Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Benoni Defense + Opening Names

Image credit: hairulovchessmaniac [sic]

Just a quick note -- a few years ago Edward Winter kindly published an email from me in Chess Notes 4435 about the origin of the name 'Benoni' in Hebrew chess literature.

To add a bit to the issue of opening names in Hebrew, it should be noted that -- not surpirsingly, considering so many of the "original" Palestinian players came from eastern Europe -- the names of openings in Hebrew usually use the "eastern" convention of naming the openings after locations, unlike the "western" one of naming them after people. So in Hebew we have:

The Spanish opening instead of the Ruy Lopez
The Italian opening instead of the Giucco Piano
The Volga gambit instead of the Benko gambit
The Yugoslav opening instead of the Pirc opening
The Latvian gambit for the Greco counter gambit
The Russian opening (sometimes) instead of the Petrov defense

Of course some openings have no equivalent geographical name, and remain named after people (Alekhine's defense, Bird's opening) in Hebrew as well.

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