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Doing the Continental

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(Apologies to Fred and Ginger.) Gata Kamsky is the top seed at this year's Contentinal Championship, which started today in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He's clearly going out of his way to face some strong competition before he plays at Corus next January. I first met Gata in Buenos Aires, at the Polugaevsky Sicilian Thematic.

Other top players in the 11-round Swiss include the Cubans Bruzon and Dominguez, Peru's Granda Zuńiga, Brazil's Vescovi and Milos, and Argentines Felgaer and Ricardi. Seven other Americans are playing ("but we're all Americans," cry the Latinos), led by Onischuk, Ibragimov, and Shabalov. Canada is in da house with Spraggett. Few upsets in the first round. The ridiculous $200 entry fee has been much criticized in Argentine chess circles.



Do you know the offical website for this Continental championship?

Thanks in advance.

I was just updating the main item with the info. It's here, in Spanish: http://www.ajedrez.com.ar/ Second-round pairings are up. Here's the player list: http://www.ajedrez.com.ar/fide/continental05/lista.htm

Sorry for the nitpicking, but this is a pet peeve of mine, see Unitedstatesian.
Quoting: "In other languages, such as Spanish, American is more ambiguous (* my note). In the Iberoamerican countries, the use of 'American' to refer only to U.S. citizens could be considered factually incorrect and culturally aggressive.".
Also, do you all realize the use of the term "American" referring to the people born in the United States is colonial, right? (applied to the people coming from the american territories of the British Crown).
Question: How do you call people born in the american continent?
born in Europe: european
born in Africa: african
born in Asia: asian
born in America (continent): ?

* Note: It's not ambiguous, it applies to people born in the american continent. The cardinal rule of a demonym is not to be ambiguous.

Taking license to go way off topic here... Yes Gerardo, and I love to taunt people with this pet peeve. I lived in Latin America for almost ten years and have argued this with dozens of people around the world.

The simplest solution is to ask someone how many continents there are. If you are from South America you probably say five, maybe six. Americans say seven. We split North and South America (and count Antarctica, which many places don't). Note that I was writing in English. So the answer to your question is North American and South American. Easy! We do have the designation "the Americas" but it isn't used often.

Next, what is the name of the USA? It has America in the name. We are Americans. It's the name of the country. People from Canada are Canadians. Meanwhile, several other countries have "united states" or similar in the name. (Estados Unidos Mexicanos for one.) There is no confusion with "American", no ambiguity at all. When I speak in Spanish or Portuguese I say "America" meaning the continent. And "estadounidense" is a common word because "Americano" can possibly mean something else, though it almost never does. "Americano" means someone from the USA 99 out of 100 everywhere in Latin America so this is increasingly irrelevant even in Spanish, as much as they like to complain about it. The terms "America del Norte" and "America del Sur" are also well entrenched.

Interesting analysis,
in Europe we are talking about "America" meaning the whole continent, and "Americans" meaning US residents.
It's a bit peculiar but true.
I think is because when referring to the continent of America are usually talking about US - perhaps it's a kind of habit to ease things ..

It purely a language thing. It has nothing to do with who is truly american and who isn't. This simple distinction is lost in those who don't speak both languages. I agree that a citizen of the United States of AMERICA should, naturally, be called an American. It is not a claim or position on the part of the USA, it's just the way English works.

Many things get twisted in translation; one of the funniest is the BILLION number. In Spanish it is one million millions (, while the same "number" (read: word) in English is a thousand times less (!): ( 1 thousand millions).

People who live in the USA use the word American to describe only them selves because it reflects a feeling of superiority over others. It’s part of our cultural history of empire, colonial conquest, and cultural imperialism, xenophobia, ignorance of the rest of the world, need I go on?

You may be Latin Americans, or African Americans, Polish, Italian, Native, Gay (Woman Americans? Am I Jewish American?) That’s all fine and good. But here we’re all second class compared to those true Americans who believe in Jesus, are against gun control and are pro-life, support the war, want to drill for oil in the arctic wild life preserve and don’t believe in evolution. To ignore this is to ignore history.

In Britain, America traditionally means Canada or the USA. So in the phrase my great grandfather emigrated to America, the destination could just as easily be Canada. If the Brits want to mean someplace else, they might say Latin America or South America, but not simply America.

The Mexicans invented the word gringo; it comes from a song which the occupying USA soldiers used to sing Green grow the rushes oh!, a song which, ironically, originated in England. Sometimes they use the same word gringo for Canadians, and I am careful to correct them!

How about a neo-logism in Spanish? Why not name USA citizens after their President? Un bush. But Spanish doesn't have the sh sound, the closest is ch. Butch. So a tourist accosted with the phrase You are very butch, señor" ... c'est drôle, n'est-ce pas?

Some native languages (such as Nahuatl) do have the sh sound, and have appropriated for it the letter x (which isn't strictly needed in Spanish which already has j for the same sound). So then the name would be: bux, compact and meaningful. Upon seeing a tourist, a local might say Ahi viene un bux. (pronounced bush or butch or bucks or buj, according to the feeling). And the tourist, if he thought that his party was about to be overcharged for a guided tour, might say The bux stop here.


On further thought, the word bux could work in English, too. Having arrogated all the overarching geographical words for chess tournaments (United States Open, American Open, North American Open, Pan American Intercollegiate, Continental Open, World Open), a new one is sorely needed: Bux Open. And, in English, what could be a juicier reminder of a big-money chess event?

If we generalize the naming of citizens after their leaders, a mexican would become un fox, and a Canadian un martín. The ugly canadiense borracho could be trivialized as un martini.

Interesting thread (but somewhat off-topic).

Grin, in spanish you do have the "sh" sound (with "y" and a vocal), but, perhaps what you wanted to say is that the "sh" doesn't exists at the end of the word.

Anyway, there are lot of words that has different meanings in different languages ("american", "bęte", "sensitive", "billion", etc). Even in spanish we have different meanings for the same word depending in the country: pico, concha, coger, etc.


So, riqhi, yo is pronounced sho ? Where?

I've heard Argentinians prounounce yo as zho (with the consonant sound being like the s in the English word pleasure, or like the French j).

Hi Jonathan,
Yes, in Argentina the "y + vocal" is pronounced like that. In other spanish spoken countries the "y" is pronounced like the spanish "ll".


So, riqhi, yo is pronounced sho ? Where?

I've heard Argentinians prounounce yo as zho (with the consonant sound being like the s in the English word pleasure, or like the French j).

No, we don't have the "sh" sound in Spanish, Jonathan (as you rightfully point out). The closest is the "zho" sound in certain parts of latin america (Argentina, a couple of areas in Colmnbia, etc.)

Actually a word for that sound effect, it's called "yeismo". After seven years in Buenos Aires it's my accent in Spanish and it's immediately recognized by just about any Latin American as Argentine, although this isn't totally fair because it's also common in Montevideo, Uruguay. This is really a part of the a dialect of Spanish, which has its own second-person singular and imperative conjugations and is called espańol rioplatense, referring to the river mouth on which both Buenos Aires and Montevideo are located. Yeismo ("yay-EEZ-moe") is less common in other parts of Argentina and Uruguay.

Spanish in Spain, more in some areas than others, uses several sounds not common in Latin American Spanish. These include a buzzing "Z" as we have in English and an occasional soft "sh" (not going to write useless international phonetics). Spanish is even more varied than Irish, Welsh, Aussie, and Texan (etc.) English. Argentine even has a complicated sub-language comparable to Cockney rhyming slang, where the syllables of words are rearranged with a smattering of Galician and Italian tossed in. Called Lumfardo, the language of the tango.

Btw, Kamsky barely escaped with a draw against the 40th seed today, with black against my beloved 1.d4 d5 2.Bg5!! (!) There are over a dozen people with 2/2. It's fun seeing my old Argentine friends paired with my American friends. Hard to know who to root for, so I'm just happy for whoever wins. Akobian and Onischuk are paired in round three.


Who was the top 3 in the last edition of American Continent Championship?

Is this Championship held every year like Euro Chess Championship?

It's been every two years, used as a qualifier for the FIDE WCh. Here are the standing for the last one:


Is Nakamura not playing because he's already qualified for the next level in the FIDE cycle?

Come to think of it, is this tourney part of the FIDE cycle?


"The ridiculous $200 entry fee has been much criticized in Argentine chess circles"

I am sorry, but I don´t know a lot about intl. chess fees... Is $200 a lot, or too little? How much did they used to pay for interzonals and stuff like that? How much are they paying for first price?

If I recall correctly, the Continental is actually an open tournament, anybody can play. So a 1700 player who enters with no chance of winning but some chance of affecting the final order, should pay for the privilege. This would also, one hopes, provide prize money / expenses for the higher rated players whom he meets. $200 could be a hurdle for a 2500 player, but presumably he has a club or a federation which will sponsor him. For somebody who is already paying hotel and airfare from North America, the $200 wouldn't make much difference, probably less than 10%. So I would say that if the $200 amount is "ridiculous", it is because it is too low. For an unqualified player, $200 is an absurdly small amount to take part at such an advanced stage in the World Championship. However, knowing chess players, I imagine they are criticizing it because they see it as too high. One alternative might be a sliding scale, where the higher your rating/title, the lower the entry fee.

I specified that the complaints, at least the only ones I've heard about, were from Argentines. There are many strong players who can't afford to pay that kind of money to play (close to 600 pesos) and they are angered at the organizers for what they see as profiteering against their own. Having such a strong tournament on home soil is a big opportunity, or should be.

Do participants in the European Individual Championship pay entry fees? I don't see why anyone over, say, 2400, should have to pay to play in a qualifier like this one.

Until recently at least, participants in the European Individual Championship had to stay at the hotel designated by the organizers, which was the first battle fought by the ACP. Rates, of course, were outrageous, which amounted to a high entry fee.


Don't know if anyone else in the US has noticed, but the US Open going on in Phoenix right now is incredibly weak, presumably because most of the top players are down playing the "real" chess down in Buenos Aires. Do these tournaments usually collide?

US Open has gotten much weaker recently, so i have heard.

Are Argentine players suggesting that they should get in free while foreigners pay? That seems an extreme position. I'll assume they're not suggesting that. The two sponsors listed on the web site are Argentine Sports (looks like it might be a government department) and Bagó. So how much of the $30,000 in entry fees do you think goes to expenses (prizes, hall, arbiters, staff, web site, accommodations and food for staff, equipment, promotion, office expenses, taxes?, FIDE fees etc.), and how much to "profiteering"? Do you think that Bagó or the government would cover the first amount?

So, strong players are poor, and their clubs won't pay their entry fee. Hey, Argentina is a lot like Canada !

A graduated entry fee might be 1 peso for every point your rating is below 2600.

I think they assumed there would be a discount for the local players. I believe there is precedent for this, but I'm not sure if it comes from sponsorship as you suggest or an actual discount from the organizers.

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