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Only one piece of analysis was changed, because a mate in four had been overlooked in the original book. Batsford said in its statement that it had written to Fischer enquiring where royalty payments should be sent and asking whether he wished to be involved in the new edition. We can only presume that the response satisfied them, since they have not come back to us in the year and a half since then.
First, the case mentioned by Nunn to Evans, where the Batsford edition sought to correct some analysis in which Fischer had allegedly missed a mate in four. The January issue devoted nine pages to the controversy. First, there was a one-page account by John Nunn. In game 52, for example, there were seven such … It seems a poor reward to correct errors and ambiguities but overlook one, and then be attacked for my involvement in the book. This was the only change to the chess content of the book.
Burgess gave a gaffe-by-gaffe account of how misunderstandings between Nunn and him had resulted in the illegal mate being published, and on the general question of textual changes he declared:. Batsford] to correct anything for me, even with the help of computers. Of course the book has mistakes, but I can correct them myself. The magazine then discussed the various statements by Nunn and Burgess as to who had done, or not done, what.
For the record, it may simply be observed here that the copyright page of the Batsford book lists five people: He receives a further mention on the back cover: Rewording in order to shorten or lengthen text became the norm, diagrams frequently had to be placed out of sequence from related moves and text, losing impact, and, worst of all, in a few desperate cases, whole lines of text were actually eliminated.
Yet, as noted above, Burgess had claimed that nothing untoward or unusual had been done on the typesetting front.
Dr Nunn, are you responsible for all the textual changes? Do you think that such changes are justified? Quite frankly, I am tired of Mr Burgess, Dr Nunn and Batsford pointing out the errors they corrected … while simultaneously excusing themselves for the mess they made of everything else. We are not dealing with a government conspiracy here, gentlemen. By that time, though, Batsford was disinclined to comment further, whether mendaciously or otherwise, and the shutters were put up.
On many previous occasions the company had resorted to a similar policy of tactical silence, most notably on matters concerning the misconduct of Raymond Keene, where a hope-it-blows-over approach was the only chance. Below are the front covers of various editions in our collection, as follows: It was apparent that a mere spot-check would not suffice, and we thus compared line-by-line the Faber and Faber edition and the new Batsford version.
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This verification work showed that over changes had been made by Batsford, and a range of examples was presented on pages of the January CHESS. Inconsistency had been introduced, a number of misspellings in the original had been left uncorrected, and many fresh mistakes had been added by Batsford. In the original edition Fischer wrote:. Qxf6 14 exf6 g4 15 Ne5 cxd4 16 cxd4 Nxd4 17 h3 gives White a better ending, but the natural 12…Qa5 is better, e.
Batsford was obviously making itself a laughing-stock. He spent most of his space attacking us personally, since he saw nothing wrong in what Batsford had done.
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In fairness to CHESS , it should be added that in a subsequent issue it offered us an apology for having published such personal attacks. Batsford found itself one other defender, though, again, it was hardly an impressive one. Evans assisted Fischer in assembling the book, and wrote the introductions to the games.
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Having compared the two editions, he wrote of the Batsford book: Jeremy Silman later commented: This caught Evans out. His own article had appeared before then, yet in it he gave the false impression that he had already seen the CHESS evidence regarding the extent to which Batsford had defiled the book. Since Batsford pledged to fix its next printing, the outrage over this one seems like a tempest in a teapot. Fischer argued in his radio interview on 27 June that it was far worse than that: I hope the same goes for Britain.
Anyway, Fischer had been quite right in his anger. The idea of anyone from Batsford being slammed into the cooler is implausible, whatever attractions it may hold for some.
An apology from them over the Fischer affair is still awaited. It is hard to imagine that Fischer would ever become a Batsford author of his own free will, and the contractual situation for his book must be murkier than it was in the mids. But even if the rights to My 60 Memorable Games were on offer on the open market, where is the publishing house that Fischer could trust to bring out an algebraic edition with no changes other than those he himself wants to make?
Three years later we received the following from a British correspondent, Steve Giddins, and quoted it in C. Like many Russian books, this one reproduces annotations from other sources presumably without paying royalties , including those from My 60 Memorable Games. The Russian book came out in , two years before the revised Batsford edition, so the latter was clearly not the source for the translation. A plain question arises: Zalmen Kornin Curitiba, Brazil points out to us that the same illegal line of play appeared in Schachmeisterpartien by Rudolf Teschner, a book which was first published in English translation of the note at move Kh8 would almost inevitably lead to mate, as is shown by 36 Nxg6!
If such is the case, it will have been found that this spurious mate had appeared in chess literature even before the publication in of the first edition of My 60 Memorable Games. The relevant note is at move Will this topic produce any further surprises? When describing in Grandmaster Chess Move by Move a string of inglorious Batsford doings, Nunn had a golden opportunity or, indeed, a golden obligation to include a belated word of contrition about the Fischer episode, and it is inexpressibly disappointing that, a decade on, he still felt unable to do so, passing over the aberration in silence.