Philosophical Notes on Academic Perversions II
2 Paul Keres and the Methodology of History
My activities concerning the biography of the Estonian chess player Paul Keres have been the following.
In the years 2014–2015, I wrote in Estonian Wikipedia a comprehensive survey of Keres’s war years and the Hague-Moscow 1948 tournament:
“1948. aasta male maailmameistrivõistlused”¹
Then, based on my studies, I wrote a more concise paper that I offered as a scientific paper to the Estonian journal Akadeemia.
I published an even shorter and a popular science article in the newspaper devoted to Estonian chess life:
Eintalu, J. (2019)
“Paul Keres propagandavankri ees”²
Eesti maleelu, March 10 (1/19), p 10.
Years after writing my scientific paper, I discovered that the Estonian journal Akadeemia had neither published nor informed me that they would not publish it.
Initially, I made the wrong accusation that Jaan Kangilaski had not forwarded my paper to the editorial.
Finally, however, it turned out that the editorial had decided not to publish my paper, but they “forgot” to inform me about it. The editorial announced that they “could not” publish it but did not explain in what sense and why they could not.
Among other things, my paper claimed that in the collection of essays Paul Keres: Mälestusi, materjale, kirju (2015)³, the most crucial essay of critical American author Taylor Kingston was dropped out, while from his other paper, the essential sections had been dropped out without informing the reader.⁴
Thus, in the context of discussing the history, that collection was a forgery.
Then, I published my essay, which was not published in Akadeemia, on the internet, including the platform Academia:
Eintalu, J. (2021)
“Mida me ei tea Paul Keresest 1938–1948”⁵
I have not dealt with this topic anymore.
I would characterize my approach as follows:
1. I do not proceed from the point of view of one or another country or ideology, nor the point of view of confrontation between countries or ideologies.
Instead, I contrast the individual, the individual sportsperson, with countries and ideologies that handle the individual sportsperson as a mere pawn in their chess game.
2. I try to be methodologically rigorous and distinguish which claims are more indirectly proven and which are more directly; what are the possible different interpretations of the known facts.
I have resented presenting unproven statements as proven ones (as Paavo Kivine does) based on the interests of one or another country (or ideology).
I aim to find the truth, no matter who likes that truth or finds it useful.
According to the dominant narrative in the West, in the 1948 world championship tournament, Keres lost games to Botvinnik on purpose for Botvinnik to become the world champion. The Soviet authorities forced Keres to lose.
However, based on game theory, I have hypothesized in my writings that in the last round of this tournament, Botvinnik, who had already secured the title of world champion, lost to Keres on purpose for the Soviet Union to guarantee three first places. Such was the Nash equilibrium.
However, the conclusions for the philosophy of science will follow:
Not only was the sportsperson Paul Keres under intense political pressure during various political regimes, but the historians, too, studying his life story, are pawns in the hands of political regimes.
Games are deliberately lost, and results are falsified both in chess and science.
Both in sports and in science, the criterion of truth is the will of political instructors.
¹ = “Chess World Championship of 1948”.
² = “Paul Keres in Front of the Propaganda Carriage”.
³ = “Paul Keres: Memories, Materials and Letters”.
⁴ See Taylor Kingston’s essays “The Keres-Botvinnik Case: A Survey of the Evidence” (Part I and II) and “The Keres-Botvinnik Case Revisited: A Further Survey of the Evidence” in Heroic Tales: The Best of ChessCafe.com 1996–2001 (Taylor Kingston, Ed. Russell Enterprises, Inc. Milford, CT USA: 2002), pp 265–289.
⁵ = “What We Do Not Know about Paul Keres’s years 1938–1948”.