Updated every Monday, Wednesday and Friday ... and maybe other days too.
Nope, & not even with looking ...
Yeah, I took quite a while to work it out....
Aardvark?BTW, the site of Quality Chess Books, which is run jointly by Jacob Aagard and John Shaw, was apparently sabotaged in November and has yet to recover some of its images... This seems a bit odd to me (weren't backups taken?) and a slight shame as the books it publishes and which I have seen are very high quality.Angus.
Good one, EJH. Even after I cheated (by going to Wikipedia and looking it up) I wasn't too sure what language I was looking at. And it is supposed to be like Welsh?! (not that I know much Welsh - luckily there is no language test before they let you join the WCU)Follow-up quiz question. I believe I am right in saying that our current British champion's original surname was not Aagaard at all, and that he is reputed to have changed it in order to appear at the top of alphabetical lists (not sure how true this is - I think his original name might have been 'Madsen' - can anyone shed any light?)Anyway, the quiz question - guess how many people appear ahead of J Aagaard (alphabetically) on the January 2008 FIDE Rating list...
You did ask...... I believe I am right in saying that our current British champion's original surname was not Aagaard at all, and that he is reputed to have changed it in order to appear at the top of alphabetical lists (not sure how true this is - I think his original name might have been 'Madsen' - can anyone shed any light?)Well, I didn't know but I thought I ought to be able to find out....A quick search on the Danish federations website found this:http://divi.dsu.dk/div43/SS432888.HTMA results card from the national team championship 2004-2005 (presumably his last season in Danish chess), which lists the name as Jacob Aagaard Madsen.Following Danish naming conventions that can either mean that his fathers surname is Madsen & his mothers surname is Aagaard, or that one of his parents is also Aagaard Madsen (father if his parents are married, mother if not - typically).However, it is very common for Danes with -sen surnames to use their middle name, if it is a surname as it is here, instead. The reason is due to a civil service **** up in the early 19th century which resulted in 75% of the Danish population ending up with about a dozen patronyms, such as Nielsen, Hansen, Andersen and uhmmm, Pedersen & Madsen, as surnames.So his reasons for using Aagaard rather than Madsen may not necessarily be due to a desire to be first on the rating list. Incidentally, on the Danish ratinglist Aagaard would be last, not first, as aa is simply an old version of the letter å, which is the last letter in the Danish alphabet.I bet you wish you'd never asked!Carsten Pedersen
I presume I could answer John's question by looking it up, so I'll let him tell us instead...
I counted nine people on the FIDE list ahead of Jacob (though some of them look like clerical errors - who knows, maybe one day FIDE will make a similar cock-up to the 19th century Danes and we chessplayers will only have 12 official surnames between us). Discounting the likely typos, Manfred Aab (GER) looks hard to beat alphabetically.Thanks for the info on Danish naming conventions, Carsten. Actually, back to that naming cock-up - so the populace simply accepted the wrong name given them by civil servants? Incredible.
Hi JohnActually, back to that naming cock-up - so the populace simply accepted the wrong name given them by civil servants? Incredible.Well, that isn’t how it happened. Very off-topic for a chess blog but moderator permitting, this is what happened:It’s a great example of unintended consequences of badly thought out regulation. Some might say this is a subject of special interest to chessplayers, I couldn’t possibly comment, BUT WARNING, THE REST HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CHESS.Until “Navneloven af 1828” (Names act of 1828) Danes outside the aristocracy and urban upper middle classes didn’t have fixed surnames but simply used patronyms, so the peasant Peder Madsen (my great-great-great-great-grandfather) was the son of Mads Pedersen, and in turn would normally call his oldest son Peder Madsen (if he had two sons the second would be named after his maternal grandfather, Niels Madsen). Therefore, families had no fixed surnames, which is what the 1828 act decreed that all children christened from now on must have. Danish peasants being an unimaginative lot, the total pool if boys names, and therefore surnames as well, was very limited and the top 10 names account for about half the male population, so even a small village could easily have 3 or 4 Hans Nielsen and a couple of Peder Larsen, so in everyday life people were often nicknamed after the farm they came from, occupation, or if they joined the army, simply the village they came from. The intention of the legislation was that people would adopt these names as family names which would have given a good spread of names. Unfortunately, the law ran into 3 problems.1) It was badly publicised and explained.2) Where it was known it was unpopular and not understood3) People didn’t regard their nick or call names as “proper” names, so never considered using them.As a result of this the law was basically ignored and Peder Madsen as per usual had his son named Mads Pedersen, which was duly registered in the birth register. Most people did the same. The problem, of course, is that Pedersen has now been established as the permanent family name, so this is how the bulk of the Danish population ended up with a very small number of surnames. Actually a lot of people didn’t realise what had happened until the next generation, when Mads Pedersen attempted to call his son Peder Madsen and was told he couldn’t and the boy had to be called Peder Pedersen. Apparently this caused major confusion, which a few village vicars attempted to alleviate by allowing the patronym as a middle name, so actually my great-great-grandfather became Peder Madsen-Pedersen, a name which persisted until my Grandfather had it changed because he didn’t like being called Mads Madsen-Pedersen!YoursCarsten Ovesen
Thanks Carsten and Carsten, An interesting diversion! Angus.
Where I live it's not at all uncommon for people to have a surname that's the same as a local village (for instance, there's a well-known writer called Oscar Sipán, and Sipán is a nearby village from which his family came). Upper Aragón is still very rural and was almost entirely rural until very recently, and of course when people lived in little villages and probably stayed there all their lives there was very little need for surnames, which are really an administrative convenience that becomes required when people become socially mobile. So you'd probably be known as "Angus from Streatham" or "Oscar from Sipán" to people in the area, and outside that area nobody would know who you were or care.Surnames are relatively new historically and if it doesn't seem so in the UK, it's because we industrialised a long time before most other countries.
who knows, maybe one day FIDE will make a similar cock-up to the 19th century Danes and we chessplayers will only have 12 official surnames between usVISIONS OF SOME CHESS TOURNAMENT OF THE FUTURE..."I'm Brian""No I'm Brian""I'm Brian and so is my wife".This may well be the best thread we've ever had on S&BCC.:-)
The answer is Preben Elkjear Larsen, a footballer doing brilliantly in 1984. I started playing chess in 1985 and was inspired by him using his middle name. I did not know anything about elo back then and could hardly work the alphabet!Jacob Aagaard
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