The Chess Chamber of Horrors by Edward Winter

The Chess Chamber of Horrors

Edward Winter

chess horrors

No single article can provide an adequate picture of what certain writers have felt entitled to charge money for, and the present overview begins by focussing mainly on inaccuracy at its most basic: non-respect for the convention, and courtesy, of trying to spell people’s names correctly.

Horrors of all kinds will be added here from time to time (particularly the concentration of factual errors in a brief space), and readers’ suggestions will be received gratefully.


One might think that the Diccionario Enciclopédico Hispano-Americano (published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries) led the field in misspelling chess masters’ names in view of its references to those well-known exponents Saunton, Andersen, Morphi, Von de Lassa and Saint Amande. Nonetheless that work is shown a clean pair of heels by another Spanish reference set, the Enciclopedia Universal Illustrada, which informs us of such great players as Filidor, Deschapelle, Olorwitz, Marocsy, Makoevetz, etc. Some are misspelled twice, e.g. Charouseck/Charonsek and – our favourite – Pillsburg/Pillisburg. Brun means little until one thinks of Amos; for Cocock, think of problems and for Alarschall, presumably, swindles.


In C.N. 1022 Hugh Myers (Davenport, IA, USA) suggested that the11022 record for misspellings in a tournament book might be the 1973 Chess Digest book on San Remo, 1930, which included: Alekine, Bogolubov, Rubenstein, Reubenstein, Araisa, Montichelli, Knoch and Spielman.

See page 154 of Chess Explorations.

One book we most certainly shall not be reviewing in full is Grüenfeld Defense, Russian Variations by Eric Schiller, published by Chess Enterprises.

Grüenfeld is the novel spelling on the front cover. The back cover and spine prefer Gruenfeld. The Preface gives Grünfeld. The bibliography has Bruenfeld.

Ah yes, the bibliography, with its reference to the 1946 edition of Modern Chess Openings by ‘Griffith, P.C. & E.W. Sergeant’. P.C. Griffiths cannot be meant, since in 1946 he was not writing, he was being born. Presumably Mr Schiller was not sure whether the co-author was E.G. Sergeant or P.W. Sergeant, so he took one initial from each.

All this, though, is a mere antipasto, leading in to our tentative nomination for the most crass couple of sentences of 1985:


To Harry Golombek, a friend and mentor, whose vast knowledge of chess, arbitin, and foreign languages I hop to someday acquire. May my writing retain its vitality as long as his has!’

As printed ...


The magazine Gens una sumus, edited by Dimitrije Bjelica, first appeared after the 1986 Dubai Olympiad. Issue 2-3 is dated July 1987. The two issues contain a spectacular historical article by D.B. entitled ‘Kings of Chess’ in which the reader is introduced to such greats of the golden era as Blackbern, Dikon, Mongredijen, Grin, Anderson, Berd (Henri Eduard), Blackburn, Zuckertot, Vinaver, Mekenzy, Golmaj, Martines, Bahman, Janevski, Sesil de Vara, Andersen, Kolis, Levental, Harvik, Tarash, Pilsbery, Lloyd, Zueckertot, Charusek, Frenk Marshal, Byrne, Gunsburg, Mizes, Minoti, Li, Kiesericky, Cukertot, Mesona, Marocia, Marozi.

There is less fantasy with the modern masters, although the first issue does have an article by ‘Pol Banko, Granmster (USA)’.


bjelica benko

Tentative nomination for the chess book with the most misspellings of players’ names: Traité du jeu des échecs by Jean Taubenhaus (Paris, 1910). For example, pages 222-223 alone refer to de Rivièr, Andersen, Teichman, Maison, Tarrasche, Mises, Zuckertort, Levis, Marocy, Veiss, Jaowski, Vinaver, Lepchitz, Soldatenkor, Benstock, Forgace, Snosko-Borouski, Holperin, Salve, Zukerlort, Blackburn, Marschal, Nuzio, Cochran, Kieseritzki and Chotard.

The proofreader is apparently still alive and working on books by Dimitrije Bjelica.


Seldom have we seen as many incorrect names as in The Steeplechase by V. Charushin (published by Pickard & Son, 1999). From the dozens of instances here are just a few: three consecutive games misspell the name of Alekhine’s opponents (pages 24-25); nineteenth-century games against Jaenisch and Bilguer are ascribed to the twentieth-century player F. Lazard; page 49 has a Morphy game against ‘Sharpautje’ instead of Le Carpentier.


An extract from our discussion of The Batsford Chess Encyclopedia by Nathan Divinsky (London, 1990):

Hübner’s name is spelt three different ways in the book’s first 31 pages. Page 2 refers to the ‘Suisse’ (instead of Sousse) Interzonal of 1967. Other assorted misspellings include ‘Teichman’, ‘Le Lionnaires’ (instead of Le Lionnais), ‘Kerchnoi’, ‘Nimjowitsch’, ‘English’ (for Englisch), ‘Boundarevsky’, ‘Duz Khotmirsky’, ‘Du-Duz-Khotimirsky’, ‘Blackburn’, ‘Card’ (Caro), ‘zugswang’, ‘Anderseen’, ‘The Philodorian’, ‘Philador’s Legacy’ and many more. Some foreign accents are put on once in a while, but most never at all.

Alessandro Nizzola (Mantova, Italy) points out this translator’s note about Schlechter on page 119 of Nimzowitsch’s La Pratica del Mio Sistema (Milan, 1987):

‘For the record: the Austrian master starved to death in his home city of Vienna on Christmas Day 1917.’

For the record: wrong city, wrong country, wrong day, wrong year.


A sample section from our feature article on World Champion Combinations by Keene and Schiller:

For the benefit of anyone lucky enough not to have seen the book the best way of showing the extent of the shambles is to pick a complete chapter and to examine every game and position given.

Chapter 6, dealing with Capablanca, has six games and four positions:

  1. Réti-Capablanca, Berlin, 1928. A one-sentence note at move 10 reads ‘White miscalculates and Black won’t be able to take advantage of the exposed queen’. That is the exact opposite of the intended meaning; ‘and’ should read ‘that’. (This time it is a case of unsuccessful copying from page 58 of Schiller’s 1997 companion volume, World Champion Openings.) There is also an inaccurate concluding note. Following 17…Bf3 it is stated, ‘The sacrifice must be accepted, or else …Qh3 is an easy win’. Yet after 18 gxf3, the move 18…Qh3 was indeed played, with such an easy win that Réti at once resigned.
  2. Capablanca-Havasi, Budapest, 1928. In the note after Black’s 7th move, reference is made to Capablanca-Bogoljubow, Moscow, 1925: ‘… according to Golombek, Capablanca played this sacrifice immediately’. It was Bogoljubow himself who revealed Capablanca’s speed at this point, on page 190 of the Moscow, 1925 tournament book. In the note to Black’s 9th move Keene and Schiller place a full stop in mid-sentence, and the next note says ‘the exposed position of Black’s knight’ instead of ‘Black’s king’. (Why? Because they have miscopied from page 79 of The Chess Combination from Philidor to Karpov, which had ‘Black’s K’.)
  3. Alatortsev-Capablanca, Moscow, 1935. ‘A gem from Capablanca’s last years as an active player, but it is often left out of anthologies of his best games.’ On the contrary, it is one of the scores most often included, to be found in, for example, both of the best-known books in English, Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess by Golombek and The Immortal Games of Capablanca by Reinfeld. The note to White’s 23rd move gives a line beginning 23 Kxf2 Rc2+ 24 Kg3 Qxg2+, overlooking that 24…Rxg2+ leads to a quicker forced mate. The same note has 30…Rh5 check, whereas the move administers mate. (See page 40 for another instance.)
  4. Marshall-Capablanca, New York, 1931. A note at move 10: ‘Again, more vigorous is 10 Qc2 as in the game Bogoljubow-Nimzowitsch, Berlin, 1927.’ Not so. A different position had arisen in that game.
  5. Capablanca-Souza Campos, São Paulo, 1927. Although it is not specified, this game occurred in a simultaneous exhibition, or ‘in a simulation’ to borrow the abstruse term used by the book elsewhere (page 254). The co-authors do not know that Capablanca’s ‘brilliant’ combination was refuted by Réti in the Morgenzeitung (see pages 121-122 of the April 1928 Deutsche Schachzeitung and page 203 of the Dover edition of The Unknown Capablanca by Hooper and Brandreth).
  6. Capablanca-Steiner, Los Angeles, 1933. The co-authors are unaware that this exhibition game with living pieces is not an example of Capablanca’s brilliance but was pre-arranged, as Steiner himself recorded on page 66 of the March 1943 Chess Review and as was reported in C.N. 2037.
  7. Capablanca-Fonaroff, New York, 1904. The Cuban did not play this game when in his teens because the actual date was 1918, as given on page 112 of The Unknown Capablanca and many other places. On page 200 of the May 1985 BCM (an item which included criticism of Raymond Keene for other historical blunders) we pointed out that ‘1904’ was wrong. Eric Schiller nonetheless persisted with it on page 17 of The Big Book of Combinations. His mangling there of Capablanca’s games was reported on page 267 of Chess Explorations. ‘Impervious to correction’ was the phrase used above.
  8. Capablanca-Mieses, Berlin, 1931. The mistakes here too were corrected in the 1985 British Chess Magazine yet repeated in The Big Book of Combinations (page 27). Firstly, the date should read 1913. Moreover, as also explained in the BCM, ‘the diagrammed position never arose and no combination of the kind indicated was played’.
  9. Capablanca-Yates, Barcelona, 1929. To quote one more time from the BCM: ‘Another position which did not happen in the actual game, since Black resigned after 32 f7+. There should, in any event, be a black pawn on a5, not a6’.
  10. Capablanca-Lasker, Berlin, 1914. The position did not occur in a game won by Capablanca, but was composed jointly by Capablanca and Lasker (see page 168 of The Unknown Capablanca and any number of other reliable books).

In short, not one of the ten Capablanca games and positions given by Keene and Schiller emerges with a clean bill of health. In passing it should be noted that most of the above appeared in Eric Tangborn’s 1994 book Chess Combinations of The World Champions, with similar factual mistakes. It is no surprise that Keene and Schiller put the Tangborn work in their book-list, or, for that matter, that they get its title wrong.

From our feature article on a 191-page hardback published in India in 2001: Chess (Basics, Laws and Terms) by B.K. Chaturvedi:

As regards blindfold chess we are unaccountably informed on page 140 that Capablanca ‘is believed to have started this tradition’. On page 7 it is called ‘bling-fold’. Typos exist by the basinful. Information, of sorts, is offered on such masters as ‘Labour Domais’, ‘Steintz’, ‘Nninzovich’, ‘Enwe’, ‘Resbevsky’ and ‘Rober Fisher’, as well as ‘the famous chess historian Musray’. On page 9 we learn that Emanuel Lasker (‘Emmanuel’ and ‘Emanual’ are the book’s variant spellings) ‘remained world champion for a very long period (1821-1921) which is still a record’. And so it should be, given that 1821 virtually predates the chess career of Labour Domais. The following page records that at Hastings, 1895 three of Pillsbury’s opponents were ‘Schtechter, Schlecter, Jauowshi’. In some passages it is unclear whether the text was typed or something fell on the keyboard.

Alex Dunne (Sayre, PA, USA) points out that John Graham’s The Literature of Chess (published by McFarland in 1984) contains three different spellings of the same name: Neishstadt (page 46), Neischstadt (page 65) and Neishtadt (page 81).

Pages 339-343 of Kings, Commoners and Knaves indicated that in The Batsford Chess Encyclopedia Nathan Divinsky notched up several such trebles. Perhaps readers can inform us of similar (or worse) cases. Anyone with access to books by Dimitrije Bjelica will enjoy a head start.


As reported on page 155 of Chess Explorations, a 1985 openings book by Eric Schiller had ‘Grüenfeld’, ‘Gruenfeld’, ‘Grünfeld’ and ‘Bruenfeld’.


Concerning Raymond Keene in this domain, see C.N. 11864.

Black and White Evergreen by A. Matanović and J. Prokopljević (Belgrade, 2001), well-produced with many colour illustrations of high quality, is another book which has (on page 70) a position headed ‘Parr – Waitkroft, Holland 1968’. Page 82 offers the conclusion of what is allegedly ‘Deshapel – Laburdone, Paris 1837’.

Why are such books lavishly illustrated but not lavishly checked?


Wonderful world of chess (published by ‘Chess press, Munchen’, undated) by D. Bjelica:


It comprises 191 pages of positions and anecdotal snippets. A position on page 175 is referred to as ‘Grief-Browne, El Paso, 1973’. White was Grefe, but in Mr Bjelica’s hands even prominent masters’ names come to grief. Examples (and there are dozens of others) are Bleckburne, Bogolybov, Durq, Eliskazes, Kochnoi, Marozy, Opancensky, Relstab, Restalb, Schelchter, Schelther, Schlehter, Tarasch, Teylor, Yeats, Zukertot and Zuckertot.

When on page 189, the correct spelling Schlechter capriciously occurs, the opponent’s name goes wrong (‘Tiz’ instead of Tietz). It is but poetic justice that another wayward speller, Koltanowski, should have his name mangled by Mr Bjelica (i.e. ‘Kolatnovki’ on page 183).

Regarding the pawn ending discussed on page 42 of A Chess Omnibus, Fahrni-Alapin emerges as ‘Fharvit-Alpin’ on page 25. Some of the position headings seem almost to have been written in code. Page 43 has ‘Snosko Borovski-Preis Remsget, 1929’. Another English seaside resort that defeats Mr Bjelica comes on page 167, in a game which ‘Cole’ (he means Colle) won in Scarborough. He writes ‘Scerborou’, and it might just as easily have been Scooby Doo.


A brief paragraph about linguistic skill on page 49 of Bjelica’s Wonderful world of chess compared ‘Ben Larsen’ to ‘Johanes Zukertot’ and concluded: ‘But Larse favourite player was not Zukertot but Nimzovic.’


A (relatively brief) selection of examples of general carelessness in With the Chess Masters by G. Koltanowski: Page 9: ‘Mizowitch’ at London, 1922?? Page 10: ‘Giuco ... Pianisimo’. Pages 15-16: The best part of two pages are devoted to a story of how L. Steiner cheated against Colle at ‘the Budapest International, 1928’. Neither player was there. Page 48: ‘Twice Tarrasch mounted a campaign to take the world title from Lasker – and twice Lasker beat him badly.’ When was the second time? Page 49: ‘My first encounter with Dr Tarrasch was in 1924 at the International Chess Tournament in Merano, Italy. I was in my early teens.’ Yet he was born in 1903. Page 54: He appears to believe Scotland is in England. Pages 67-68: Another cheating anecdote, according to which Dyckhoff pretended only to have drawn against John at Hanover, 1902, so that his close rival Bernstein would not go for a win against Kagan. Yet Dyckhoff and John did only draw. Page 80 and page 81: ‘R.F. Mitchell’. Presumably R.P. Michell. Page 90: ‘James Cross’. Rupert Cross would be correct. Page 92: for (Emanuel) Sapiro read Sapira. Page 100: ‘Marotzy’ (twice). Page 101: ‘Bekker’ (twice). Page 101: Flohr did not play at Carlsbad, 1929. Page 101: ‘ ... ahead of Reifir, Spielman, Astalosh and the younger Widmar’. Read: a) Rejfíř, b) Spielmann, c) Asztalos, d) Vidmar. Page 101: Alekhine and Euwe did not play at Moscow, 1935 (it is even said that there Menchik ‘beat Euwe twice!’). Page 141: Rejfíř has a wrong year of birth. And so on ...

In an article on page 195 of the September 1971 Chess Digest Magazine William Winter was given the Koltanowski treatment:

‘Winter was a heavy drinker and one of the best chess stories I know is the one of the committee that was formed in 1927 just before the International tournament was to take place in London. They raised one hundred pounds (about 350 dollars then) to support William Winter, so that he could win the event with great ease. In the first round William Winter came into the playing hall, breathing harshly and he beat the great Richard Reti. The next day, Winter weaved into the playing room, sat down at his board and beat the perplexed Aron Nimzowitch. The third day Winter staggered to his seat and beat my co-patriot, Edgar[d] Colle. It looked like it was going to be a big triumph for British Chess. But the expectations were short-lived. Winter had spent all the raised funds on booze in the first three days, and the so-called Winter Committee couldn’t raise another penny from its supporters. The first prize was only one hundred pounds! William Winter arrived sober for each round after the third and lost every game.’

Let us, firstly, compare the above with the complete record of the tournament given in M.A. Lachaga’s comprehensive book on the event, published in 1968. William Winter’s round-by-round performance was as follows:

1: lost to Fairhurst
2: beat Buerger
3: beat Thomas
4: drew with Marshall
5: lost to Bogoljubow
6: drew with Yates
7: lost to Tartakower
8: beat Nimzowitsch
9: drew with Colle
10: lost to Réti
11: beat Vidmar.

This placed him among the prize-winners, i.e. equal sixth with Réti. He did not defeat Réti or Colle; nor did he play in the first three rounds any of the masters named by Koltanowski. About the alleged ‘Committee’, we know nothing, but it may be wondered who would put together £100, or any other sum, so that W.W. could win ‘with great ease’ a tournament which included Bogoljubow, Marshall, Nimzowitsch, Réti, Tartakower and Vidmar. Moreover, £100 (the amount which, Koltanowski alleges, was spent on alcohol consumption within three days) was then roughly $500, not $350. In today’s money it would come to over $5,000. Finally, the first prize in the tournament was not £100 but £50 (BCM, August 1927, page 335).

Thus every verifiable ‘fact’ in Koltanowski’s yarn is false. Why? Was he guilty, once more, of ‘mere’ sloppiness and doltishness (page 341 of the September 1922 BCM was certainly inspired when it spelt his name ‘Klotanowski’) or was there also a darker side to his compulsive fabrications? William Winter was indeed known to drink heavily, but what sort of human being would, in ‘one of the best chess stories I know’, publicly ridicule a deceased master for alcoholism without making the remotest effort to be truthful?


Although Ajedrez La lucha por la iniciativa by Orestes Aldama Zambrano (Barcelona, 2000) refers to Fisher and Meking on the first page of text, it is a monograph on Capablanca. His opponents include Atkeens, Berstein, Bofoljubov, Corso, Kreymbour, Kupnich, Kvitz, Rogoljubow, Rubistein, Spielman and Tartakowwer, and all this may be termed ‘doing a Bjelica’.


In The Times of 12 March 1994, page 31 [S1] Raymond Keene stated that there was a grandmaster named Archangelski. After we pointed out this inaccuracy to the newspaper, a letter dated 24 May 1994 from the Deputy Managing Editor, Mr David Hopkinson, forwarded to us Mr Keene’s response:


(Kingpin, 1994)

Our recommendation in C.N. 3514 was ‘to dispense with any publication or website which offers “chess quotes” without indicating where and when the statements in question were purportedly made’. From our recent reading, nothing in this field compares with the quotes section (pages 155-169) of Check Mate and Word Games by Carlos Tortoza (Denver, 2006). A sample follows:


Sourceless quote-dumps are bad enough, but who would bring out a book with such an unmistakable (Germanic) reek of computer translation? A child, perhaps? The back cover provides some biographical information about Carlos Tortoza, who is Brazilian:

‘He is a psychologist and economist, with a postgraduate degree in economic projects, specializing in psychoanalysis. He is an academic professor of psychology, philosophy, sociology and economic business administration.’


See too C.N.s 9025 and 10536.

On page 234 of Treasure Chess by Bruce Pandolfini (New York, 2007) the remark about life being too short for chess is ascribed to both Lord Byron (1788-1824) and Henry James (1843-1916), instead of Henry James Byron (1835-1884).




Page 14 of The Immortal Games of Capablanca by F. Reinfeld (New York, 1942)


Page 20 of Capablanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess by H. Golombek (London, 1947)

In the Lasker match there were ten, not 14, draws. The Euwe match was in 1931, not 1932. The only matter on which the books disagree is the year of Capablanca’s match against Corzo, and both are wrong. It was played in 1901.

The two books have been the subject of modern reprints which have not bothered to correct these (and innumerable other) elementary mistakes.


Golombek had a longstanding difficulty in relating correctly the basic facts of Capablanca’s record, and C.N. 1406 shows how a concentration of errors remained in successive editions of another book of his.

On page 220 of The Game of Chess (Penguin) Harry Golombek writes of Capablanca: ‘In 1905 he beat Marshall by +8 –1 =14; in 1919 he beat Kostich 5-0; in 1921 he won a world championship match against Lasker by +4 –0 =14 and in 1932 he beat Euwe by +2 –0 =8.’

a) for 1905 read 1909; b) for =14 in the Lasker match read =10; c) for 1932 read 1931. We pointed out this concentration of errors on page 11 of the October 1976 CHESS, but no corrections were made in the third edition of the book (1980, reprinted 1986, page 222). Nor is the right information given in the French translation of the book (published by Payot).

The back cover of the latest Penguin edition says that since 1954 The Game of Chess ‘has sold over a million copies and the text has been revised and updated’.

See Harry Golombek’s Book on Capablanca.

José Raúl Capablanca by I. and V. Linder (Milford, 2010) stands out on one account only: its bibliography may be the most error-ridden ever published in a chess book. Although only four pages long, it features dozens of typos and other mistakes (with a far higher total if foreign accents are considered too). For an example we go no further than the first entry (on page 268):


No edition of Chess Fundamentals has contained an After ward (or Afterword) by Cherner (or Chernev). The book in question was My Chess Career.


In 2006 there was an edition of Chess Fundamentals revised by Nick de Firmian which purported to improve on the text by giving the reader less Capablanca and more de Firmian.

Now, Emereo Publishing has brought out ‘The original classic edition’ of Capablanca’s work:


All the diagrams have been dropped, and the book is therefore unusable. For instance:



As shown in our feature article, in Larry Evans book The 10 Most Common Chess Mistakes, page 45 (containing less than ten lines of text) has the following errors:

“Thomas – Mitchell”; Black’s name was Michell.
“London, 1932”; the game was played at the Hastings, 1932-33 tournament.
Wrong diagram, since the pawn at c5 should be black.
In his paragraph (a) Evans omits mention of the faster win 5 Re7+.
In his paragraph (b) he writes “Black actually lost”, whereas Black actually won.


Then page 157 has an alleged position from the Marshall v Capablanca match of 1909 (5th game), with Evans claiming that, “incredibly”, White missed an immediate victory (mate or gain of the queen) through 45 Qe8+. Untrue, because Marshall’s queen was on b6, and not c6. This elementary matter has been pointed out countless times, and even by Evans himself on page 750 of Chess Life & Review, November 1974.’


Half a dozen typos in half a dozen lines.

Source: page 12 of a book published by Impala Film Division in 2008: Battle of Bonn (World Chess Championship 2008) by Raymond Keene and Eric Schiller.


From page 57 of The Times Winning Moves by Raymond Keene and Byron Jacobs (London, 2003):


From Dan Scoones (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada):

‘In citing a chess position it requires a very special talent to garble not only the venue and the date but also the surnames of both players – in other words, everything of significance apart from the actual position and the subsequent moves.’


Page 42 of Evans on Chess by Larry Evans (New York, 1974):


As regards the final paragraph, at the time of his death, in late December 1918, Schlechter was by no means ‘forgotten’; he was the Editor of the Deutsche Schachzeitung and in September-October 1918 had participated in a double-round tournament in Berlin with Lasker, Rubinstein and Tarrasch. His death occurred not ‘in the last year of World War I’ but after the War was over. Nor was he found dead alone in his room at home (which would mean in Vienna); he died in hospital in Budapest. The cause of his death is uncertain. He was then aged 44, not 35.

That syndicated column by Evans, riddled with errors though it was, was still appearing in newspapers nearly 15 years after its first publication (on, for instance, page D27 of the Chicago Tribune, 3 May 1987), without even a correction of Schlechter’s age.


Below are the last two names on a list of challengers on page 279 of Keene On Chess by Raymond Keene (New York, 1999):


The respective dates should obviously be 1993 and 1995.

Mr Keene, though, stuck to his guns. From page 280 of his Complete Book of Beginning Chess (New York, 2003):




From page 98:


For Kramnik read Anand. For Topalov read Kramnik.



Above are pages 128-129 of Magnus Carlsen – Viswanathan Anand 2014 Re-Match for the World Chess Championship by Raymond Keene (Bronx, 2014).

The book has well over 100 similar diagrams.



Two lines from page 73 of the ‘new 21st-Century Edition’ of The Art of Checkmate:



Olimpiu G. Urcan (Singapore) draws our attention to his review of the e-book Carlsen v Caruana: FIDE World Chess Championship, London 2018 by Raymond Keene and Byron Jacobs (London, 2018) and sends us half a dozen lines from the book’s ‘History of the World Championship’ section:


We offer a few comments:

Even without primary sources, a quick glance at, for instance, The Oxford Companion to Chess by D. Hooper and K. Whyld (Oxford, 1992) would have sufficed to avoid all these elementary blunders.


A brief extract from C.N. 11022:

‘I’m not good at attention to detail’, stated Mr Keene uncontroversially on page 17 of the November 1990 CHESS.

Pages 563-571 of the latest edition (‘Spring 20/2019’) of the Quarterly for Chess History are devoted to a review-cum-demolition by the Editor, Vlastimil Fiala, of Vera Menchik by Robert B. Tanner (Jefferson, 2016). The final paragraph states that the book ‘should never have gone to print’.

As mentioned in C.N. 10191, the Menchik book is indeed very weak, but with his own track-record Vlastimil Fiala is an unsuitable person to complain, as he does on page 570, that it has ‘a large number of typos’. The review itself includes ‘J. Kaledovský’, ‘St Leonard’s’ (four times), ‘Bell’s of London Life’, ‘Sir G.H. Thomas’, ‘E. Eales’, ‘L’Echiquer’ (twice), ‘Hastings 19028/9’ and ‘Carslbad’.

Elsewhere, this new issue of the Quarterly contains, on pages 226-263, an article about Vienna, 1882 which refers to Berthold ‘English’, instead of Englisch, nine times. Pages 300-311 present some games played by Staunton in Scotland with the misspelling ‘Edinburg’ 12 times. On page 387 a game lost by Alekhine is dated ‘11.12.2930’. A sentence on page 420 refers to ‘Casablanca’ and ‘Miss M.T. Morra’.


Also from Cuttings:

On 18 May 2019 Olimpiu G. Urcan informed us that his review of the 2018 Carlsen v Caruana match book had prompted an 11-page article by Jimmy Adams in the May 2019 BCM (pages 297-307) which attempted to defend Raymond Keene – incompetently, with, for instance, 23 occurrences of the misspelling ‘Olympiu’.

Further reading:

Chess: Mistaken Identity
Missed Mates
Gaffes by Chess Publishers and Authors
Unintelligible Chess Writing
Hype in Chess
Chess: the Need for Sources
How to Write about Chess
A Chess Database
Chess Myths
Reuben Fine, Chess and Psychology
Chess Anecdotes
Chess and the English Language
Instant Chess
Larousse du jeu d’échecs
Cuttings (Facts about Raymond Keene)
A Question of Credibility
Comic Relief
An Indian Copying Mystery
Capablanca Book Destroyed
Warriors of the Mind
A Unique Chess Writer
Chess and Untimely Death Notices
Steinitz versus God
A Fake Chess Photograph
Worst-ever Chess Book?
Jaffe and his Primer
A Sorry Case
A Publishing Scandal
Chess Awards
Historical Havoc
A Catastrophic Encyclopedia
World Champion Combinations
Over and Out
The Facts about Larry Evans

Latest update: 8 June 2021.

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