31 January 2015

Chess.com, More Comments on Chess960

In the previous post Chess.com, Comments on Chess960, I linked to a post dating the introduction of chess960 on Chess.com to mid-2009. Since that time, tens of thousands of players have experimented with Fischer's invention and have left hundreds of comments on the site's various forums. Here are a few comments from the last year (or so) which highlight different areas of practical concern.

The question of how to start the clocks equitably is more complicated than for traditional chess.

I propose that if/when chess960 is added to Live Chess, white's clock should not begin immediately. There should be an extra time bank for the players to examine the position. I propose that the amount of time in the extra time bank should be 1/30th of the time control for the game, proportionally. Thus, for a 5 minute game, there would be 10 seconds to study the position; for a 30 minute game there would be a minute. • Live 960 extra clock at start

Everyone who gets hooked on the game wonders whether all 960 positions are fair to Black.

I was looking into chess960 starting positions and came across QNRBKNBR After 1.b3 doesn't white already have a clear advantage? black is basically forced between 1...Ne6?! which must be bad since it blocks the e pawn and makes developing both black bishops very difficult. 1...f6 which is probably best but still weakens blacks king side and takes away a diagonal from the DSB which may have been quite useful. • Unfair starting position in chess960

Selecting specific start positions for all rounds of a tournament is not as obvious as one might think.

Round one of a chess960 tournament and everyone plays the same random board, as white and black against opponents. All good, but when/if you progress to Round two, what do you get? The SAME BOARD AGAIN!?? This now actually makes it a thematic tournament rather than chess960. If you've ever encountered this you'll know the disappointment at seeing the same board again that everyone's played to death in multiple games the first Round. • Time for Chess.com to sort out 960 Tournaments!

What about overall strategy? How does chess960 compare to traditional chess?

Most of the same fundamentals apply. Why I say most because one can take a risk a try an early mate threat that may lead to mate or win material. What they have in common: Develop your pieces and rapidly and effectively (people forget this part). By this place them where they are the most active. [Long...] • How to play chess 960

Selecting a start position manually is another area of concern. The following method is wrong! The Bishops must always be placed first.

In chess960, the board is arranged randomly. So when playing without using computers, you should think of a way to arrange pieces randomly. Well I will explain here... • How to arrange board for a Chess960 game in your home (Without using any electronic device) - Explained

What about software and engines?

I am looking for a database or just plain chess program that can handle the nuances of chess960 castling. [...] Is there a decent chess960 software out there? • Chess 960 Software and Database

Once players realize that there is more to chess than the traditional start position, the ideas start flowing.

Chess1920 is a variant of Western Chess much like Chess960. The initial position for a game of Chess1920 is first created according to the rules of Chess960. Then, a coin is tossed. If the coin shows heads, then the set-up process is done. If the coin shows tails, then the black pieces are taken off the board and repositioned to be the left/right reversal of the white pieces. It's simple, fair, and has twice the variety as does Chess960. • BRC/Chess1920

Ditto for the idea of randomizing.

I was thinking, why not let us choose our own army setup? For me at least, it's infinitely more interesting than getting a random position and playing that. People could master their own setups, theory would still be almost as useless. You would see traditional setups (R-N-B-Q-K-B-N-R) against hybrids, totally bonkers stuff too! • New idea for chess960

Because Chess.com doesn't offer live chess960, there is occasionally a discussion of other servers where it is offered.

Passion is probably what made the creators of Lichess create the server. It is a chess site with a very clean interface, a lot of options, even a REST API (that's a programming thing, don't worry about it). Most of all, the site is completely free, no ads, no nags and a mission statement that ensures that the game will remain thus forever. • LiChess, a very interesting chess server; (see also my recent post Lichess, Third Look)

I have a bigger collection of Chess.com comments from even further back, but I'll save those for a rainy day.

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