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:
- White priorities are on development first even if their choice of pawn moves are not strictly optimal
- White does not worry that the edge pawn is isolated if it means a good center
- White has played according to theory
Aaaggh. Crash! (Good fun)