960 - fad or only possible future?

Feb 2, 2016, 3:27 PM |

I used to agree with GM Serper that Chess 960 (aka Fischer Random) was an overreaction and the best way to love our game was to study it more and deeper in its classical form.  Sure, I played 960 now and then out of curiosity, but I didn't really take it seriously.  Well, I have changed my mind.  From now on 960 is my main interest.

I should try to explain the reason in some detail.  As far as I'm concerned, the amazing progress in opening theory is not by itself a problem.  In fact I think that I have an above average memory, and if other things were equal I could memorize lines better than most opponents.  But I am different from most opponents in that my enjoyment comes mostly from playing interesting positions and not from the competition.  I'd rather lose a game where both sides try to take risks and surprise, than win by grinding down my opponent in a contest of endurance, patience and gamesmanship.  And this is where the situation is stacked against me: because the initial position is objectively speaking a draw, there will always be more lines available for the boring player.  You know the type: he/she plays the Berlin or Caro against 1. e4, the Orthodox QGD against 1. d4, etc.  As white he/she probably loves the London system or such.

I have really run out of resources trying to cope with this type of opponent.  Now you may well suspect that I don't like playing this kind of game because I am not good at it.  I think you may be right, but I can't really invest the time and energy to improve this side of myself (and it is clearly not just a matter of chess training but also changing my personality, if it's even possible) only to find that it hasn't worked and I still hate it.

Which brings me to my last point.  Why is it that elite players like GM Serper, whose understanding of the game is second to none, consistently ignore or explain away this situation? ( I should insert here that I admire GM Serper personally and I only use him as an example; you can find other GMs, even on this site, arguing the same).  I think this is because they're professionals.  When you derive your livelihood from an activity, you may as well expect some pain doing it; that's just how life is.  But myself, and players like me on levels all the way up to IMs, we pay for the opportunity to play.  I don't think I should be expected to pay for suffering.