Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Old Times: part two

Let's take another look at that Times obituary, which we are discussing all this week.

One of the important events in Elaine's chess life was her narrow failure to hold Alekhine to a draw in a 1938 simultaneous display: both today's piece and tomorrow's dwell on her experiences with the then World Champion, as they are related in the Times obituary.

As you can see, that passage begins:
She herself later wrote
But where, one wonders, did she later write? The obituarist neglects to say.

However, it's not so hard to identify the passage: it's from a 1983 book published by Pergamon and entitled British Chess. A book that, as it happens, is referred to in Winter's Chess Prodigies which, as you can see below, gives full details of authorship and so on.

Yesterday, we noted that a long quotation from a 1938 magazine appears both in Chess Prodigies and in the obituary, and we commented on the unlikelihood that the obituarist had seen the 1938 magazine but not the more contemporary online piece. We now see that this quotation, from 1983, is also in Chess Prodigies.

But of course it doesn't follow that the passage was copied from Chess Prodigies, even if it may have been located there. Absolutely not! It could just as easily have been copied from the original, two pages of which you can see below.

The passage concerned is of course on the first of those two pages:

So looking at the Times obituary again, how many differences can you spot?

Not many. Not many at all. (Though I do note that the "5" in the original has been amended to "five", just as it has been in Chess Prodigies.)

This is as blatant a piece of copying as one could possibly expect to see. Nor can there be any question here of having preferred to quote the primary source in preference to the secondary. The original, primary source has gone unidentified, unremarked and uncredited. A substantial quote has been taken from elsewhere and no source has been given.

I think it should have been.

[Comments are welcomed, but please be cautious in what you write and remember that the piece under discussion is unsigned.]

No comments: