The Garry Kaspartov Scam

Edward Winter


From Miquel Artigas (Sabadell, Spain):

‘I am writing regarding a book published by Ediciones Altosa in 1999 to introduce you to a new chess author: Garry Kaspartov.’
kasparov

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The question that arises regarding the Manual del ajedrecista by Garry Kaspartov is whether ‘Kaspartov’ is an accidental misspelling in a book genuinely by Kasparov or a piece of mercantile trickery by the publisher to exploit the former world champion’s name.

Our correspondent, Mr Artigas, has provided further information about the book:

‘There is no mention of an original edition or translator. Nor, in the book’s contents, does Kasparov’s name appear. It is an instructional work (128 pages) with the following chapters:

“Prólogo
I. El tablero y sus fichas
II. El poder de las piezas del juego
III. Las veintiséis reglas del ajedrez
IV. El enroque
V. El valor de las piezas
VI. Fases de la partida
VII. Ejemplo de partida
VIII. El jaque mate
IX. Las anotaciones
X. Los signos
XI. La promoción del Peón
XII. La oposición
XIII. Las Tablas
XIV. Técnicas de apertura
XV.La Celada
XVI. Consejos
XVII. Términos mas usados.”

In my opinion the book is badly written and very weak from the technical point of view. It is also full of old-fashioned concepts:

Capítulo III. Regla 3ª (p. 29): “Si se ha empezado una partida con una pieza de menos habiéndose efectuado la cuarta jugada de ambas partes, será obligatorio acabar la partida sin poder colocar la pieza olvidada en su lugar correspondiente.” [If a game has been begun with a piece missing and both players have made their fourth moves, it shall be obligatory to complete the game without being able to put the forgotten piece at its appropriate place.]

Regla 17ª (p. 32): “El que da de ventaja una torre, puede igualmente enrocar del lado en que falta esta torre diciendo: enroco.” [The player giving the odds of a rook may also castle on the side where this rook has been removed, saying: I castle.]

Capítulo XVI. Consejos (p. 121): “Tenemos que procurar hacer el enroque lo antes posible y siempre antes de las ocho primeras jugadas, siendo este síntoma ideal.” [We must manage to castle as early as possible and always within the first eight moves, this being the ideal method.]

The publisher, Ediciones Altosa, Madrid, has some serious explaining to do.

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Mr Artigas supplies some sample pages from the Kaspartov book currently under scrutiny:

kaspartovkaspartovkasparov


kaspartovkaspartov

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Examining the book for possible clues, we note that the only master game presented is the following:

kaspartov1

However, this victory by Keres in the 1965 USSR Championship was against Kuzmin, not Simagin. Have any other books made the same mistake?

The fact that a volume has appeared with authorship ascribed to ‘Garry Kaspartov’ seems to have aroused little interest or concern. Would the same equanimity exist if a Spanish publisher brought out a chess book which named the author as ‘Bobby Fischter’?

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The genesis of the Manual del ajedrecista is still unknown, but Javier Asturiano Molina (Murcia, Spain) notes a possible further clue: for ‘pieces’ the book often uses ‘fichas’ (a common term in some other board games) rather than the usual chess word ‘piezas’. Mr Asturiano Molina has, though, found ‘fichas’ in the chess writings of Manuel Golmayo de la Torriente.

Can any reader take the investigation forward?

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