29 July 2017

(Not so?) Rare Birds, Summer 2017

In my previous post, First the Non-routine News, I wrote,
I started by looking at chess960 news over the last month, but two reliable correspondents interrupted that routine procedure by pointing to non-routine news that begs to be repeated. [...] I'll save the routine chess960 news for my next post.

I was wrong to use the word 'routine' for news about chess960. Any news is still unusual and most news is about tournaments at the local, club level. One exception is the 'Swiss Chess960 Championship', held as part of the 50th Biel Chess Festival.

As with most chess960 reports, there are no full game scores, but there is a link to the Archives - Biel International Chess Festival, where we learn that the chess960 event has been held since 2009. I covered it once before in Rare Bird Tracking, Summer 2011 (September 2011) and hope to see its 10th anniversary next year. In Biel/Bienne, Wikipedia informs,

Biel/Bienne is on the language boundary between the French-speaking and German-speaking parts of Switzerland, and is throughout bilingual. Biel is the German name for the town, Bienne its French counterpart. The town is often referred to in both languages simultaneously. Since January 1, 2005, the official name has been "Biel/Bienne". Until then, the city was officially named Biel.

I mention that because the German speaking countries seem to be the leaders in chess960 events. Two more examples:-

The skbaden.at page eventually points to a 2016 event at chess-results.com, and looking further into that well known site finds hundreds of references to chess960. As for French language references, I noted one at...

...and I even found an English language (USA) reference at

  • Iowa Chess | Twin Ports Open (iowa-chess.org) • 'GM Yermolinsky VS. IM Bartholomew Chess960 Consultation Match: Former U.S. Champion Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky and International Master / YouTube sensation John Bartholomew will lead two competing teams in an interactive consultation Chess960 (Fischer Random) match'

As long as I'm splitting this post by language, I'll mention an Italian language reference at

  • E-Book Chess 960 - Vol. I • 'Chess 960 Informator a cura di Filiberto Pivirotto; Volume 1; Anno 1 – num. 1; Giugno 2017'

The last page says, 'The C960 Informator will be just a collection of games played with the same [start position].' That's a good idea, but I doubt the author can do all 960 positions (959?) alone.

There might not be much chess960 activity at the level of the world class players -- see, for example, Rare Birds 2015-16 (February 2017) -- but there is plenty of activity at the local level. In the long run we need both world class and local.

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