The other night I was flicking through Nigel Davies' book The Dynamic Reti, with which Jonathan has taken issue on one or two occasions. It's not such a bad book in some ways and I've always been attracted to the Reti: it's such a versatile opening.
Not quite so versatile, though, as some of those against whom it is played, to judge from the ninth of Davies' illustrative games (pp. 23-26). This begins 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Nf6 4.Bg2 dxc4 5.Qc2 Nbd7 which Davies commends: "a logical move, continuing his development". Which development continues - in more ways than one - as the game proceeds: 6.Na3 Bxa3 7.bxa3 Nb6 8.Ne5 Ng4 9.Nxg4 Qd4 10.Bb2 Qxg4 11.h3 Qg5 12.h4 Qh6. Now Davies comments: "Black must protect the g7 pawn, but this has resulted in her queen going way offside".
An uncontroversial observation, taken on its own. But hang on a minute - back at move five, wasn't the player of the Black pieces apparently male?
[The game is Polugaevsky-Galliamova, Women v Veterans, Aruba 1992.]
Perhaps Nigel Davies would agree with Prince Phillip's description of women as a "strange bunch of chaps"
a better question is to ask the practical value of this sort of nitpicking.
The practical value is that the more it is drawn attention to, hopefully the less shoddy production and preparation of material will be accepted. If the rest of the material were of high standard of course this wouldn't matter - if the analysis was superb or the commuication of ideas exquisitely well done, nobody would give a damn about this small error or that. As it is, though, there's a general sloppiness of approach which it is important to talk about and which a genuinely professional attitude to writing would try to avert.
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