Beginning with Lenin in 1920, the USSR establishment took chess extremely seriously, and exploited the sport politically. Despite Botvinnik's bona fides as a grandmaster, allegations have been raised (and not conclusively answered) that great pressure was brought to bear on the Estonian Paul Keres to lose his 4 games with Botvinnik in the 1948 World Championship Tournament; the same sort of allegations exist about Botvinnik's defeat of the Jewish Grandmaster David Bronstein in the 1951 World Championship match (Bronstein was a brilliant player, but managed only one draw from the last 2 games of the 24-game match and Botvinnik was allowed to keep his title with a score of 12-12 under the World Chess Federation rules of the day).
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Subject: Re: [NABOKV-L] Botkin Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2010 13:22:20 +0100 From: Stan <email@example.com> To: Vladimir Nabokov Forum <NABOKV-L@LISTSERV.UCSB.EDU> References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <SNT112-W2753120A28C570947337CBE88F0@phx.gbl>
For what it's worth (un pet de lapin?) Mikhail BOTVINNIK (1911-95) was a leading Soviet Chess Grandmaster, becoming World Champion first in 1948. I'm sure the startling near-anagram has been spotted by others. Remove VIN ( = I, VN!) and out comes our two-faced deceiver.
Jansy, methinks, reads too much into the literal string-matches with the letters KIN. It's such a common diminutive suffix (catkin, bumpkin, bod[t]kin), unrelated (except to devout monists!) to the KIN in kinship/kithship or PushKIN.
BTW JM: delighted you are reading Ian Stewart, FRS, and hope some real mathematical osmosis will inspire you. You should next read his How to Cut a Cake - and other Mathematical Conundrums. And not just because Ian quotes one of my songs (Lemma 3 Very Pretty) as a sign that mathematicians can have plain-daft FUN!
I was pleased to see one recent contributor reminding us that Pale Fire is, after all, a SATIRE, and to many of us, possibly the greatest such since Swift in stretching that fuzzy genre in so many sublime directions. E.g., we have Shade, a not-that-great fictional, academic poet using inappropriate prosody to ponder Life's major and minor ontologies. VN has Shade pen both the greatest lines since Keats, and the funniest doggerel since McGonnigal. Lurking behind CK's quasi-scholastic nit-picking, 'must-have-the-last-word' commentary is the Elephant-in-the-Room: a WARNING against similar LitCrit excesses in dissecting Pale Fire, the novel. The sweet paradox is that VN himself, with those 4-volumes on Onegin, was the master of ultra-zealous, mind-boggling exegesis. (Paraphrasing an earlier quip on Keatsian scholarship, 'Not one of Pushkin's Laundry Lists must go unexamined!') I trust that this encourages MORE and BETTER Pale Fire analysis?
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