Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chess960: Opening Puzzle No. 4

Ok this one is pretty tricky! Let's say the difficulty level is high:

SP228 (NBBRQKNR): White to move: Find the only move with advantage

The answer is somewhere on this post. Now if you got the answer wrong, join the club! I simply did not see it because optically it looks wrong.

Enjoy 960!

1. Ke1! (only move) ... f5   (only move)
2. f3   (only move) ... Rd3! (only move)
3. fxe4 (only move) ... Rfd8 (only move)
4. Nc4!!(only move) ... RxR  (only move)
5. Kf2  (only move) ... Qxe4 (only move)
6. Rxd1 (only move) +/= 
(Feel free to post a comment if you do not understand)

Chess960: Opening Puzzle No. 3

Well it seems at the moment I'm the only blogger on the internet that wants to create and share Chess960 puzzles (type in Chess960 puzzles into Google and see), I might as well continue the fledgling tradition!:

SP228 (NBBRQKNR): White to move: Find the only move with advantage

The answer is somewhere on this post. Now if you got the answer wrong, join the club! I simply did not see it because I think I was blinded by the habit of traditional chess! But maybe I just goofed. Do not underestimate the solution. Have a look at it and see why every step is important.

Enjoy 960!

1. O-O (only move) ... Nxf2! (only move)
2. QxN (only move) ... QxQ   (only move)
3. KxQ!(only move) ... BxB   (only move)
4. NxB (only move) ... c6
5. Bg5 +/- 
(Feel free to post a comment if you do not understand)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Chess960: Defensive ideas against the Primary Patriarch's

I was playing a game a couple of days ago with the bishops in the corner. If you haven't studied many of these games, it is probably a good idea to do it. The entire Patriarch Bishop Family make up almost 50% of all Chess960 games. Essentially I started the game already freaked out by the primary patriarch's. The thing about SP224 is that you are potentially facing a combined bishop/knight onslaught!

SP224: A contemplation on how to dynamically defend and maintain attack
I went into the game with a negative frame of mind as you can see above! In reality, white has plenty of attack options and so there is nothing to freak out about. Actually there is a very good chance that the game will simply close down to a draw like position very quickly if players start out symmetrically.

The benefit of the negative frame of mind was that I got to learn about how to dynamically defend against the Patriarch Bishops but also how to maintain attack. Basically you use whatever resource there is to shield from the patriarch attack's but also permit your own patriarch's to attack. So here is a presentation of the main theoretical ideas that I learned from the game.

SP224 white to play: Using the centre to close down the Patriarch's

Here we see a very simple idea that must be kept in the back of the mind. In SP224, it just so happens that the rook is on d1. This is an opportunity to play out d4/d5 in some situations. If a pawn can get to d5, it can simultaneously block the opponent's patriarch's and free both your own patriarch's. This one idea is very powerful and can be game winning if executed correctly.

SP224 White to play: black blocks their own patriarch's
The point here is to study the effect of the f4 knight rather than to explore the obvious moves or wonder how this position was arrived at. In these types of SP's, the primary patriarch's are important to keep active. Here black will actually block their own dark bishop with Nf4. Always look to see whether the enemies forward placements actually have any real attack at all and if not, allow them to sit in their blocking position. Here it is simply that the knight on f4 does not issue any attack. White has nothing to fear. Black has essentially wasted time and has reached a blocking position where his dark bishop cannot attack the opposite wing.

Here is another active defensive idea against the patriarch bishops:

SP224: One pawn defends in at least two ways
It turns out that in SP224, the f3 pawn actually blocks the long diagonal but also prevents the g8 knight from moving forward. In this respect SP224 has something in common with traditional chess SP518! At the start of a game, look for these types of defensive features that are present in the SP because they can help you later on. It is not so much that they are defensive resources, but that they also contribute to attack by not impeding any pieces and actually allowing them to continue to pressure while defending.

SP224: Let the opponent block themselves up in any way possible!
If black plays cxd4, what is the situation in terms of the patriarch bishops? It is simply that black has blocked the bishop on the long diagonal because the d5 pawn cannot be shifted out of the way. So here is another way that black can block themselves up. The winning move here for white is ...cxd4, Ng6!

SP224 white to play: White uses every tactical resource to stop the primary patriarch's!
Here is an example of how white can use tactics to stop black's patriarch bishops. The situation here is that white wants to continue to develop! They wonder whether it is possible to play Nge2!? The risk is cxdxe where black can open up the patriarch's and capture pawns at the same time. But white finds a tactical way to keep up the development pressure:
1. Nge2!? ... cxd5
2. NxN    ... BxN
3. Ne2    ... Bb8   The point is that black does not want to dissolve the patriarch bishop combination and so must retreat the bishop. At the same time, white has developed both knights and now has the move to play:
4. exd5             White plays very well with a simple tactical resource to keep up the development process going and simultaneously impeding black's development.

SP224 white to play: Reading the state of the position at all times
The point of this diagram is to show how white reads the position and makes an assessment that attacking is good! Here both black's patriarch bishops are blocked. Black's queen does not threaten the king or h2 and so white begins to think about attack. White realises that f5! attacks and simultaneously does not weaken the king's position. This is the nature of these starting positions. We try to find ways of attacking without weakening our own position. However in order to do so, we must make an overall assessment of the opponents attack paths. White's idea then is f5!/Nf4 and black's game is in trouble.

So to summarise the main ideas for these starting positions with the Primary Patriarch Bishops:
  1. Look for dynamic ways to block the opponent's bishops
  2. Look for dynamic ways that the opponent can block themselves
  3. Look for tactical resources that rapidly gain development which then buys options
  4. Look for inherently solid structural defenses in the starting position
  5. Constantly assess the position, looking for ways to attack without compromising defense
Enjoy 960

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

All is not lost for Chess960 - part 2

Eh people we have a new server for Chess960 and it supports both live play, team play and slow play. It could well be the first chess server on the planet that was fundamentally built on Chess960 from the start!

I stumbled across E-chess960 on Facebook as they were working really hard to set up the site a few months ago. has a Facebook page as well. The primary developer is Andrei a freelance web developer with collaborations from a variety of countries and peoples! (Romania, USA, Canada, Mexico, UK) . A few tips if you do try:
  1. Just be aware that when they send you a confirmation email, it ends up in your spam folder so check that...
  2. When you've logged on, go straight to settings and setup a board display that works for you. The default display might not work.
  3. You click once to select the piece and click again to place it.
It's a relaxed easy going place to play Chess960 and the people are friendly and they promote fair play. Support the project, be patient and have fun. I cannot tell you how much work must have gone into building the site and it was done in spare time for us the Chess960 community.

........and best of all, the clock timer starts on white's first turn. Three cheers!! I begged ChessCube to implement this feature (The 960 Chess Clock) but Andrei had it implemented correctly from the start. A wonderful time for Chess960 online chess fans!

Hat's off to all!
Enjoy 960

Monday, June 13, 2011

Chess960: What is the Chess world doing?

People of Chess do not simply focus on the fact that the FIDE President of Chess meets Gaddafi as if that is the only thing that is wrong with Chess. Yes the FIDE situation is a bit nuts, but please take a look at this sublimely weird address by Kasparov on the Chessbase 25th Birthday. It really is hard to believe that Kasparov can so fundamentally misunderstand what Tigran Petrosian was saying:

"I remember in the late seventies Tigran Petrosian was complaining, he was annoyed about the Chess Informant and all these new magazines, telling us younger players that chess is losing its beauty because there is too much preparation being done, there is so much information you should look for. It was really a different game he used to play twenty years before. And he called my generation the “Chess Informator generation”. And when I look today at the top one hundred list, of the best players, I guess that more than half of the players from that list – the top one hundred list from FIDE rating – they were some of them born, and most of them learned how to play chess after the creation of ChessBase. So I think this generation can be called the “ChessBase generation”." - Kasparov

Kasparov goes on to say how chess databases have helped chess to become more "sophisticated" and advanced. Can he be serious? I shake my head sometimes but also respect how beautifully asleep the chess world is. Tiger Petrosian was not talking about the beauty of Chess being destroyed, but that the beauty of how Chess used to be played is being destroyed. In the early days of Chess, players had to be creative and think through the moves from the start as they played. They also had to be very disciplined and creative in their study as well, because many judgement errors could be made simply in the analysis. But modern readily available database information is washing that "beautiful" way of playing and studying clean away. That was Petrosian's point. That was Bobby Fischer's point as well. When will Kasparov understand that?

Kasparov goes on in a wishy washy fashion about the benefits of "Advanced Chess" which he has been pushing for the last fifteen years. He probably has some idea that teams of kids can play Advanced Chess together and use databases in open competition. I think that is a consistent idea, but what message is it teaching kids? That we have almost complete information to solve the problems of the future world that these kids will inherit?

The problems that these kids will have to face, cannot be solved with databases alone, because they are going to have to deal with many unresolved questions of perception. When we stare into a database we tend to see only what is familiar to us conceptually, no matter how big the information store is. Problems we will have to face right now and in the future will have to be resolved by creative and skeptical thinking, where kids should be taught not to be afraid of the genuine unknown and the complex, but in fact to actually embrace it and be challenged by it. Do Kasparov's ideas to have kids looking up a chess database actually help that?

It is a bit like saying that giving a pocket calculator to a team of children will help them think better. He then concludes with a warning to, which will be perfectly obvious to them already, that if they do not innovate they will go under....

Kasparov simply states the obvious but offers no real ideas. He has been doing this for years. He did it with Chess960 when he offered a solution to play a few Chess960 positions but never followed it through despite that he knows that it has much to offer (just as a very simple example, SP534 is just as deep as SP518). His other idea was to create another chess superstar as he himself was by promoting Magnus Carlsen very openly. But how good an idea was that when you actually think about it?

Kasparov is making an initiative to promote Chess in schools in the European Union by 2013. I applaud him on that but does he understand the extent to which modern computers alter the way that children think in chess? I would say that one of the biggest problems with western education systems is there is insufficient encouragement of creative thinking. Kids are taught systematic ways of thinking, but in this modern world we need creative thinking for a future that will be unfavorable at the outset and that has to be improved with creative thinking. That is the message of Chess960 each and every game. Forget about teaching kids about competitiveness and business acumen. Those skills are already being taught very well in a variety of ways such as team sport. Kasparov is simply doubling up or compounding what is already being done.

I would say a much better idea for Kasparov's EU Chess Foundation is to initially learn the fundamental concepts of Chess, but to matriculate through experience to play Chess960 in teams to solve over the board problems using conceptual thinking that encourages creativity from the very outset. Kids can still learn how to use Chess databases and even Chess engine analysis. I can only hope that Kasparov will incorporate Chess960 into the curriculum for kids in schools. I can only hope that Vishy Anand will do the same with his initiatives in India....

Enjoy 960.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tricky Tricky Chess960 - part 2

Wow what a journey SP941 has been!...

Please note that since this post, combined between us we have now some more ideas on this start position here:

I decided to check out Mark's blog on SP941 at "A Chess960 Catastrophe". Originally I was going to write about the opening that Etienne Bacrot played against Aronian as an example disaster opening of how not to play Chess960. What I actually found is that back in 2005 Etienne stumbled on what I think could be amongst a few very very tricky SP's for black to play and even worse it was against Aronian! SP941 is honestly the only SP I have so far seen in an ongoing systematic study of them, where after 1. e4, all the lines that Rybka4-960 tries to find are all +/= for white! That does not happen very often at all (note: extremely rare).

Ok let's look at what happened. Etienne actually played very well considering. Unfortunately I believe that in future years, there will be a list of a a couple of dozen SP's that black will have to commit to memory on how to play the first move. So don't say there is no memorization in Chess960! Essentially the statistics on the numbers of these hyper-dangerous openings for black are so minor that it is not an issue.

SP941: The Bacrot Catastrophe 2005
The central problem for black is that white is threatening at least three different tactical motifs! The most serious is a mate threat on b7 and a knight fork on d7. In this SP, black simply must react correctly or things get ugly very quickly. The way that Etienne deals with the issues is very skilled but fatally flawed:
1. e4   ... e5?!  Black does not respond to the tactical problems and also creates problems with the undefended pawn becoming a tactical motif of itself.
2. Nd3! ...       Now here is the point about Chess960. Black only get's into trouble when white finds a counter intuitive opening move. No one would normally play Nd3 unless you were Aronian perhaps!
2.      ... Ng6?! What can you say? Correct but flawed.
3. f4!  ...       White now opens the dark diagonal and attacks e5 but also combines mating and forking threats.
3.      ... Bf6?  Black cracks under immense pressure. There was no acceptable move from here and black is lost. Perhaps black could have played 3....c5!? Note that even Rybka4-960 would probably have lost to Aronian in this SP.

Ok so what do we do about the tragedy of the Bacrot catastrophe!? Essentially put away the computer unless you have got a long time because the computer cannot see the long term complications. I have had to think of a solution myself, and believe me it is counter-intuitive! Now do not get me wrong, I'm not saying that Chess960 is perfect! What I'm saying is this:
  1. There will be a very small number of SP's where black's first move may have to be memorized or at least the tactical motifs will have to be memorized.
  2. That these extreme SP's only become a problem for black, if white happens to find a specific counter-intuitive opening move. In the example above, Aronian found it. Nd3!....
  3. If white can find a pawn move that controls the center and effects more than one tactical motif at the same time (as does SP941), I would suggest that black play for a draw as actively as possible (unless white is not good enough to exploit the opening any further). Since these situations are not common, these starting positions are high level studies in how black reaches equality while maintaining counter-attacking chances.

SP941: One Retrospective Solution to the Bacrot Catastrophe 2005
1. e4    ... c6!?  The computer cannot see this move, only the human eye. The idea is to extinguish only one of white's tactics Nc5/Qb5# and then continue to hose down the less serious problems while simultaneously continuing development in an a-typical way.
2. Nd3!? ...       What is the problem with this move? If the tactics can be extinguished, then it simply blocks the d-pawn.
2.       ... Bb6!? Black puts a hose on all the tactics. I think this move solves all black's problems good enough for a draw...

The point is that if white decides against 2. Nd3 with:
2. Ng3   ... e5   And now we get Etienne's idea but white cannot play the same tactics anymore because the devastatingly strong white move f4 is taken away. Note that white cannot play d4 because their initiative is immediately dissolved because they expose their rook to ...Ng6/Bg5.
3. Nd3!? ... Ng6  And black can get away with a draw.

SP941:  1....c5?! contrasted against 1....c6
In this version, black plays 1....c5?! and white decides against Nd3. It's a difficult option for black to play and I doubt that it works. The issue is that white can take the long light diagonal against the king and black has no natural defense of it and then you get BvR in the corner. Not only that but the two bishops work together against the king with the queens support on b5. Forget about c5 I'd say!

Phew! Occasionally Chess960 is brutal in a few percent of the 960 different openings. By far most of the SP's have plenty of options for black. The interesting thing is that a game like this catastrophe happened six years ago. I suspect that grand-masters may have decided that Chess960 is no good because of a rare example like this. I beg to differ until someone actually proves that black cannot fight back to equality. Having looked at SP941, there is a way....I think....c6!? but it is not ...c5?! Another avenue of thought is 1....f6 or 1.....f5.

Enjoy 960!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chess960: Car crash openings part 2

A Car Crash Opening is any opening where the game is over before the tenth move because the loosing side was asleep at the wheel - enjoy the ride!

Once we get Chess960 in live formats either in blitz or rapid, we could do with some training in how to open efficiently. What I have personally experienced is that often I am averted to isolating a pawn or doing something that is not "pretty" because I am habituated to looking at the opening in terms of standard chess SP518. Here is an excellent example of a blitz Chess960 opening where both players are making mistakes, but white finally starts to think in terms of efficiency. What is "efficiency"? It is when you play opening moves that do more than one thing. We get one tempo each time we move, but we want to achieve more than one thing. For example with one move we want to prepare a good position, or promote a bad position in the opponent or both!

SP208: Efficiency in quick blitz action

For the following refer to Naming the Pawn Moves to understand the pawn moves:
1. c4   ...        White plays a "barter move" in preference to a "free move"
1.      ... Nd6?!  A terrible move because it allows white a "money move"
2. b3   ...        White plays a barter move but had c5 "a money move"
2.      ... b4?!   Black plays a "free move" (b4 is a thematic move)
3. e4!  ...        A great "free move". This move achieves a number of things. Firstly, white does not care that his edge pawn could become isolated with (bxc4...bxc4), because if that happens, control of the center will be enhanced and it gives a free development move allowing Nb3. More importantly, the free move e4 also allows the money move e5!
3.      ... bxc4   A neutral and ineffective move
4. e5!  ...        White plays the money move!
4.      ... Nc8    Black's only real move. Because white has only played one "free move", they get a theoretical allocation of at least two "free moves" but since black has now moved the knight twice, white also get's an additional "free move" in the form of a "gift move".
5. bxc4 ...        White is so far ahead that the neutral tempo move doesn't matter.
5       ... c5     Black plays their second "free move" and in theory, they do not have the time for any more! Essentially it is all over for black already.
6. Nf3  ... Nb6    White plays according to theory! They have played only one "free move" before developing a knight. They do not care that black is threatening to take on c4, because instead of worrying about it, white simply continues development with a return threat on c5
7. Nb3! ... NxP?!  Black has now moved the same piece four times!
8. Qe2! ...        White continues development with threat!
8.      ... Bd5    Black plays an inefficient development move because in theory the primary patriarch bishops are already developed with just two barter moves (Naming the Bishop Pairs)
9. Rc1! ...        White continues development with threat!
9.      ... Na3    Black has moved the same piece five times!
10.Be4  ...        White continues development with threat!

Black is now so far behind in development, the game is over already.

The essential points of this example are:
  1. White priorities are on development first even if their choice of pawn moves are not strictly optimal
  2. White does not worry that the edge pawn is isolated if it means a good center
  3. White has played according to theory

Aaaggh. Crash! (Good fun)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Chess960: Military Knights excellent in defense, excellent in attack

Here's a nice clean example of the military knights in action. In standard chess you don't see it very often but in Chess960 you can. As Michael from says of SP518:
"Knights on outposts can be devastating. Look for outposts (squares on the 5th or 6th rank that are protected from enemy pawns or other pieces) to plant your knights on. From a protected outpost, a knight can really hinder your opponent’s development."

Well in Chess960 you can magnify that effect very quickly if you are not careful with a pair of Military Knights! In some SP's the Military Knights can move out in front of the pawn wall and guard the king on the 3rd rank very well. But when they come out onto the 5th rank and control the 7th rank they can do a lot of damage and that damage comes sooner rather than later! In this case, black wins a rook in all lines because white's 2nd rank is so weak (combined with the pin on the queen):

SP207 White to Move: Military Knights attacking the 7th rank

It's really worth studying the Control Diagram of the Military Knights and learn how the military knights control the squares around them. The point is that if they get onto the 5th rank, their clean control of the 7th rank can be deadly. Notice that white's corresponding military knights are much less effective even if they could deploy to their 5th rank. What pressure would they put on the 7th rank that black cannot deal with?

In other words, when you think about the knights during the opening phase, think about the 5th rank and 7th rank where all the knights can quickly get to either alone or in cooperative groups of Military Knights or Chivalry Knights.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chess960 a pain in the neck?

Alright what I am talking about Chess960 and a pain in the neck? I'm actually trying to advocate it with this blog!

Let me explain. I spend hours and hours and hours behind a computer screen to earn a living. What do I do to relax? Well of course we all know it is Chess960. But Chess960 is done from behind a computer screen as well !@!#@

Over the years my neck muscles have tightened up like a knotted rope from lots of work in front of the computer. I've had various other issues with my neck but lately I started noticing that when I am playing a Chess960 game, I can actually get a bit "dizzy". I went to the doctor and had it checked. The doctor could find nothing wrong and even worse, he did not know what Chess960 was :-)

So I did a bit of research. Stress can make you dizzy that's one thing. Another thing is that Chess960 probably expends 25% more energy than a game of standard Chess because you are having to think from the first move. Not only that but the brain uses 25% of the total oxygen circulating in the body. How does oxygen get to the head where we are thinking? It get's there via the blood and the blood gets to the head via the neck, and the muscles in the neck can constrict the blood flow. Relax, stretch the neck muscles and deeestresssss.

So Chess960 is a sport that involves blood, but it is not a blood sport...... ok?
Enjoy 960

Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"

Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"
This exercise is more fun because you get to stick your hand under your bum

Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"

Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"

Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"
Courtesy  of "The Stretching Handbook"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chess960: Opening Puzzle No. 2

Here's a cool little Chess960 puzzle that occurred from SP205. Black has tried a radical tactic of playing out the Chivalry Knights hyper-quickly to startle white (Naming the Knight Pairs). See if you can find the solution!:

SP205 White to play: Find the only equalizing move...

I could not see the idea, but the chess engine Rybka4-960 sure could! The answer is hidden somewhere on this post. Feel free to kick me if the solution is not agreeable to you! :-)

Sometimes Rybka should be called "Doctor Strangelove"!
Enjoy 960!

5.d3! Nxd3+ 6.Kd2 Nxc1 7.cxd4 Nxa2 8.Qxa2= f5?! 9.d5! e6 10.Bb3 +/= fantastic!
5.cxd4?! Nd3+ 6.Kf1 Nxc1 7.Nc3 Nd3 8.Qb1 Nf4 9.Nf5 g6 10.Be3 =/+
5.Kf1?! Nd3 6.cxd4 Nxc1 =/+
5.Bc2?! 5...Nxc2+ 6.Rxc2 c5 =/+
(Feel free to post a comment if you do not understand)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chess960: Puzzle suggestions for GM's that are playing Chess

Here is a suggestion for GM's that are playing Chess not Chess960 and that still need puzzle exercises to work on in the morning's routine of practice. Hat's off to you. You've done all the major puzzle exercises. You know all of the endgame skills. You know all of the major opening ideas. You know all of the subtlest positional ideas and of course all of the tactics as well. What do you still need to practice that is truly different?
  1. You must get someone to write a program for you that does nothing but look for novelties in the current openings according to a time period and current popular opening trends within that time period.
  2. The program must present you with the lead-up to the the novelty plus all of the primary lines that result from the novelty.
  3. You treat the programs output like a puzzle. Every morning spend at least three hours playing through all the novelty puzzles that the computer has found until all the major ideas are committed to memory. How many novelty puzzles are there likely to be in the major primary lines of the day? Ten novelties in a window of the first 15 moves in the day to day trends of the fashionable openings around the world?
  4. For at least another couple of years you would have fun novelty puzzles to do every morning that would generally refresh your memory for the opening book as well.
You would have beautiful studies that are still complicated enough for you to work through. You might even be able to play these novelties against unsuspecting opponents! Just an idea that would help give you a couple of extra ratings points. It would cut down a lot of unnecessary study time and allow you to do other things with your day.

But then again, how about?...

You could form a coalition of players and form a break away group of Chess960 professionals as happened with tennis in the late 1960's and early 70's. By doing so you put your career at a risk if you are not going to get invited to Chess tournaments any more because you are "radicals". The group of "960" could be:
  1. Aronian, Levon
  2. Grischuk, Alexander
  3. Kosteniuk, Alexandra
  4. Leko, Peter
  5. Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar
  6. Nakamura, Hikaru
  7. Navara, David
  8. Polgar, Judit
  9. Svidler, Peter
  10. Any others?
At least two women in the group as well as a mix of younger as well as senior players who have all played Chess960 at GM tournament level. Sounds like a lot of fun! 

Costs nothing to dream I guess.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Chess960 Time of Change

A few months ago I started a discussion at called Why The Chess960 Minority? (Top Reasons why I think Chess960 is at 5% of total Chess activity with no sign of change).

The intentions for advocating Chess960 are all good and so I carry no guilt of wasted time or wasted effort. I often stuff the intention up with bad execution but you can only do what you can do. The intention is good that is the point. What is interesting is that I did not mean to, but actually I was using reverse logic to advocate Chess960!? I think reverse logic is actually faulty (despite that it might have a temporary effect). So instead I thought I better come straight out with straight forward logic instead!

Top Reasons Why I Think Chess960 should Herald a Time of Change in Chess
  1. Teach our kids to encourage diversity! Our human species is in the middle of causing one of the greatest mass extinctions of species and cultural diversity in the known history of the planet. Chess960 is a perfect analogy of how we perceive diversity. Each one of the 960 positions is actually a "seed" that grows differently to it's neighbors but also relatedly. When we play the position, a unique plant will grow! Maybe the plant is slightly lop sided maybe not. But does it matter? Yes a few of the super GM's think that some of the 960 seeds are "absurd" when they compare it with standard chess. But the point is it is not really about our impressions. The point is whether every single position in Chess960 has something useful to offer (one chess960 position doesn't have to offer everything)How are we going to deal with the diversity in Chess960? Are we going to conduct an agricultural practice on Chess960 and encourage just a few varieties to grow? But according to what objective criterion? That the position looks similar to chess? (Chess960 and Agriculture). Or are we simply going to encourage our kids to enjoy the maximum possible diversity that Chess960 represents and deal with it. You could say the same with multiculturalism in our cities or biological diversity in nature. Diversity is good! We just try to learn to accept it as we find it and integrate with it.
  2. Encourage kids to embrace complexity! Yes we are all in the dark when we play Chess960 without all of that concrete bed of knowledge to fall back on. But actually we are in the light! Enjoy the experience of having to explore and appreciate complex environments rather than to shy away from them. In any case there is already at least one Opening Principal for playing Chess960 as a start. The idea is that Chess960 is teaching us to creatively deal with non-ideal situations from the very outset and to make something that is imperfect and complex at the outset, much more harmonious. Is that not a great skill to develop? I would say it is a skill we need in the modern age.
  3. Let the kids think creatively in unfavorable situations! Chess960 is actually a holistic way to play Chess. There is still plenty of practice that is done off the board, but also there is a new found emphasis on harmonious spur of the moment planning and being creative in all phases of the game from the opening through to the endgame in many opening situations that are often not "pleasing" to our common sensibility, but never-the-less can be made better. Isn't that wonderful?
  4. We should learn how to enjoy loosing a complex game with a degree of humility! Chess960 is about returning competition to the moment (rather than a pre-arranged memorized scheme). None of us can actually hide any more behind our rote memory. None of us can steer games according to our comfort zone. You will find that even the GM's are going to make some really goofy mistakes at times as well as absolute brilliancies at others. Chess960 is too immense to rely on rote memory for any of us and so we will have to accept our limitations (all of us GM's and patzers) and play with humility but also with great joy. Chess960 teaches us that the world around us is way more complex than we would theoretically like, but that the immensity of it is our friend not our enemy!
  5. Chess960 fits perfectly into the constraints of modern culture. None of us have that much time to book memorize a game. We do enough book learning as it is! Chess960 restores the balance of Chess back to an over the board experience. Chess960 is perfect for our time constraints. It is a net-workable game that can be played across the world. A Chess960 game is full of unknown adventures but we can make that adventure as short and concise as we would like! A half hour adventure into a Chess960 game in our busy lives is just that, an adventure or a short story within time constraints.
  6. Chess960 discourages addictive game play. In chess lets face it what do we do these days? We play one game online. If we win we play another straight away because we are already familiar with the opening that worked for us and little energy is required to replay that opening . So we dive right back in again and again repeating the same opening book looking to gratify ourselves with another win. If we have lost a game, do we actually try a new idea or just play the same opening plans hoping that we will get lucky next time? Because the Chess environment starts predictably, it encourages us to treat the game like a poker machine. This phenomenon of Chess was not a problem before the internet when we used to play chess in a physical club in our town! But these days we are all online at any moment of the day or night ready to dive onto the chess poker machine pulling the same levers expecting to get a different result. But Chess960 just does not work like that. You have to be disciplined at move one and it takes a lot of energy to play the opening phase without rote memorization to fall-back on. So if you have lost a couple of games, Chess960 encourages you to go and take a break, because there will be no getting lucky unless you are fresh and thinking creatively.
Enjoy 960