29 May 2010

Knights before Bishops?

In his 'Manual of Chess', Lasker introduced his chapter on openings with a number of rules in historical order (p.41, abridged here):-
  1. In the 18th century they announced their first rule: 'Sortez les pieces' -- 'Get the pieces out'.

  2. It took a hundred years before a new rule was announced [London 1851]: 'Move that one of your pieces which is in the worst plight, unless you can satisfy yourself that you can derive immediate advantage by an attack'.

  3. A few decades went by, tournaments became of frequent occurrence, and the masters, coming together oftener than before, evolved a 'public opinion'. That tended toward the rule: Avoid the moves of Pawns in the opening as far as possible.

  4. I have added to these principles the law: Get the Knights into action before both Bishops are developed.

The first two 'rules' definitely apply to chess960 and the third probably applies, but I'm not sure about the fourth. Is it a specific rule that applies mainly to the traditional start position (SP518: RNBQKBNR) and its twin (SP534: RNBKQBNR), is it a rule of thumb that applies to a family of start positions, or is it a general rule for all such positions?

1 comment:

GeneM said...

Reuben Fine listed his famous 9 opening principle of chess in his book 'Chess the Easy Way'.

From considering chess960-FRC, I believe that some of Fine so-called principles would be found to be merely esoteric tactical considerations of the particular start setup that has been traditionally reused since 1475; and those items from Fine's list would become less interesting when seen in the proper larger context of openings for many sensible start setups.

And we would exault even higher those items on Fine's list that hold true for the many other setups.

We cannot understand which of Fine's principles have broad applicability across setups until we focus deeply on one additional start setup, a second setup to join with the traditional setup in frequent reuse in tournaments.

Trying to study 959 other setups in little bits spreads the effort too thin. Besides, other people would ignore the study results from any other setup that they never reuse - they would have no practical reason to care.

Discard the 'Random' from Fischer Random Chess!

GeneM (2012/August/27)