Friday, May 09, 2014

Sloan alone

16 March 2014
Dear Mr Sloan

Sorry to bother you. I understand from the review in the British Chess Magazine that you are the publisher of Ray Keene's recent book about the Anand-Carlsen world championship match.

Would it be possible to ask you a couple of questions about this?

All the best


Yes. I am the publisher. You may ask your questions.

Sam Sloan

Thanks very much.

I noticed, in the book, a declaration that the notes to the games in the match itself are "substantially based" on notes that Mr Keene had previously had published in the Times newspaper.

However, I also noticed that the notes to a number of other games in the book were also substantially based on notes previously published, in a variety of places. I could, however, find no declaration to that effect. Was there any such statement that I missed?



There is no doubt that Keene's discussions of various historical figures such as Morphy and Steinitz and [sic - ejh ] similar to what he has written about these people in the past.

I see nothing wrong with this. Why do you question it?

Sam Sloan

Your copyright notice states that the material is copyright Ray Keene 2013, whereas much of it has in fact been published long before 2013. Can I ask:

a. Were you aware yourself, or made aware by Mr Keene, of the various instances where material you were seeking to publish had already been published?

b. If you were aware, is there any reason why you made no mention of it in the book?


I see no reason why any of this should be mentioned in the book.

What is your point?

Sam Sloan

If you don't mind - could you just confirm whether you were aware of the previous publication of the material to which I refer, when you published the book?


And further answer came there none.

Of course, Mr Sloan knows very well why this sort of thing "should be mentioned in the book", and why Ray Keene shouldn't be allowed to do the things that he has been allowed to do.

As do the Times, the Spectator, Harper Collins and All of whom like to stay silent as well.

I suppose they would have to.

But anyway Sam - don't be shy. What did you know?

[Ray Keene index]


John Cox said...

Entertaining. SS and RDK are of course a marriage made in heaven in this regard. Check out, for example, SS's, er, 'republication' of Vasiliev's book on Petrosian.

Andrew Gelman said...

Copyrighting something that's not new . . . somehow this reminds me of the story about a shirt that had a "Made in the U.S.A." tag. When someone found out that the shirt really came from a factory in China, the response was that, no, it was the tag that was made in the U.S.A.

Similarly, one could perhaps argue that the copyright notice merely applies to itself, not of course to the writing in the book!

John Cox said...

Not precisely on topic, but while reminding myself about Petrosian I came across this site:


I especially enjoyed the suggestion that the ninth world champion "is perhaps best known today for being the one who broke Bobby Fischer's streak of winning 20 games in a row against grandmasters."

Of course the belief of our American friends that Fischer is the only significant player in the history of chess is one of the few constants in a changing world, but even allowing for that, this was a striking observation. Can anyone beat it in the Fischer-centric line?

Anonymous said...

Not all of the 20 were GM's, either.