I am always fascinated about the names of chess openings. Chess openings are named after some place/city where it was played first or named after a person who first played it or sometimes even named after some animals and even some weird names which dont make any sense are given for some openings. I am just curious who comes up with these fascinating names everytime when a novelty is introduced in opening play.
The only place where I see some form of naming convention used is in the ECO(Encyclopedia of Chess Openings). Will it not be better if there is some naming convention used for the openings so that it would be better for everyone to understand why a specific name is given for a specific opening variation.
This is not the first forum on opening names, and I remember having answered at that time that in The Oxford Companion to Chess over 1300 names are given with the opening moves, moreover a lot of alternative names and, most important for you, the sources of almost every name.
I quote : in 1932 FIDE set up a commission to produce a standard set of names, but the result was largely ignored.
Another attempt was made in 1965 through FIDE Revue, but there have been movements 1) away from the use of names and 2) towards systematic classification.
Why, by the way, should it be "better" to understand the history of a name ? I never heard somebody in OTB games say ... " I now play the Inverted Cracow Variation of the Reversed Abrahams Attack against your Wild Mariotti Defence in this Double Folkestone Opening ; I hope you play the Neo Calabrian Counter Gambit now instead of that Closed Lisitsin Counter Attack ! "
Sorry, just kidding now, but I agree, some histories of names are nice to know, take " Orang-Utan " or "Santastiere's Folly" ; "Blackburne Shilling Gambit" , " Anti - Neo - Orthodox " , "Counter-Thrust" and even the "Fingerslip Variation " .....
i find it really unfair that they call they call the wolga gambit the benko and the Fischer attack the sozin.
ill it not be better if there is some naming convention used for the openings so that it would be better for everyone to understand why a specific name is given for a specific opening variation.
Opening names aren't official in any way, and they differ from country to country. They're just habits, if enough people use a name then that is the variation's name.
And why do people need names? They use them when they talk about a variation a lot. It's tedious to keep referring to the move, and when a variation is talked about often enough, some name will stick. It'll be "official" if someone writes a book on it, but there are plenty of books that use conflicting names.
Names do change -- fifteen years ago or so, there were the Richter/Rauzer, the Sozin and the Boleslavsky, but they weren't together called the Classical Sicilian yet.
There are lists of names floating around on the Internet with names for the strangest things. Chess.com uses one of them. It gives a name to 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6, another to 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6, et cetera. However, no serious player uses such names, people only talk about the Open Sicilian and its subvariations (Najdorf, Dragon, et cetera). Not about move 2 in the Sicilian. Those lists were just put together by some fanatic some day and don't really have any legitimacy.
Most openings names are arrived at by consensus and convention. There is no particular regimen for determining a name, though. Many reflect the tournament where they were first played in master competition - the Cambridge Springs Defense, the Meran Variation, for example. Others were given the name of the first to play it in serious competition, like Alekhine's Defense, the Tartakower Defense, or Reti's Opening. Some take their name from the pieces involved, King's Gambit or Two Knights Defense or Bishop's Opening.
But the only way a name is certain is when players use it.
Benko clearly systemized the move order of his gambit, and played it at all levels. Sozin too was the first to play Bc4 in master play. How should due credit to either be "unfair?"
Thank you everyone for your comments. It is really a very interesting topic.
15 to 20 years ago the Ruy Lopez almost disappeared, and everybody called it the Spanish Opening. Luckily (IMO) the old name came back.
I like the names, and their randomness. It makes me wonder about stuff.
rofl, totaly true :)
Imo opinings should be named after whoever invinted them.
@ ajttja, post 9 : I know a lot of abbreviations, like atm, hes, gtg, brb, aud, aka, wiv, but what does " r o f l " mean ? Please !
rofl= rolling on floor laughing
Great ! I like it ! Rolling on floor laughing, I'm going to use it as well !
And @ Estragon, I quote from The Oxford Companion of Chess : ... openings were named after players or analysts, after towns or countries, or after a tournament in which, perhaps, the line was played.
A name would rarely describe the characteristics of an opening or variation. Naming is often haphazard.
The Damiano Defence is named after the man who proved its weakness, the Muzio Gambit after the man who saw it played....
.......A " Defence " is always defined by a black move ...
.......Names are not used consistently and they afford no basis for classification....
..... One opening line may have many names ; conversely, one name may describe different lines....
An example : one of the Tarrasch Traps is an alternative for the Breslau Variation.
I think Sanath, post nr 1, has a lot to study now !
Thanks everyone for the comments.
@RomyGer, yes I need to understand quite a few openings that are mentioned here.