Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Chess960: Puzzle 21

From SP 815 we get an awesome tactic that would never have happened in standard chess.


White to play and win:
Answer bottom left hand corner of this page

Notice the remnants of the start position in this tactic? Very difficult to get two kings in the corner and two undefended bishops next to each other in the corner.

Check out the solution below!

1. Ka2!! ... Qxg1?
2. e6! Black has no way to stop the e-pawn queening.
if instead:
1. e6? ... Qe1+!
2.Ka2 ... Qxe6
if instead:
1.Ka2!! ... Qe1!?
2.Bd5! ... Qxe5
3.Bc4 and black cannot avoid Qxb6 ruining blacks away-side pawns

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Chess960: The weak squares write a story

"The weak squares on the chess board determine what is possible in a game of chess. If we learn how to keep a track of how they change with each move, we become able to read the main story and the subplots that are being written in each game. Then once seeing them becomes automatic, we will have so much time to think even in blitz, we can take it to the next level, to be able to write a good story in the game. That is why Chess960 will never go away, because it is just chess generalized, the complete landscape for reading and writing the story of dynamic chess" - HarryO Chess960 Jungle blog

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Chess960 puzzle no.20

Symmetry is an interesting subject in Chess960. Sometimes black can play symmetrically, sometimes black can't.

Here is a great little puzzle demonstrating some of the more bizarre situations Chess960 symmetry can throw up:

SP366 Black to play (castling all sides permitted):
Why can't black copy white's play and come out materially equal?

Answer bottom left corner

Answer: because black's queen ends up undefended!

With best play:
4.Bxc7! Bxc2
5.Bxd8! Bxd1
6.Bxe7! Bxe2??


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chess960 puzzle no.19

One of the most incredible openings I have ever seen in chess960 after only eight moves. You would think clearly white is better but white has some big weaknesses even though black's king is exposed.

SP650: Black to play (castling all sides/colours still possible)
Which side do you think is better in this position?
Answer bottom left corner below

Answer: black is better because of serious weakness on e2
(checked with Stockfish engine)
8)     ...Nf4  threatening bishop and fork on e2
9)Bf3  ...     defending fork
9)     ...Nd4  threatening e2 fork and attacking a4
10)Nb6+...Kb8  quiet move before the next wave of attacks
11)Ng3 ...     defending fork and developing
11)    ...g5!  threatening to undermine Bf3 and preparing Qg6
12)Nxa8...g4!  undermining e2 defense
13)Qf1 ...      stepping out of fork attacking a6
13)    ...Bb5  black actually does a bit of defending!
14)d3  ...     guarding c2 against Qg6 and attacking b4
14)    ...gxf3 capturing material
15)gxf3..      else queening threat!
15)    ...Qg6  threatening mating line beginning Nxc2!
white is completely lost

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chess960 - not a fool mate!

In standard chess, the fool's mate is the shortest way to loose needing only two moves. It is not a very pretty mate though. Problem is that it requires illogical play to happen. White would never actually play that badly.

Boring ugly and unlikely Fool's mate of standard chess

But now, thanks to Bobby Fischer the inventor of Chess960, The Chess world finally has a much prettier fool's mate. It is beautiful mate because each move is logical and principled. You don't need to be a fool to play this one!

SP168: A beautiful version of the Fool's mate
because each move is principled

Enjoy 960 and hope you never become the fool - but in chess 960, when you are a fool, you can be a beautiful one.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chess960: How to see the power of the chivalry knights

The chivalry knights in Chess960 are amazingly strong attackers that can leap forward and pounce on the opponent if they are unaware. They tend to tread on each other toes since they compete for the same color squares, but that can also work in their advantage. Here is an example position:

SP110: White creates a weak d3 square on the third rank
that either one or both chivalry knight's can leap into

If black could exchange off white's light square bishop, white would have almost no hope of preventing the chivalry knights coming forward and sitting on the d3 square. The square is so weak it can virtually be considered an outpost square for a knight already. Notice that neither of white's chivalry knights can do anything about the d3 square.

Key point: So the chivalry knights are powerless against the enemies equivalent knights!

White's idea of playing c3 with the plan of breaking with d4 and opening up the c-file for the rook, is completely flawed because white has failed to grasp the power of black's chivalry knights.

So I thought it would be a good idea, to help players visualize the outpost squares that exist for the chivalry knights, without needing to do any calculation.

The threatened outposts squares of the chivalry knights
exist on the the enemies third rank

Compare the two diagrams above. You will see that the green squares are threatening to become outpost squares for the chivalry knights if the enemy were to leave them weakened.

Key point: No calculation is needed, just remember the pattern above (it is very simple). The squares are on the same file as the knights, always on the sixth rank.

and be open to the possibility that you or your opponent can fall for the trap of letting the chivalry knights come forward and rule the position.

Good luck
Enjoy 960.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Chess960: Transcript of Showdown in Saint Louis 2015 - SP436 Caruana v Nakamura (with a comment by me)

Here is a transcript of the second fischer random game between Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana at the Showdown in Saint Louis competition 2015.

Rumours have it that the organizers experienced technical difficulties during the event, so there are no PGN records for the games available in the public domain. I have had to reconstruct the games from the video recordings on Youtube and Chess24. In order to save time and effort, I have transcribed only the opening phases of each of the games, since that is what interests us in Chess960 - the rest is just chess!

To save space in the comment text, the three commentators are initialed as Yasser Seirawan (YS), Jennifer Shahade (JS) and Maurice Ashley (MA).

Game 1 SP436: Fabiano Caruana verses Hikaru Nakamura

NOTE: Some browsers may not display the game properly

Transcriptions of the other other games will follow over coming days......

My commentary:
Move 13 Caruana to play - how beautiful is that!

Nakamura playing black, deliberately drops a pawn and then offers a queen trade!?! That breaks all the conventions of normal chess (don't simplify when down in material). But like the commentators said, Nakamura is bluffing and Caruana doesn't fall for it. If white exchanges queens, black gets a really good game with a knight biff on b4 and an attacking rook and the bishop pair. Check out the beautiful X-RAY defense by Naka here. His queen is indirectly defending both his undefended bishops without a direct line to them. Naka is even prepared to expose his weak back rank and increase the risk.

Cool stuff. C'mon people, where is the excitement for Chess960 Fischer Random Style. You would never get a position like this is old chess. It is only move 12 and so much has happened already!

Enjoy 960