Good Lord, that book is published by Sam Sloan. Your life as a credible author really is over when he gets to publish you.So a friend of mine wrote about this recently-published volume. He wasn't wrong.
Of course Ray can still occasionally get a gig with a reputable publisher, but as they necessarily become disreputable as a result of employing him, perhaps there's a case for cutting to the chase and sticking with the less reputable ones.
I hadn't really intended to write about this book, solely because I have no intention of shelling out any cash to buy it, but a comment on the English Chess Forum piqued my curiosity, or to put it another way, seemed keen to do my job for me.
He's not wrong, either.
That's the full notes in the Spectator. Here's some chunks out of the Sloan book for the purpose of comparison.
There's a couple of sentences ("Black is driven back on all fronts", "In fact modern computers prefer...") that aren't in the Spectator, and there's this long note
which isn't there either, but most of it an almost perfect copy-and-paste job. So did Ray actually write the extra bits for the new book, or are they there from other, older versions of the notes? Readers are invited to tell us.
Ray also does Lasker-Steinitz from Hastings 1895. As we'll see, he's done that game - and that set of notes - several times before.Not that you'd know this from anything in the book.
Obviously, one might cynically add, but in fact on this occasion the book does include some kind of notification that some of the notes have appeared somewhere else before.
One wonders why - because Ray has had his knuckles rapped at the Times? Because those notes will have been so recent that readers couldn't help but notice, particularly if Sloan and Keene couldn't be arsed to update them from "their daily report format"?
Who knows. Anyway, there's no mention that any of the other notes have been copied from - or "substantially based on" - any earlier notes. Especially not Staunton-Horwitz.
Or Lasker-Steinitz. Here's the finale.
The whirlwind finale, indeed. As it was in Ray's Times column for 30 December 2010.
The 2013 book and the 2010 column also match here:
which is identical to this
which incorporates this.
Again, it would be interesting to know whether the extra bit was actually written for the book, or for some earlier source. It's certainly not the Spectator for 20 May 2006
or indeed the same magazine for 16 December of the same year
though plenty of the other notes look quite familiar. (I also like the recommendation of the Predecessors series which "always represents a good investment for the enthusiast". So it does, Ray. So it does.)
Oh yes, there was also the Sunday Times for 6 January 2013.
Everything above is from the Times and the Spectator (though naturally one assumes that all Ray's old notes have appeared in multiple locations) and the same is true of much of what follows.
But not all!
The Chess Combination from Phildor to Karpov (Pergamon, 1977) where most of Ray's notes to the 1968 Botvinnik-Portisch game can be tracked down.
You won't find all the notes from the Sloan book in Chess Combination though. Not these, for instance.
Not at all. These ones are all copied out from the Spectator, 20 May 1995. If nowhere else.
Then there's the notes to Anderssen-Zukertort, some of which
look awfully familiar to anybody who's seen the Spectator for 16 November 1996
or indeed the same publication for 16 September 2000.
And if the Spectator reader recalled the notes from the issue just three weeks later, 7 October 2000 - as Ray, or his filing system, evidently does -
then they wouldn't see much in the notes in the Sloan book that they hadn't seen before.
And that's your tawdry lot. No doubt there's more than this, but you'd have to buy the book to find out. And if Sam Sloan wants me to buy a book that's just a copy-and-paste of things we've seen before, he's got another think coming.
More on Sam on Friday.
[Thanks to Peter Farr, Angus French and Pablo Byrne]
[Yes, I know]
[Ray copies Ray index]
[Ray Keene index]