King Pin? More!
Hurray! The new Kingpin has arrived,
Englands most funny and entertaining chess magazine
and the best I know. I discovered it at a minor congress
where some copies lay around. At home I realized what
a treasure I had in my hands. I couldnt stop laughing.
Until then I didnt even realize that chess can
be really funny, apart from William Hartstons
(A Brit he is also! What a surprise!) fine book "How
to cheat at chess. So, I immediately subscribed
and also accepted the generous offer to have all the
remaining issues for a reasonable price. Now Im
the proud owner of nearly all issues from number 14
(1988) on, and I am in a desperate search for all the
rest. Besides, it is interesting to see how things have
developed since then, how the little 30-paged magazine,
containing the odd analysis, became a splendidly made
booklet of 70 pages, but also escalated from £
1.40 to the present £ 4 product. It has expanded
in every sense, but its definitely worth the cost.
None of the issues has disappointed. Already the name
is meaningful: not only does Kingpin mean to pin the
king which is nonsense, but it refers to the classic
Chinese erotic novel Kin Pin Meh. But dont worry,
one has not to expect primitive erotic as it is often
seen in some German papers – erotic in the mostly
prudish Albion is no theme really – but expect
a lot of verbal erotic. Even if it comes hard sometimes,
in the end there is always the freeing laugh. Sure,
the subjects and jokes are often very British and therefore
not always to our taste. Unforgettable is Stuart Conquests
brilliant article "The Prizegiving for anyone
who has witnessed such a strange occasion in England.
Conquest is a highly gifted writer, but Ive never
spotted anyone here who is not gifted (German papers
like "Europa Rochade are packed with boring
and poor articles).
Why, one has to ask, is there clearly
no one among the German Grandmasters who is capable
of doing the same, no one who has the wit, the linguistic
gift, the self irony and the spirit to do something
comparable (only the quiet Robert Hübner seems
to be the exception)? And nearly everyone who is anyone
in chess writes for this still largely unknown quarterly:
Jim Plaskett, Chris Ward, Malcolm Pein, Michael Basman,
Graham Burgess, John Emms, Nigel Davis, Tony Kosten,
Cathy Forbes, Aaron Summerscale, John Nunn
name just a few. All do it in a way worth reading. Hes
got it in his blood, the Englishman, the Scotsman, the
Irish and Welsh or is it in the language? But even international
stars are writing for the mag: Edward Winter, Shaun
Taulbut, Eduard Gufeld, Yasser Seirawan et.al. - and
sometimes on a philosophical level.
One of the highlights is "Gary Lanes
Agony Column, in which the popular IM answers
(probably) self invented readers letters with
verve and mockery. Besides the "Hack Attack,
an opening column for the somehow unusual player, there
is traditionally an interview with some of the stars
of the scene: Pia Cramling, Peter Swidler, Bent Larsen,
Michael Adams are examples.
He who is not writing for Kingpin is
a major target, above all the illustrious figure of
Raymond Keene – Englands first GM, as he
describes himself – and who nowadays is active
behind the scenes. But also Nigel Short with his sometimes
staggering pronouncements and who has left the country
is a popular target; and that Kasparov is another one
can be no surprise.
Its not only about fun. There is
a lot of serious and interesting material to find on
the theory and history of the game: analyses, congress
reports, opening theory, excellent book reviews, and
interviews – the whole spectrum. I have always
found Chris Ravilous articles highly enlightening.
So, if you want it and can afford it,
dont miss the next issue and look it up on the
The subscription costs £ 14 and
its worth a thought to consider ordering the whole
stock for a further £ 20.
There is only one complaint: punctuality!
One sometimes has to wait a little longer than a quarter
of a year. At least they can learn one thing from us