10 MARCH 1990, Page 27


Sir: I was vastly amused by Dominic Lawson's witty penetration of the arcane trivialities of Mensa (Neils sano in cor- pore sano', 17 February). I am a chess Grandmaster and am often called upon to give simultaneous displays where I have to face many opponents at one and the same time. This is the most common way for enthusiasts to play against opponents of international standard. Just before the appearance of Dominic Lawson's article I had the unusual pleasure of being chal- lenged by the 'Brain Club', a body whose aims, I believe, are not dissimilar from those of Mensa. My opponents in this case turned out to be charming and lively people, yet it was a curious paradox that, as a chess-playing group, they were the weakest I have ever encountered since I learnt the moves 36 years ago — even teams of school children of primary school age have offered stiffer resistance against me.

Raymond Keene

15e Queen's Gate Place, London SW7