03 October 2010

Questions of Chess960 Theory

The different points that I emphasized in Questions of Theory can be summarized as following:-
  • How fair are the 960 start positions with regard to the chances for both White and Black?
  • Do the opening principles in traditional chess (SP518 RNBQKBNR) apply to the other 959 positions?
  • Are there guidelines for developing the pieces that start from unfamiliar squares (e.g. other than c1/f1 for the Bishops)?
  • How useful are computers in evaluating the different start positions?
  • In the absence of compilations of standard variations, what does 'theory' mean?

The first point will remain open until someone discovers an example which is not fair to both players; to date, there are no known examples. The second point requres a survey of opening principles in traditional chess. I'll start that in the next post.


HarryO said...

Hi there
Just in case anyone is interested, I've done a bit of very informal analysis of these very good questions. Yes I did use the CCRL 960 databases in the analysis. It's the only data I can find for now! At least it's a start perhaps:



HarryO said...

I took a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess960 and it's example of an "unbalanced" position.


If you actually play through that opening, you very quickly realize that it is not actually unbalanced even when black's two pawns adjacent to the knights are undefended. Yes of course there are some forced moves, but it is almost the equivalent of regarding those forced moves as a dynamic extension of the static rules that generated the initial SP itself.

In other words because of our chess centric way of thinking, we assume that a forced move in the opening is bad. But what we do not realize is that all the SP's in 960 are actually just very deep mid-games frozen at the moment of battle. There is actually no opening theory in Chess960 because there is no opening in Chess960 except as an appearance to our minds.

If there is an initially forced variation, that variation is just a dynamic extension of the static rules that generated the SP in the first place. Do the DNA of humans spell the end of the rules for the creation of a human at the moment of conception? Is it not that there are fixed rules and dynamic rules within the start of life or an SP?

Even simple commonsense shows it. If white attacks either of those undefended pawns, black develops his knights. White cannot biff away those knights with pawns, lest he comes under counter attack himself. If white tries to remove the knights, he also removes the attack on the pawns.

In other words from what I can see, SP091 is actually a dynamically balanced position. It might be worth taking a look and seeing what you think about SP091, the Wiki of all Wiki examples on 960. I admit that I could be totally wrong.

Here is a very sharp line that I quickly have glanced at that tries to attack the two undefended pawns but so totally back fires:

{Chess 960-Position 91}
1. b4?! ... Nb6
2. g3 ... Nc6
3. b5?! ... Na4!
4. d3 ... (only move)

960 is fascinating. Show me where is white's big winning attack in this position that ensures white's unfair win almost every time? I try to resist preempting what the future will discover about 960, but I feel that it could be as simple as this. If Bobby Fischer thought that Chess960 is great, it could well be that no further analysis of it's merit is required than that.

We may be wasting our time :-)