18 August 2012

The Barbecue Positions

The idea I proposed in Non-random Fischer Random, where the two players take turns deciding on which squares the pieces start, has already received two trials. The first game was played using comments to Fischer-Bronstein Non-Random Chess960 Trial on HarryO's chess960 blog, Chess960 Jungle.

Harry placed the first Bishop on the b-file and I placed the second Bishop on the a-file. Harry then decided to place the Queen, setting it down on the c-file. Bishop on a, Bishop on b, Queen on c is BBQ*****, which we promptly named a Barbecue position. A quick calculation shows that there are ten such positions, from which I chose the position with the Knights on the e- and f-files: SP384 BBQRNNKR. Harry played 1.c4 and we were off.

After we played ten moves, enough to get a feeling for the tactical and positional opportunities lurking in that start position, Harry summarized his impressions of the first trial in Non-Random Chess960 Trial Game 1: SP384. As for me, I learned a lot during the trial. Having some control over the placing of the pieces led to considerable reflection over how my choices influenced further play.

It turns out that the first position in the standard numbering scheme, SP000 BBQNNRKR, is also in the BBQ family. We dubbed this position the Extreme Barbecue (or Barbecue Extreme) both for its number and for the BBQ pieces attacking the RKR pieces on the opposite flank. We're currently conducting a trial of SP000 and its twin, SP959 RKRNNQBB (the last in the numbering scheme!), to make sure that Black is not busted from the start.

I'll report on those results, as well as our second trial, Non-Random Chess960 Trial Game 2: SP393, in a future post.

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