27 August 2011

Chess960 on YouTube's ChessNetwork

ChessNetwork is one of the most popular chess instruction channels on YouTube. Here's a chess960 clip from its owner, Jerry, 'A National Master in chess who enjoys educating others.'

LIVE Blitz Game #12 - Fischer Random - Chess 960 (14:19) • 'This is a video where I share my thoughts while playing a Fischer Random / Chess 960 blitz game.' • SP304 BBNQRKRN

For another chess960 clip from the same channel, see LIVE Blitz Game #17 - Fischer Random - Chess 960.

20 August 2011

Updated Database of SPs (2011-08)

For some reason I thought I had updated my database of start positions (SPs) after the beginning of the year, but was surprised to discover that it had in fact been almost a year ago: Updated Database of SPs (2010-08). I added 14 posts written since then that had addressed specific SPs, including two SPs where I had previously discussed the position:-

For SP535, which appeared in important rounds in two different years at Mainz, the post I added was the third.

13 August 2011

'Alles muss raus!'

In a perfect world this is the time of year I would be reporting on the chess960 events at Chess Classic Mainz (CCM). Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect, and as I reported six months ago in No Place for Chess960, CCM is no more.

My first ever post on CCM was Chess Classic Mainz 2008 (CCM8), written a few months after I started playing chess960. I followed this up with an overview of all previous CCMs in Chess960 @ Chess Classic Mainz, a post that I frequently consult for detailed information on the different events.

In early 2009, I wondered if the Mainz event would survive the global economic slowdown that smacked our imperfect world in 2008, but was soon reassured that the organization was on track: Chess960 @ CCM9. As things turned out, the report on the 2009 event, CCM9: Nakamura, Grischuk, and Rybka, was my last. The chess960 events at CCM 2010 were severely curtailed to a single simul (see Rare Bird Sightings) and six months later the entire CCM 2011 extravaganza was cancelled for lack of sponsorship. The global slowdown had taken two years to exact its toll.

A few months ago I posted about one of the early events, CCM 2003,
and I plan to go back to the other early events -- 2004 through 2007 -- that I've never looked at in any depth. I would rather work with new material, but there just isn't any.


This year, at what should be CCM11, the only sign of life is a fire sale on CCM memorabilia, including t-shirts and caps: Alles muss raus! ('Everything must go!'). Get 'em while they last.

06 August 2011

A Logical Contradiction

This week I spent some time cleaning up my Every Move Explained series (see Last Proofreading? on my main blog) and was reminded of a relevant quote by GM Korchnoi that I used in the game 1969 Sarajevo - Kovacs vs Korchnoi.
Modern opening theory helps the weak, strange as it may seem. One can learn and even understand a variation without having a high chess qualification, but true strength manifests itself in positions which have been studied little or not at all. In playing [his previous move], White, in contrast to the positions in fashionable variations, quickly moves away from the well-trodden paths. As early as the next few moves, he is forced to think for himself, and this, as is well known, is the most difficult.

I've noted in the past that one of the arguments against chess960 is that, by obliterating opening theory, it somehow helps the weaker player against the stronger player; see, for example, More Arguments Against Chess960, although I could have used other sources. This seems contradictory. If opening theory helps the weaker player, how can the absence of it also help the weaker player? Who's right, Korchnoi or the chess960 critics?