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Raymond Keene
Photograph copyright (c) 2003 Bo Zaunders
courtesy of
Number of games in database: 1,767
Years covered: 1960 to 2012
Last FIDE rating: 2455
Highest rating achieved in database: 2510

Overall record: +1017 -160 =544 (74.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database. 46 exhibition games, blitz/rapid, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Reti System (138) 
    A04 A05 A06
 King's Indian (114) 
    E62 E80 E63 E94 E69
 Nimzo Indian (66) 
    E30 E41 E42 E49 E26
 English (64) 
    A15 A13 A12 A17 A16
 Queen's Gambit Declined (47) 
    D31 D35 D37 D30 D06
 Grunfeld (47) 
    D91 D85 D79 D74 D76
With the Black pieces:
 Robatsch (113) 
 Sicilian (104) 
    B32 B25 B30 B22 B78
 Pirc (88) 
    B09 B08 B07
 King's Indian (66) 
    E83 E73 E92 E62 E94
 French Defense (56) 
    C18 C05 C00 C09 C15
 Queen's Pawn Game (54) 
    A45 A40 A41 A50 A46
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Keene vs Miles, 1976 1-0
   Keene vs V Kovacevic, 1973 1-0
   Keene vs Robatsch, 1971 1-0
   S J Hutchings vs Keene, 1973 0-1
   Keene vs E Fielder, 1964 1-0
   E Jimenez Zerquera vs Keene, 1974 0-1
   Keene vs S Kerr, 1979 1-0
   M Basman vs Keene, 1981 0-1
   Keene vs Briant, 1988 1-0
   Hecht vs Keene, 1972 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Lugano Olympiad qual-1 (1968)
   Nice Olympiad qual-2 (1974)
   Dortmund (1980)
   BCF-ch (1968)
   Siegen Olympiad Final-C (1970)
   Dortmund (1978)
   Hastings 1968/69 (1968)
   BCF-ch (1982)
   Hastings 1973/74 (1973)
   Lugano Olympiad Final-B (1968)
   FRG-ch International (1973)
   Reykjavik (1976)
   Skopje Olympiad Final-B (1972)
   First Lady Cup 1st (1982)
   Haifa Olympiad (1976)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   K Players of Yesteryear by fredthebear
   ANNOTATED+ GAMES by Patca63
   ANNOTATED+ GAMES by kafkafan
   franskfranz's 1. Nf3 by franskfranz
   ray keene's favorite games by kingscrusher
   ray keene's favorite games by ray keene
   ray keene's favorite games by skisuitof12
   Ray Keene's Best Games by KingG

   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004
   Leko vs Kramnik, 2004
   Topalov vs Kramnik, 2006
   Kramnik vs Leko, 2004

   🏆 Simultaneous exhibition
   Keene vs A Pleasants (Aug-??-12) 0-1, exhibition

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Raymond Keene
Search Google for Raymond Keene
FIDE player card for Raymond Keene

(born Jan-29-1948, 74 years old) United Kingdom

[what is this?]

He won the British Chess Championship in 1971, and was the first player from England to earn a Grandmaster norm, in 1974. In 1976 he became the second Englishman (following Tony Miles) to be awarded the Grandmaster title, and he was the second British chess player to beat an incumbent World Chess Champion (following Jonathan Penrose's defeat of Mikhail Tal in 1961). He represented England in eight Chess Olympiads.

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 1986, 1993 and 2000 World Chess Championships; and the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Mind Sports Olympiads; all held in London. He was the chess correspondent of The Times from 1985 to November 2019, 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.

Keene is a controversial figure in the chess world. He has been accused of plagiarism, and his business dealings and the quality of his chess books, columns and articles have also been criticised.

Chess career
Keene won the London and British Under 18 Championships (shared with Brian Denman) in 1964, and represented England at the 1965 and 1967 World Junior Chess Championships, held in Barcelona and Jerusalem respectively. At the latter event he took the silver medal, finishing behind Julio Kaplan. He was educated at Dulwich College and Trinity College, Cambridge (where he studied modern languages and graduated with an 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.

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.

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.

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) and he was 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.

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 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.

Playing style
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.

Chess-related work
Keene worked as a chess event organiser. He was the originator and organiser of the annual Staunton memorial chess tournaments, one of the few regular events for masters held in London. The Oxford Companion comments: "By a combination of ability and shrewdness, Keene has attracted considerable sponsorship and has proved himself capable of efficient and rapid organisation of chess events".p196

Keene brought Victor 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 Zoltán Ribli was also played at the same site. He organised the 1984 Russia (USSR) vs Rest of the World match in London within two weeks, enabling the event to go ahead on time after the previous plans had fallen through, described by John Nunn as "a magnificent organisational achievement at such short notice."

Keene has also been involved in organising several World Championship finals matches. He arranged for the first half of the World Chess Championship 1986 return match between Kasparov and Karpov in London. The match, however, made a loss for the British Chess Federation (BCF) and, for reasons never clarified, he resigned from his position in the BCF shortly afterwards. 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. 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. Brain Games later collapsed in controversial circumstances.

Keene became the chess columnist of The Spectator in March 1977. His column was terminated in September 2019, when he was replaced by Luke McShane. Following the retirement of Harry Golombek, Keene was appointed the chess correspondent of The Times in 1985. In November 2019 he was replaced by David Howell. In December 1996 he became the chess columnist of the Sunday Times. In August 2017 he was replaced by David Howell.

Television personality
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 regarded as the twelve best chess games ever played.

Magazine editor
From 1978 to 1982, Keene was the editor of Modern Chess Theory, a magazine on openings which included contributions from the Soviet world champions Mikhail Botvinnik, Vasily Smyslov, and Mikhail Tal.

Keene claims to be "the author of 140 books on chess". He was the Chess Advisor to Batsford. His early books such as Howard Staunton (1975, with R. N. Coles) often dealt with players with styles similar to his own. Aron Nimzowitsch: a Reappraisal (1974) is much admired and was revised and translated into Russian in 1986,1 with an algebraic edition published in English in 1999. 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 were regarded by one book as providing a good overviewbut also incurred criticism for inaccuracy. Much of Keene's later work has attracted criticism for sloppiness, plagiarism and the habit of copying passages, including errors, from one book to another.

Allegations of plagiarism
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). 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 $3,000.

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 and on page 129 of his book The Official Biography of Tony Buzan. More than a third of the article was taken directly from Winter's column.

In 2013, Winter reflected on plagiarism in chess: "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 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."

Private Eye describes the plagiarism as involving "substantial amounts of text lifted from chess books, mainly Kasparov's but also other authors". 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.

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

Tony Miles
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 said that his resignation was for different reasons, and that he was "furious" at his treatment after organising numerous events from 1983 to 1987. Brain Games Network
In 2000, Keene's former brother-in-law David Levy accused him of deceiving the directors of their company Mind Sports Olympiad Ltd (MSO) by setting up a rival company, Brain Games Network plc (BGN), 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 not by the company for which they had been supposed to be working, nor any of its directors other than themselves. Levy wrote:

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.

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.)

Levy further criticised Keene for selling three of his own companies to 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.

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. 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.

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. Korchnoi
Viktor Korchnoi alleged that when acting as his second in the 1978 World Championship match, Keene broke his contract by writing a book about the match (which 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."

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.

User: ray keene Wikipedia article: Raymond Keene

Last updated: 2022-01-14 18:15:23

 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,810  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Keene vs J N Sugden  1-0241960Match game 8B90 Sicilian, Najdorf
2. H T Jones vs Keene  0-1241960Exhibition gameC55 Two Knights Defense
3. J N Sugden vs Keene 0-1341960MatchD22 Queen's Gambit Accepted
4. N Totton vs Keene 0-1381960Bromley tourneyE00 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0261960Match game, ClaphamA12 English with b3
6. J N Sugden vs Keene 0-1481960MatchD22 Queen's Gambit Accepted
7. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0261960Dulwich CollegeA12 English with b3
8. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0191960Dulwich CollegeB98 Sicilian, Najdorf
9. J N Sugden vs Keene 0-1311960MatchC16 French, Winawer
10. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0281960Match game 1, ClaphamB23 Sicilian, Closed
11. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0341961Match game 21, Dulwich CollegeA17 English
12. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0261961MatchD47 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
13. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0251961Match game 6, Bognor RegisD43 Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav
14. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0351961OlympiaA67 Benoni, Taimanov Variation
15. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0201961U-14 ChampionshipA16 English
16. T Baldwin vs Keene  0-1351961Olympia ExhibitionC17 French, Winawer, Advance
17. G K Sandiford vs Keene  0-1521961Match, game 5B16 Caro-Kann, Bronstein-Larsen Variation
18. J N Sugden vs Keene 0-1301961Match game 6, BeckenhamE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
19. Keene vs J N Sugden 1-0151961DulwichB96 Sicilian, Najdorf
20. J Regruto vs Keene  0-1331961Clapham Common CC ChampsA47 Queen's Indian
21. J N Sugden vs Keene  0-1381961MatchD22 Queen's Gambit Accepted
22. Keene vs Orly 1-0101961Clapham Common CCB02 Alekhine's Defense
23. J N Sugden vs Keene 0-1291961MatchE40 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3
24. S Leff vs Keene 0-1361961Clapham Common CCA20 English
25. A Ogus vs Keene  ½-½371961School matchC18 French, Winawer
 page 1 of 73; games 1-25 of 1,810  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Keene wins | Keene loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 399 OF 399 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Williebob: GM Keene, thank you for introducing me to the word, "haruspication".
Agreed with today's Article wholeheartedly. A smarter, kinder society must look like a dead end to those who endeavor to rule it!
Looking forward to more.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Before embarking into the minefield, I should mention that Garry Kasparov, World Chess Champion from 1985–2000, registered an IQ score of 136 on the Stanford-Binet Scale, with 132 being the entry threshold for MENSA, the high-IQ society.>

<From Deep Thinking by Garry Kasparov with Mig Greengard (New York, 2017) we quote a selection of passages which focus on autobiographical matters and chess lore (rather than computers, the central theme of the book):

‘Thanks to the Internet’s matchless ability to spread myths and rumors, I’ve found myself bombarded with all sorts of misinformation about my own intellect. Spurious lists of “highest IQs in history” might find me between Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, both of whom have probably taken as many proper IQ tests as I have: zero.’ (Pages 14-15)>

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <To answer recent questions. The Immortal Game is given by Elijah Williams in his Horae Divanianae , recording games played AT Simpson's.>

<C.N. 8862 reproduced the Immortal Game’s appearance on pages 171-172 of Horæ Divanianæ by Elijah Williams (London, 1852), and John Townsend now wonders to what extent that may be regarded as evidence that the Divan was the venue. The matter is not clear-cut because the title-page states that the work is an anthology of games ‘principally’ played at the Grand Divan, and the book does not specify which games were, at least in Williams’ belief, played elsewhere.>

So in the words of Paul Morphy: <It proves nothing!>

Isn't it also correct that Simpson's/Divan was rebuilt entirely in the early 20th century when the Strand was widended? How much of the existing restaurant even stands on the same site as before?

Following Townsend, it seems more likely that the Immortal Game was played at the St. George's club at 5 Cavendish Square.

Sep-02-21  optimal play: Hello GM Keene

I’ve been going over a few of the games from the 1979 Brisbane International in which you competed and finished second behind Anatoly Lein.

I’ve noticed there are a few of your games from that tournament in the database and I was interested to have a look at your game with Lein which is not in Chessgames, but have found a record of it elsewhere:

[Event "Brisbane International"]
[Site "Brisbane, QLD, Australia"]
[Date "1979.??.??"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Anatoly Lein"]
[Black "Raymond Keene"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "A05"]
[WhiteElo "2535"]
[BlackElo "2465"]
[PlyCount "?"]
[EventDate "1979.10.01"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. g3 b6 3. Bg2 Bb7 4. O-O c5 5. c3 e6 6. d4 Be7 7. Bg5 O-O 8. Nbd2 cxd4 9. cxd4 d5 10. Ne5 Nc6 11. Ndf3 Nxe5 12. Nxe5 Nd7 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. Bxe7 Qxe7 15. Qa4

May I ask, do you still have a record of this game and is this the complete score?

I only ask because it was played in the final round with Lein on 7/9 and yourself on 6/9 so a win would have given you a share of first place, so it seems unlikely the game would have been drawn so quickly.

Thanking you GM Keene in advance for your response.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: My game with Lein was a short draw. I thought it better to secure second prize than risk going for a win with Black and missing second.
Sep-21-21  optimal play: Thank you GM Keene for your response.

Yes, I notice that going into the last round Ian Rogers was on 5/9 and although he was up against Rico Mascarinas, he had white and it would not have been unreasonable to think he could win his game and finish on 6/10, which of course he did.

And btw I notice that Chessgames has just recently uploaded all the games from the 1979 Brisbane International and included it in the Tournament Index.

Perhaps they might do the same with the 1979 Sydney International, which immediately followed on from the Brisbane tournament, in which of course you finished equal 1st.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Ray>, in your position as <Chairman of the Howard Staunton Society>, do you think it quite seemly to provoke, some would say troll, Morphy supporters in the following way?

<After much negotiation, a proposal for a Staunton vs. Morphy challenge fell through, whereupon a certain fanatical journalist, by the name of Frederick Milns Edge, stirred up a quarrel, casting Staunton as the villain. Morphy, had, perhaps unwisely, signed some letters drafted by Edge, who liked to see himself as Morphy’s personal assistant, while Staunton, continuously harassed by Edge, was once incited to make a true but impolitely worded comment about Morphy. Generally, these two great masters behaved honourably, each holding the other in high regard; but Edge’s insinuations unfairly blackened Staunton’s reputation and the matter of the absence of a Staunton match remains a matter of controversy.>

One only has to recall the trouble Hooper & Whyld got into when they wrote something eerily similar in the <Oxford Companion>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: Re Morphy: nobody else has mentioned it ? It wd be quite interesting to stir up a bit of controversy, currently entirely absent. The key observation is that Staunton could have beaten Morphy in that consultation game, which I only spotted recently. A Staunton win might have changed chess history.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: If Edge was fanatical about anything, it was getting Morphy to the board. How was he responsible for Staunton declining to play the match?
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Ray, may we expect another instant world championship book to hit the shops before Christmas?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ron: Hello GM Keene:

I was recently studying the games of Petrosian and you suggested a possible improvement in one of his games, which is now confirmed by computer analysis:

Petrosian vs Panno, 1963

Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: I don't think this latest WCC match merited a book. Too one sided.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Ziryab: Some folks on Facebook provoked my interest in Keene’s “Becoming a Grandmaster” (1977), which had been gathering dust on my bookshelves. I read all the prose and am now going through the games. It is a tremendously entertaining book.
Jan-29-22  Refused: Just saw Ray Keene as POTD. Thus Happy Birthday.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Ray>, have you had all your vaccines?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: There's only one ray Keene!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Caisso: So true!
Premium Chessgames Member
  igiene: Happy Birthday
Jan-29-22  Albertan: Thé Colour of Silence:Art,chess,and synaestesia:

Jan-30-22  Scuvy: Happy Birthday to you , Mr. Keene! I very much enjoyed your books on Petrosian and Nimzovich. In my opinion, Flank Openings is one of the very few opening books that truly teaches ideas behind the openings.
Jan-30-22  Knightmare07: Happy belated birthday GM Keene
Premium Chessgames Member
  ray keene: Thanks for all the recent 74th birthday wishes. And yes, I have had all the vaccines. Guess where I was in December 2019? Wuhan !
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: 'But I am a Ukrainian.'

IMO one of Ray's best articles.

Apr-16-22  Albertan: Freedom, chess, and Friedrich Schiller:

May-10-22  Albertan: Fields of force:Marcel Duchamp and chess:

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