I obtained a measure of revenge not only by eclipsing Tony in terms of chess performance but also by sleeping with his girlfriend, which was definitely satisfying but perhaps not entirely gentlemanly.Unless I am much mistaken, the most notorious obituary in chess history was published in the Sunday Telegraph when Dominic Lawson was its editor.
For some reason the editor chose not to red-pencil the most objectionable passage, though Nigel is often fortunate with his editors in that respect.
Lawson is a columnist now on a variety of papers, including, as we saw on Wednesday, the Mail, and yesterday,1 the Sunday Times for whom he pens the occasional climate-change-denial piece.2
He is also the chess columnist for Standpoint magazine, in which capacity he wrote the following intriguing passage about Tony Miles:
The itinerant Miles's behaviour at overseas tournaments became increasingly eccentric. Back in the UK, he was arrested by police as he climbed over barriers to Downing Street to protest to Margaret Thatcher about an imaginary threat to his life from other chess players.Curious because, as everybody knows, because the imaginary threat wasn't so much from "other chess players", plural, as from one Ray Keene. Singular.
Why Lawson should have difficulty naming or mentioning Ray, God only knows, since they have been associates for a very long time.3 For Dominic Lawson is, I'm afraid, a Friend of Ray.4 He was one of Ray's editors at the Spectator during which time he had a certain degree of involvement in the 1993 Kasparov-Short match.
Forbes, Nigel Short: Quest for the Crown, Cadogan, 1993, p. 93.
What happened in 1993 has been gone over millions of times, so it's not the rights and wrongs of the PCA split as such which interest me here. What does interest me is that Lawson appears to have had no compunction whatsoever about going (or agreeing that Nigel should go) to Raymond Keene. Which is of interest in the present circumstances, since (as Forbes knew very well, but did not say) the reason Ray had "established the English Chess Association" was that he had left the then British Chess Federation - now the English Chess Federation - after being accused of defrauding that organisation of several hundred pounds in the Tunis affair.
This had scarcely been forgotten by the time the Short-Kasparov match game around: indeed, Nick Pitt's Sunday Times article ran in 1991. Nobody in English chess who chose to work with Ray in 1993 can have been unaware of what Keene was accused of, or the absence of any remotely convincing rebuttal to the accusations. If they chose to work with him anyway, it's safe to assume that they didn't give a monkey's. Chess federation ripped off? Who cares, there's money to be made.
Now of course Dominic Lawson isn't the only person who could be accused of acting without principle in 1993, not by a very long chalk. However, he is the only person who is currently nominated for the post of President of the organisation whose alleged defrauding previously failed to concern him.
So I wonder this. If accusations of defrauding the British Chess Federation didn't seem to concern Lawson in 1993, why are we being asked to have him as President in 2014? What questions has he been asked about this by the ECF officials who nominated him? How did he answer them?
More Lawson tomorrow.
[1 Do see yesterday's post again for the remarkable passage added late last night. ]
[2 Behind paywall. Naturally the man is entitled to believe any nonsense he chooses, but I did have the passing recollection that weird and irrational beliefs were considered a bad idea among chess presidents. Maybe that just applies to aliens. I would welcome clarification on this point.]
[3 There is also no mention of Ray in his candidate statement.]
[4 Curiously he is also son-in-law to Ray's live-chess-with-dogs friend Lord Monckton.]
[Dominic Lawson index]