So who are Hardinge Simpole? As they tell us themselves, they're an imprint of a publishing company called Zeticula Ltd, a registered company with offices in Knightsbridge and an address in Ayrshire.
If we look up Zeticula on one of those helpful company check sites, we find, not altogether to our surprise, that among its founders was a Mr Raymond Dennis Keene. (For some reason the site omits the "OBE" which is usually appended.)
It unsurprises us further to learn that Ray was a director of this company for a period of ten and a half years.
According to the site Ray ceased to be a director early in 2012. This means he was still a director when the Spectator published his column in its issue for 8 October 2011.
This column was employed to promote a book called Football And Chess.
This book was published by Hardinge Simpole, a company of which Ray was at that time a director. Not that he took the trouble to inform us of his interest in a product he was persuading us to buy.
Similarly, his column for 13 June 2009
which promotes "Harry Golombek's account of the 1959 World Championship Candidates' tournament"
does not trouble you with the further information that should you choose to purchase the item, Mr Raymond Dennis Keene might be a material beneficiary.
Or perhaps we can interest you in the column for 27 May 2006
Then there's 20 January 2007...
...and 27 June 2009...
...and 24 September 2005.
How many of these are there, you ask? So far we've discovered thirty, dating back to 11 May 2002 in which Ray informs us of the existence of a new venture
Petrosian's games are best explained in a book by the British master Peter Clarke which has been re-issued by a new venture, Hardinge Simpole Press. Petrosian's Best Games of Chess (21.95 [pounds sterling]) is available from www.hardingesimpole.co.uk.but neglects to mention his own involvement in that venture.
Did I say thirty? Thirty in the Spectator alone. There's also a few in the Times. They're harder to find, since Times went behind a paywall on 4 December 2010 and even for the subscriber there's not much chess prior to that date to be found on its website.
But from columns published after that date, here for instance is Football And Chess again, in the column for 25 June 2011.
before introducing us to "Richard Eales, the noted chess historian"
whose book turns out to be available from Hardinge Simpole, connection to Ray Keene undeclared.
There's a couple of other things about that column. One is that if you look through the game notes
and then look at the Spectator chess column for 8 May 2004, you may recognise some of them. (UPDATE 7 September 2013: or indeed if you look at the Times for 4 March 2000.) But you may also recognise the reference to a particular author, a particular book and the particular publishing house that has issued it.
Notes are based on those by the winner, taken from the book Cambridge Chess by Richard Eales, available from Hardinge Simpole (www.hardingesimpole.co.uk)Scroll up a bit and and you'll see this:
This year he narrowly failed to orchestrate a repeat performance but did come an honourable second behind the Chinese master Suan Evans-Quek, who has acquired Welsh credibility by marrying the strong Welsh player Debbie Evans.How curious to say so and yet to leave unmentioned the fact that Richard Eales, whose book he is promoting, is married to Jackie Eales, whose maiden name was Keene and whose brother, Raymond Dennis Keene, is brother-in-law to the author of Cambridge Chess.
Nor did he say so in his column for 2 March 2012 (I have no idea why the Times website has much of this in bold)
nor in his piece "Renaissance chess master and the Da Vinci decode mystery" published in the Times on 10 March 2008.
We've mentioned this piece before, but as it's pertinent to our Hardinge Simpole theme today, here are some Eales-related excerpts.
(For multiple sock-puppeted Amazon plugs of that "standard chess history", see here.)
Are you connected with Richard Eales at all, Ray? The possibility is enticing and by no means impossible.
Alas, the piece comes to an end and Ray does not tell us. Nor does he tell us that he is a director of the company that owns Hardinge Simpole.
But he should. And could. It would be Simpole enough.
[Thanks to Pablo Byrne and Angus French]
[Ray Keene index]
[Ray copies Ray index]