27 June 2020

No Quitting Here!

In last week's post, Chess960 on Playchess.com, I responded to a quote from IM Sagar Shah with:-
Sagar Shah says, 'That's the thing in chess960. If you're not careful you can quickly run into a lost position.'

Since I'm something of a specialist for running into lost chess960 positions, I should document some of my most painful experiences. But which games should I choose? There are so many of them.

If I had any common sense I would stop this chess960 blog here and now. It's been five years to the day since I signalled my first attempt to quit in Whispering a Fond Adieu! (June 2015; 'Bye for now! - Mark'). I managed to stay away for 18 months, then came roaring back with 'Everyone I Know Plays Chess960' (January 2017). The title of that post was a quote from GM Peter Svidler where the complete thought was, 'Everyone I know plays chess960 with great pleasure.' Copy that!

Yes, chess960 continues to be a great pleasure for me. I started playing on correspondence servers in 2008 -- Chess960? I'm Hooked! (September 2008) -- and am still hooked. According to my records, I played 92 games on Schemingmind, most recently in 2016. I played another 136 games on LSS, where I currently have a half-dozen games underway.

With more than 200 games under my belt, I have plenty of examples to choose from -- wins, losses, and draws -- most of which were analyzed fairly deeply while they were being played. All of the LSS games were played with the help of an engine, so I'll start with those. After 12 years of playing chess960, I still don't understand much about its opening theory, making it a logical area to focus on.

So here's the plan: I'll continue to post twice a month. One post will be to keep up with any news; one post will be to learn something about opening theory. Maybe I'll eventually discover how to avoid running into a lost position.

20 June 2020

Chess960 on Playchess.com

After three straight months looking at chess960 videos for the month's kickoff post...

...I was happy to find another streamed video based on commentating an event, this one from ChessBase India.


Big Chess960 event | Live Commentary by IM Sagar Shah | Sponsored by Buddhibal Kreeda Trust (2:17:59) • 'Streamed live on May 23, 2020'

More about the tournament can be found in Fischer Random tournament on 23rd May 2020 on Playchess (chessbase.com; May 2020):-

After the successful online event on Playchess in April the Buddhibal Kreeda Trust (BKT) is back with another tournament. The tournament has a prize fund of 35000 [Indian Rupees] and is a Fischer Random (Chess960) tournament. [...] It will take place [...] in the "Thematic Chess" room on Playchess.com. Entry is FREE for GMs, IMs, WGMs and WIMs.

I was surprised to see this event for a number of reasons. First, the Playchess.com site has been conspicuously absent from the sites holding online chess tournaments during the coronavirus lockdowns. I've been following this development on my main blog, e.g. The Switch to Online Chess, posted a few weeks ago.

Second, I hadn't been aware that Playchess.com offered chess960 games. The online play service is supported by ChessBase, which two years ago came out strongly against chess960. I documented their objections in Purported Problems with Chess960 (April 2018). If their change of heart happened later, I suppose it's another example of 'money talks and nobody talks - they run'. The video description repeated some of the info in the Chessbase.com article and added,

A big Chess960 event [...] has the participation of some of the biggest names in Indian chess - Adhiban, Sethuraman, Karthikeyan, Aravindh Chithambaram, S.L. Narayanan, Praggnanandhaa and many others. IM Sagar Shah will be providing you with live commentary for the event.

At about 13:40 into the clip, Sagar Shah says,

That's the thing in chess960. If you're not careful you can quickly run into a lost position.

Since I'm something of a specialist for running into lost chess960 positions, I should document some of my most painful experiences. But which games should I choose? There are so many of them.