On June 25th 1988, William Hartston said that he had spoken with author Julian Barnes and he had agreed to take part in a celebrity chess simultaneous display to be given by fourteen year old Matthew Sadler on July 2nd.
Barnes had mentioned that he had once played a five-game match against the late, great champion of meaningful coincidence, Arthur Koestler.
On July 3rd 1988, this article appeared in The Observer:
In 1982, the year before Arthur Koestler’s suicide, JULIAN BARNES, then The Observer TV critic, played him in a five-game chess match. Here he describes their close encounter both on and off the board.
Then I met Julian Barnes on the afternoon of September 7th 1993, at Simpsons-in-the-Strand. He was there to comment upon The Times World Chess Championship taking place in the adjoining Savoy Theatre and I was to meet him several times in the press centre throughout the six weeks duration of the contest.
At 11.40 a.m. on November 24th 1993, I exited from the offices of Intervisual Advertising in London’s Dering Street, and was surprised to hear someone announcing me.
It was Julian Barnes and his wife, Pat Kavanagh.
They were visiting an art gallery that was in the same building, and which also had a viewing gallery in the adjacent street.
Barnes recommended that I go in there to view a painting called After Degas.