I have noticed a distinct upward trend in the perceived strength of Mr Crowley as a chess player over the years.
I have heard him called a chess prodigy. He may well have been that. Many people call him a chess master. Today I read this, "Aleister Crowley was one of the most controversial men of the 20th century, he was a mountaineer, a poet and a chess grand master...."
If only Crowley had been a rapper he could have been a grandmaster in three separate disciplines.
I'faith, I think that Lord Crowley might just have qualified for the less exalted title of enthusiastic amateur. Certainly a very stong player - and possibly even master strength - but not much more than that.
Next thing you know they will be calling him a prophet!
I always wondered about his supposed Chess prowess. There are stories about him playing multiple games and games through closed doors. If I recall it was Eye in the Triangle where I read about the game played through a closed door but I am not certian.
These blind chess games and multiple chess games are common mentalist tricks (see Cordina's 13 Steps to Mentalism and recent Derren Brown specials). I chuckle to think he might have used some clever ruses to inflate his apparent skill. I wouldn't think less of him for it.
I don't think most people any more have any idea what it takes to reach the rank of "Master" in Chess Competition, let alone "Grand Master." My bunkmate in the Army used to compete in Tournaments over in Germany almost 30 years ago, and that's the only reason *I* know anything about it.
Like the majority of humanity I do not own a copy of Crowley's Confessions. I have seen many online versions though.
In chapter 9 ( page 93? ) there is a minor mistake which may have been caused by the scanner. The sentence:
For although the local champion insisted on giving me pawn and more, I beat him so easily every time I met him that the odds might have been reversed without making much difference to the result.
For although the local champion insisted on giving me pawn and move, I beat him so easily every time I met him that the odds might have been reversed without making much difference to the result.
The odds of pawn and move used to be very common in chess. One's opponent plays black and starts without his f-pawn.