Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Difference of Opinion

I did not particularly care for the review of HOOKED ON CHESS by Howard Goldowsky in CHESS LIFE. Mark Taylor, editor of the award winning GEORGIA CHESS sent me an email saying, "Howard showed me this review before publication. I concur with his assessment."
Daniel Lucas, editor of CHESS LIFE sent me an email too. It states, "Mark expressed my feelings too."
This is what I wrote in response to the aforementioned editors:

It's obvious that I'm as outnumbered as Custer at the Little Big Horn! I will, nevertheless, stand my ground!

It is unfair for this fellow to compare Bill's book with that of a professional writer like Paul Hoffman. Just because Bill did not "share the rush of tournament chess with his readers" and "uncover his deepest personal turmoil" like Hoffman did does NOT mean that HOOKED is not written well or not a good book! As a matter of fact, I like it BECAUSE of the fact that he did not do those things. Hoffman, riddled with guilt, was attempting some kinda cartharsis, or something. I'd glady share a beer and a sammy with Bill Hook...Can't say the same for Hoffman.
He criticizes Bill for writing with an "aloof style that lacks revealing details." What does the man expect, Updike? This is NOT a novel, for crying out loud...Bill is not trying to purge his inner demons...He has written an enjoyable book about the world of chess and his life. Period. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the paragraph he singles out: “The bare point totals belie the fierce dramatic struggles taking place on every board. Chess players know this, those many who are unfamiliar with the game could not imagine it. Let us hope that they will someday learn enough to share the excitement.”I have had the same thought, as have many other CHESS PLAYERS with whom I've talked. It needs no elaboration. If anyone thinks it does, then quite simply, that person knows nothing, or very little, about chess and all the elaboration in the world will not help them move toward understanding...
This fellow ends his scathing review with: Yet, all too often these stories list unimportant facts without showing enough details about the author’s character as a man. With some guidance and proper editing the book could have worked at a deeper level; as a fun collection of stories it succeeds, but ultimately, as a true memoir, it fails.
The so-called "unimportant facts" were interesting to me. What more does this fellow need to know to ascertain the author's "character?" The book was not written "on a deeper level." To say that the book "fails" because it is not deep enough is absurd! You want deep mister? Go read MAGISTAR LUDI: The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse!

I would like to direct your attention to the USCF Forum. Go to CHESS LIFE ARTICLES, then go down to: Looks at Books: A Chess Life Among Fish and Fleas , to read the review I sent to Mr Lucas, and more.

I Wont Back Down
Tom Petty

No I won't back downYou can stand me up at the gates of hellBut I won't back downNo I'll stand my ground, won't be turned aroundAnd I'll keep this world from draggin me downgonna stand my ground... and I won't back downChorus:(I won't back down...)Hey baby, there ain't no easy way out(and I won't back down...)hey I will stand my groundand I won't back downWell I know what's right, I got just one lifein a world that keeps on pushin me aroundbut I'll stand my ground...and I won't back down

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