Edward Winter

The C.N. items below show how Mr Bernard Cafferty conducted himself in the late 1980s, as Editor of the British Chess Magazine. The present article may be read in conjunction with The Termination:


The FIDE paper referred to in C.N. 1098 was published in the BCM, May 1986, together with a reply by Raymond Keene. An edited version of our comments on the latter was ‘squeezed in’ to the June issue.

For the record, we give here the complete text:

Geneva, 8 May 1986

Dear Mr Cafferty,

I applaud your decision to devote considerable space to the FIDE controversy now that the World Chess Federation has, at long last, replied to the barrage of press criticism. However, Mr Raymond Keene’s ‘rebuttal’, as you term it, contains much that is either inaccurate or inconsistent with his own earlier statements. For example:

a) He says that the anti-Campomanes attacks have ‘emanated from articles in no way connected with me’. The truth is that many of them are based on the agency reports of Jonathan Tisdall (Reuters) and David Goodman (Associated Press). The former is a close friend of Mr Keene’s and a collaborator on Batsford Chess Openings. The latter is Mr Keene’s brother-in-law and co-author of Manoeuvres in Moscow. The pro-Kasparov bias of that book has been condemned by many, including the BCF General Secretary (Newsflash, January 1986).

b) Mr Keene claims that a vast amount of the criticism of the termination decision was ‘not because that termination damaged the specific rights or chances of either player. Rather it is because outside intervention from a third party violates the very nature of chess!’ In fact, he has persistently complained that stopping the match ‘bailed out’ Karpov. Moreover, his statement that the match should have continued as a matter of principle is not consistent with his own action at the time. We know from Speelman and Tisdall’s Moscow Marathon (pages 263-264) that before Campomanes terminated the match Raymond Keene had himself already prepared a similar proposal. With Tisdall he drafted a telex asking for the match to be stopped. A copy of this message, which was eventually sent to Campomanes on 15 February 1985, is enclosed. Incidentally, on page 139 of The Moscow Challenge Mr Keene made the false statement that the telex had been conceived after the match had been terminated.

c) Next Mr Keene writes: ‘The BCF has never opposed the return match. In fact, we are quite obviously intending to organise it or at least the first half.’ This is in direct contradiction with his reply to Jonathan Mestel in the December 1985 Newsflash: ‘I take your point that the revenge match clause should probably not exist.’ In his public letter of 16 January 1986 to Aly Amin, Mr Keene stated that Karpov had too many privileges, one of which was ‘the right to a revenge match’.

d) It was Raymond Keene who originated, and perpetuated, the untrue claim that Karpov’s camp had telephoned Campomanes in Dubai, a claim which did immeasurable harm to the FIDE President’s reputation. But now that the truth is out, Mr Keene dismisses the entire matter as ‘not at question’!

e) He concludes by saying: ‘I have therefore no desire at the moment to commence personal polemics, but I do feel it necessary to parry direct attacks.’ It is impossible to take this seriously. In the past 15 months or so Raymond Keene has used his Spectator column on countless occasions to launch violent personal attacks on Campomanes. For instance, in his five columns dated 4 January to 1 February 1986 he criticized FIDE in every single one.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Winter

In reply to this detailed and documented charge-sheet there was one brief point by David Anderton, the British Chess Federation’s International Director, in the July BCM, page 301:

‘David Anderton points out that the time sent – 85.02.15 10:17:07 – corrected with regard to the time difference between London and Moscow, would indicate that the telex was sent after the 15 February 1985 press conference in Moscow, as stated by Ray Keene on page 139 of his book The Moscow Challenge.’

Is this supposed to refute anything we wrote to the BCM or, for that matter, anything in C.N. 1079? We noted Tisdall’s own words to show when the Tisdall/Keene telex was prepared, drafted and conceived (the three words we actually used), for it is this that proves Mr Keene’s inconsistency – to use no stronger term. The red herring of when the telex was sent is ‘not at question’, though we have recently learned that the identical text was also sent direct to Moscow, at 10:13:52 GMT (Moscow time minus three). We mention this not to deprive Mr Anderton’s argument (?) of 3¼ minutes, but simply for the record.

The real question, of course, is why Mr Keene, given his subsequent declarations about how third parties should not intervene, should at any stage have advocated termination. It would be wonderful to have a clear reply to that.

In passing one may note another example of Mr Keene’s uncommon talent for shooting himself in the foot. On page 206 of the May BCM he wrote:

‘I did not meet Kasparov or communicate directly with him in any way from the time that he left London after the USSR-World Match in July 1984 until I met him in Moscow half way through his second match with Karpov in October 1985.’

How interesting. Revised editions of ‘Kasparov and Keene’s’ Batsford Chess Openings were published in January 1985 and January 1986. Readers will judge for themselves the likelihood that ‘co-author’ Garry had anything to do with the updating of ‘his’ book.

An editorial in the June BCM refers to a matter on which readers have also written to us:

‘Perhaps we may take the opportunity to answer a question raised by more than one reader – why GM Ray Keene is campaigning for FIDE Secretary, when his announced ambition of some years ago was to be President. We understand that it was felt that a broad-based ‘ticket’ would have greater support in the Third World than a purely European candidacy.’

However, the more precise question that C.N. readers have been asking is why it is not Professor Lincoln Lucena, as the less familiar figure – inside and outside FIDE – and as somebody not known to have long-standing Presidential ambitions, who is applying for the General Secretaryship. Enquiries continue.

In the meantime, on 19 May Professor Lincoln Lucena sent us some ‘Teamwork in FIDE’ campaign literature. This featured, twice, the BBC World Service logo, which clearly implied that the British Broadcasting Corporation was supporting, if not indeed sponsoring, Messrs Lucena and Keene. Anyone familiar with the BBC will know that this is totally out of the question and, indeed, we have been officially informed on behalf of the Managing Director of BBC External Broadcasting:

‘We had no knowledge at all of the ‘Teamwork in FIDE’ document and certainly are not involved in any form of sponsorship or endorsements.’

We trust that the BCF will investigate how the misrepresentation came about, and publicly repudiate it.


Mr Raymond Keene takes a page in the September BCM to ‘set the record straight’ on the telex issue, but, of course, nothing is set straight at all. After discarding all the inapposite detail, one finds that Mr Keene is merely contradicting his own words on page 139 of The Moscow Challenge.


The full text of C.N. 1281 is given below, as published in the November-December 1986 issue of Chess Notes:

Now we are obliged to turn, without fear or favour, to the BCM.

With reference to the time when Mr Keene’s telex was sent to Moscow and Lucerne (C.N. 1245, first paragraph) we wrote a letter to the BCM Editor on 12 September. Its principal object was, of course, to highlight the contradiction over the timing:

‘Mr Keene now says that the telex was sent during the morning of 15 February on the basis of an inaccurate radio report, which he himself had not actually heard, that the match had already been terminated. But that is contradicted by his own words on page 139 of The Moscow Challenge: “At this point [i.e. after both Kasparov and Karpov had agreed to accept or abide by the termination decision] I telexed Moscow with a proposal in my capacity as President of the Commonwealth Chess Association.”’

Some of our letter is given in the November BCM (page 513). Astonishingly, the above key paragraph has been removed. The Editor then declares the correspondence closed, on the grounds that ‘it seems unlikely that the interested parties are going to give satisfaction to each other’. (!)

It will be recalled that paragraph c) of our 8 May letter to Mr Cafferty (which we published in full in C.N. 1222) pointed out another indisputable contradiction by Mr Keene (about return matches). That too was edited out (June BCM, page 257).

The BCM’s presentation of recent political matters has to be criticized. Instead of discussing issues and policies it has concentrated on facile anti-Campomanes jottings. Fundamental points have been passed over with alarming regularity; errors of judgement have been frequent. Criticism of Raymond Keene has never been initiated, and the news columns have reported other people’s complaints about him only in coded language subtle to the point of inscrutability. Some examples (all page references are to the 1986 BCM):

i) Page 176 refers to the ‘FIDE Pagination Affair’, and in the following issue so does Mr Keene (page 208). That is fine, but in that same (May) BCM the Editor reverts to the matter no fewer than three more times: page 177, page 189 and page 195.

ii) Page 225 refers to (and page 235 quotes) some ‘unparliamentary language’ by FIDE about Mr Keene. Yet the BCM had never mentioned or cited any of Mr Keene’s anti-FIDE vituperation (to which the Federation was reacting in the BCM reference). Nor has it done so since. (An opportunity came when the front page of the Guardian of 6 August 1986 was bedecked with some cursing by Mr Keene, in an argument with FIDE about London and Swiss Bank Accounts.) The false impression has thus been given that one side alone (the non-British, of course) has been guilty of verbal indignity.

iii) Here is a quote from the FIDE President’s Circular Letter of 28 April:

‘We expect that the election of President will take [sic – the word place is obviously missing] late November during the Dubai General Assembly, and not until then, when the new President is elected, does he nominate the General Secretary for election (a formal endorsement, actually) by the General Assembly.’

That is a perfectly accurate description of the procedure. Note, in particular, the use of the word ‘election’. But now let us see how the BCM summarized the Letter’s treatment of this matter, on page 235:

‘It points out that the post of FIDE General Secretary ... is a nominated (or endorsed) post, not a post subject to election.’

Au contraire! A bad mistake, but worse was to follow. David Anderton was in like a shot with a ‘correction’, on page 301. He quoted Paragraph 5 of the FIDE Electoral Regulations:

‘Nominations and elections for the offices of General Secretary, Treasurer and Auditor shall be made in the General Assembly after the elections of the President and Deputy Presidents.’

... to which the BCM Editor adds the comment: ‘This is at odds with the statement quoted from the FIDE President, page 235 last month.’ In reality, it is at odds only with the misquotation of the statement by the BCM. The magazine has yet to publish a correction.

iv) Page 309, ‘The Things They Say ...’: an example of triviality and bias.

v) Page 446 and the November issue’s Late News: The reaction to the American Friends of FIDE Sheets is certainly not hostile, but seems more concerned with speculating on who is behind them than with informing readers of their contents. Obscure code language is used, always to the advantage of the same Gentleman. The BCM reports that the Sheets ‘turned round Kasparov’s use of the word “Mafia” to point out the existence of a closely-knit group around the adversarial party’. To translate into normal English: Sheet 3 lists eight relatives, co-authors and associates of Mr Keene who have been making vigorous anti-FIDE statements in support of his campaign. Then the BCM writes: ‘Other matters ventilated are the position of the Commonwealth, mentioning the boycott by many countries of the Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, attitudes to South Africa, a Brazilian criticism of Lucena and so on.’ Translation: the Sheets contain an analysis of Mr Keene’s inconsistencies on these topics. Another example is when the Sheets give chapter and verse on Mr Keene’s irregularities in the Termination affair. This is how that comes out in the BCM: ‘the history of the cancellation of the first K-K match, reaction to it from various parties and many related matters leading on to the present election campaign Campomanes versus Lucena/Keene.’

vi) As mentioned in C.N. 1245, Private Eye has been making a series of detailed accusations against Mr Keene. But a reader of the BCM would never know that; page 455 mentions Private Eye, but only to correct its confusion over the difference between the BCM and the BCF (admittedly a topical subject).

vii) Page 508:

‘As noted in the cover Late News last month, the FIDE President issued a formal letter at the end of the London section of the world title match in which he complained about being vilified in the British press and broadcasting media. This seems surprising in one who completed his higher education in the USA and should therefore know the attention sometimes devoted to candidates for high office.’

Where on earth is the logic in that second sentence?

Truly this has been British chess journalism’s darkest hour.


Afterword on 22 July 2023:

In an article dated 22 July 2023, Raymond Keene wrote of David Anderton:

‘Anderton was a publicly plausible, but privately slippery character. Having pledged his support, and that of the BCF, for my 1986 election bid, strongly supported by Kasparov, to unseat Florencio Campomanes, the then president of FIDE, the world chess federation, Anderton struck a deal with the Filipino to stab our campaign in the back, in exchange for a top post in Campomanes’ administration.’

This follow-up item (C.N. 1387) appeared on pages 50-51 of the May-June 1987 issue of Chess Notes:

In C.N. 1281 we criticized the British Chess Magazine’s recent treatment of topical issues. This was referred to briefly on the back cover of the December BCM:

“Geneva – Edward Winter writes in Chess Notes that BCM, instead of discussing issues and policies, has concentrated on facile anti-Campomanes jottings and mentions errors of judgement ... triviality and bias; he concludes that ‘Truly this has been British chess journalism’s darkest hour’. Some may find this an extreme view!”

Among the points we then made in a letter to Mr Cafferty:

‘Since you have quoted my “extreme” view about the current plight of British chess journalism, may I ask you kindly to inform your readers of some of the documented examples (not only regarding the BCM) that I have quoted? Otherwise, how can a BCM reader who does not see C.N. come to a fair conclusion on my attitude?’

Mr Cafferty did not answer these points; nor did he inform his readers of any of the documented examples given in C.N.

‘No doubt you will also correct the record as regards the factual error pointed out in item iii) of C.N. 1281.’ (This was the misquotation from a FIDE document.)

Mr Cafferty did not correct the record in his magazine.

‘I would also ask you to repair your earlier misjudgement by informing readers of the key point omitted from my letter to you of 12 September, namely that Mr Keene has given two contradictory explanations regarding the time when he sent his telex to Lucerne and Moscow.’

Mr Cafferty refused to do so.

‘On the subject of rectifications, I am surprised that the BCM statement on page 452 (that “every Commonwealth country except Malaysia was represented” at the 4th Commonwealth Championship) has still not been corrected, despite the refutation in FIDE Facts sheet number six.’

Mr Cafferty did not correct this mistake.

‘It goes without saying that I offer you as much space in C.N. as you require to answer C.N. 1281 – if you genuinely feel that I am wrong.’

Mr Cafferty refused to reply to C.N. 1281.

By now it must be clear to nearly everybody that in the BCM Mr Cafferty is shielding Raymond Keene. Confirmation of this even comes from the magazine’s book reviews. Although the BCM will often issue an author a stern dressing-down, no doubt justified, for a faulty transliteration or a factual error, the works of Mr Keene (and his relatives and associates) have seldom occasioned a murmur of criticism. The BCM’s assessment of The Evolution of Chess Opening Theory (1985, page 449) – ‘a thoroughly erudite book‘ – was snapped up for quoting by the Pergamon catalogue, but it is guaranteed to rock any self-respecting bibliophile off his chair. The unabashed bias of Manoeuvres in Moscow (1986, page 18) was passed over in silence, while The Centenary Match Kasparov-Karpov III (1986, page 536) received the following unbelievable comment: ‘excessive controversy with Campomanes is eschewed’ – an ‘extreme view’, if ever there was one ...

The BCM is even capable of dropping a news story half way through if it looks likely to show Mr Keene in unfavourable light. The most recent example concerns a court writ (behind which was Raymond Keene and Thames Television) issued in February against Aly Amin of Chequers. Mr Amin was prevented by the subsequent High Court hearing from bringing out a book on the Kasparov-Short speed chess event until the recordings of all six games had been shown on television. One can appreciate the reasoning behind such a restriction, which aimed to ensure that the suspense of the match was not spoiled for viewers. The BCM clearly considered the story an important one, even discussing it in its March editorial. Its April issue quoted a Thames Television spokesman’s comment on the High Court verdict: ‘This is a significant victory which safeguards delayed transmission of chess on television and will enable us to explore future similar projects’. So far, so good. But on 16 March Mr Keene’s own book on the match was rushed out early. At that time two games had still not been screened, and viewers’ interest was therefore well and truly spoiled – by the very parties who had used the courts to stop Aly Amin from doing the same. So did the fearless BCM draw attention to this hypocrisy? Not at all. The May issue (page 194) reviewed the Keene book – uncritically, of course – but the legal dispute, extensively reported up until then, was quietly dropped.

Other examples from the BCM’s pages could easily be given. Mindful of the close relationship between the British Chess Magazine and the British Chess Federation (of which Mr Keene is Publicity Director), we wrote on 17 April to the President of the BCF, Mr David Jarrett:

‘I should be grateful if, in your capacity as President of the British Chess Federation, you could kindly inform me about the Federation’s policy and practice with regard to the British Chess Magazine. Is it permissible for the BCF corporately, or a BCF officer individually, to exert pressure on the Editor of the BCM over what should or should not be printed? Do you know of cases where such pressure has been exerted? A reply at your earliest convenience will be much appreciated.’

Mr Jarrett answered on 27 April:

‘I thank you for your letter of 17 April. The British Chess Magazine operates as an independent company under independent control and it is firmly and clearly understood policy that no pressure is applied to the Editor in the exercise of his editorial discretion.’

By letter of 30 April we quoted this exchange of correspondence to Mr Cafferty and asked him:

‘Can you confirm that as Editor of the British Chess Magazine you have never been subject to pressure of the kind referred to in my letter to Mr Jarrett?’

Mr Cafferty declined to answer.


On pages 17-18 of the January-February 1989 issue of Chess Notes, the following text (C.N. 1817) appeared, under the title ‘Magazines compared’:

C.N. 317 made a comparison of CHESS and the BCM, but various developments over the past six years necessitate a number of reassessments. CHESS now appears in a large (A4) format (40 pages including covers) under the editorship of Paul Lamford and under the less-than-ideal title of Pergamon Chess. Despite an Advisory Board unimpressive in the extreme, it has clambered up rapidly from its mid-eighties abyss. Publication is now so regular that the exact day of the magazine’s arrival can often be predicted; between about 1975 and 1987, one could seldom guess the exact month.

CHESS concentrates on active players, offering much technical material, including the very fine ‘Beat the Masters’ feature. The book review section has yet to establish itself, and there is an urgent need for more detached, reflective prose and less (or, better still, nothing) from two or three ubiquitous contributors long since discredited.

Nothing in 1983 presaged the BCM’s slump, but recent C.N. items have shown irrefutably how the ‘journal of record’ has ebbed down-market and become inaccurate and partisan; its refusal to correct false statements and other editorial errors is unforgivable. The Editor’s demagogy when hitting out at safe foreign targets (real or imagined) contrasts sharply with his attitude of abject appeasement in the face of more serious (and provable) misconduct nearer home. Sweeping awkward facts under the carpet is now a BCM speciality, though it is not, of course, the only magazine to be edited by that curious journalistic breed of half-jackal half-ostrich. A recent example of justice and fair play BCM-style: the magazine’s highly selective and inaccurate reporting in 1988 (page 385 and page 541) of criticism of Donald Schultz in the US. This has brazenly covered up the following key facts: a) many of those who had at first supported Larry Evans’s anti-Schultz ‘petition’ subsequently withdrew their names because the Grandmaster had misled them, and b) at Thessaloniki last November, virtually the full US delegation (Benjamin, Christiansen, deFirmian, Seirawan, Kudrin, Savereide, Izrailov, Teasley, Denker, Jarecki and Schiller) signed a petition in support of Schultz (‘after careful investigation we have concluded that the vicious personal attacks against him are totally without foundation’). Not a word about these facts has appeared in the BCM, whose readers have, yet again, been given an utterly false impression.

As shown before, the BCM’s book reviews have become rushed, ill-considered and biased. The frequent denunciation of faulty Russian transliteration would be more convincing if the BCM itself were not afflicted with unprecedented numbers of mistakes in English words (cf the assortment of ‘mens’’ and ‘womens’’ on pages 33-38 of the February 1989 issue). On what basis could it still be claimed that the BCM cares about accuracy? It is indisputable, for instance, that Child of Change is replete with factual errors and misrepresentations; the BCM has knowingly and repeatedly concealed this from its readers.

Despite other negative aspects (poor feature articles, lack of history, cursory obituaries), the BCM has some pluses: publication is still prompt, problemists and study enthusiasts are well served, and Ken Whyld’s Quotes and Queries column remains first-rate. Last but not least, the BCM’s book supply service is as efficient as ever.

CHESS has a thoroughly professional look to it these days and is far better proof-read and illustrated (not just the full-colour cover) than the BCM. Both magazines are published around the same time of the month and are well up-to-date. If there is any edge in the reporting of ‘hot news’, it probably lies with the BCM.


Much later on, C.N. 1817 was referred to on page 544 of the December 1989 BCM with grossly misleading brevity:

‘Shortly before Wood’s death, E.G. Winter had been criticising BCM in his Chess Notes for, amongst other things, “... lack of history, cursory obituaries”. How extensive, then, was the obituary for Wood in the March-April issue of C.N., received 13 May? It consisted of just two sentences comprising 34 words: “... during its first decade the magazine (CHESS) may well have been the best in the world.” When one bears in mind that Winter had been corresponding with Wood for quite a number of years, and Winter’s articles and letters had been published in B.H.’s magazine, this seems cursory beyond belief.’

As reported in C.N. 1925, we replied with the following Letter to the Editor:

Geneva, 29 November 1989

Dear Mr Cafferty,

On page 544 of the December BCM you criticize the Chess Notes obituary of B.H. Wood for being ‘cursory beyond belief’.

1) Obituaries should obviously be a standard feature of general-interest magazines such as the BCM. Chess Notes has seldom published any because, to repeat what you yourself quoted on page 533 of the December 1985 BCM, ‘C.N. ... aims to offer alternative and complementary reading’.

2) C.N. has never received a single complaint about ‘cursory obituaries’, whereas, for example, in the October 1985 BCM (page 445) Jeremy Gaige criticized your performance. Since your own published response acknowledged that Mr Gaige had a point, you can hardly object when I endorse his strictures.

3) In the particular case of B.H. Wood, my tribute to the excellence of CHESS around 1935-45 was written a month after his death, by which time several comprehensive accounts of his career had already appeared. Moreover, a lengthier notice would have demanded reference (which I considered inopportune) to CHESS’s falling-off in B.H.W.’s later years.

4) You do not mention that the same issue of C.N. also quoted a poem by B.H.W. (from the January 1930 Chess Amateur).

Yours sincerely,

Edward Winter

In C.N. 1926 (December 1989 issue) we provided background details which illustrated further how grotesque the BCM’s latest attack on us had been:

On 23 March 1989 Mr Cafferty sent us a letter which reacted – inaccurately, incompletely and unpleasantly – to a tiny fraction of our criticisms of the BCM. Our five-page response of 31 March invited him ...

‘... to submit to C.N. a complete, detailed reply. Length is no object, and I shall even give you the courtesy of an advance proof copy so that we can avoid any risk of misunderstandings. ... All that will make a substantial contribution to C.N., and you have my word that I shall print all your head-on replies to my criticisms. I look forward to receiving this material at your earliest convenience.’

In substantiation of the earlier criticism, our letter to Mr Cafferty listed further examples of the BCM’s defects. For instance, its love of speculation was demonstrated by this sample culled from a first reading of the April 1989 issue (which had arrived the same day as his letter):

‘According to one source, Portisch announced ...’ ‘Last year there was an unconfirmed report that he was told ...’ ‘One version runs that ...’ ‘Since the funds of the GMA are reported as quite low ...’ ‘One report speaks of the possibility that FIDE may be conceded ...’ ‘There is a persistent account in master circles that ...’ ‘A recent German source claimed there was a strong movement ...’ ‘It is also said that the Polgars have ...’

Our comment: ‘will future historians consider the BCM a worthwhile reference source when you publish so much of that sort of thing?’

We also drew attention to the ‘Paris’ item on the back page of the same issue.

‘You report the publication of a new book, but do not give a) its actual title, or b) its publisher, or c) its price. You then misspell the first name of Bouton and write “Jean-Paul” instead of “Jean-Pierre” Mercier. There’s an accent missing on Libération and you incorrectly claim that the book is “based on the former’s daily column ...”, even though the final paragraph of the back-cover blurb clearly states that Bouton and Mercier do the columns jointly. That adds up to an awful lot wrong in a seven-line item. All of these errors of omission and commission, which I trust you will correct, were avoidable without even opening the book.’

Our letter listed other factual errors; the BCM Editor has never bothered to correct them. (In passing, we quote here from a subsequent letter to us from David Pritchard, which refers to page 409 of the September 1989 BCM and takes us back to obituaries: ‘In the short note I sent to the BCM about Casswell, they managed to get both his name and his appointment wrong!’ Again, there has been no correction.)

[Page 170 of our 1996 book Chess Explorations quoted the speculation and Bouton/Mercier matters, and on page 267 we added: ‘The BCM did not publish a correction on this or on numerous other factual matters where it had misinformed its readers. See C.N.s 1281, 1387, 1817, 1925 and 1926.’]

Our letter of 31 March also deplored Mr Cafferty’s unworthy attempt to switch from the issues to an ad personam attack on us and, on the subject of freedom of information, reminded him that in 1984 he had commissioned from us an article on British chess literature but had lacked the courage to publish it even though he had originally told us: ‘(I) agree with some 95% of it, and feel that the things I may not agree with still need saying!’ (The article was subsequently published in the August 1984 CHESS.)

After reiterating our intention of holding fire until receiving his for-publication reply to the full range of issues, we commented that our public criticisms of the BCM had begun only when private representations failed. Nonetheless, we again offered to discuss our differences with Mr Cafferty in private correspondence, adding that in such circumstances we should be willing ...

‘... to refrain from further public criticisms of the BCM until such time as our private channels had been exhausted. ... On the other hand, I am fully prepared to continue on the path of public exposure if you say the private way would be bound to fail. It is entirely up to you.’

We shall be pleased to send photocopies of this exchange of correspondence to any readers who wish to see it for themselves.

We honoured our offer and refrained from further public criticisms of Mr Cafferty, patiently awaiting a reply to our letter. But nothing arrived, whether private or for publication. We continued to wait. Then in the December 1989 BCM came the ‘obituary’ attack on C.N., as quoted above.

So that is how the Editor of the British Chess Magazine conducts himself. It won’t do. It simply won’t do.


From José Raúl Capablanca Miscellanea:

Harry Golombek’s book Capabanca’s Hundred Best Games of Chess has highly inaccurate biographical material and results tables. Some examples were given in C.N. 1080, but the BCM took no notice when it reprinted the book in 1989. It gave just a cursory errata slip (which was itself wrong about a ‘missing’ tournament (Hastings, 1929-30), since it claimed that Capablanca scored three draws, instead of five).

On 22 November 1989, quoting a large number of examples, we informed the BCM Editor that many obvious factual errors had not been corrected. Our letter was ignored for three years, until the BCM (October 1992, page 520) found an exquisitely deceitful way of using it to ridicule us: out of all our corrections the magazine simply mentioned one (regarding Hastings, 1929-30), thus deluding its readers into believing that our complaint about the book merely concerned a single matter of detail.

To set the record straight (about this and other issues), on 5 October 1992 we wrote another letter to the BCM Editor. Naturally it too was suppressed.


See also our article on Capablanca’s books in the algebraic notation. This shows that the BCM neglected to correct about 150 factual mistakes. The Editor of the BCM at the time was Mr Bernard Cafferty.’

See, moreover, Janowsky Jottings and Over and Out. Our brief reference to B.H. Wood’s death (C.N. 1863) is given in Chess Jottings.

A significant article is ‘Ex Acton ad Astra’ on pages 18-33 of the Spring 2007 issue of Kingpin. From page 27:

‘Meanwhile Keene had control of a section of the home-based chess media. The British Chess Magazine answered to the British Chess Federation, where Keene was an official, and pressure was brought to bear on the BCM’s editor Bernard Cafferty. The BCF’s own publication, Newsflash, was in the hands of Keene’s sister Jackie and his brother-in-law David Goodman.’

Latest update: 15 April 2024.

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