Save Chess - Free the Pawn!

Save Chess - Free the Pawn!

Dec 16, 2016, 12:49 PM |

Bobby Fischer is my favorite player, but I will never embrace Fischer Random Chess (or Chess 960 as it is called on this web site). There are too many rule changes for setting up the pieces and castling, based on which starting setup is used, etc. Also, you need a computer to keep track of all the possible starting positions. Not practical, IMHO.


Instead, I advocate we free the pawn! The great Aron Nimzowitsch liked to make analogies between chess and war. In what battle are the infantry men not allowed to retreat? I say we allow the pawn to move backwards!!


I know the pawn formations would always be fluid and traditionalists will hate this idea, but it does accomplish some of Fischer's objectives for Chess 960.


It reduces the effect of opening preparation/memorization, since there will be too much for a human to memorize.


Those who actually understand the game better will have the most success, rather than those who memorize patterns, but do not really understand the ideas behind them.


The vast complexity and variety of chess will only be increased, which should sustain interest in the game.


It might even reduce the advantage currently enjoyed by chess engines.


Once upon a time, pawns could only advance one square at a time, even on the first move. Castling was not allowed. Bishops could only move exactly two squares - they had to hop over one square and land on the next. The rule changes which increased the scope of pawn and bishop and allowed for castling were radical in their day, and were no doubt opposed by many.


However, I think the best way to promote the understanding of the game and reduce the success of those who rely on their computer and memorization, is to increase complexity by empowering the pawn - without increasing the complexity of the rules.


The only additional rule would be to prevent the pawn from backing up into the first rank. Otherwise, the rules remain the same.


So, let the pawn move backwards!