The PGN database for these trials is here.
Here is the second opening played according to the Non-Random Chess960 rules invented by Mark Weeks. As black I decided to see if slowing down the activity in the opening would help my chances to reach complete equality by the mid-game phase, by going for the titular bishops in the middle of the board, an easy king side castling option and a queen in the corner. According to Mark's system of non-random placement, this actually gives black a bit more control over the setup (4 choices) verses white's two choices.
The sequence we used to arrive at SP393 was:
- Mark put down a bishop on d1
- I put down a bishop on e8
- Mark put down two knights on c1 and f1 instead of using his queen placement option
- I put a queen on a8
- The position was filled in with rooks and king
SP393 Bishops in the middle (Titular bishops)
Here are my comments on the opening:
The titular bishop start positions are more likely to be high-level positional studies. The tactical opportunities are less significant relative to making the right moves in order not to create long term positional problems. I really like them, but the titular bishops starts do feel quite awkward!
Basically after 1.d4 b5 I simply missed 2.a4! The move just didn't occur to me because I'm still conditioned to see traditional opening pawn moves. The move a4 is a really important move for Chess960, because the idea doesn't occur in the traditional opening. I thought that Mark's reasoning for playing a4 was because it requires black to respond either immediately or soon after. Any response slightly worsens black's position while at the same time there is no possibility of white's position being worsened. At the same time, black's response whatever it is, provides white with more information about how to proceed....In fact, it turned out that Marks reasoning was simpler and more concise (see below).
Unfortunately, 1....b5 set forth a chain of events where white simply contests the a-file and always remains ahead on tempo, initiative and position. Although black's drawing chances are still reasonable, It became a very compromised situation for black and quite unpleasant.
So to liven it up and break out from being a slave of white's intentions, I decided on the idea of O-O/Ng5/f5!? The idea is really nice from the point of view that black get's a temporary initiative, but it doesn't work all that well as Mark showed in the game.
Here are Marks comments:
At first I rejected 2.a4, because I preferred to develop my minor pieces. Then I realized that both of the obvious plans -- playing for a quick e2-e4 -or- playing to develop the Bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal -- allow Black adequate counterplay. Then I returned to 2.a4, because it interferes with Black's counterplay. Tactically, it addresses the variation that you played...
After 10. Be2 f5 I would probably continue 11.Bd2. Black is falling behind in development and any Knight exchange on e4 gives White the f2-f3 lever. In my opinion, White is now playing for a win and Black is playing for a draw. The move 1...b5 was perhaps not the best....
Hi Mark, thanks for the last game it was great.ReplyDelete
Why? Because I have really enjoyed the bishops in the center in the past!
I thought you might do that. I'll flank the Bishops with the Knights on c1 & f1. - MarkReplyDelete
* * ♘ ♗ ♗ ♘ * *
Ok that makes one of my decisions as black really simple. Put a king on g1 because as black, I want to be able to castle short as soon as possible....ReplyDelete
That reduces the problem down to a queen in the corner or not. A queen in the corner has less early movement options, and so for me as black, I don't want to add complications but want to simplify.
So we have SP393: QRNBBNKR
The question is, would there ever be a black player that would ever want to put a king on the queenside? Would there ever be a black player that would not want the queen in the corner if at all possible?
These are open questions about the non-random approach and diversity and I don't know the answer. Perhaps it simply doesn't matter!
SP393 QRNBBNKR it is...ReplyDelete
...Re your questions...
'The question is, would there ever be a Black player that would ever want to put a King on the Queenside?' : Why not?
'Would there ever be a Black player that would not want the Queen in the corner if at all possible?': The Queen in the corner might slow the game down, but some players prefer to develop more rapidly. White can also put a Queen in the corner to slow things down, especially when faced with a strong opponent. The option isn't just for Black. You seem to believe that Black starts off at a terrible disadvantage, but it's no worse than traditional chess.
Re 'questions about the non-random approach and diversity', it can definitely reduce the diversity. As White I can always place the Bishop on the same square. This means I have max 240 different SPs to prepare. As Black I can do the same for each of White's possible start squares, also giving max 240 SPs to prepare. I haven't worked out the numbers, but the Q-or-N choices can also limit the number of SPs. This means players can develop personal repertoires of preferred SPs. - Mark
Wow, love the thought that you get bishop b1 specialists etc. Players will pick different bishop placements simply to create at least a bit of comparative advantage. I see why you put down the bishops first, because the bishops have the fewest options on where they can go (4 options). The next is the king with 6 options.ReplyDelete
On the issue of black's disadvantages, I was confused. I have memories of struggling big time with black, but that was because I was usually playing stronger players than me and thus the terrible losses I have had with black, I remember more intensely. If the ELO is similar, then black has nothing much to fear!
1. d4 b4
...develops the queen, creates a spot for a minor piece, prevents e4 and claims space on the queenside. Not bad for one move eh!
PS) I don't know if you have seen one really astounding exchange sac ...RxB that comes as soon as move 4 on the h5 square. I've never ever seen anything like it.
I assume you mean 1...b5. If not, I'll give you a takeback without invoking 'touch move'...ReplyDelete
1.d4 b5 2.a4
...It appears that White has to clarify the situation on the Queenside before continuing elsewhere.
The reason the Bishops go first is to preserve the maximum number of potential positions. Let's say you first place three other pieces and they all go on the same color square. The fourth square of that color has to be reserved for a Bishop. You start to run into complications placing the remaining pieces.
On top of that you need to keep an empty square between the Rooks until the King is placed. The method we used ensures that we arrive at a legal chess960 position. - Mark
Yep sorry for the typo.ReplyDelete
1.d4 b5 2.a4 a6
...don't want an isolated pawn at this stage and the wasted tempo is not too serious.
I'm finding that writing down my intentions for the move here actually helps to clarify and re-think the logic.
'Writing clarifies thought', as they say. I often attach written commentary to the notes of my games, especially when there are positional factors involved...ReplyDelete
2.a4 a6 3.e3
...I wanted to play this move last time around, but it came up short.
Re 'terrible losses [you] have had with black', how about sharing one or two of them for further analysis. It's always instructive to investigate the reason for a loss. You can open a new post if you don't want to complicate this one. - Mark
Could I ask you something before the moment is lost forever, why did you play 2.a4 what was your reasoning? I ask because I doubt that an equivalent reasoning exists in traditional chess.ReplyDelete
Here is my reasoning why you played it:
2.a4 requires black to respond to it either immediately or soon after. Any response slightly worsens black's position while at the same time there is no possibility of white's position being worsened. At the same time, black's response whatever it is, provides white with more information about how to proceed.
It's almost as if white's best play is to see what black does first and respond to that!
2.a4 a6 3.e3 d6
...opening a path for the light bishop, defending against Bf3, keeping the possibility of Pe5 and impeding the options of a possible knight that would sit on d3.
At first I rejected 2.a4, because I preferred to develop my minor pieces. Then I realized that both of the obvious plans -- playing for a quick e2-e4 -or- playing to develop the Bishop on the a8-h1 diagonal -- allow Black adequate counterplay. Then I returned to 2.a4, because it interferes with Black's counterplay. Tactically, it addresses the variation that you played...ReplyDelete
3.e3 d6 4.axb5
...White intends to fight for both the a-file and the a8-h1 diagonal. We'll see how it works out. - Mark
Thanks for the offer to help with my black defeats. Where do you want to start. The mate at the third move or the ten move car crashes! :)ReplyDelete
Because I started chess in my early 20's, I have no hard coded routines in my head that make calculation solid and reliable. Everything is soft-coded into a half a dozen neurons that realigned themselves after baldness and hair loss set in. But these few neurons are vulnerable to the fickleness of mood, energy and capacity!
After that damning self condemnation, I now continue to play on and live in hope or denial I'm not sure!
3.e3 d6 4.axb5 axb5
...Black has a way to fight the long diagonal, and so I won't waste a tempo to capture back the pawn with a bishop that is going to be used to defend the long diagonal very soon anyway.
Re your games I was interested in your distrust of ...O-O-O, especially where you thought it was safe and then got clobbered...ReplyDelete
4.axb5 axb5 5.Qxa8, if 5...Rxa8 6.Bf3
...Re your comment 'White's best play is to see what Black does first and respond to that', this is a useful technique throughout the game. I liken it to volleying in tennis: Just hit the ball back to see how the opponent reacts. - Mark
Good one on the volley! Ok the question is whether the queen-side is more vulnerable for black. I'll look through my archives and see if I can dig something up that is free from a stupid blunder and demonstrates something more significant.ReplyDelete
Nice change in the move order to claim the diagonal and leave my bishop stranded undeveloped. However I've got a rook on the open file and the queens are gone. Phew.
5.Qxa8 Rxa8 6.Bf3 c6
Don't underestimate the difficulty of Queenless middlegames. They are generally more positional, but the tactics can still be tricky. They also reduce the advantage of the engine's brute force approach...ReplyDelete
5.Qxa8 Rxa8 6.Bf3 c6 7.Nd3
...Now the play shifts to the a-file. Can White recapture it? - Mark
I've felt like I've been playing with my pants down the whole opening so far. It seems like every move is basically a question of how good you understand positional play.ReplyDelete
5.Qxa8 Rxa8 6.Bf3 c6 7.Nd3 Ne3
...develops a piece and threatens to kick the bishop off the long diagonal. if you provoke me into ...d5 it opens up h2-b8 diagonal and I should be able to exchange down on the a-file and extinguish the terrible c6 weakness.
Sorry Mark, 7...Ne6ReplyDelete
I was certain you meant 7...Ne6. Writing wrong moves is one of the hazards of playing without a chess server...ReplyDelete
7.Nd3 Ne6 8.Ng3
...Continuing with the single-minded goal of recapturing the a-file. - Mark
7.Nd3 Ne6 8.Ng3 0-0ReplyDelete
...Castling to camouflage a fantastically active plan that makes it appear like black will play the main line of clearing the back-rank, connecting the rooks and settling the account on the a-file (unfavorable).
Ninth verse, same as the first (a-file!)...ReplyDelete
8.Ng3 O-O 9.O-O
...Eager to see Black's 'fantastically active plan'. The next move is scheduled to be my last for this game. - Mark
8.Ng3 O-O 9.O-O Ng5 Fantastic!......?ReplyDelete
Once you play your next move I'll do a write up including my thoughts and any of yours. I love my little name for these SP's with the bishops in the middle. I call them the "Titular Bishops" and if you look it up in Wiki it pretty much says it all!
I'm not convinced that the Knight diversion alters the fundamental course of the game...ReplyDelete
9.O-O Ng5 10.Be2
...Don't forget to move before doing your writeup. If you want to continue these explorations, I suggest we tackle the extreme BBQ position SP000 BBQNNRKR, and its twin, SP959 RKRNNQBB. You could play one of the positions with White, then I could play the other as White.
I asked Austin Lockwood of SchemingMind if he would consider allowing specific SPs in challenge games, where one player challenges another directly. He replied, 'Currently active development of SchemingMind is almost at a standstill; I will keep this suggestion for if/when development resumes. It would have to be an unrated option though.' Looks like we'll have to continue with the comments in order to play specific positions. - Mark
Yes it doesn't alter the course of the game agreed but love it anyway. Check out the activity I get after....ReplyDelete
9.O-O Ng5 10.Be2 f5!
Your bishops struggle to have anything to do if I get an outpost on Ne4. If you try to prevent it with f3, now I go Nb6/Nd5 or Nb6/Nc4! Such activity with the knights and still you haven't actually won the a-file. I'll show you in the write up one spectacular variation where you actually don't win the a-file at all because of so many other issues you have.
I'm happy to try the SP000, SP959 starts and I'll set up placeholders for them soon.
I would probably continue 11.Bd2. Black is falling behind in development and any Knight exchange on e4 gives White the f2-f3 lever. In my opinion, White is now playing for a win and Black is playing for a draw. The move 1...b5 was perhaps not the best.ReplyDelete
Let me know when the placeholder for the next game is ready by making a comment here. - Mark
Thanks for the thoughts and the game Mark! I've done the write up and started the next game. I'll take white and we are playing SP000 the 'Barbecue Xtreme' SP. I'll make my move in the next 12 hours or so. Have fun playing as black!ReplyDelete