Quotes about

Assisting Larry Christiansen, Moscow 1982 (Source: Kingpin)

A collection of quotes about Raymond Keene:

“How can a man who does not know the meaning of the words ‘honesty,’ ‘integrity’ or ‘loyalty’ be permitted to conduct all manner of business on behalf of the BCF!? A man, who is only interested in his personal well-being, and will undoubtedly use his power to conduct a personal vendetta against anyone, who questions his actions or opposes him in any way!”

Viktor Korchnoi on Keene (letter to Sir Stuart Milner-Barry, 13 September 1979; CHESS, September 1979, page 339)

“A man without moral scruples.”

Viktor Korchnoi in Antischach (Wohlen, 1980), page 109

“We have only been waiting patiently for his simple denial that he signed a contract undertaking not to write a book whilst serving as Korchnoi’s second in Baguio but proceeded to break that contract.”

– B.H. Wood (CHESS, January 1980, page 41)

“… it is clear that dishonouring of the Contract was a premeditated and deliberate plan to deceive.”

– Jean Stean (CHESS, February 1980, page 84, concerning Keene’s violation of his contractual agreement not to write a book on the 1978 Karpov vs Korchnoi match)

“Mr Keene objected to them [the FIDE Facts sheets] because they were about him and his associates, exposing his inconsistencies bordering on prevarication, and their selfish motives for wanting to dominate FIDE. The real flood has consisted of twenty months of slanderous attack and distortions of the truth against my person and against FIDE, written by Mr Keene, his relatives, and his business associates.”

Florencio Campomanes (CHESS, November 1986, page 324)

“He is capable of claiming anything on the flimsiest evidence.”

B. H. Wood (letter to Edward Winter, 17 March 1987)

“The recent campaign [Keene and Lucena vs Campomanes] was one of the dirtiest I’ve ever seen. It was based on unproven innuendo.”

Donald Schultz (Chess Life, January 1988, page 34)

“According to Korchnoi, ‘Mr Keene betrayed me. He violated the contract. It was clear that while Mr Keene was writing one book and then another, Mr Stean was doing his work for him.’ Michael Stean, who was a close friend of Keene’s, and had been a fellow-undergraduate at Trinity College, has not spoken to him since.”

– Nick Pitt (the Sunday Times Magazine, 13 January 1991, page 20)

“… now I learn that I am ‘barking mad’ as well as a ‘dangerous lunatic’ (Keene) and paranoid (Anderton).

I may well be all of those things, but I am also something else. I am a human being. And in my own humble opinion I am quite a sensitive, patriotic and reasonably honest human being. And as such I am fed up with being made a scapegoat for Messrs. Keene and Anderton’s mistakes.”

Tony Miles (letter dated 3 May 1991 in CHESS, July 1991, pages 18-19)

“Examples of plagiarism are not unknown in chess literature, but Raymond Keene has set a new standard for shamelessness in his recent work, The Complete Book of Gambits (Batsford, 1992).”

John Donaldson (Inside Chess, 3 May 1993, page 24)

“You may ask any grandmaster who knows Keene. Everything he is involved in is based on personal interests.”

– Anatoly Karpov (New in Chess, 3/1993, page 46)

“Hardly a day goes by without another hysterical puff piece in The Times about the unofficial “World Championship” chess match …

Hardly surprising: for behind the web of intrigue surrounding the match lurks the formidably devious figure of … Raymond Keene.”

– Private Eye (4 June 1993, page 9)

The Times … set a new standard for one-sided, prejudiced and wilfully misleading reporting.”

– Editorial (New in Chess, 4/1993, page 9, concerning that year’s Kasparov vs Short match. Page 232 of the May 1993 British Chess Magazine commented regarding a press release that “the Spectator had its own selective Pravda-style way” of dealing with it.)

“In a newspaper article devoted to him I described him as a talent who sold his soul to the devil at the end of the seventies and prospered ever since.”

– Hans Ree (New in Chess, 7/1993, page 8)

British television programmes on the 1993 Kasparov v Short match:

“Channel Four’s coverage of the games was so clodhoppingly amateurish, and Carol Vorderman’s presentation so tooth-achingly crass, that no person of discernment could possibly stomach them. … Rather than endure another maddening afternoon with Carol Vorderman – not to mention her even more rebarbative guest, the grinning grandmaster Raymond Keene – I decided to go and see for myself.”

– Francis Wheen (Observer Magazine, 3 October 1993, page 7)

“We are obviously catering for a much wider readership and hope to be authoritative and erudite! No Keene junk anymore, and I have to admit that your criticisms of Keene were completely justified.”

Paul Lamford (letter to Edward Winter, March 1994, concerning the launch of Lamford’s new magazine Games & Puzzles)

“Recycling old trash into new trash is a notorious book-spawning trick of Keene’s.”

Edward Winter (in a 1998 review of World Champion Combinations by R. Keene and E. Schiller)

“Keene is a strange and intriguing case. A highly intelligent writer [?? – Keenipedia editors] who one day decided that as a family man and breadwinner he could not afford to squander his time on trifles like truth and style.”

– Hans Ree (New in Chess, 3/1999, page 93)

“… how can you have the audacity to lie like that in a document used to raise millions of pounds from investors? Do you have no moral qualms at all, and no respect for the law?”

– David Levy (in an open letter to Raymond Keene, 4 April 2000 concerning the Brain Games scandal)

“As for David Levy and his blinding epiphany, where on earth was Levy when Korchnoi showed that Keene had broken his contract when working as his second at the 1978 world championship match? Where was Levy when Edward Winter presented irrefutable evidence of Keene’s misconduct on a whole variety of issues? Where on earth was Levy when GM Tony Miles told the world that he and Keene had jointly conspired and did in fact defraud the British Chess Federation? Wasn’t it this charge that brought a swift resignation and graceless exit from the BCF by Keene? Where was Levy when Keene was caught red-handed plagiarizing copyrighted material from Inside Chess magazine for one of his potboilers? It seems that Levy has only recently seen the light.”

Yasser Seirawan (Inside Chess online, 17 April 2000. Levy responded: “Fair enough Yasser.”)

“Keene was my second in Moscow 1982. Shall we say he didn’t live up to expectations. He was paid $3,500 by the American Chess Foundation but he seemed more interested in making book deals than helping me. We were two weeks in Moscow. I had just one adjourned game…a very complex rook ending and he showed up inebriated and collapsed. Why me, God? I thought.”

Larry Christiansen (Kingpin Issue 32, Spring 2000)

“I do claim responsibility for the defeat of the Keene/Kasparov coalition. It could be reasonably argued that Campomanes was either a good guy or a bad guy, but I’m proud that discovering the truth and telling it proved that his opponents were worse. They haven’t looked any better as the years have gone by.”

Hugh Myers in A Chess Explorer (The Myers Openings Bulletin, 2002, page 193)

“I was dismayed at the way standards were declining, but having no direct say in Batsford’s operations I could do no more than express my unhappiness.

The climax came when Raymond Keene proposed to write a series of 12 beginners’ books for Batsford, an idea to which the Batsford management was favourably disposed. Graham Burgess, as the Batsford chess editor, was strongly opposed to this plan but apparently this made little difference. I also voiced my opposition, and the result was that a kind of ‘dirty war’ erupted within Batsford, in which Graham Burgess and I were the main targets.”

– John Nunn in Grandmaster Chess Move by Move (Gambit Publications Ltd, 2005, page 282)

“The 1982 Keene was not yet the wholly unprincipled swindler who in the late 90s would refuse to repay £60,000 to his former brother-in-law David Levy …”

Ex Acton ad Astra (in Kingpin, Spring 2007, pages 19-20)

“The lucrative but risky mass fleecing of investors at the start of the new millennium would bring him to the peak of his corruption and notoriety.”

Ex Acton ad Astra (in Kingpin, Spring 2007, page 32)

“… an amusing report on originality-challenged UK GM Ray Keene, once again in the pages of Private Eye. It’s gotten to the point that you feel left out if Keene hasn’t swiped some of your material over the years.”

Mig Greengard (comment on his website, 3 November 2008)

“An Englishman, yes. A gentleman? Anything but.”

Lars Grahn (in “Not so Keene on Copyright“, 10 August 2009)

“Lincoln Lucena’s bid for the FIDE Presidency was strangely low-key and ineffectual. Worse, his ‘running mate’, Raymond Keene, seemed to pop up almost everywhere in the chess media with statements which, let’s just say, often failed to bear scrutiny.”

– Yasser Seirawan in Chess Duels (Everyman, 2010, page 241)

“He’s still standing: still correspondent of The SpectatorThe Times and The Sunday Times. Chessplayers let him get away with everything and anything.”

– James Plaskett (comment on the Kingpin website, 1 January 2010)

“Is [Kasparov] supposed to take it as a compliment that his book is worthy of such precise plagiarism by Ray Keene?” (20 June 2013); “Lol. Sure, uncredited copying. Riiiiight.” (22 June 2013); “It’s an amusing dodge, but a translator doesn’t own the rights to give, especially uncredited. Lame post-facto ass covering try.” (22 June 2013); “(…) we all know Keene is full of it since he also plagiarized Botvinnik at same time.” (23 June 2013); “There’s no moral level that gives permission to pass another’s words off as your own. Permission to reproduce exists. Filch, no.” (23 June 2013)

– Mig Greengard (on his Twitter account, 20-23 June 2013)

“As the Eye asked four years ago: do Keene’s editors at the Spectator and the Times have any qualms about employing this absurd comic-book thief? Now as then, the answer seems to be, er, no.”

Private Eye (28 June-11 July 2013, page 29)

“‘Chequered mate’ – The plagiarism of chess’s grandmaster chump Raymond Keene.”

Private Eye website (highlights of the 6-19 September 2013 issue)

“The refusal to play the match under the aegis of FIDE was the worst blunder of my entire chess career.”

Garry Kasparov in Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov Part II: 1985-1993 (Everyman, 2013, page 490). He is referring to the 1993 breakaway match in London against Nigel Short, which was engineered by Raymond Keene under the aegis of The Times. The same admission was made on page 115 of How Life Imitates Chess by Garry Kasparov with Mig Greengard (William Heinemann, 2007): “… a terrible blunder, the worst of my career.”

“In the history of UK journalism, has there ever been the like?”

– Justin Horton (on the extent of Raymond Keene’s plagiarism, Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog, 13 November 2013)

“Raymond Keene is not a clever man, and no amount of glibness and guile can conceal that.”

Edward Winter in Cuttings