Jaque and GM Amador Rodríguez Céspedes – plus a few things Spanish

Let’s start where we will end up, and begin with a photograph.
Jacque - Nov 1985 - GM Cubano A. Rodriguez

 (circa 1985)

This is a photograph of  GM Amador Rodríguez Céspedes which I found in an issue of Jacque (No 185 15-Nov-1985). This Spanish magazine, at least during 1985, was color-coded by issue, both on the covers, and inside (to highlight games). Back issues of this Spanish magazine provide very valuable information, especially for some of the Interzonals of the 1980’s.

Jacque has this entry on Wikipedia (on the English language site, oddly there is no mention of the magazine on es.wikipedia.org):

Jaque (Spanish for the Chess move check) was a Spanish chess magazine,[1] published twice a month in Valencia. It started in San Sebastian in 1970 and was the Spanish leading chess magazine since. Some of the best chess players in the world contributed to the magazine. Its last issue was published in July 2012.


The 1985 issue gives an address in San Sebastian. It is so old that it uses a notation that confused me at first – Spanish Descriptive Notation. This is similar to English Descriptive, except that Spanish names are used (naturally), and the destination rank is given before the file. So, the opening 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 becomes 1.P4R P4R 2.N3AR N3AD. Here is the description from wiki:

Spanish descriptive notation uses the same system, the only difference being that the initials are taken from the equivalent Spanish words: dama for queen, rey for king, torre for tower (i.e. rook), caballo for horse (i.e. knight), andalfil for bishop. From left to right along the back rank, this gives: TD, CD, AD, D, R, AR, CR, TR.


In Spanish descriptive notation the hyphen is not needed, as the rank serves as separator. So the Sicilian opening (1. P-K4 P-QB4 in English) would be written
1. P4R P4AD. This is also the method used in French and Iberian countries (Hooper & Whyld 1992:106).

Returning to the topic of the magazine:

Sadly, it appears that after 40 years of publishing, Jacque has finally ended as a publication (i.e. folded), in 2013:

I discover with amazement, disgust and some delay the sad news of the closure of the magazine “Jaque” , another symptom of agony paper and quality journalism. Its maker in recent years, Yago Gallach , has left the skin and has devoted an unimaginable amount of effort and knowledge to keep alive this flame, which has almost  forty years and is now for sale. Maybe someone stay with money and love for chess in the same account.

[… and quoting from Gallach …]

January 7, 2013 Dear Member:

Quite possibly -and I express with a huge it-, the copy of Jaque 665-666 (published July 2012) is the latest issue that you are going to read under the seal of The Spy pawn, the company that my brother Nacho and I founded in 2009 to take the baton of the legendary Jaque.

http://abcblogs.abc.es/poker-ajedrez/public/post/el-drama-de-jaque-la-revista-decana-del-ajedrez-espanol-14861.asp/ (es)

http://es.chessdom.com/2013/revista-jaque/ (es)

The link at the bottom of the Jaque wiki page, pointing to Jaque.TV, is now stale. Although it does represent the next interest that Gallach attempted after folding the magazine. A difficult business, trying to establish any business on the internet.

Let’s return to the original topic, that of the player A. Rodríguez. When I first came across his name it was because of a discrepancy between several of the databases I regularly consult. Let’s look at some posts, me questioning and receiving some generous advice/information from <CG> members:

Premium Chessgames Member
zanzibar: What is the correct matronym of this player?
<CG> and no less a respected source as <Carolus> give it as Cespedes, but my databases give it as Cepedes.But before you dismiss MillBase and the like, please be aware that the FIDE card for this player (so I believe), gives it as Cepedes as well:


Rodriguez Cepedes, Amador

Federation Spain
FIDE title Grand Master
Rating: std. 2427
B-Year: 1956
Sex: Male

Has to be the same, and I usually defer to the FIDE card spelling (modulo the diacriticals).

Jun-05-14 epistle: 1933: Camp JordanCespedes
On the Bolivian side, this pitiful epic will be related by
Augusto Cespedes:A squadron of soldiers in search of water start digging a well with picks and shovels. The little rain that has fallen has already evaporated, and there is no water anywhere. At twelve meters the water hunters come upon liquid mud. But at thirty meters, at forty-five, the pully brings up bucketfuls of sand, each one drier than the last. The soldiers keep on digging, day after day, into that well of sand, ever deeper, ever more silent. And when the Paraguayans, likewise hounded by thirst, launch an attack, the Bolivians die defending the well as if it contained water.

Eduardo Galeano, Memory of Fire

Premium Chessgames Member
cro777: GM Amador Rodríguez Céspedes analyses the games from the World Championship Match 2014 between Carlsen and Anand here: http://www.amadorgm.com/anandcarlse…<What is the correct matronym of this player?>Césped (plural céspedes) means grass (the word comes from the Latin “caespes, caespitis”). The Spanish last name Céspedes originated from the name of the place, probably a place famous for its gardens.
Premium Chessgames Member
Nicocobas: <zanzibar> Rodríguez is the patronymic and Céspedes the matronymic
Premium Chessgames Member
zanzibar: Thanks <Nicocobas>, these many months later.As <Nicocobas> and <cro777> both note, diacritics are needed to properly spell this player’s name.Although database, and historical reporting, might dictate the ascii-version for the <CG> name, the bio should certainly note the correct spelling of his name, utilizing utf-8.(I think all the Cyrillic proper names should also be noted when appropriate, and Chinese, etc)

There is a problem that will be difficult to resolve, insofar as FIDE has misspelled the matronymic name of this player.

So, at the moment it seems <Cepedes> is used, although it is incorrect. I merely note the facts.

About this player, I think a photograph is deserved. One can be found, along with this biographical info, at the link below:

<Amador Cespedes Rodriguez, born in 1956, is a Cuban grandmaster who now lives in Spain. Amador has represented Cuba in 10 chess Olympiads and taken part in three interzonal tournaments. He has been, for example, a trainer of Leko and the editor of Terra Sport Chess. Nowadays Amador is managing director of Peon de Rey, the leading chess magazine in the Spanish-speaking world.>


So, we learn from both <cro777> and <nicocobas> that his full name is:  Amador Rodríguez Céspedes.

Quite often the diacriticals are omitted from the name, as Chessbase does on its author page. A brief excerpt from Wikipedia is helpful for those not familiar with Spanish naming customs:

A man named José Antonio Gómez Iglesias would normally be addressed as either Señor Gómez or Señor Gómez Iglesias instead of Señor Iglesias, because Gómez is his first surname. […]

It is not unusual, when the first surname is very common, for a person to be referred to casually by his or her second surname. For example, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (elected Prime Minister of Spain in the 2004 and 2008 general elections) is often called simply Zapatero, the name he inherited from his mother’s family, since Rodríguez is a common surname and may be ambiguous. […]

It would be a serious mistake to alphabetize José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero as “Zapatero” […]

n an English-speaking environment, Spanish-named people sometimes hyphenate their surnames to avoid Anglophone confusion or to fill out forms with only one space provided for last name, thus: Mr. José Antonio Gómez-Iglesias. A practical option to spare an explanation is using a single surname composed of two separate words.


Since the number of GM’s with the name of Rodriguez is still few, the wiki advice on using the matronymic is not used in any of the Spanish literature I’ve read involving this player. Note, however, that the Chessbase author page uses his matronymic name somewhat incorrectly as a middle name.

There is one somewhat unfortunate mistake, made by FIDE, that has worked its way into the chess databases – the misspelling of the matronymic as Cepedes and not the correct Cespedes (again, omitting diacriticals).

2015-03-08 -- FIDE profile - Rodriguez CespedesI’ve highlighted the mistake. This mistake is almost certain to continue to enter the databases since he is still actively playing:

2015-03-08 -- Rating Chart - Rodriguez CespedesThe most recent game being played in January 2015.

The FIDE naming convention has been adopted rather widely, e.g. on <MillBase>, <365chess.com>, <ChessTempo.com>, and for a time, on <Chessgames.com> (<CG>). Those using the more correct Cespedes include <ChessBase (online)>, <OlimpBase> (including the diacriticals), and <CG>, at least presently.

What appears to be a minor mistake can cause many minor headaches to those of us trying to accurately maintain and reconcile large databases. Oh well, such is life in data-land.



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