For me, the classification of chess960 as more than a variant is not a simple difference of opinion on semantics. It's critical to the eventual adoption of Fischer's creation. Many chess players dismiss chess960 as 'just another chess variant', like Capablanca chess or Seirawan chess, because they don't realize how close chess960 is to traditional chess. One of these days I'd like to construct a quiz featuring middlegame positions taken from real games of both chess and chess960. The object of the quiz will be to decide which positions are which. I mention the middlegame because the opening is too easy to distinguish and the endgame is almost always impossible. It should be fairly easy to find dozens of middlegame positions where the obvious answer is the wrong answer.
Another comment on the Capablanca post was from GeneM, the author of one of the few chess960 books ever published. At the same time he left a few other comments on other posts, one of which was Pawn Power in Chess960, where he mentioned 'Reuben Fine's famous list of nine opening principles'. I'm only familar with the 'ten practical rules' that I listed in Fine's 'General Principles' of Opening Theory, and wonder if we are talking about the same thing. GeneM left even more comments on the Chess960 Jungle blog, which HarryO pulled together into a new post, Play Stronger Chess By Examining Chess960.
An email from a regular reader of this Chess960 (FRC) blog alerted me to a 'Chess960 Almanac' (see Chess960 II) on the Zen Quaker blog, a resource that was new to me. One of the concepts in the Almanac is 'Displacement', defined as 'how far each piece is displaced from it's starting position'. This reminded me of some investigation I once did on a concept I called 'Distance', and which I documented in a pair of posts Randomness in Chess960 Start Positions and More on the Concept of Distance. In a future post I'll combine zenquaker's tables with my own unpublished data to see if we are indeed talking about the same thing.
The first of zenquaker's chess960 posts, appropriately titled Chess960 I, looked at the choice of start positions in the recent St.Louis event. I also covered this topic in The Chess960 Wheel of Fortune. It appears that the St.Louis organizers used a faulty procedure for determining the start positions in their tournament.
Another recent chess960 article, Non-random Fischer Random, appeared on that staunch supporter of traditional chess, Chessvibes.com, a site sponsored by New in Chess (see Review: NIC Yearbook 100 for a discussion of the relationship). That 'non-random' post raises so many discussion points that it deserves special treatment. I'll return to its points in a future post.
Also worth noting is a page Chess Quotes (aka Rotten Tomatoes) mentioned in an earlier post of mine, Stats and More Stats. The page has evolved since I first mentioned it and I should include it in a series I last discussed on my main blog in World Championship Opening Preparation in 2010.
Finally, I updated the list of 'Correspondence (Turnbased) Chess960' sites in the sidebar to add E-chess960.com. I haven't spent much time on the site and it deserves a closer look.