The current total - and one that is rising all the time - of the chess books Ray has authored stands at, if Ray is to be believed, 140, yet there are far fewer entries than that for Keene, Raymond D. I locate 113, not all of which include him as an author and not all of which are about chess. In the latter category, for instance, we find books like The age heresy : you can achieve more, not less, as you get older, written by Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene. Maybe you can, Ray, maybe you can. Especially if you redefine what you mean by "achieve".
Moreover, that 113 doesn't mean that 113 separate titles are listed, since sometimes separate editions have been received, and catalogued separately. One notices, for instance, five different entries for An Opening Repertoire For The Attacking Club Player, which as I recall is four more than the number of times I played its recommendations.
Of course this is terribly disappointing, especially for the would-be bibliographer, or anybody wishing to test Ray's thesis that his 140-book total constitutes a world record. Best, perhaps, not to contact Guinness yet. But it's more than disappointing - it's surprising that the library's records are so incomplete, since the whole point of the British Library is to be complete. This is why the concept of Legal Deposit was created and why it still exists, stating, as it does:
Publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have a legal obligation to send one copy of each of their publications to the Legal Deposit Office of the British Library within one month of publication.
Perhaps there's a backlog: I've worked as a library cataloguer and I wouldn't be at all surprised. It would have to be a backlog, though, in line for a Guinness world record entry in itself, since as far as I can see - with a couple of exceptions, which I shall get to later - no item is listed, giving Ray as an author, since 1999. This was a Batsford reissue of Aron Nimzowitsch: A Reappraisal, the same publisher having issued the next-most-recent entry, the 1998 Learn from The Grandmasters, of which Ray was the editor.
So Batsford sent these volumes some time before the twentieth century expired - and since then, effectively, there's been nothing. Is there a ten-year backlog in Cataloguing at St Pancras? Or has there just a ten-year hiatus in supply?
It seems, unless I am mistaken, that since at least 2000, Ray's books have no longer been sent, as the law requires, to the British Library. As it happens, this period would roughly correspond with the period in which Ray's books have been issued by his friends and by himself: through Hardinge Simpole and through Impala.
You know, you'd think somebody so proud of his world record output would want to be sure that every book he'd written was preserved in the British Library, for inspection and posterity. You'd also think a man - a businessman, indeed - as respectable as Ray would want to be sure his companies adhered to long-established and uncontroversial law. Or perhaps Ray, despite a forty-year career as writer and publisher, is unaware of the law as regards legal deposit. Just as he is apparently unaware of the law as regards unauthorised copying.
Or maybe he just forgot. He often does.
But what of those exceptions? One of them is the 2005 Buzan's Book of Mental World Records, of which Ray is listed as an author, after the aforementioned Tony Buzan. But that book was published by D&B Publishing, whose adherence to the law of legal deposit is perhaps a little more rigorous than certain other companies' - or perhaps they have somebody with a better memory in charge.
At any rate, it was the same company, D&B, who published the only other item held by the British Library, and published this millennium, of which Ray is listed an author.
It's by Ray Keene and Byron Jacobs: the title is Two Brains.
Well, I laughed.
[Ray Keene index]
[bottom image: D&B publishing]
[bottom image: D&B publishing]