The difficult symmetry of #768 in chess960: Caruana-Vachier-LaGrave, GM Blitz Challenge

The difficult symmetry of #768 in chess960: Caruana-Vachier-LaGrave, GM Blitz Challenge

friscodelrosario
friscodelrosario
Jul 1, 2016, 6:57 AM |
1

In 1,000 years, after the 959 chess positions other than #518 have been thoroughly explored, #768 should be among the least favorite for players, because its number of strategically logical opening moves is most limited, with a symmetrical position in store.

In position #768, symmetry makes good sense for Black from moves 1-3, but following 1. c4 c5 2. b3 b6 3. Nhg3 Nhg6 4. Ne3, the prospects of Ne3-f5xg7+ or Bb1xg6xf7+ might be enough for Black to shake it up. At the chess dot com Grandmaster Blitz Challenge, only Aronian preserved balance with 4..Ne6 (then Grischuk's 5. Nd5 stirred Black to 5...Nef4), while Petrosian lost to Carlsen with 4...Be5, and Caruana crushed Vachier-Lagrave after the suspect 4...e6.

Only Harikrishna didn't lose as Black — maybe Nakamura handicapped himself by 1. d4 and 2. c3, crushing the a1-bishop.