25 July 2009

What's the Logic?

Combining the games I collected for my post on CCM PGN Game Scores together with the CCM games I received from Chess Tiger, which chess960 players have been the most active at Chess Classic Mainz (CCM)? The top five active players are listed in the following table along with the number of games I have on file (there might be some games missing):-

66 Aronian
56 Svidler
53 Bacrot
45 Almasi
34 Naiditsch

GM Levon Aronian's latest CCM appearance was in 2007, where he won the overall title (see Chess960 World Championships for details). Here's the start position of his game against GM Rustam Kasimdzhanov from round two of the preliminary section in that event.

Start Position 383

And here's the PGN, as provided by CCM.

[Event "FiNet Chess960 Rapid World Championship"]
[Site "Chess Classic Mainz"]
[Date "2007/8/14"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Aronian"]
[Black "Kasimdzhanov"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Variant "chess 960"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "nrkrnqbb/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/NRKRNQBB w DBdb - 0 1"]

1.f4 Nb6 2.f5 f6 3.Nb3 e5 4.fxe6 dxe6 5.g3 Nd6 6.Nd3 Qe7 7.Ndc5 Bf7 8. Na5 O-O 9.Ncxb7 Be8 10.Nc5 f5 11.Qf3 Nbc4 12.Nc6 Bxc6 13.Qxc6 g6 14.c3 Ne5 15.Qa4 c6 16.Nd3 Rb7 17.Bc5 Rc8 18.Nxe5 Bxe5 19.d4 Bg7 20.O-O Qd7 21. Bxd6 Qxd6 22.e4 fxe4 23.Bxe4 e5 24.Qc4+ Kh8 25.d5 c5 26.b4 Rbc7 27.b5 Rd8 28.a4 Qb6 29.Kg2 Rd6 30.a5 Qxa5 31.Ra1 1-0

White's first move 1.f4 is easy to understand. It opens lines for a couple of pieces, prepares Nf3, and attacks the Pawn on a7. Black's response 1...Nb6 is also straightforward. It blocks the attack on a7 by developing the Knight to its natural square. Then there's a mystery -- what to make of 2.f5?

In Differences Between Chess and Chess960, I wrote that regarding the Initial moves, in chess 'Moves are chosen according to repertoire, respecting chess logic as necessary', while in chess960, 'Moves are chosen according to chess logic'. What's the logic behind 2.f5?

Here's my answer: If White plays something straightforward like 2.Nb3, Black will answer 2...f5, maintaining the symmetry along with the balance (or equilibrium) in the position. With 2.f5, White prevents Black from getting this easy equality. The advanced Pawn on f5 is not in any danger, because: (1) It is protected against any immediate attack by the Queen on c1, and (2) Black must eventually play ...g6 (or ...g5) to develop the Bishop on h8, when the f-Pawn can be swapped off by f5xg6. • Does this make sense to you or do you have a better line of reasoning?

18 July 2009

Preview: Chess Classic Mainz 2009

Four and a half months after my post on Chess960 @ CCM9, the biggest chess960 event of the year starts in just a few days. Chess Tigers' home page, Chess Classic Mainz 2009 (CCM9), announces the official dates and venue as 27 July - 2 August 2009, at Rheingoldhalle, Mainz, with three chess960 events scheduled.

I'll carry the results as soon as I can.

11 July 2009

Differences Between Chess and Chess960

In Chess960 FAQ, one of the questions was 'Can chess and chess960 co-exist?' The short answer is: 'Yes, of course they can!' The long answer is: 'Look at the following table.'

The table shows what I think are the main differences between chess and chess960. The first column describes the way chess is tackled by good players. The second columns describes how chess960 can be tackled. The two ways of playing are not incompatible. Chess will appeal to some players; chess960 will appeal to other players; both might appeal to certain players (like me).

>>> Differences between Chess and Chess960 <<<
Number of SPs:1 (SP518: RNBQKBNR)960 (incl. SP518)
Opening Theory:Under development since mid-19th centuryAlmost none
Home Preparation:Develop an opening repertoire; study opponents' opening repertoiresStudy generalities applying to families of positions
Software:Large databases with 100s or 1000s of example games incorporating a specific, familiar opening positionSmall databases with a few games for each SP
Initial moves:Moves chosen according to repertoire, respecting chess logic as necessaryMoves chosen according to chess logic
Speed of play:Play first moves quickly while position is familiar; play more slowly when end of repertoire reachedConsider the start position carefully before making the first move; play slowly starting with the first move
Psychology:Choice of opening moves says something about player's style and objectivesChoice of moves says something about player's understanding of general chess principles
Middlegame:Standard plans for the chosen opening often known and documented; frequently possible to discern which opening led to positionOften difficult to follow a standard plan or to discern which SP was used for game
Endgame:Usually indistinguishable

SP: Chess960 Start Position


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04 July 2009

Ten Tabiyas

After 10...O-O

Here are the first ten tabiyas I found using Google. In 2009, how many chess positions could be counted as tabiyas? 100, 1000, 10.000, ...

  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 Qc7 7.Be3 Nf6 8.O-O Be7 9.f4 d6 10.Qe1 O-O (top10chess.com)

  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.h4 Nc4 13.Bxc4 Rxc4 14.h5 Nxh5 15.g4 Nf6 (everything2.com)

  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 d6 5.d4 Bd7 6.O-O exd4 7.Nxd4 Be7 (chessforallages.blogspot.com)

  • 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Be7 10.Bxf6 Bxf6 11.c3 O-O 12.Nc2 Bg5 13.a4 bxa4 14.Rxa4 a5 15.Bc4 Rb8 (chessvibes.com)

  • 1.d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3.Nc3 c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.O-O O-O (qualitychess.co.uk)

  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O b5 6.Bb3 Bc5 7.c3 d6 8.a4 Rb8 9. d4 Bb6 10.Na3 Bg4 11.axb5 axb5 12.Nxb5 O-O (latimes.com)

  • 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5.f4 dxe5 6.fxe5 Nc6 7.Be3 Bf5 8.Nc3 e6 9.Nf3 Be7 (dorigo.wordpress.com)

  • 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Na5 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 Rb8 9. Bxc6+ Nxc6 10.Qxc6+ Nd7 11.d3 Be7 (chessgames.com)

  • 1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.O-O O-O 10.Re1 Nf6 11.a3 b6 (jeremysilman.com)

  • 1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.Nc3 e6 6.O-O Be7 7.d4 cxd4 8. Qxd4 d6 (chessville.com)

What's the connection with chess960? There isn't any connection. I don't believe tabiyas exist in chess960.