18 July 2010

Chess960 Tournaments Are Rare Birds

While writing yesterday's post on Special Chess960 Dice, which were used for a side event of the 2010 Canadian Open at Toronto (for more about the event see the press release for the Canadian Open Chess Championship), I noted that the Shabalov simul was the only chess960 event taking place during the Open. In 2010, chess960 tournaments are rare birds and it's worth mentioning a few others I've discovered.
  • Although the Chess Tigers have scaled back chess960 at Mainz this year -- (Almost) No Chess960 @ CCM10 -- they organize other chess960 events. If you don't understand German you'll need to have their page Chess Tigers: Chess960 translated to find out more about their events.

  • This weekend the Swiss Chess960 Championship was held as part of the Biel Chess Festival. The winner was the current women's chess960 champion at Mainz: Kosteniuk is Chess960 Swiss Champion.

  • In June, Chessdom.com reported that Ram S Krishnan wins 1st Chess960 title at Chennai, India: '118 players participated in this nine round Swiss event, and prizes were awarded in open, boys & girls category'.

  • Chessdom later reported, in International Chess Championship of Slovakia, that chess960 would be played as a side event during the Slovakian Championship this week: 'Exhibition events will include two-games match between GM Hikaru Nakamura (World champion in Chess960) and GM Sergei Movsesian (3rd place in Chess960 World championship) in Fischer Random Chess'.

If you know of game scores for these events, or if you know about other chess960 events that I've overlooked, add a comment or send me an email at the address listed under my profile. And thanks!


HarryO said...

I am a chess player who plays only chess960. It's pointless playing position 518 (standard chess). Standard chess encourages a very narrow mentality in the personal computer era. It encourages a mentality of people that are content to memorize large slabs of computer preparation purely because they are interested in winning.

Chess960 is ultimately not about winning or loosing. It is about marveling at all that is beautiful about our game. Standard chess is like a beautiful forest but Chess960 is like the Amazon Jungle! People will be finding new ideas, variations and phenomenon in the 960 game for at least the next 100 years there is that much in the game to explore. And as a bonus you can still enjoy to win!

I totally support your efforts to encourage the true future of chess as chess960. We need tournaments for young people to play Chess960. These tournaments should emphasize the joy of playing the game more than winning or loosing. Chess960 is the vehicle to achieve this. Discussion about confusion in the rules of castling in 960 is not actually a discussion about castling, it is a discussion of training and habit. Play one hundred chess960 games and Bobby Fischer's castling rules will become second nature and natural to you.

Unfortunately, the current grandmasters are still reluctant to let go of standard chess for valid reasons (they need to maintain a career). It's a shame but culture does not change overnight. The only hope is that someone wealthy with vision sets up and sponsors a chess960 tournament sooner rather than later.

Keep up the good work. If you need help with your website in any way, let me know.


Mark Weeks said...

Received an email informing me that chess960 will be a side event at the 111th U.S. Open Chess Championship: '3 August: U.S. Open Fischer Random Championship'.

Damian said...

Hi. I want to make sure that you and your readers know that the USCF is sponsoring its first official Chess960 tournament at the US Open in Irvine, on August 3rd.


3 August: U.S. Open Fischer Random Championship. 4-SS, G/30. Not rated, higher of regular or quick rating will be used for pairings. Entry fee $40. Registration 9am-11:30am. Rds: noon, 1:30, 3:00, 4:30. Will split into two sections - top half and bottom half. 80% of entries as returned as cash prizes. First 40%, second 25%, third 15% for both sections.

Hope to see you there, and thanks for this awesome blog!

Damian Nash, Tournament Director

HarryO said...

Awesome Damian
Chess960 in America!!! Thanks to the USCF for carrying the 960 torch while Mainz takes a break this year. I truly wish you all the best for the tournament and that it may only keep growing from here. Hopefully the 960 event will provide some real entertainment and interest. If some shots of the 960 event could be uploaded to YouTube that would be great.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but if players are not shown the position before they sit down to play and the clock starts ticking for white as soon as they are, does this not reduce the colour advantage of playing white a little? This is because if white's clock starts ticking from the moment the players are seated, white must spend considerable time to analyse the opening scheme before the first move (else possibly to succumb to a drastic blunder), which actually gives black some free time to get familiar with the position as compensation for playing black does it not?

If anyone argues that some opening preparation should be allowed in these tournaments so that players are pre-warned of the position they will face, tell them that you can do opening preparation in Chess960 without knowing the opening scheme! Just read this blog. Mark shows what can be expected in the opening statistically. From memory the king is most likely to be on e1-d1. The rooks most likely to be on a1-b1, g1-h1 etc. Mark also shows in this blog where most likely will be the weak squares and what is the most likely castling directions. Thus you can prepare your chess960 opening theory to some statistical extent! Just not the specific lines themselves.


Mark Weeks said...

Harry - Re your remark 'From memory the king is most likely to be on e1-d1', I discussed this in a post on another blog...

Introduction to Chess960 Geometry

...Since there are still over 100 positions where the King starts on the b-file (ditto for the g-file), I'm not convinced that it helps in preparation. It's mainly just a non-obvious fact about the range of all 960 start positions.

In your previous comment you mentioned, 'If you need help with your website in any way, let me know.' Send me an email (my address is under my profile) if you have any specific ideas you would like to discuss. - Mark