Wednesday, January 08, 2014

False notes

Everybody knows, right? It's a site with a lot of chess games.

A lot of annotated chess games, come to that. For instance, there's a load here annotated by everybody's favourite chess columnist.

Including this one. Botvinnik-Euwe, world championship 1948, presented to us complete with...

...notes by International Grandmaster Raymond Keene.

Or so it says. He is, of course. They're not, of course.

Let's take a look at the introduction:

"He considered the following to be his best game." And so he did. It says so here, for instance.

Where's here?

Which is where you'll find all the other notes, on pages 161 to 163.

1. White's move fourteen.

My Great Predecessors:

Well, that couldn't be much more blatant, could it?

2. Black's move fourteen.

My Great Predecessors:

Nor that. Nor any of the following.

3. Black's move sixteen.

My Great Predecessors:

4. White's move eighteen.

My Great Predecessors:

5. Black's move twenty-one.

My Great Predecessors:

(That should be "breathe", the verb, not "breath", the noun. Do pay attention while you're plagiarising, Ray.)

6. White's move twenty-two.

My Great Predecessors:

That's your lot. Six notes. And every word of all six notes taken exactly from the original.

No adaptation, no nothing. Pure copying. Pure plagiarism.

What was that again?

But they're not, are they,

UPDATE 13 January: the plagiarised annotations now seem to have been removed (see comments box below).

[Thanks to Pablo Byrne]

[Ray Keene plagiarism index]
[Plagiarised by Ray Keene index]
[Ray Keene index]


Anonymous said...

MGP II dates from 2003 and the earliest comments on the game at are from 2005. There's also a reference to an update on the notes to mention the World Championship tournament of 2007. It does seem to have taken a long time for anyone to cross check annotations against the MGP series.

Any comment at the site on the similarity of notes to those in MGP would presumably be deleted.


ejh said...

There's also a reference to an update on the notes to mention the World Championship tournament of 2007.

So there is. More on that tomorrow.

Any comment at the site on the similarity of notes to those in MGP would presumably be deleted.

Maybe. Maybe not.

Laurent S said...

I think a short mail to the publisher (Everyman Chess) is the best way to deal with this problem...

Laurent S said...

Btw. great blog : I loved your Christmas series on rook endgames :-)

ejh said...

I think a short mail to the publisher (Everyman Chess) is the best way to deal with this problem...

I have no reason to think so.

ejh said...

"Dear Everyman Chess

I was just wondering whether you made any agreement with Ray Keene to allow him to pass off other people's work as his own, for no good reason that anybody can think of, and why you've not mentioned this agreement in the six months that articles have been running detailing his plagiarism. I also wondered whether that agreement covered examples of plagiarism that do not involve your publications.

Yours etc"

Jonathan B said...

I loved your Christmas series on rook endgames :-)

- the compiler of that series

Ashish said...

Are you a GM? I didn't think so. Obviously you cannot fathom the subtlety, not to mention finesse, involved in replacing the ellipsis with a period in your first example. What may seem to you a minor change, alters, indeed reverses, the entire meaning. Did you not read _Eats, Shoots & Leaves_?

GM Keene has performed such a delicate and important task, it brings tears to my eyes, and yet you defile his toils with these calumnious charges of plagiarism. For shame.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Ashish and let's not forget that Keene got his title the patriotic way, representing England. His credentials are impeccable: he worked as a second at world championship level and wrote a book on the match. He even looked after Kramnik's trophy for many years after the London "braingames" match.

John Cox said...

I know that last comment was a joke (at least I assume it was), but in case any innocent readers of this blog are misled, Mondo of course got his title the patriotic way, by representing England, sitting out several of the matches where he would have had to play Black, and downing tools once he had obtained the requisite score for fear that a loss would prevent him reaching the norm. This was because another GM was more important to English chess than a slightly better performance in some piddly world team championship, which his critics at the time failed to understand until he movingly explained it in his great work 'Becoming a Grandmaster'.

ejh said...

Was that the first place he'd published that explanation? I only ask because if it was, it might be the only piece of original work in the book.

Jonathan B said...

I just accidentally deleted a comment from Angus.

It was a link to Raymondo's shop in Streatham.

Anonymous said...

I think it's fair to note that cleaned up the game annotations:

ejh said...

Yes, it is. Although what's now there is odd - are there no annotations in Battle of Bonn? (I've not read it.)

Daniel Freeman said...

If I may comment:

"Everybody knows, right? It's a site with a lot of chess games. A lot of annotated chess games, come to that."

Don't overstate your case. The current percentage is 0.28%, the majority of which are priceless annotations by Lasker, Steinitz, Morphy, and more.

GM Ray Keene generously allowed us to expand this tiny group of games with so that we could annotate more modern games. Of course we had no idea at the time that entire paragraphs of this article where lifted from OMGP. Upon learning that, we removed that which we did not have permission to republish.

I don't disparage your research, in fact I encourage more of the sort, but you make it sound as if we are implicit in some conspiracy. I honestly do not know what more I could have done to provide the best quality chess experience to fans of the game.

Daniel Freeman

ejh said...

Well Daniel, I can still find notes that Ray claims are his own even though they are in fact stolen from Tartakower and du Mont, of which you were informed more than two years ago. And I can find notes which (in one instance despite a copyright notice) do not give the original source of publication. (I guess sometimes this may be because a later source has been given, which just happens to be a book Ray is trying to sell. I guess in other instances it's because he couldn't be bothered. These for instance are from the British Chess Magazine. Where are wonder are many other sets from?)

I ought to be able to assume that following the revelation of Ray's plagiarism you went through his notes to see what was stolen, what wasn't properly attributed, and hence what should be amended or altered:

So here's a friendly suggestion for Clean up Ray Keene's act for him. Ask Ray where all his notes are actually from, and whether they are all actually his. As a matter of urgency, make sure everything is properly attributed to its original source and its actual author.

Did you do this? Are you satisfied that all these notes are now in proper order?

If not, I think we both honestly know what more could have been done.

ejh said...

[are wonder = *I* wonder]

Anonymous said...

As I am pressed for time allow me to address only your first example, Nimzowitsch-Tarrasch, 1914.

If I understand you correctly, your criticism is that while Ray correctly quotes and names Tartakower ("The guardian of the king's field leaves his post...") he fails to clarify whether the subsequent variations were those of Tartakower, Du Mont, or the mobile phone in his pocket.

If you want to label this as sloppy scholarship I will not argue the point. However, to call this "a matter of urgency" is preposterous. I have several urgent chess-related matters to attend to at this time, and this certainly isn't one of them.

Daniel Freeman

P.S. Should you or anybody else happen to spot something which is actually urgent, such as a violation of copyright, there there is a link on every one of our game pages ("Spot an error? ..."). That link will go to a staff employee who will review the situation. Tweets, Facebook posts, or even posts on Chessgames pages are unlikely to be acted upon in a timely manner, if at all.

ejh said...

Hi Daniel

It's not "sloppy scholarship" when it comes from somebody with a very long history of plagiarism and copyright violation, but however you choose to describe it, I trust it will be made clear that all the notes are fron Tartakower and Du Mont.

The comment about urgency was made two years ago. What us preposterous is that it has taken you so long to address it.

I look foward to your properly reviewing the attribution of the notes, and places of publication, of all the work that appears on your site under Ray's name. That is the proper way to deal with goods supplied to you by a known and persistent thief.