# Shuffle Chess

I'm thinking about what Bobby Fischer said about chess being figured out, suggesting that the game might be "dead."  It seems like Chess960 is perchance too random though.  I would suggest only mixing up the rook, bishop, and knight.  You could always choose the rook first, roll the dice and simply place it on whatever number it lands on.  You leave the King and Queen on the same squares so there is only 6 vacant slots, this makes it perfectly convenient.  Then you roll for the bishop and the spot for the Knight makes itself (you make the layout symmetrical).  It allows for 6 variants and allows for several new openings to be pioneered, studied, learned, and written about.

It does seem like having the rook placed adjacent to the Queen might be too advantageous though.  So I'm thinking only switch the rook between the 1 &2, and 7 & 8 squares.  You could simply roll the dice and if it is an odd number it does on the 1 & 8 square; or if its an even number the rook is placed on the 2 & 7 squares obviously.  This would allow for 4 layouts and I think this would probably be a great way of expanding some of the possibilities and new game openings while maintaining familiarity.

• 3 years ago

I think there should be more 960 tournaments too.  That is really the best way to gauge if the game is fair or not.  I've read about some, particularly the one Nakamaru won.  But, most times an interviewer asks the player what their thoughts are on it they reply that they haven't really played it enough, but they enjoy it.

I haven't seen any annotated or analyzed games about GM 960 matches, I would love to get their thoughts on it more.

• 3 years ago

True, I get your point.  This is a big what if, and I'm not under any illusions, I know I'm not going to ignite a huge movement.  But, just for the sake of the idea, if this did catch on, or if there was some altercations made to the game even on GM level, don't you think this variant would be best.  I just think Chess960 is maybe a little bit too random, and this is a nice compromise.

I have read about the way chess used to be played with dice, I thought that was ancient Egypt though.  Plus that was, like you said, for choosing which piece to move rather than establishing the layout position.  But, I do think the history of chess with the employment of dice kind of makes this altercation more natural.

• 3 years ago

Actually using dice to represent the chess figures is an old concept.  At one point in chess past there was a variant that had you roll a dice and then whichever number came up that was the piece you moved.  The church ended up banning the game as a form of gambling. :)

There are other ways to make the game more interesting and get people out of their opening book and I will be working on a few of my own ideas in a little while.  It should be most interesting to see what I can come up with there.  Coming up with variants is all fun and groovy but the biggest problem I ran into was how to find anyone to play them with.  It is hard enough to find anyone to play regular chess.

• 3 years ago

Yeah, those are cool.  I like reading about these other variations, but those are a little to fanciful.  I really think that these 6 variations could be balanced and add a whole new series of openings without making the game to unrecognizable or hard to learn.

Chess 960, unless played on the cpu, takes a little bit of preparation with several dice rolls to be done in some specific order (honestly, I'm not sure on the exact set up procedure, but I read it once and it seemed like it would turn people away from trying to learn it).

Also I really appreciate having literature on all the positions and learning the opening lines.  Chess960 completely obliterates that aspect, as it was intended to.  Plus it would be easy to learn.  I know I gave a little procedure of setting up the board, but I realized an easier way.  The 6 layouts would just correspond to a single number on the dice.  So think about how effortless it would be to initiate over the board games.

I really think this would work.  Maybe the rook and queen being adjacent would be a little advantageous for white; however, that would be easily figured out with serious GM analysis.  This would be such a nice mix of positions making remembering the opening lines extremely difficult while preserving familiarity.

• 3 years ago

Actually there are a few other ways to liven it up as well.  For example there is Cylendar chess wherein you imagine that the a file and the h file are connected.  I used to play that a lot and it was huge fun.  Makes for some surprising changes when there is no longer any such idea as the "center" of the board.

My buddies and I invented a chess we called "Cold War" chess where the only time you could capture was if you used your King or you were trying to get into or out of check.  It sounded exciting but in practice lead to some pretty cluttered positions that wound up being draws.  Perhaps pawns should be allowed to capture as well.

The there was the 3 player chess board where you operate not on squares but on hexes and you have 3 bishop colours.  The knight moves are pretty freaky as well in that game.  Winning is quite a different matter as well.

I also came up with a number of other chess-based variants and now I am hoping to try programming some of those in Flash.  We shall see.  So there are lots of ways to breath some life back into it.  I think that would be a very good effort to engage in, especially now that computers have become so dominant.

Cheers,