Archive for the ‘Academia’ Category

I did manage to read Rowson’s book The Moves that Matter, carefully enough. It took longer than it should but he does appear to have remained remarkably adept at giving you food for thought and time for digestion. He did come under some criticism as there are factual errors, and some points made are rather contentious. His account of chess in Georgia and the gap in strength between men and women remaining unchanged was disappointing to read given that the policy introduced to invoke change has already done so, hence the reason that the majority of Georgian world champions are female. The latter third of the book has a shift in style which indicates fatigue. Some parts are below par for him, and feel rushed or without the reflection we come to expect from Rowson. Still, it’s a great book and well worth a read. Perhaps a little too ambitious but at worst only very slightly falls short of what it should have been. Anyway, that is nothing more than my own uncontested opinion.

Score 9 out of 10

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As I am learning, the Anglo-American cable matches which began at the end of the 19th century and lasted for fifteen years or so are much more of a challenge to research than I first thought. Cable matches were well in place by the time they started, and the original idea begun with developed significantly by parties on both sides of the Altantic and remained a source of constant revision throughout. It’s a thesis in itself and I’m sorry to say but I can’t dedicate myself to something of that size. What I can do is post some of the preliminary findings, which should give a sense of how news of it was handled in its day. Although I’ve established how the cables were laid and consisted of, that’s a separate topic altogether so I won’t be going into that. I thought it best to go to the source and establish how it began in the first place. It would appear there was a benefactor in place from the outset and that he was a distinguished and larger than life character, his name was Sir George Newnes. Although information can be found about him on wikipedia, it is inadvisable to refer to that for it is inaccurate and erroneous on a number of important points. It is safer to read the article on him in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography if you can.

To begin with, the reportage below is from The Morning Post March 14th 1896.

MJM

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Oh boy it gets so hard. The Westminster Gazette publishes something in full. The next day about six other newspapers follow suit. Do I assume they just copied? I’m an academic! I can’t just do that! It is as reprehensible as it is irresponsible. Ohhh, headache time… .

Big job ahead… .

MJM

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I have begun collating material for what is a second project but it may take some years but then of course it may only take months. Rather expensive it is and I’m sorry but reading through Victorian Newspapers isn’t as easy as you might think. Journalism back then was so very different to how it is today. I can assure you that in locating primary source material, what is read in today’s pamphlets and what is read on-line differs greatly to what was written then -lest must we not forget that history written by those with no real interest in it is going to be rather messy, to put it nicely… .

If the past is a foreign county (to refer to an article you might see sooner rather than later I sincerely hope) chess players with no background in history are its immigrants.

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