involved a passage concerning the Guinness Book of World Records and published in Mr Winter's Chess Notes on 29 October 2006 (see #4682).
'The world's biggest-selling book' is the boast on the back cover of Guinness World Records 2007 (London, 2006). Two pages include entries on chess: page 99 has a couple of dozen words about Sergei Karjakin being the youngest grandmaster, while page 137 offers brief features on the smallest and largest chess sets, as well as the following: 'On 25 June 2005, 12,388 simultaneous games of chess were played at the Ben Gurion Cultural Park in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.' That is all. The four entries from the 2006 edition (see C.N. 4035) have been dropped.That was written nearly two years ago. This month, Chessville published a piece by Grandmaster Keene discussing the Guinness Book of World Records - choosing, no doubt for very good reasons, to write about the same 2007 edition Winter wrote about two years ago (although the piece is illustrated with a photo of the cover of the new, 2009 edition).
Although poker has five entries on page 136, games such as draughts and bridge receive no treatment at all, and the editorial team's interests are evidently on a different plane. For example, pages 8-9 document such pivotal attainments as 'most heads shaved in 24 hours', 'fastest time to drink a 500-ml milkshake', 'longest tandem bungee jump', 'fastest carrot chopping', 'largest underpants', 'most socks worn on one foot' and 'fastest person with a pricing gun'.
Anyway, Grandmaster Keene writes:
"The world's biggest-selling book" is the boast on the back cover of "Guinness World Records 2007". Seven pages in total include entries on Mind Sports: a couple of dozen words about Sergei Karjakin being the youngest chess Grandmaster, while another page offers brief features on the smallest and largest chess sets, as well as the following: "On 25 June 2005, 13,388 simultaneous games of chess were played at the Ben Gurion Cultural Park in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico."It is hard not to be struck by the remarkable similarity between the passage originally written by Mr Winter and the passage subsequently written by Grandmaster Keene. Indeed, as noted on Grandmaster Keene's Chessgames page, by an apparent snark using the handle Justinpatzer, some of the phrases used in the two pieces are so individual, that of all the billions of articles appearing on the Internet their use is exclusively, or almost exclusively, restricted to these two pieces alone.
Although poker has five entries, games such as draughts and bridge receive no treatment at all. For example, it documents such pivotal attainments as "most heads shaved in 24 hours"; "fastest time to drink a 500ml milkshake"; "longest tandem bungee jump"; "fastest carrot chopping"; "largest underpants"; "most socks worn on one foot" and "fastest person with a pricing gun".
Oddly, a Google search for the phrase "is the boast on the back cover" produces only three hits, one of which is Mr Winter's piece and one of which is GM Keene's.He continues:
The phrase "such pivotal attainments", however, produces only two. One of which is Mr Winter's piece, and one of which is the subsequent piece by GM Keene.
Extraordinary, too, that they should single out the same seven records - in the same order - as deserving the description "pivotal". I note that on Mr Keene's website, there is a piece suggesting that Mr Winter is, in fact, Mr Taylor Kingston.Well, whoever this snark may be, there is surely no need to take him seriously. Because Grandmaster Keene provides a perfectly adequate, indeed unanswerable explanation of the similarity between the two pieces. Of course there has, in fact, been copying - but he was not aware that it was Winter he was copying from.
But perhaps the truth is even stranger - GM Keene is, in fact, Edward Winter?
He tells us - indeed, he tells the world:
i have an email note to myself from feb 2007 to write at some point about the guinness book of records -and the wording i have is the one quoted here- at the same time i also bought the book to check the facts-i have never read ed. winters chessnotes for ages-in fact i thought they had been discontinued after his contretemps with hanon russell. the first mention i cd find in chessbase archives of these comments-when i looked back- was in feb 2008. all i can think of is that somewhere winters comments may have been quoted without authorship or attribution so i regarded them as being in the public domain -i wd never quote ed. and i never knowingly read what he writes.i am -of course-happy for chessville-for whom btw i write entirely free of charge- to append any genuine attribution for any quoted material-no problemo!What bad luck! It happens to the best of us, and Grandmaster Keene surely is the best of us. But of course we cannot and must not suspect him of copying from a writer he says he doesn't even read: that would be to cast doubt on his word as well as his integrity, and in all Grandmaster Keene's long literary and entrepreneurial career, no such thing has ever previously happened.
We must, surely, believe this, even though on the Internet there is no apparent trace of Mr Winter's work being reproduced, as Grandmaster Keene suggests, "without authorship or attribution". No doubt it was there until recently, but, as is often the case on the Internet, it has - in the last couple of weeks - disappeared, leaving no trace at all for the search engines.
These things happen. Even to somebody who can boast the impeccable professional reputation that is possessed, deservedly, by Grandmaster Raymond Keene.