04 June 2011

Alas for GM Grischuk and for Chess960

After GM Grischuk clawed his way into the final match of the 2011 Kazan Candidates Event, beating GMs Aronian and Kramnik, both among the favorites in the preliminary rounds, I was looking forward to his winning the event and to my writing another post about his chess960 exploits at Chess Classic Mainz (CCM). Alas for Grischuk and chess960, but fortunately for his final opponent, GM Gelfand, it was not to be.

After the match ended, I received a couple of messages from other chess960 fans -- a comment to The Clock Is/Isn't Ticking, for example (thanks to all for the heads-up) -- informing me that the Russian GM had made a positive remark on chess960 in Grischuk: I was worried I'd forgotten how to play chess (ChessInTranslation.com):-

[Boris Gelfand] thinks my statement about "the burial of classical chess" is complete nonsense, while I still think that classical chess doesn't have long to go. Why did I mention it while I was still winning matches? Because when someone's losing people put it down to that – the man lost so that's why he's talking like that. But I said it when I'd won a match, and then another. And now I still don't see any prospects for classical chess.

Fischer Chess is very promising. It's also named chess960, after all, as there are 960 starting position. Well, some of those positions are a little absurd i.e. the pieces stand in absurd positions… Perhaps you don't need to use all the 960 starting positions but, let's say, 200 or 300? I don't know the exact number. I think that really would get rid of all the forced draws, because it's impossible to analyse 100 starting positions, never mind 900. I think the most promising option is Fischer Chess.

While I don't agree with the idea of limiting the number of chess960 start positions, it's a suggestion that any circle of chess960 players can decide for themselves. There is nothing to stop anyone from limiting competition to a single, specific start position, just as there is nothing to stop someone else from allowing all 960 positions including the traditional position.

I've mentioned Grischuk a number of times on this blog, starting with a post on my main blog, Comments on Chess960 Opening Theory. I was planning to point visitors to the search box on the right to find other chess960 posts about Grischuk, but the widget is out-of-order for the moment, so I'll list them specifically.

When Grischuk won the 2009 FiNet Open, he earned a place in the next CCM World Championship, where he would have faced reigning World Champion Nakamura. Alas for Grischuk and chess960 -- see No Place for Chess960 -- it was not to be.