A slow global trend toward 960: The fashionable 1. c4

Mar 25, 2016, 3:50 PM |
The candidates tournament signals to me that worldwide fashion will shift toward 1. c4. There's still some theoretical space for innovation in the independent lines, and if Black opts for transposition to QP games, there could be difficulty landing in Black's preferred QP flavor; while if Black goes for 1…e5, players today are more comfortable than ever in reversed Sicilians.

If the top grandmasters are turning away from 1. e4 and 1. d4 in search of something new to do, eventually 1. c4 will wear out. So will 1. Nf3, 1. h3, and 1. a4. We're heading for 960 — slowly, but progressively, logically, and inevitably.