11 February 2012

Two and a Half Blogs

A large number of visits flagged on this blog's stats page alerted me to a new chess960 resource, Chess with no opening book, on a site, Metafilter.com, that was also new to me. It turned out that it's an introduction to chess960 covering the following points:-
  • The problem of opening theory in traditional chess
  • Rules specific to chess960
  • The strong similarity to traditional chess
  • The fairness of the 960 start positions
  • Blog ('two and a half') & Youtube resources
  • Online play sites

The blog resources, Chess960 Jungle (see the sidebar) and this one that you're reading now, were deemed worthy of a number of targeted links, which explains the transient jump in my stats. For one day, my visits were triple an average day, but returned to normal the next day. I imagine HarryO received even more visits on his blog, since he garnered the lion's share of links to blogs. Well done, Harry!

The Youtube resources included one channel that I hadn't seen before, with two annotated Nakamura - Aronian games, probably from Mainz 2009. The play sites also had a new resource, lichess.org, including both 'Play with a friend' and 'Play with the machine' options. I tried the play with a machine option at the lowest level and got a chess960 game with 'Crafty A.I.', which I won easily.

The comments were also worth reading. The first comment showed once again that chess960 is interesting not only for grandmasters looking for a respite from opening theory, but also for club players who have no inclination to study that theory.

I'm an apostate - I was pretty serious about chess for a while, but it was the opening book that actually sent me away from the game. When I was serious, I told people, "I'm not going to memorize the specific openings - I'm going to learn the theory and work from that." The response, "OK, kid, tell me how that works out for you," was unfortunately too accurate.

Another comment...

I don't think Chess 960 would be damaged if "by convention" some subset of the initial positions like SP941 were simply disallowed as "uneven".

...reminded me that I haven't looked at the CCRL stats (sidebar again) in a long time. SP941 is RKRBNQBN; is there some reason to exclude it? I'll try to revisit at least one of these new finds in a future post.

1 comment:

HarryO said...

Mark thanks for the encouragement! You're blog started the discussion on SP941 over two years ago at: http://chess960frc.blogspot.com.au/2009/11/chess960-catastrophe.html

The most detailed analysis of it so far has been done here:

and here:


Black has ways to defend but they must be committed to memory. There are probably a few more positions like this that have to be committed to memory but they need not be excluded from the 960 set...

Let's guess that there are 50 RED HOT SP's in the 960 totality. So what if black's reply has to be pre-memorized for optimal play? This is good. Chess960 covers every chess skill and more. It requires constant creativity over the board and home preparation too. We just get wise to these few tricky tricky Chess960 starts!

Think of it like picking mushrooms in a field of mushrooms. Most of the mushrooms are very tasty and good. But there is the occasional mushroom that will kill you unless you know that it needs special cooking preparation before eating it.

Put it another way. These few red hot SP's make for a great Chess960 book. So much theory could be written up on Chess960 if only people get into it.

I do love the comment that Chess960 feels like your lounge room furniture has been moved around every time you enter the room.

Enjoy 960!