Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Rich in resources

Here's Ray Keene's column from the Times this morning. It annotates the game Hartston-Bellon from Palma 1975*.

A glance at Ray's column Following The Leader, which appeared in the Spectator in the issue for 31 October 1988, will locate the origin of his Times annotations, almost every word of which is taken from the 1988 article.

In particular the note to White's twenty-second move is exactly the same in both.
The pawn on e5 is important. It cuts the board in two and divides Black’s queenside forces from the defence of his king.
But it's not exceptional. In every case his Times notes from today's column could pass for the originals in broad daylight and with very little disguise.

Borrowing from old Spectator columns appears to be Ray's theme of the week. Yesterday, Monday July 22, Ray annotated the game Olafsson-Wade, Reykjavik 1964.

His notes are not hard to trace back to his article Bob Wade, which appeared in the Spectator in the issue for December 6 2008.

[UPDATE 26 May 2013: Angus French points out an earlier example of the same Olafsson-Wade notes, which is Draconian, Ray's column for the Spectator 10 May 2003.]

That was Monday. On Sunday, 21 July, Ray's Sunday Times column saw him annotate the game Kasparov-Ivanchuk, Horgen 1995.

You may gain the impression from the column that the notes derive from the recent book by Nikolay Kalinichenko. Not so! They come from Ray's piece Garry Grounded, which appeared in the Spectator in the issue for 11 November 1995. Almost every word in the Sunday Times article is taken directly from the earlier piece.

Talking of the Spectator, Ray's most recent column for that publication was Ivanchuk The Terrible, which appeared in the issue for 20 July 2013 and annotated the game Ivanchuk-Kramnik, Las Palmas 1996.

This is not the first time he has used these annotations in that magazine: we can find them in his piece Trampled To Death, in the issue for 4 January 1997.

I count eleven notes in the contemporary piece, of which all but the very first are taken directly from the 1997 article. I wonder where he borrowed the other one from?

The daddy, though, among this week's pieces, is Ray's Times column for Saturday 20 July.

We'll get on to the Spectator shortly, but first of all we'll draw your attention to the not dissimilar Times column that he published on January 27 2012.

We'll then throw in Great Games, the Spectator column for 29 September 2000 and Oscar Time, the Spectator column for 30 March 1996.

Your attention is drawn to the remarkable similarities - including several phrases cpied out word-for-word - between the annotations to Black's thirteenth move, White's twentieth (save this week's piece), White's twenty-first ("sacrificing his queen on one wing to deplete Black's defensive resources on the other"), Black's twenty-ninth ("The best try was 29...Qe5 30 Rxb4+ Kc7 when one possibility is for White to force a favourable rook endgame with 31 Rb7+ Kxd6 32 Ra6+ Kd5 33 Rb5+ Kd4 34 Rxe5 Kxe5 35 Rxa7 Rxg7 36 Rc7 but Black still has drawing chances"), White's thirty-first ("Another finesse, closing in on the black king. To prevent 32 Rb7+ Black must jettison material") and the note to Black's resignation.

I'd add that all these notes, and the phrases I've quoted, can also be found in the Times column for 18 December 1999. (You can look it up using library access services, or I'll post it in the comments if people want.) But where do they originate? With the Spectator?

Apparently not, since the first of the two Spectator articles, from 1996, mentions "the British Chess Magazine" as the source
upon which I have based the notes to this week's game
although it does not say which issue of the BCM, nor how closely these notes are based on the originals.

Nor is there any mention of the BCM in the Times of 18 December 1999, nor the Spectator of 29 September 2000, nor the Times of 27 January 2012, nor the Times of 20 July 2013. Nor, in any of these five places, is there any mention of any of the others. In three at least you get the impression that this is Ray's original work - in the other, maybe Kalinichenko's.

But it isn't.

Oh yeah, one other thing. If you put veer between intense creativity into Google, you may form the impression that the much-copied notes have appeared in the Australian (27 December 2012) as well.

[Thanks to Pablo Byrne and Angus French]
[Ray copies Ray index]
[Ray Keene index]

[* In a strange discrepancy, the Spectator piece locates the game five years later, in 1980, and in Ca'n Picafort, on the other side of Mallorca from Palma. The moves however, as well as most of the notes, are the same. So where and when was the game played?]


Anonymous said...

This is great work ejh and I'm sure you could produce another hundred of these articles. I've have to ask though - why bother? You've already provided more than enough evidence, this isn't new anymore.

I'd be more interested to hear what is actually being done about it? Presumably you've pointed this out to the folk at Everyman, The Spectator etc ?

Adam B.

Anonymous said...

Are the columns like Star Trek episodes? There's only a finite number and they are endlessly repeated.

The annotations in the Hartston game may have first surfaced in "Flank Openings" when discussing similar KIA positions.


ejh said...

Are the columns like Star Trek episodes? There's only a finite number and they are endlessly repeated.

Har very good.

this isn't new anymore

I think the extent of it is, though. When I started digging I expected to come across a few things if I looked hard enough. I didn't expect it to be on this kind of scale.

As for the good folk involved, they may or may not choose to deal with it in their own good time. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

It is indeed very extensive. The evidence was somewhat plonked into the open with the arrival of the Instant Book on a World Championship match. We all remember the red pen, and newspaper cuttings pictured in Kingpin

Cortex said...

But field of investigations are endless concerning Keene. If any moderator of this blog can have an access to the cd-rom of ChessMaster 9000 or ChessMaster Grand Master Edition, he could find inside a very interesting pgn file of classics Chess games (not) commented by Keene. I've spotted a butchered and lifted sentence from Chernev (Evans - Opsahl 1950) and I am pretty certain that many other comments there are plagiarized or autoplagiarized.

Happy hunting!