2009 Chess960 Dropout Tournament, Round 2

Start Position: 353
'Standard' (30 days + 1 day/move, max 45 days)
This game is being played under Chess960 rules. Click the 'info' tab for more information.
Clock started on 3/28/2009
1. f4 b6 2. e3 f5 3. b3 e6 4. Nf2 Bf6 5. Bxf6 gxf6 6. Bh5+ Ng6 7. g4 fxg4 8. Qxg4 O-O-O 9. O-O-O f5 10. Qe2 Qg7 11. Nc3 Rg8 12. Rg1 Qf6 13. Rg3 Rg7 14. Kb2 Rdg8 15. Rdg1 Ne7 16. d4 Bb7 17. Nb5 Nbc6 18. Nd3 a6 19. Nc3 d6 20. Bf3 Rg6 21. Qg2 Kb8 22. Rd1 Ka7 23. Ne2 Nd8 24. c4 Bxf3 25. Qxf3 c5 26. Kb1 Ndc6 27. Rh3 Rh6 28. dxc5 bxc5 29. Nb2 e5 30. Rxh6 Qxh6 31. Qf2 e4 32. Ng3 Rg6 33. Qg2 Qh4 34. a3 Qf6 35. Na4 Qh8 36. Qh3 Qb8 37. Ka2 Qf8 38. Rd2 Rh6 39. Qg2 Qf6 40. Rb2 Rg6 41. Qd2 Qe6 42. Rb1 Qg8 43. Qe2 h6 44. Rd1 Qh8 45. Rd2 Qf6 46. Qe1 Nc8 47. Rb2 Qe6 48. Qc3 Qf6 49. Qd2 Qe6 50. Nc3 N6e7 51. Qd1 Nb6 52. Rd2 Kb7 53. Kb2 Kc6 54. Qf1 Qf6 55. Kc2 Kc7 56. Qe1 Qh4 57. Qa1 Qf6 58. Qf1 Rg8 59. Nh5 Qg6 60. Qe2 Rd8 61. Qd1 Qe6 62. Qa1 Kb7 63. a4 Qg6 64. Qd1 Kc7 65. a5 Nbc8 66. Ng3 Na7 67. Nd5+ Nxd5 68. Rxd5 Rf8 69. Qh5 Qxh5 70. Nxh5 Nc6 71. Rd1 Rg8 72. Rd2 Rg1 73. Rd1 Rg6 74. Ng3 Ne7 75. Kc3 Rg8 76. Rb1 Kc6 77. b4 Rb8 78. Rb3 d5 79. bxc5 Rxb3+ 80. Kxb3 Kxc5 81. cxd5 Kxd5 82. Kc3 Kc5 83. h3 Nd5+= 84. Kd2 Ne7 85. Kc3=

Many chess masters valued the challenge of playing chess with a non-standard setup as a way to break out of the opening play doldrums. Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess) plays like Standard Chess with the exception of a randomly generated opening setup of pieces behind the 8 pawns. The game is quite popular and played even by top chess grandmasters, like Svidler or Leko.


1. The rules

Most of the standard chess rules are in place. The only exceptions are:

  • pieces are randomly shuffled on the first/last rank (the only restrictions are that bishops have opposite colors and that the king must be somewhere between the rooks, black setup mirrors white),
  • castling rules are generalised to accomodate varying initial setup.

Example initial setup (one of the 960 possible):


Castling rule is easy to memorize: after castling, king and rook move to the squares they would land in standard chess (after O-O we have Kg1 and Rf1, after O-O-O Kc1 and Rd1). Typical chess restrictions apply - none of the castling pieces moved, source and destination squares are empty, king path is free of any pieces and not under opponent attack. SchemingMind interface shows castling icons whenever castle is possible.

O-O looks fantastic in the above setup, doesn't it? And require some work to prepare... But in setups with Kf1 and Rg1, one can play O-O as the first move of the game.

Except those, all standard chess rules apply, be it en-passant, pawn promotion, stalemate, or whatever. Once both sides castled there is no difference between chess960 and standard chess game (although the middlegame positions are sometimes unique - thanks to nontypical development of pieces or pawn structures).


2. Why play it?

Escaping long, well known, opening lines of standard chess is obvious advantage of chess960. We are again in the world where one must work from the very beginning of the game. It is fun, it is also valuable training for standard chess players (learning to think during opening stage helps when one meets unexpected line in usual chess).

Less known feature is that chess960 frequently creates middlegame configurations (from pawn structures, to piece layouts) rarely or never met in standard chess, giving way to nontypical combinations. Fun, but also good training to search for new tactical patterns.


3. Tips and tricks

Below a few tips for people starting chess960.

1. This is normal chess. The middlegame and endgame knowledge applies as-is. Basic opening principles (develop, castle, claim center, be active) also apply. Memorize castling rule quoted above, and you can play.

2. Spend some time studying initial setup. Are there diagonals you can quickly claim? Which side do you expect to castle? What are undefended or poorly defended pawns and squares? Which pieces can be difficult to develop?

3. Remember about activating all your pieces. There are chess960 setups, in which some pieces are difficult to develop (for example, imagine setup with queens on a1 and a8, especially if there are bishops on h1 and h8). It can pay off to sac some material, but to bring all forces into the battle quickly.

4. Avoid chess960 errors. One can see solid chess players hanging pieces, allowing for major forks, or even blundering a mate in one or two in chess960 games (see for instance cruel miniature , quick knight mate or devastating fork at move 3). The reason is that pieces are differently organised than in normal chess. Some patterns can be similar to known chess setups, and instinctively seen so, but allow for an attack, which in normal chess would not work. Those examples prove also, that one must be alert from the very beginning of the game.

5. Recognize weak squares. Everybody know about weaknessess of f2 and f7 in standard chess, in chess960 (depending on setup) there can be even squares which are not defended at all. Spot them, exploit them, defend them.


4. Instructive games

Selected example games:

Develop to win - white picks better development plan and manages to organise threatening attack before black coordinates his forces

The Queen problem - interesting game, which in particular illustrates the problem with developing queen in some setups; note also phantasy castling at move 14 and interesting endgame,

Castling on the first move - also, interesting example of development in rather difficult configuration (knights in corners)

Another early castling - plus just another example of interesting development problems (note difficulties black face with activating the queen, and both sides have with h bishops)

More links to instructive chess960 games played on schemingmind, are welcome. In particular, it would be nice to find:

more examples of exploration of weak square(s)

illustration of sacrificing some material to activate pieces,

closed position with pawn structure not likely to happen in standard chess,


5. Position number

The position number is a number from range 1 to 960, which in unique way describes the initial position. Exact algorithm (initially described by R.Scharnagl in his German book about the game) is not usually important, but if you are interested, see chapter 5 on this page. In short: if you write the position number in binary notation, then the lowest two bits encode position of light-square bishop, next two bits the position of dark-square bishop, then the rest of pieces are encoded.


6. Valuable links

See this journal article for a few commented games and some links to Chess960 sites.

links to chess960 sites are welcome

Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2002 - 2022

SchemingMind.com | Westhoughton | Bolton | England