Raymond Keene

Raymond Keene

Infobox chess player
playername=Raymond Keene

birthname=Raymond Dennis Keene
datebirth=birth date and age|1948|1|29

Raymond Dennis Keene OBE (born 29 January 1948) is a chess grandmaster, but is better known as a chess organiser, columnist and author. He was awarded the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to chess in 1985.

Chess career

Keene won the British Boys' title in 1964, and represented England at the 1965 Barcelona World Junior Chess Championship and the 1967 World Junior Chess Championship in Jerusalem. After education at Dulwich College and Trinity College, Cambridge (where he studied modern languages and graduated MA), Keene rose to prominence on the British chess scene in the early seventies. He wrote his first chess book whilst studying at Cambridge, and won the British Chess Championship at Blackpool 1971. In 1974, Keene married Annette, the sister of International Master David Goodman. They have one son, Alexander, born in 1991.

Previously the UK had no Grandmaster chess players: its best known player was the highly respected Jonathan Penrose (who famously beat Mikhail Tal in 1960). Keene was described around this time by Bobby Fischer as "One of the most talented young players in the world", but his practical results perhaps suffered from an overly academic approach to what is a contest.Fact|date=July 2007 Keene was the second British player to achieve the necessary norms 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.

Miles and Keene were at the forefront of the English chess explosion of the next 20 years, and they were soon followed by other grandmasters such as John Nunn, Jonathan Speelman, Jonathan Mestel (those three also earned their doctorates in Mathematics), Michael Stean, James Plaskett, Murray Chandler, Julian Hodgson, Nigel Short, Daniel King, Stuart Conquest, Michael Adams, and Matthew Sadler. 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 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 (winning an individual bronze medal), Siegen 1970, Skopje 1972, Nice 1974, Haifa 1976 (team bronze medal), Buenos Aires 1978, and La Valletta 1980. He played for England four times at the Students' Olympiad – Orebro 1966, Harrachov 1967, Ybbs 1968, and Dresden 1969. And he played four times for England at the European Team Championships: Bath 1973, Moscow 1977, Skara 1980 (team bronze medal, and individual gold medal for best score on his board) and Plovdiv 1983.

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

Playing style

Keene's playing style tended toward the strategically original and positional. Preferring hypermodern openings such as the Modern Defence, he introduced a few interesting novelties. His style of play was strongly influenced by Aron Nimzowitsch, and thus his adoption of Indian-type openings and positions (the Nimzo-Indian Defence, the King's Indian Defence) and the Modern Defence with black.

Allegations of fraud

In 1985, Keene received $1178 from the BCF for being the second of Tony Miles at the Interzonal in Tunisia. However, he had not actually been his second and instead, shared this money 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. [Kingpin 15, Summer 1989]

In 2000, Keene's former brother in law David Levy accused him of defrauding him for an amount of $50,000. [cite web |url=http://www.chesscenter.com/kingpin/Kingpin/raylevy.htm |title=Raymondo contro mundum] Nothing was proved against Keene, however, and he remains a chess author and organiser of chess events.It was at this time that the popular UK satirical magazine Private Eye started referring to him as The Penguin, famed from the Batman series as a supervillain. This was partly because of his appearance, and partly because of the allegations.Fact|date=August 2007

Organization of chess events

* Keene served as second to Viktor Korchnoi for his Candidates' final match in 1974, and his World Chess Championship 1978; both matches were against Anatoly Karpov.
* Keene brought Viktor Korchnoi and Garry Kasparov together for their 1983 Candidates' semi-final match in London as part of the 1984 World Championship cycle; the semi-final match between Vasily Smyslov and Zoltan Ribli was also played at the same site.
* He organised the 1984 Russia (USSR) vs Rest of the World match in London.
* He arranged for the first half of the World Chess Championship 1986 return match between Kasparov and Karpov to be played in London.
* He organised the 1993 PCA World Championship match between Kasparov and Nigel Short in London, for which he was one of the official commentators along with Grandmasters Jonathan Speelman and Daniel King.
* He was the instrumental force behind 'Brain Games', which organized the World Championship match in 2000 between Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik.


Keene has been the chess correspondent of The Times since 1985, and has written a column for "The Spectator" since March 12, 1977.

Television and Film Work

Keene has frequently 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 were, in his opinion, the twelve best games of chess.

Keene (with Julian Simpole), also appeared in the British Horror Film "The Zombie Diaries" as a Voice-over artist [imdb name|id=2624243] . Their voices (playing a radio journalist and politician respectively) can be heard over the introduction sequence of commuters walking through London.


Keene has written 120 books on chess. [ [http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessuser?uname=ray%20keene chessgames.com user profile] ] He was the Chess Advisor to Batsford, but now writes mainly for Hardinge Simpole, which he co-owns.

While he is a popular author, he also has his critics. (See Controversies down Below) Specifically, John W. Donaldson accused him of plagiarism with regards to his book "The Complete Book of Gambits" (Batsford, 1992). After Keene refused to pay Donaldson $200 for the use of his material, Keene's American publisher Henry Holt and Company ended up paying him $3000. [ [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/copying.html Copying] , by Edward Winter]

Among his most important books are the following:

*"Flank Openings", by Raymond Keene, St. Leonard's on Sea (British Chess Magazine) 1967 (revised several times since).
*"The Modern Defence", by Raymond Keene and George Botterill, London (Batsford) 1973.
*"Aron Nimzowitsch -- A Reappraisal", by Raymond Keene, London (Batsford) 1974 (revised 1999).
*"Howard Staunton -- the English World Chess Champion"; by Raymond Keene and Richard N. Coles, St. Leonard's on Sea (British Chess Magazine) 1975.
*"Karpov -- Korchnoi 1974", by Raymond Keene and William Hartston, London (Batsford) 1975.
*"Karpov -- Korchnoi 1978", the Inside Story of the Match, by Raymond Keene, London (Batsford) 1978.
*"Batsford Chess Openings", by Garry Kasparov and Raymond Keene, London (Batsford) 1982 (first edition; second edition Batsford 1989).
*"Maneuvers in Moscow: Karpov -- Kasparov II", by Raymond Keene, London (Macmillan Chess Library), January 1986.
*"The Centenary Match Kasparov -- Karpov III", by Raymond Keene and David Goodman, London (Batsford), paperback December 1986.
*"Warriors of the Mind: A Quest for the Supreme Genius of the Chess Board", by Nathan Divinsky and Raymond Keene, London (Batsford), 1989, 2002.
*"Leonid Stein: Master of Attack", by Raymond Keene, London (Tui Enterprises), 1989.
*"Battle of the Titans -- Kasparov -- Karpov 1990", by Raymond Keene, London (Batsford) 1991.
*"Man Versus Machine: Kasparov Versus Deep Blue", by David Goodman and Raymond Keene, London (Batsford), paperback May 1997.
*"Showdown in Seville Kasparov -- Karpov IV", by Raymond Keene and David Goodman, London (Batsford), paperback reprint October 2003.


Raymond Keene has been the subject of many complaints by the chess world. Among the critics, is Edward Winter, a world renowned chess historian, who claims that many of his books are filled with countless errors. One such example is [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/keene.html] where there is criticism on the book "World Champion Combinations", which Raymond Keene co-authored with Eric Schiller. Donaldson and Winter both accuse him of outright plagiarism [http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/copying.html] .


External links

* [http://www.chessworld.net/chessclubs/statistics_pgn_rating_chart.asp?username=Keene,Raymond%20D. Statistics at ChessWorld.net]

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