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Chess960 is here to stay and I totally applaud Chess.com for introducing us to on-line Chess960. We cannot play live Chess960 yet, but on-line is an excellent first step. I will be proposing an idea for Chess.com to think about implementing. We need a rating system for Advanced Chess960.
Standard Chess (position 518 in Chess960) is like a beautiful forest, but Chess960 is like the Amazon Jungle! There is so much to explore in Chess960. It will take decades to explore and understand the similarities between starting positions and the categories of openings in Chess960. At this stage, computer's are really struggling to comprehend Chess960 (they do not have a human generated database of knowledge to fall back on), and so it is up to us humans to fathom the game's absolute universe of possibilities. Humans can see deeper into the patterns of the opening play in 960, and so human skill is the biggest factor in computer assisted games.
Therefore I would like to propose an idea. We all must live with the computer age whether we like it or not. In standard chess position 518, the computers are faultless in the opening phase because of their opening database handed to them by two centuries of human analysis. This is not an issue with Chess960! Two of the greats of Chess, Garry Kasparov and Bobby Fischer proposed excellent solutions to the problem of the computer age on Chess.
Straight out of Wiki:
Advanced Chess (sometimes called cyborg chess or centaur chess) is a relatively new form of chess, first introduced by grandmaster Garry Kasparov, with the objective of a humanplayer and a computer chess program playing as a team against other such pairs. Many Advanced Chess proponents have stressed that Advanced Chess has merits in:
If we now combine Kasparov idea with Fischer's vision for the future of chess (chess960!), we get Advanced Chess960. The point of AdvancedChess960 is this. We get to experiment and explore the vast jungle of Chess960 using our best strategic vision without the gross tactical blunders that follow us at every step. We will begin to amass a quality Chess960 database that is free of stupid blunders. There will still be tactical blunders, just not the blunders that immediately spoil the game. There will come a time when computers will be proficient at Chess960 no doubt. Luckily, that time is not yet here. We have a small window of history still available to us, where we humans can still perceive the opening phase better than any computer can. We just need them to double check us.
If you think about it for a moment, you will quickly realise that in Advanced Chess960, humans will override the computer's choice on many occasions. It both natural and inevitable because Chess960 is like painting a work of art and there are many ways to paint! Often there are a dozen perfectly viable options available to us that differ only in very subtle ways. We humans have an aesthetic sense and this works perfectly in Advanced Chess960 where we can be confidently sure that our aesthetic matches with accurate calculation. Because of this large array of choices, even with the computers of our day assisting us, players that do not possess excellent opening techniques and creativity will get punished in Advanced Chess960. It just takes a bit longer in the progress of the game to reveal it.
In Advanced Chess960 we humans can take great risks to achieve our aesthetic vision! There are occasions where very interesting and beautifully unusual ideas that emerge in Chess960. For example:
Often we humans can perceive these ideas, but do not implement them because of fear that there is a fault in the plan. Computers help us here because although they are clueless on this aesthetic vision, they can point out immediate flaws in them. In Chess960, there are many situations where both beautifully unexpected positions emerge that are perfectly webbed together in ways that the human mind struggle to appreciate without assistance. The computer only finds them by accident, we find them by design.
So if you want to play Advanced Chess960, search for me and you will see my games in progress and can join in. If you want to start your own Advanced Chess960, please ensure that when you set up your game to include "Advanced Chess" in the chess960 optional game name:
Declaring upfront that the game name is AdvancedChess, you are declaring that you will be using a computer. This is an honest, open thing to do and completely negates the problem of cheating in online games.
See you there. I will be playing continuous online games of Advanced Chess960 for a long time if anyone is interested. The only problem at this stage is that the games must be unrated and so we cannot really get a sense of our improvement or skills compared to others. Until we get Chess.com to recognise Advanced Chess960 as a legitimate rating category, we will have to play unrated. It's a pity so please lobby Chess.com to include an Advanced Chess rating system for Chess960.
PS) Please note that I am not implying that live Chess960 is bad! On the contrary I am a big supporter of introducing live human only Chess960 play at Chess.com. Even blitz Chess960 is good. Actually I am convinced that Chess960 live games are more fun and exciting than standard chess, so long as the position is not known ahead of time, and that as soon as the position is revealed, white's clock must start ticking before anyone has moved. This gives black some badly needed compensation for being a tempo down.
PSS) We "Advanced chess960" players are not cyborgs! To think this is a misunderstanding of the exercise. We are using computers to help us see deeper than would otherwise be possible with our naked eye. What does that remind you of? Of course! Astronomers use telescopes because they can see deeper into space than with their naked eye. Computers *assist* humans to see things they would otherwise overlooked. Computers are a tool.
sounds like a really good idea... i have to try "normal" advanced yet...
Thanks Aldlv. Don't let anyone fool you with the false argument that using computers is lazy. So long as you still play human to human chess as well, there is no problem. The real reason why the argument is false, is that in Chess960, there are just so many possibilities. Therefore us humans are guaranteed to deviate from the computers line just because of our very nature, and that deviation results in a lot of mental activity as your mind tries to "unify" the position logically. There are many more reasons why it is good to play with a computer. Another spectacular reason is that with a computer, you will find that you will investigate the many truly breathtakingly beautiful lines that do not actually get played in the game. This again involves our human mind, as we have a tool to help us get a truly deep grip on the game, including the aspects of the game that were not actually played.
I'm going to start a Advanced Chess960 group to explore Chess960. I have no interest in whether I win or loose. My only interest is to explore the "Amazon Jungle" that is Chess960. In the group forums, I shall highlight some of the many bizarre and beautiful tactical and strategic constructions that emerge, as our minds examine particular aspects of the universe of possibilities.
If you want to join in on an Advanced Chess960 game, bring any chess engine you like! It does not need to play 960. Although standard chess engines do not understand 960 castling, you can take over the early phase of the game. We simply use the engine to double check for tactical faults that our human eye just does not see.
Honestly, any chess engine will do. It's much of a muchness when it comes to Chess960! They all basically work the same way and any hardware, even a mobile phone will be good enough to double check you for tactical issues.
Not only that, but if you play Advanced Chess960, you truly are one of the first explorers on the planet that is entering the Chess960 Jungle. These games will be worth saving! At the moment Chess960 pioneering is in it's very early days as people continue to stick with the old ways (for legitimate reasons - position 518 is very beautiful as are many other Chess960 positions)
If theres no Centuar chess here for normal chess why would they start with making 1 for 960?
Just my views, im not against this, but it would make no sense making centuar chess960 without making 1 for normal chess.
or maybe Advanced Capablanica Chess960 and Shogi
Capablanica Chess960 is pretty much the same as Chess960 except it includes the archbishop and the chancellor
and hexagonal shogi is shogi played on an hexagonal board
and Bughouse!! and Bughouse960
Chess960 is different to other variants because it includes standard chess within the variant. Chess960 is just Chess (position 518), but the starting positions have been generalized. That is all Chess960 is.
you try beating Rybka in 960 then ')
Yes true, Rybka 3 960 is unbeatable. It is unbeatable NOT because it understands Chess960 all that well! It simply does not make tactical blunders in a shallow sense. But think about what is possible when two players simply use Rybka 3 960 or any other engine as a tool to help them. We get beautiful games that not only get generated by the super elite! If we just wait for the super elites to play chess960, we will be waiting a long time! They have to earn money and cannot afford to switch to Chess960. So the rest of us have to explore Chess960 ourselves, and the only way to do that is with a computer (unless you are a one in a million talent).
While I like Chess 960, I have no enthusiasm for this idea. I was hoping that at least 960 will stay clean from engine use for a while.
"Using a program to play" is like using a car to run.
I tend to agree with some of the sentiment above - that if they were to implement a rated Advanced, then normal chess should take priority over chess 960.
That's a great comparison and truly I thank you for it. In some respects I agree with you but only if we truly dig deep into your comparison of a computer and a car. If we imagine that a computer is like a pair of glasses, then we can see that the computer helps us to see the chess960 position more clearly. Unless we are one in a million, without a computer our chess960 vision is blurred by tactical blundering as we stumble through the great palace of the game from room to room. That is fine! We learn a lot along the way and always it is a journey. In that respect, a car is also a pair of glasses! When we run, we get tired and do not make it to the next bend where there is an amazing view! Even if we do make it, we are too tired to appreciate the view. But with a car, we can make it there. But car or by foot, we are always actually learning no matter what.
The issue I have is that you are mixing concepts. A car makes us lazy, but not because the car is "negative". All technology is completely neutral. It is how we use the car! It is how we use the computer! That is what makes us lazy. We can if we want, jump into a four wheel drive and plow through the Amazon Jungle running over every living thing in it's path and cause extinction along the way, but that is not the fault of the car! This is the same with a computer. It just enables us to appreciate the view more clearly. We can plow through variations at great speed, missing all of the details, but that is not the problem of the computer. Always, we humans use technology in helpful or helpless ways. The technology itself is neutral.
If we leave Chess960 to humans, that would be great! But computers are here to stay. We cannot get rid of them unless we imagine a cataclysmic event! But such a vision is just in our head in any case, and that vision disturbs us within. In reality we do not know what will happen in the great "Chess game" of reality itself. What we know is that even one single position in Chess960, if left to humans would take well over a hundred years to understand, as position 518 has taken. That is fine! But we do have computers now. Enjoy them but use them in helpful ways.
Always us humans must check ourselves. Where is our reasoning coming from? It comes from our mind and that is the only place it exists. All else but for that mind's gaze, is completely neutral. We blame our technology for our woes (as I do), but this is false reasoning. We simply must get to the truth and that is if we understand ourselves (and computers help that), we will do less damage, with our technology or without it.
Another way of putting it like this. We have a pet dog yes? Our dog loves to fetch a stick? He or she does it endlessly and just loves to do it even when he is exhausted! Is it wrong for us to do that to the dog? Are we not patronizing the dog, mocking it for it's apparent stupidity to do nothing but fetch sticks to exhaustion? Who actually is being patronized? Who is stupid? Is it actually futile? Is it wrong?
A computer is no different. In Advanced Chess960, it is we who have to show the computer where the stick is! Once the computer is able to see the stick, we just have to sit back and enjoy as the computer tirelessly and endlessly is happy to pick up the stick and bash our opponent over the head with it. Certainly it is fair! Two humans, two computers, a universe of depth that neither can fathom.
But if there is no stick, we simply tame the beast, directing it down streets and avenues that we enjoy (like taking the dog for a walk). We shape our experience into something that is pleasing to us and that is not disagreeable to the machine, like breeding dogs into domesticated pets.
So what is the difference then between Advanced Chess960 and domesticating pet dogs? Why is it acceptable to do one but not the other? Are we scared that one day our domesticated computer will wake up and instead of fetching sticks in a game of Chess960, turn around and bite us in an inappropriate place!?
If it does this, do we deserve it?
Ok, I acknowledge that the Advanced Chess960 and a "Pet Dog" may have stretched it a bit too far
A more helpful analogy is this. People began to look into the sky at night with their naked eyes and wonder. The telescope was invented and amateur astronomers could look into the sky at night and wonder. The Hubble Space Telescope was invented and astronomers could look into the heavens and wonder.
In other words, computer chess engines are simply telescopes that allow you to see more into the universe that is on the chess board, than you can with the naked eye. But like any telescope, the amateur astronomer moves the instrument into a particular area of the sky that interests them. The telescope itself has no preference and is just a tool. Always the result is the same. There is no answers even with super powerful telescopes or super powerful computers. Just more mystery.
Have a look at this game, and tell me that a game such as this could have been played by amateur chess960 players?:
What we see in this game, are some new ideas for black!
1) Black allows white to break open the king so that the king rook get's an open file
2) Knights in chess960 can be sticky! They can occupy unusual offensive positions at the edge of the board and often stay there if they want and no player can get to them!
3) Tension on the long diagonal often have a profound twist in the plot in Chess960.
4) Many chess960 positions only look unbalanced to the human eye. It is a question of false perception. In this game the human player was convinced there was a mating attack on black, but there was none! It was all smoke in mirrors, just another example of one bright star in a galaxy of stars.
This is identical to the first astronomers building a rudimentary telescope to see Saturn for the first time! The final attack by black was calculated specifically by the silicon brain, but the entire opening and over arching plan was under human direction. Like I said before, if we wait for the professional chess players to play games like this unassisted, we will be waiting another decade until the various chess federations provide chess960 prize money. I wish they would, but you cannot rush cultural change.
Glider1001: I admire your incredible passion for the subject, so I will be casting a vote here in favor of rating Advanced Chess960. (not that my vote is too meaningful in the matter.)
Thanks Jason. One day a rating system for it might happen. I'm using a lot of computer time on unrated games but that is good because it is teaching people how to play 960 and that is very valuable.
I have started an Advanced Chess960 group in case anyone wants to take a look.
If we can start up an Advanced Chess960 group, we can build a quality database of games that produce valuable and beautiful ideas for playing the opening free of blunders. These ideas we can share and spread as is what happened in SP518 (Chess). Realise that typical computers have a horizon of roughly 6-8 moves depth in the 960 opening beyond which they cannot see. That is totally insufficient to understand Chess960 openings in a deeper sense. Advanced Chess960 is not really about winning or loosing because you do not need a computer to win or to loose. We just could use an Advanced Chess960 ratings system as a way to measure the quality of the games before the professionals start playing Chess960. As a spin off, at least you know what your advanced chess960 rating would be.
EDIT: In case you want a summary of what I am on about, have a look at my complete profile, it should help to clarify.
Why would anyone want to see a blunder free game? Draws are boring as hell.
You're question is a good one. If you think in terms of standard chess, there is very little if any point to Advanced Chess and removing blunders. However my interest is in Chess960 of which standard chess is but one position within it. There are many unanswered questions about Chess960 and with 960 starting positions, the task of answering this simple question is huge:
"Are all the Chess960 positions balanced enough to be fair, where by fair we mean that both players have a reasonable chance of winning. An unfair situation is when one side has such a small chance of winning that the game experience is destroyed".
So far no such unfair position in Chess960 has been found. There are various communities around the world that are keeping their eyes on finding a really unbalanced position but nothing is turning up. Even the wikipaedia's example of an unbalanced Chess960 position is not actually proven as unbalanced. A twenty four hour CCRL database of Chess960 engines playing Chess960 engine to engine has assimilated over 70,000 games without finding one truly unfair starting position yet.
The truth is we really don't know. We do not have a community of professional players playing Chess960 and so very few high quality games are being played. The only other way of researching Chess960 is with computers. A computer lends a degree of objectivity to any position by being able to state the depth of search that has been carried out on that position and that there is no blunder by making any particular move from that position onwards.
So essentially Advanced Chess960 is about researching Chess960 in the era before professional players begin to play it. Even when they start to play it, many decades may unfold before we know anything about Chess960. Remember that just one position in Chess960 SP518 standard chess, has a couple of hundred years of research behind it and a couple of decades of highly indepth computer analysis. However there are another 959 positions!
Advanced Chess960 is not just about research Chess960. It is about exploring Chess960 and seeing the many beautiful and fascinating structures and variations that emerge within it. As I have said before, the computer acts as a telescope into the black depth of Chess960 to see things that would not be possible with the naked eye unless you began playing Chess960 from a very early age in life.
As yet we have not even had one single generation of youngsters through the Chess system, that have played Chess960 exclusively from their young years. When that begins to happen, these highly skilled players will grow up and be able to reveal more about Chess960 to the rest of us in the form of literature as there have been volumes of in standard chess SP518.
We have to keep in mind that one of the greatest ever geniuses of Chess, Bobby Fischer, gave up playing SP518 and for two decades dissapeared from public eye. What was he doing with chess in that time? We do not know. All we know is that in the mid to late nineties, he came out on the public record and stated that Chess960 is great and that it will be the future of Chess. My gut feeling is that we simply can trust him because he spent the time away from Chess helping to uncloud his vision about it (something professional players of today have not been able to do), and yet in that time to find a way forward for the Chess that Bobby loved.
Ultimately I think it is as simple as saying just play Chess960 and enjoy it! However that is not excluded by also playing some Advanced Chess960 as well.
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