22 June 2013

The KID Family

Playing White against SchemingMind's top-ranked chess960 player at the time, I was dealt the position shown in the first diagram (SP599 RQBNKRNB). Notice anything special about it? No, I didn't either until I started considering my first move.

Now look at the second diagram, showing the position three moves into the game. Notice anything special now?

The bottom diagram, which arose from the first diagram after 1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 d6 3.Nc3 O-O, looks a lot like a King's Indian Defense (KID) in a traditional chess game (SP518 RNBQKBNR). I wanted to play 4.Nf3, preparing 5.O-O, but that leaves the Rf1 exposed to 4...Bh3. Instead I prepared the same idea with 4.Bg2, covering h3. The game is still in progress, so I can't comment on the subsequent moves, except to say that KID themes occurred on nearly all opening moves.

How many positions are in the chess960 KID family? If we freeze the four pieces on the Kingside (h-side for the purists; i.e. ****KRNB), the second Rook can be placed legally on any of the remaining squares. The dark squared Bishop has two possible squares, then the Queen has three squares and the Knight two squares (or vice versa). That makes 2x3x2, or 12 possible positions in the same family. The start position SP599 is one of the leading members of the family because the Queenside Knight can go directly to c3.

Other members of the family can be imagined by shifting the King one or two squares toward the Queenside. The twins of the KID family -- for example SP258 (BNRKNBQR), the twin of SP599 -- have a similar set of dynamics. One significant difference: in SP258, castling O-O-O is possible on the first move.


HarryO said...

Another great way to remember, recognize and study a group of start positions by name. You invented the 'Barbecues' and now the 'Kids'!

In the world of Chess960 we study many start positions to a shallow depth....

In the world of Chess we study one position to a very deep depth....

In the world of Chess960 we study one start position to a deep depth but only ever in retrospect....

In Chess960 we combine two different ways of studying the opening....

In this age, we have people that want to create new theory and we have others that want to consume the theory that others have created.

When there is a body of Chess960 theory, consumers will begin to become interested in Chess960.

For now people like you are the pioneers.


GeneM said...

The comparison of opening play between the traditional setup SP#518 versus other chess960 setups --- is our best way to advance our understanding of true chess opening principles.

Presently nobody can even partially quantify how similar the opening moves or positions would be. Ignorance is not bliss.

Little studies such as Mark presents in this blog post are a step toward reducing our ignorance of chess opening principles.