19 February 2011

No Place for Chess960

Although I've already reported about the demise of Chess Classic Mainz (CCM) on my main blog -- No More Mainz, What About Linares? -- the spectacular support for chess960 by the Chess Tigers deserves special mention on this blog. The Tigers' good-bye press release said,
A decade full of dedication and passion for international rapid chess has come to an end in Mainz. A splendid decade from 2001 to 2010 with ground-breaking innovations in tournament organization for world class players and amateurs alike and the "Mainz System" Chess960, based on the ideas of the American World Champion Robert James "Bobby" Fischer, made the distinction between the Chess Classic and other classical tournaments. Speed and entertainment, service and amenities for the spectators and participants were the ingredients of a unique merger that took place once a year between the 2000-year old royal game and the ancient city of Mainz.

At the end of the post I've included a list of the chess960 winners as indicated by Chess Tigers in that final press release. For more details of those events, as well as the full text of the press release, see Chess Classic Mainz – End of an Era on Chessbase.com.

'The Chess Tigers team would like to say "thank you" for a decade of full of exciting and entertaining chess. The picture was taken during the last Chess Classic Mainz in 2010.'

And I would like to say "Thank you!" to the Chess Tigers team for doing such a splendid job over the last decade.


A year ago, at the same time that chess960 was put on a reduced regimen at CCM -- (Almost) No Chess960 @ CCM10 -- it also lost its place at Australia's Doeberl Cup -- No Chess960 @ Doeberl. The double whammy hit again this year. The schedule for the 49th Doeberl Cup - Canberra has no trace of Fischer's last invention.


Chess960 Classic Mainz

Chess960 Rapid Chess World Championship (Year & Winner)
2001 Peter Leko
2003 Peter Svidler
2004 Peter Svidler
2005 Peter Svidler
2006 Levon Aronian
2007 Levon Aronian
2009 Hikaru Nakamura

Chess960 Rapid Chess World Championship Women
2006 Alexandra Kosteniuk
2008 Alexandra Kosteniuk

Chess960 Senior Rapid Chess World Championship
2006 Vlastimil Hort

Chess960 Junior Rapid Chess World Championship
2006 Pentala Harikrishna

Open Chess960
2002 Peter Svidler
2003 Levon Aronian
2004 Zoltan Almasi
2005 Levon Aronian
2006 Etienne Bacrot
2007 Victor Bologan
2008 Hikaru Nakamura
2009 Alexander Grischuk

Chess960 Simuls (20 Players)
2003 Peter Leko
2003 Peter Svidler
2004 Peter Svidler
2006 Levon Aronian
2010 Alexandra Kosteniuk

Chess960 Matches Man vs. Machine
2000 Fritz on Primergy - Artur Jussupow [Yusupov] 2 : 0
2004 Levon Aronian - The Baron 1 : 1
2005 Shredder - Zoltan Almasi 2 : 0
2005 Peter Svidler - The Baron 1½ : ½
2006 Spike - Peter Svidler 1½ : ½
2006 Shredder - Teimour Radjabov 2 : 0

Chess960 Computer World Championship
2005 Spike / Böhm/Schäfer
2006 Shredder / Mayer-Kahlen
2007 Rybka / Rajlich
2008 Rybka / Rajlich
2009 Rybka / Rajlich


I've been posting about chess960 twice a week since end-August 2009, which makes exactly a year and a half. I'm going to ease off the pedal a bit and return to posting once a week. I still have lots of ideas for posts, but I lack a source of games between top-notch players. Is there really no place for chess960?


HarryO said...

Mark thanks for all your efforts on Chess960. After many years no-one has found anything fundamentally wrong with Bobby Fischer's resolution for the problems of Chess. The game is good and it is a lot of fun. Mainz has died not only because of Chess960! Last year there was no 960. There is some other factor at work. Probably that it so hard to run a physical real world chess competition without making a loss these days.

We desperately need on-line Chess960 live play Mark that is what is needed! Players need to be playing thousands of quick Chess960 games before they begin to see the patterns and to appreciate a sense of order that can be found in all of the 960 starting positions.

If players do not play those thousands of quick on-line games, I fear that players including the GM's will make false conclusions about Chess960. If only a handful of games are played, players simply make conclusions based on their own inner bias.

On-line live Chess960 is imperative if there is to be any hope for the game. Players cannot make any comment about Chess960 until they have played at least a couple of thosand games which gives them exposure to every starting position at least once. Then they will see the patterns and the beauty that is buried inside Chess960. Only then.

We cannot look at Chess960 through the glasses of classic chess SP518. Our vision has to be fresh and open minded.....

We need a big chess server like Chess.com to start up live on-line Chess960. That is what is needed. But every time I have lobbied that site I have probably done it the wrong way. I have had a lot of negativity about Chess960 but I only ever meant well.

It was probably my approach! Your approach Mark is much better. Keep it fun, keep it simply, speak with experience, speak with wisdom.

Best wishes to you and I hope that at least someone with internet skills can see how Chess960 is actually "Full Chess" and then facilitate people's exposure to the game so that they experience it personally through repetition and practice.

The Chess960 opening is no more complicated than the Chess endgame in terms of getting a basic grasp of the concepts! Chess becomes a well rounded mental exercise from the opening through the middle through to the endgame. No phase dominates over another in terms of theory.


Mark Weeks said...

Re 'We desperately need on-line Chess960 live play', have you tried Chesscube.com? - Mark

HarryO said...

Mark thanks for the link. I've tried ChessCube before but going back after your suggestion it has really improved lately. A great site really original as well. Quite quick to get a Chess960 game and the interface is smooth and innovative. Excellent stuff.

Only issue is that in a Chess960 game the timer doesn't start at the first move until black moves. Thus black get's hammered three times. Once for not knowing anything about white's plans that can go on indefinitely at zero time cost. Then when white actually does move at zero time penalty, black get's hit with a decrementing timer. Lastly black is hit by being automatically down one tempo.

Personally I think white's timer should start from move one. It's pretty important otherwise it skews the results too much in white's favour. What do you think? Who at ChessCube do I contact and how do I go about it?

Yes I have learned now. Stop worrying, take it easy, appreciate what you have, enjoy and learn to love the bomb.