How typical of doctors to find the one part of Randolph's body which is not malignant and to cut it out.It's been some time since I read the Evening Standard, and rather longer since I paid to read it, my acquaintance with it gradually withering to the point where the only time I would ever read it was when I found a discarded copy on a train.
Evelyn Waugh, on Randolph Churchill undergoing surgery.
Even then, the only reason for reading it was Leonard Barden's daily chess column, which I would hope to find quickly, before coming across Allison Pearson or anything else that would be bad for my blood pressure. In future, it appears I need not take the risk: for Barden's column has been discontinued, in the print version of the newspaper at least. This is - or was - the oldest daily-running chess column in the world.
There are any number of reasons why this is bad news, but one of them can be seen by viewing the image below (click to enlarge, if you can bear it) in which the solutions to the puzzles are actually displayed above, and alongside, the diagrams to which they apply. Amazing. I expect the Standard will now start running film previews which give away the ending. Or crossword puzzles with the grid already completed.
The fact that this actually occurred during the British Chess Championships is a testament to how not only the Standard but the British media as a whole cover chess: to wit, they don't. Losing - so casually - the longest-running chess column we have can only make that situation worse.
However, it's not impossible that the column might be saved. The same thing happened last year, and the column was restored after a lot of people contacted the newspaper to complain. A campaign is being mounted and people are requested to contact the editor of the Standard, Mr Geordie Grieg, and ask him to reinstate the column.
You can email via
firstname.lastname@example.org oror you may prefer to write a letter, in which case the address is
Evening Standardbut whatever you do, please do something. Please be polite (and you may wish to avoid the kind of pejorative description of the newspaper with which I began this piece). But you may also wish to remind the Standard of the role that their newspaper played, back in the Seventies, in making English chess world-class - for instance, in sponsoring the Evening Standard congresses in Islington, in which so many talented players took part.
PO Box 2309
London W8 5EE
They were happy enough to be associated with chess then, and chess was happy to be associated with them. On my desk is a copy of Leonard Barden's Chess Puzzle Book from 1977: published by Faber and Faber, it is subtitled An Evening Standard Chess Puzzle Book. These are sad days for our game.