World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Raymond Keene

Raymond Keene
Raymond Keene in 1981
Full name Raymond Dennis Keene
Country England
Born (1948-01-29) 29 January 1948
Title Grandmaster (1976)
FIDE rating Not active
Peak rating 2510 (January 1977)

Raymond Dennis Keene OBE (born 29 January 1948) is an English

  • Raymond Keene rating card at FIDE
  • Raymond Keene player profile and games at
  • The 1986 FIDE Presidential Election a series of 1986 articles opposing the candidacies of Lincoln Lucena for FIDE President and Keene for FIDE General Secretary, by J. Edward Wells of "American Friends of FIDE"

External links

  1. ^ a b c d e f  
  2. ^ William Hartson, No rest from mental fight, The Independent, 23 August 1997 [4] retrieved 13 October 2011
  3. ^ Raymond Keene, Becoming a Grandmaster, Batsford, 1977, p. 11. ISBN 0-7134-0830-8.
  4. ^ B. M. Kažić, International Championship Chess: A Complete Record of FIDE Events, Pitman Publishing, 1974, pp. 278-80. ISBN 0-273-07078-9.
  5. ^ Individual Medals Olimpbase: 22nd Chess Olympiad, Haifa 1976.
  6. ^ [5], consulted 9 September 2009
  7. ^ Keene, Becoming a Grandmaster, pp. 73-76.
  8. ^ Howard Staunton memorial tournament [6]
  9. ^ New In Chess, 2008, number 8, Nic's Café, p. 6.
  10. ^ Keene On Chess retrieved 21 August 2009.
  11. ^  
  12. ^ For instance review of The Brain Games World Chess Championship 2000 in Kingpin 33, p. 63-4, by Steve Giddins.
  13. ^ Chess historian Edward Winter has written several critiques of Keene's chess writings. Three of Keene's books include an inaccurate description of the number of players and rounds in the 1948 World Championship Tournament with near-identical wording. ( Chess Notes by Edward Winter, 5987, 3 February 2009.) In his book World Chess Championship Kramnik vs Leko (Hardinge Simpole, 2004) Keene attributes a quotation to Peter Leko which he did not say and which is in fact an adaptation of a quotation from the boxer Victoriano Sosa. Winter's research showed that the original appeared in an amended form on the internet and was then reproduced by Keene without verification. ( Chess Notes by Edward Winter, 3752, 21 May 2005.) Winter's review of World Champion Combinations by Keene and Eric Schiller (Cardoza, 1999) documents a large number of factual errors in that book. ( World Champion Combinations by Edward Winter.) In his Complete Book of Beginning Chess (Cardoza, 2003) Keene claims on page 237 that Capablanca's achievement in winning the world championship without losing a game "has never since been repeated". This overlooks Kramnik's repetition of the feat in his match against Kasparov in 2000, which Keene organised. (Chess Facts and Fables by Edward Winter, McFarland 2006, p. 139.)
  14. ^ Inside Chess, 3 May 1993, p. 24-5.
  15. ^ Copying
  16. ^ Chess Notes by Edward Winter, 5771, 23 September 2008.
  17. ^ Private Eye, 1222, 31 October 2008, p. 5.
  18. ^ Chess Notes by Edward Winter, 5795, 10 October 2008.
  19. ^ Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (99) Chessbase, 21 June 2013
  20. ^ Predecessors Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog, 19 June 2013.
  21. ^ Chequered Mate.
  22. ^ Special Ks, The Spectator, 5 January 2013
  23. ^ Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (100) Chessbase, 2 September 2013.
  24. ^ Ray Keene Plagiarism Index Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog.
  25. ^ Edward Winter's Chess Explorations (100)
  26. ^ Generous to a Fault, Kingpin 15, Summer 1989, p. 10-11, letter from Tony Miles. Also see Raymundo contra Mundum
  27. ^ How could you do this Raymond? Open letter from David Levy to Raymond Keene.
  28. ^ Chess Café 14 August 2001, The Skittles Room, Brain Games: The Full Truth by David Levy. Also see Raymundo contra Mundum
  29. ^
  30. ^ Is Fraud a Brain Game? by David Levy, 6 January 2002.
  31. ^ Private Eye, 1084, 11 July 2003.
  32. ^ Private Eye, 1093, 14 November 2003.
  33. ^ "Pandora", The Independent, 23 October 2000, comment p. 4; Lubomir Kavalek, "Chess", Washington Post, 23 October 2000, p. C11.
  34. ^ "Keene's Gambit" by Nick Pitt, Sunday Times magazine 13 January 1991, p. 20.
  35. ^ "When Keene was taxed by Petra Leeuwerik and Viktor Korchnoi as to whether he was writing a book during the match, as he was spending so much of his time in the Press Office sending telex messages, Keene emphatically denied it." Chess, February 1980, p. 84-85, letter from Mrs Jean Stean.
  36. ^ What Jean Stean had seen Streatham and Brixton Chess Blog, 19 April 2013.


Attempts to defend Keene were rebutted by Michael Stean's mother, who stated that she was in a position to know what was in Keene's contract since she herself had typed it. Keene, she claimed, had signed this despite having already negotiated a contract with Batsford to write a book about the match. She described "a premeditated and deliberate plan to deceive" and noted that Keene's conduct had come under suspicion during the match.[35][36]

Viktor Korchnoi alleges that when acting as his second in the 1978 World Championship match, Keene broke his contract by writing a book about the match (to which the book appeared three days after the match finished) having specifically signed an agreement "not to write, compile or help to write or compile any book during the course of the match". Korchnoi commented: "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."[34]


During the course of the 2000 Braingames World Championship Keene was accused of heavy-handed behaviour in having journalist John Henderson removed from the press room with the assistance of bouncers.[33]

BGN collapsed in controversial circumstances. Shareholders were unhappy that sums amounting to at least £675,000 had been paid to directors in "fees and payments" despite the company swiftly becoming insolvent.[31] Investors were also unhappy that Keene and Lubin had acquired 88% of the company "for a song" even though the remaining 12% had been sold for around £3 million.[32]

Levy further criticised Keene for selling three of his own companies to Brain Games Network PLC (BGN) for £220,000 despite their being "virtually worthless". The three companies had between them "a total capital and reserves of only £2,300". At much the same time, according to Levy, BGN purchased a web site and two domain names from Chess and Bridge Limited. However, they made the purchase in two stages. The first of these stages was its sale to Giloberg Finance Limited, owned by Keene's associate Alan Lubin: the second was the immediate sale of the same items, by Giloberg, to BGN. The first sale was for approximately £60,000 (in fact $100,000) and the second was for £290,000, hence making Giloberg "an instant profit of approximately £230,000" and raising the question of why BGN should have paid a sum much greater than the original vendors considered the items were worth.[30]

Nothing, however, was proven against Keene (who had swiftly paid an identical sum, i.e. £50,000 to MSO, making the subsequent explanation that this constituted a personal loan from himself) and his new company went on to organise the world championship match later that same year. (It was at this time that Private Eye started referring to him as The Penguin, a nickname he had first acquired in 1966.[29])

As one would expect, our original investors were equally astounded at the news and extremely angry at Keene. They had by now invested £1.5 million (approximately $2.25 million at that time) partly or largely on the basis of their faith in Keene and myself. Now they had learned that one of their two key consultants, the one with money raising skills, had been working to set up a rival company.

In 2000, Keene's former brother-in-law David Levy accused[27] him of deceiving the directors of their company Mind Sports Olympiad Ltd by setting up a rival company, Brain Games Network plc, without their knowledge and using £50,000 of MSO Ltd money to do so. Levy further alleged that Keene changed his story several times as to the purpose of the payment and the reasons why the new company had been set up. He complained that shares in the new company were held by Keene and an associate (Don Morris) but by not the company for which they had been supposed to be working, nor any of its directors other than themselves.[28] Levy wrote:

Brain Games

In 1985, Keene received £1,178 from the BCF for being Tony Miles' second at the Interzonal in Tunis; however, he had not actually been Miles' second but accepted the money and shared it with Miles. Miles had initially agreed to this plan but eventually told the BCF about it in 1987. Two months later, Keene resigned his posts as BCF Publicity Director and FIDE delegate. Keene says that the resignation was for different reasons, that he was "furious" at his treatment after organising numerous events from 1983 to 1987.[26]

Tony Miles

These alleged plagiarisms, which Edward Winter calls "eye-popping"[23] are catalogued at "a convenient 'plagiarism index'[24] which is being kept updated".[25]

Private Eye describes the plagiarism as involving "substantial amounts of text lifted from chess books, mainly Kasparov's but also other authors".[21] One case involves Keene's notes to a game between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, which he annotated for The Times on 8 December 2011 and The Spectator on 5 January 2013.[22]

In 2013 Winter reflected on plagiarism in chess:[19] "a particularly sordid corner of the chess world which will never be eradicated without maximum public exposure". He went on: "The latest instance is the discovery[20] by Justin Horton that material from the first volume of Kasparov’s My Great Predecessors series has been misappropriated by Raymond Keene in The Spectator."

In 2008 Keene was accused of plagiarising a column by Edward Winter for a piece published in The Spectator and subsequently on the website Chessville.[16][17] More than a third of the article was taken directly from Winter's column.[18]

Keene has on several occasions been accused of plagiarism. In 1993 John Donaldson accused Keene of committing plagiarism in The Complete Book of Gambits (Batsford, 1992).[14] Donaldson wrote "Just how blatant was the plagiarism? Virtually every word and variation in the four and a half pages devoted to Lisitsin's Gambit in Keene's book was stolen." After Keene refused to pay Donaldson a requested $200 for the use of his material, Keene's American publisher Henry Holt and Company ended up paying Donaldson $3000.[15]

Allegations of plagiarism


Keene claims to be "the author of 140 books on chess".[10] He was the Chess Advisor to Batsford, but now writes for Hardinge Simpole and for his own company Impala. His early books such as Howard Staunton (1975, with R. N. Coles) often dealt with players with styles similar to his own.[1] Aron Nimzowitsch: a Reappraisal (1974) is much admired and was revised and translated into Russian in 1986,[1] with a revised third edition published in English in 1999.[11] In 1989, he and Nathan Divinsky wrote Warriors of the Mind, an attempt to determine the 64 best chess players of all time. The statistical methods used have not met with wide approval, but the player biographies and games provide a good overview.[1] Some of Keene's later work has attracted criticism for sloppiness and the habit of copying passages, including errors, from one book to another.[12][13]


Keene has appeared on television. He covered the world championships of 1981, 1985, 1986, 1990, 1993, and 1995 for BBC 2, CHANNEL 4, and Thames TV. In the "Duels Of The Mind" series which aired on the UK ITV network, Keene, along with South African author and civil rights campaigner Donald Woods, discussed and analysed what Keene regards as the twelve best chess games ever played.

Television personality

Keene has been the chess correspondent of The Times since 1985, following the retirement of Harry Golombek, and has written a column for The Spectator since 12 March 1977. Keene also contributes to the website


Keene has also been involved in organising several World Championship finals matches. He arranged for the first half of the World Championship match in 2000 between Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik. Following the match, however, he retained the trophy in lieu of money he believed he was owed by the collapse of Brain Games: Kramnik did not receive it until 2008.[9] Brain Games later collapsed in controversial circumstances.

Keene brought [1]

Keene has worked as a chess event organiser. He is the originator and organiser of the annual [1]p196


Chess-related work

Keene's playing style tended toward the strategically original and positional. Strongly influenced by Aron Nimzowitsch and Richard Réti, he accordingly preferred hypermodern openings such as the Modern Defence, Nimzo-Indian Defence and King's Indian Defence.[7]

Playing style

Keene won the 1971 British championship and shared second place on three occasions, in 1968, 1970 and 1972. His tournament victories include Hastings Challengers 1966, Slater Challenge Southend 1968, Johannesburg 1973, Woolacombe 1973, Capablanca Memorial (Master Group) 1974, Alicante 1977, Sydney 1979, Dortmund 1980, Barcelona 1980, Lloyds Bank Masters 1981, Adelaide 1983 and La Valletta 1985.

He represented England four times at the Students' Olympiad (Örebro 1966, Harrachov 1967, Ybbs 1968 and Dresden 1969) and four times at the European Team Championships (Bath 1973, Moscow 1977, Skara 1980 and Plovdiv 1983). At Skara he won both a bronze medal with the team and the individual gold medal for the best score on his board.

Keene represented England for nearly two decades in international team events, beginning with the 1966 Chess Olympiad in Havana at age 18. He followed with the next seven straight Olympiads: Lugano 1968, Siegen 1970, Skopje 1972, Nice 1974, Haifa 1976, Buenos Aires 1978, and La Valletta 1980. His individual performances at Lugano and Haifa merited bronze medals (although individual medals were not, in fact, awarded at Haifa[5]) and he went undefeated in three Olympiads - these two and Siegen. His later performances, though, were less impressive, with just two draws from four games at Buenos Aires and losses in both his games at La Valletta.[6]

Miles and Keene were at the forefront of the English chess explosion of the next 20 years, and they were followed by other British grandmasters such as Michael Stean, John Nunn, Jon Speelman and Jonathan Mestel. The team highlight has been 1986, when England claimed second place and the team silver medals at the Dubai Chess Olympiad, their highest finish ever. England also won team bronzes at Haifa 1976, Thessaloniki 1988 and Novi Sad 1990. Keene, however, played only in the first (Haifa 1976) of these medal-winning performances.

Previously the UK had no Grandmaster chess players. Keene was the second British player to meet the necessary requirements to become a Grandmaster. He was pipped to the post by a few months by Tony Miles, the first British Grandmaster in 1976. Both he and Miles won financial prizes for this feat.

Keene won the London and British Under 18 Championships in 1964,[3] and represented England at the 1965 and 1967 World Junior Chess Championships, held in Barcelona and Jerusalem respectively.[4] After education at Dulwich College and Trinity College, Cambridge (where he studied modern languages and graduated MA), Keene wrote his first chess book whilst studying at Cambridge, and won the British Chess Championship at Blackpool 1971. As a result, he was awarded the International Master title in 1972, the first English player to achieve this since Jonathan Penrose in 1961. In 1974, Keene married Annette, the sister of International Master David S. Goodman. They have one son, Alexander, born in 1991.

Chess career


  • Chess career 1
    • Playing style 1.1
  • Chess-related work 2
    • Organiser 2.1
    • Columnist 2.2
    • Television personality 2.3
    • Author 2.4
  • Controversies 3
    • Allegations of plagiarism 3.1
    • Tony Miles 3.2
    • Brain Games 3.3
    • Korchnoi 3.4
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Keene is a controversial figure in the chess world, and has had disputes with John Donaldson, Tony Miles, David Levy, and Viktor Korchnoi. He has been accused of plagiarism, and his business dealings and the quality of some of his chess books have also been criticised.

Keene retired from competitive play in 1986 at the age of thirty eight, and is now better known as a chess organiser, columnist and author. He was involved in organising the Mind Sports Olympiads;[2] all held in London. He has been chess correspondent of The Times since 1985, and is a prolific author, having written over 100 books on chess. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to chess in 1985.

. Chess Olympiads, to be awarded the Grandmaster title. He represented his country in eight Tony Miles, in 1974. In 1976 he became the second Englishman, following Grandmaster norm in 1971, and was the first player from England to earn a British Chess Championship He won the p196[1]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.