French Chess Players

janeymacfeck

I am off to Paris tomorrow. I love that city except for one thing, they call their Metro lines by numbers. How boring, London has names for its underground lines, some better than others. Piccadilly is a great name.

I propose to the Mayor of Paris to call the Metro lines after great chess players. They could have Alekine, Spassky, Philidor, Janowski, Duchamp (a nod to the arty), Rossolimo, Benko. I think from memory there are eight lines so the mayor can choose the last one. There are many names to choose from.

Now get on with it without further ado.

MonsieurKimchi
janeymacfeck wrote:

I am off to Paris tomorrow. I love that city except for one thing, they call their Metro lines by numbers. How boring, London has names for its underground lines, some better than others. Piccadilly is a great name.

I propose to the Mayor of Paris to call the Metro lines after great chess players. They could have Alekine, Spassky, Philidor, Janowski, Duchamp (a nod to the arty), Rossolimo, Benko. I think from memory there are eight lines so the mayor can choose the last one. There are many names to choose from.

Now get on with it without further ado.

 

I suppose they number the metro lines because of France's rigorous education system when it comes to mathematics. Entrance exams to some of France's best schools such as Ecole Polytechnique are among the most difficult in the world; as such, science-related fields pursuing students prepare extensively for them. The level of mathematics is indisputably high in France.

Duchamp is probably the only relevant name that more of the French public know about, as he is of French stock. That being said, it would take some time for commuters to become widely accustomed to the naming system. Alekhine, Spassky, Philidor, etc. are foreign names that the French would see as having no relevance to. 

And no, there are not 8 metro lines in total, there are in fact 16, fourteen of which are numbered with cardinal numbers and the other two being 3bis and 7bis.

NikkiLikeChikki
It is much more likely that they be named after artists, that way each line could be decorated in the style of that artist. While I love chess, that would be much cooler.
ToastyPosition

Calling the yellow line "circle" is displaying creative ingenuity?

MonsieurKimchi
ToastyPosition wrote:

Calling the yellow line "circle" is displaying creative ingenuity?

 

The Circle Line, for namesake, isn't limited to London though, featuring in Singapore, Moscow and Tokyo's rail systems. They probably just wanted the name to be universal.

Laskersnephew
If you are going to be in Paris, check which days the play chess in the Jardin du Luxembourg. It is possibly the most beautiful chess venue in the world
MonsieurKimchi

I'm interested to know why Paris didn't adopt the lettering naming system of metro lines. In Los Angeles and Tokyo, for example, a letter of the Roman alphabet represents the line, but in Paris, they have a distinctive approach.

ToastyPosition
MonsieurKimchi wrote:
ToastyPosition wrote:

Calling the yellow line "circle" is displaying creative ingenuity?

 

The Circle Line, for namesake, isn't limited to London though, featuring in Singapore, Moscow and Tokyo's rail systems. They probably just wanted the name to be universal.

 

Yea, I know, China especially. They use "ring" in many cities.

 

I am just saying that London's names are not that original. And then naming a line based on one major stop is not that creative either. You could just call Line 1 the Louvre and Line 4 Notre Dame by the looks of it.

MonsieurKimchi
ToastyPosition wrote:
MonsieurKimchi wrote:
ToastyPosition wrote:

Calling the yellow line "circle" is displaying creative ingenuity?

 

The Circle Line, for namesake, isn't limited to London though, featuring in Singapore, Moscow and Tokyo's rail systems. They probably just wanted the name to be universal.

 

Yea, I know, China especially. They use "ring" in many cities.

 

I am just saying that London's names are not that original. And then naming a line based on one major stop is not that creative either. You could just call Line 1 the Louvre and Line 4 Notre Dame by the looks of it.

 

Yes, London's train lines are not really a hallmark of "creative ingenuity." Piccadilly, for example, was named after the central London street, which has its origins the piccadill. The piccadill was a broad collar used in the late 16th and early 17th century, so really, the name is not a product of Metro developers' sheer knack for creativity, but solid historic foundation.

 

MonsieurKimchi

An article from the Londonist explores how much of the names can be derived from historical or geographical origins:

https://londonist.com/2015/08/how-the-tube-lines-got-their-names

 

MonsieurKimchi

Frankly, however, the number system in metro line naming isn't all too helpful, which seems to be what the OP intended to get across. While it's clear cut and straightforward, it can be hard for tourists to distinguish between lines, until it becomes firmly grounded in their minds. 

In London, geographical naming gives context about the essential details of the line, such as the direction of it. English speaking tourists will likely become acquainted with it quickly, but for those with a Non-English background, the situation is quite the contrary. Considering language barriers, a lettering or numbering system seems more appropriate.

So as we can see, both systems have their downsides.

Laskersnephew

If you're going to Paris, see if you can visit the Jardin du Luxembourg on one of the days when they are playing chess under the chestnut trees. It is one of the most beautiful and historic chess venues on earth; dozens of rapid games being played in a magnificent part in the heart of Paris

MonsieurKimchi

Let me rephrase my above comment with a simplistic pros and cons evaluation:

Number System

Pros:

- universal across all languages

- less information load for viewer, functional

- easier to read note down compared to geographical/historical names

 

Cons:

- not overly memorable

- difficult to distinguish between lines

 

London's Metro Line Naming System (basically a combination of geographical, historical and perhaps some other naming)

Pros:

- encoded information about general direction of line

- highlights important station/(s)

- easily distinguishable

 

Cons:

- harder to remember for non English speakers

- not very helpful as a first-time visitor of the city

MonsieurKimchi
Laskersnephew wrote:

If you're going to Paris, see if you can visit the Jardin du Luxembourg on one of the days when they are playing chess under the chestnut trees. It is one of the most beautiful and historic chess venues on earth; dozens of rapid games being played in a magnificent part in the heart of Paris

 

Yes, it is a breathtaking experience, with chess being a very popular pastime among frequenters of the park. I don't know if chess games continue to be played in Jardin du Luxembourg today, since COVID 19 hit. IM Greg Shahade played here: