As the title asks, is this question about Alekhine's WWII-era articles off-topic? My first impression (of the current, edited version) of the question was that it was like most any other chess history question from the site. But Istvan Chung's comment points up the fact that the question, while obviously centered on one of the most famous chess players ever, doesn't really seem to be about chess history, and is rather a purely historical question about a chess player.

The closest precedent I can think of from the site is a question asking why Korchnoi left the Soviet Union. That question was well-received, though it's also the case that it has answers that directly pertain to chess.

Anyway, there are currently 3 votes to close the question, and I am curious what the community as a whole thinks:

Should this historical question, which is about a chess player but has little pure chess content, be considered off-topic for the site?

Please vote this post up if you consider the question to be off-topic, or down if you consider it to be on-topic. And of course feel free to offer thoughts as answers below.

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  • I hope this should be good Q&A for reason some historical questions were need explanation when it closed. – Ahmad Azwar Anas Sep 20 '13 at 5:50
  • if that question is off topic then please take another look at this its not about chess besides the user claims that fischer became crazy, which is a big debate as i explained in my answer... otherwise don't close any one of them – Lynob Sep 24 '13 at 11:42
  • @Fischer, I agree that the question you linked to is similar to this one in that both are about potentially contentious topics. But to my eyes, that question does appear to be about chess in a way that this one isn't. Though your answer to that question doesn't mention chess (which is fine, because you were addressing what you think is a mistaken premise in the question), the OP itself asks rather directly about possible connections between mental illness and playing chess ... – ETD Sep 24 '13 at 22:51
  • ... And answering that question itself would require someone to say something concrete and authoritative about negative side effects (or lack thereof) involved with (over)performing the cognitive tasks that go into playing chess. In that sense, the two questions seem rather different in terms of their chess content. In any case, if you'd like to ask the community whether that earlier question should be considered on- or off-topic, do feel free to open a new meta thread about it. – ETD Sep 24 '13 at 22:54

I consider the the question to be off-topic, because it deals with political side of Alekhine, not his chess side. If we go to the main StackOverflow site and post a question with emacs tag asking about whether some Richard Stallman's (Richard Stallman is the inventor of emacs and a political activist) political articles are published, I don't think it will be long before the questions is closed.

Moreover, I think that this question has a potential to spark a debate (even though it was much, much better after rephrasing), even though it is not the original posters intention; any topic that has to do with racism accusations tend to have that.

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  • please read my comment above – Lynob Sep 24 '13 at 11:45

I claim it is on-topic. For this particular question there IS Chess content because the issue of Alekhine's collaboration had repercussions against possible championship match arrangements.

But more importantly, any serious historical fact about Chess personalities adds a dimension of interest to the game. Or do we exclude interesting questions about

because they are not about Chess as it is played over the board?

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This is a close one, but I would say that the question is off topic because it is not about chess, even though it is about a chess master.

What would make the question on topic is if the articles in question made references (good or bad) to e.g. "Jewish" chess. Or that Alekhine expressed a distaste for matches against masters from ethnic group X (as reflected in the fact that he did his best to avoid them).

Alekhine's love life would be similarly off topic. Unless the argument is that a particular romp inspired e.g. a particular "queen's" opening.

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  • please read my comment above – Lynob Sep 24 '13 at 11:47
  • In my answer above I argue why this is about chess. It influenced potential sponsors for the World Championship. Alekhine's love life would be on topic if it had had a similar influence. – yrodro Sep 25 '13 at 2:27

Silman's recent article on Chess.com about Alekhine (part 7) talks somewhat to the articles. From what little Silman says about the content, the articles are at least chess history and about chess politics and players.

Silman also casts some doubt on the authenticity of authorship as there are errors that Alekhine was unlikely to unintentionally make.

Silman may have access to copies

Silman on Alekhine part 7 "The Dark Years"

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  • can you link to his article? And is there a way to contact him and maybe get a copy from him and then you post an answer to that question? – Lynob Apr 8 '14 at 22:36

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