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ccmcacollister chess


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Subject: Pronouncing GM's & Chess terms in English

I would like to know better how some GM names are pronounced, and sure some others would too! Please help us to build a Reference here if you can. Please do correct me if something is not right, or Question it if you have heard it otherwise than given by anyone here ... so we can get it as correct as possible. This is not something I am GOOD at, just INTERESTED in. SO: Please confirm those given here as well, if you can. The purpose of my thread is to learn along with you, or from you. Perhaps someone knows a good link for the phonetics ?
Besides GM's, Opening Names and Chess Terms are quite appropriate for this thread.
It is a very difficult subject tho, IMO. Especially names, since there is not always agreement about a particular player, for spelling it, even within English. And some sources try to change their spelling to make it more phonetic, etc.
For EG, Petroff or Petrov ?! Nowadays it seems the ...ov has become the more popular interpretation for Russian names. Karpov, Kasparov, etc.
Here the symbols used are as follows:
@ =being used to denote the "schwa" sounding of letter "e" (which sounds nothing like the "a" in Schwa however!)
' =used to denote primary Emphasis, along with Capital Letters
' = a secondary Emphasis if the syllable is in Small Letters
Generality: I have read that most Russian names and Eastern European, of 3 or more syllables, tend to place the speaking Emphasis upon the Second syllable rather than on the First as English tends toward.
Thus I believe it would be KasPAR'ov rather then KASparov (right? Or bad example?)
LjuBOjevic (with silent "L"?) ?

Pirc = I've heard it's like Pertz or Peertz to pronounce, rather than Perk or Peerk
Ruy Lopez = RI Lopez pronounced like Rye bread or Wry humour.
Alekhine = I've heard it Al YEK' ee in and AL' ek yin ??! ...Help !
Keres = ?
Botvinnik = ?
Euwe = something like oww(rhymes with you) wa or w@ !?
Lautier = Lah' tee aa
Collister = Cahl iss ter ... the cahl as in Phone Call ... }8-)
Fianchetto (Italian)= I believe is correctly fee' an KEH' toe, yes?
but is very commonly said fee an CHET' oh or fee an SHET' o by players.

ccmcacollister chess


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British Google has some pronunciation sites

Here is a short list of pronunciations found today. I notice that it shows Pirc, Euwe, Ljubojevic, and very surprisingly even Ruy Lopez pronounced differently than my prior source. (And I am almost certain my Ruy Lopez was already correct, as it was based upon phonics of Spanish language. Being WRY rather than RHU-EE, tho I hear it that way quite commonly is the USA. On the others, I just don't know if my prior source or the present was more accurate. This one also says the "J" is silent, not the "L" in Ljubojevic. -sigh- See what I mean about this being a tough topic?) Here is a short list:
* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Correspondence International Master (IM)
Alapin (ah-LAH-pin), Semyon - Russian master
Alekhine (ahl-YECK-een), Alexander - former world champion
Antoshin (ahn-TOE-sheen), Vladimir - Soviet grandmaster
Bernstein (BERN-shtyne), Ossip - Russian Grandmaster
Bisguier (BIS-gire), Arthur - American Grandmaster
Bogolyubov (bah-gah-LYU-bahf), Efim - German Grandmaster
Boleslavsky (ba-leh-SLAV-skee), Isaak - Soviet Grandmaster
Botvinnik (baht-VIHN-ik), Mikhail - former world champion
Bronstein, David (brahn-SHTAYN) - Soviet Grandmaster
Caissa (KI-E-sa) - goddess of chess
Charousek (Kha-ROO-sek), Rudolf - Hungarian master
Chernin (chair-NEEN), Alexander - Soviet Grandmaster
Chiburdanidze (tchee-boor-dah-NEED-zeh)Maya-fmr wmn's WC
Colle (KAW-lee), Edgard - Belgium champion
Dvoretsky (dvahr-YET-skee), Mark - chess trainer
En passant (ahn pah-SAHNT) - a special pawn capturing
En prise (ahn preez) - piece hanging
Euwe (UHR-vuh), Max - fmr WC
Fedorowicz (Fe-do-RO-vich), John - American GM
Gaprindashvili (gah-prin-dahsh-VEE-lee)Nona - fmr wmn's WC
Gligoric (Glee-GO-rich), Svetozar - Yugoslav GM
Gruenfeld (GREWN-feld), Ernst - Austrian GM
Giuoco Piano (JOKE-o Pee-AH-no) - Italian Opening
J'adoube (Zha-DOOB) - I adjust
Janowsky (Yan-OF-sky), Dawid - Polish master
Kasparov (Kah-SPAHR-off), Garry - former WC
Kavalek (kuh-VAHL-ek), Lubomir - American GM
Keres (CARE-ess), Paul - Soviet Grandmaster
Khalifman (kha-leef-MAHN), Alexander - former FIDE WC
Kmoch (k-MOTCH), Hans - chess master and writer
Kortchnoi (kahrch-NOY), Viktor - Swiss GM
Labourdonnais (lah-boor-do-NAY), Louis - 19th century player
Lange (LAHN-guh), Max - German player and author
Lein (Lane), Anatoly - American GM
Ljubojevic (Luh-BOY-yuh-vitch), Ljubomir - Yugoslav GM
Maroczy (muh-ROT-see), Geza - Hungarian Grandmaster
Najdorf (NIGH-dorf), Miguel - Argentine Grandmaster
Petroff (PEHT-roff), Alexander - Russian master
Pirc (Peerts), Vasja - Yugoslav Grandmaster
Polugaevsky (pah-loo-gah-YEV-skee), Lev - Soviet GM
Reti (RAY-tee), Richard - Hungarian master
Robatsch (RO-bahtsch), Karl - Austrian Grandmaster
Ruy Lopez (Rue-y Lopeth) - 16th century Spanish priest and player
Saemisch (SAME-ish), Friedrich - German Grandmaster
Schliemann (SHLEE-mon), Adolf - German player
Shirov (SHEER-ahf), Alexey - Soviet grandmaster
Smyslov (smih-SLOEFF), Vasily - former world champion
Spassky (SPAHSS-kee), Boris - former world chess champion
Stein (Shtayne), Leonid - Soviet Grandmaster
Sveshnikov (SVYESH-ni-kahff), Yevgeny - Soviet grandmaster
Taimanov (tie-MAH-naff), Mark - Soviet grandmaster
Tal (Tahl), Mikhail - former world champion
Tarrasch (tuh-ROSH), Siegbert - German master
Tartakower(tart-a-KO-Wer)Savielly-Austrain/Polish/Russian GM
Tchigorin (chih-GOE-reen), Mikhail - Russian master
Timman (TEE-mahn), Jan - Dutch Grandmaster
Winawer (WIN-ah-wer), Szymon - Polish master
Xie Jun (she-a-JUNE) - former world women's champion
Zaitsev (ZITE-seff)
Znosko-Borovsky(ZNOE-ska-bah-ROEV-skee)Yevgeny Rus.NM
Zugzwang (TSOOKS-vahng), position where moving worsens it
Zukertort (SOOK-er-tort), Johann - German master
Zwischenzug (TSVEYE-shun-tsook) - in-between move
FOR a more complete listing, see another Great Site from BILL WALL (who also had that wonderful site of 1000+ Chess traps) ,which is at the following e-address ...



alberlie chess


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ok, the ones I konw about...

Alekhine is actually completely wrong in our times.
- There is a letter in russian, the "yo", which is written as a "e" with two dots above it, kind of like the german "�, �, �,", just with an "e" instead. This letter is pronounced as "y�" with an open "o" (like the "o" in "jogging")
- the "kh" is pronounced as a the "j" in the spanish rojo (red) or the "ch" in the german "Dach" (roof).
So, actually, Alekhine is properly pronounced as "Alyochin" ("i" as in "grin")
- Euwe: No, it doesn't rhyme with "you" :o) The "eu" is the same sound as the "oi" in "exploited". the "w" is a "sounding" w, not like in "wonderful" but like in "Video". Not as strong as "Fide", however :o)
All together that makes "Oive". Accent on "Oi"
- Botvinnik: as it is spelled, the "i" short as in "winning", the "v" as in "Video", accent on the first "i"
- Lautier: say Loootijeee, accent on the last syllable
- Leko: also with that weired "e" letter with dots. Pronounced as the german "�" which again is pronounced kind of like the "u" in "burn" without the r-sound accompanying it. (yeah, I know that sounds like "butter, but without fat")
You are right - it is KasPArov (not KasPAR'ov, though), but it almost for sure isn't LjuBOjevic but LjuboJEvic, BotVInnik, AlJOchine - so penultimate syllable. It's GORbatchov though, CHRUststov and WOLgograd, LENingrad etc. (don't ask me why)
- You are right, fianchetto is with a hard "k" -sound

ionadowman chess


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Alekhine, it seems...

...pronounced his name 'Al-YEH-kheen' rather than the original 'Al-YOH-kheen' (i.e. dropping the 'umlaut' (so to speak) over the letter 'e'). In his view (I gather) the latter sounded "too Jewish", though quite why his Jewish ancestry bothered him, or was a problem for him, I don't know. As for city names like Leningrad or Volgograd (or Stalingrad for that matter) having their stress on the first syllable, my guess would be that they are derived from bi-syllabic names: Lenin, Volga (river), Stalin, these also having the stress on the first syllable. Am I close?
In conversation a zillion years ago (1970), a friend mentioned ex-world champion, name of 'Oive'. Took me quite a while to figure out who the hell he was talking about...

mattdw chess


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"though quite why his Jewish ancestry bothered him, or was a problem for him, I don't know"

I believe it was because he was a Nazi sympathiser, which would explain it.

bucklehead chess


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His name in Russian, as far as I can determine from the sources, is Александр Александрович Алехин. The pronunciation of his last name would thus appear to be fairly straightforward: al-YEKH-een.

However, since he's dead and I'm too lazy to change my ways, he will always remain "AL-ek-hine" to me. And if anyone thinks I'm going to start saying "Peerts" instead of the quite obvious "Pirc," they're crazy. I might as well start saying "Ufimsev."

alberlie chess


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ever heard Kasparov...

speak about Alekhine? He always says Alyokhine.

mattdw chess


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I agree! hehe. I will keep pronouncing Pirc & Alekhine how the would be in English until I get truly fed up of people telling me to say it properly. :P

ccmcacollister chess


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Hmmm; Alekhine in Hawaiian . . .

Wouldn't it be something like:
Al e' ka HEE' nee ?! #####
** * ** *** *** #####
#### }8-D ########

bucklehead chess


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Not to beat a dead horse...

...(indeed, one that is very nearly buried), but I came across this in the ChessCafe archives ( -> ), and it sounds authoritative to me. No rumors or unsourced stories about Alekhine, but a realistic portrait by a man who knew him intimately: Hans Kmoch. Here's the relevant quote, in the midst of a fascinating article:

"While reading those articles, I remembered that Alekhine used to get angry if
his name was pronounced Al-YOH-khin, the way Russians sometimes
pronounced it. The correct Russian pronunciation, he said, was Al-YEH-khin,
explaining that the name was derived from that of a tree (�alyesha�) that grew
abundantly near one of his family�s estates. �Al-YOH-khin,� he claimed, was a
Yiddish distortion of his name, like Trotsky for Troitsky or Feigl for the
German Vogel. But strangely, no one whom I ever heard pronounce the name
Al-YOH-khin was Jewish. One was a friendly elderly gentleman named (I
believe) Tereshchenko. A Russian �migr� like Alekhine, he had been named to
the position of Alekhine�s second in the 1929 match against Bogolyubov
mainly to please the world champion. He immediately antagonized Alekhine by
addressing him as �Gospodin [Mr.] Alyokhin.� "

ionadowman chess


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Sad, isn't it?

A Nazi sympathizer he might have been, but I read somewhere that in the chess tournaments organised by the Nazis he was something of a hero to any Jews or Slavs among the spectators. I wonder if he knew this, or whether it would have mattered to him?

ccmcacollister chess


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Alekhine ...

I don't know that I believe him to be a Nazi sympathizer. Since it has come up several times ... the most recent info I have seen was that he was more or less held in Germany by the Nazi's and forced to make radio broadcasts. Someone who knew him stated that he did not in fact write broadcast info either. I'm sorry I cannot recall my source for this. But it might explain why they cast him a hero, or perhaps as one who shared their plight? Of course I wasnt there, so cannot confirm or deny :(
This would be an interesting topic to start a thread tho. About Alekhine. If it is not considered a political matter and deleted or banned. I'll start a thread just about Alekhine, and leave it to others as to where and how softly they tread, but remember GK dislike of the political. Perhaps as a historical matter tho . . . it might be approached with a bit of care ?!

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