Advanced Chess960 - a debate


Hi there

I really have been enjoying bemweeks contributions to chess960 and so I find myself in this group and at The area of interest I have is in Advanced Chess960 (computer assisted). I want to recognize this way of playing by allocating it a rating's category. If you want to read up on Advanced Chess, type it into Wiki. If you type in Advanced Chess960 however, you only get a couple of links. It is early days.

Why would I want Advanced Chess960 recognized at!? That question has been an ongoing chess game in my own mind! The resolution is not actually complex, but it is deep. Really deep. It is like the start of a chess960 game itself actually! I suspect the debate in my mind is actually a perfect draw and so, I put the debate out to you good people to see if you can stir the pot a bit. I'll start out with the contest that has gone on in my own mind on the topic to explain a little where I am coming from.

Honestly I believe that the mind can find meaning in anything. If we were locked in a room with nothing but some grains of sand and a table, I suspect that we could pick up grains and arrange them onto the table in meaningful and purposeful ways. It is simply that our mind, the sand and the table are all part of the same transforming system. In the end the game of Chess and especially Chess960 it's generalised home, is no different in my view.

That said, why am I drawn to play Chess960? The resolution to that question is easy. Within the knowledge base of my mind, Chess960 is very beautiful as I relate to it. Chess960 involves all the faculties of the human mind including creativity and yes even memory! It is a long term space for the human mind to have fun and to play around in without discarding the huge knowledge base of Chess itself! Bobby Fischer was a genius to see that Chess should not be thrown out, just encompassed!

Ok with that clear, the next question is why would I want to have computer assisted Chess960 play accepted at That question is actually quite simply answered with an analogy. The computer is like a telescope that can help to peer deeper into the Chess960 galaxy than can be seen with the naked eye of our own intellect. Why not use a computer then? The answer is that there simply is no reason not to use a computer! Bemweeks, a member of this group has already proven that a computer simply does not understand the chess960 opening yet. It actually goes further than that. With our current technology, you can build the computer "telescope" that peers into the Chess960 game as big as you like and it still only scratches the surface. My own core duo laptop will get to six or seven moves deep quite regularly, but that depth is almost superficial. A truly monumental machine might regularly get to eight or nine moves deep. So what?

My own organic mind will often miss a two move combination but at other times even my amateur perception get's to depths beyond the machine. My mind is unreliable! So you get a wonderful combination between computer superficiality and organic unreliability when it comes to analysing Chess960 as an Advanced Chess exercise! All the machine actually does, is to steer the game away from obvious blunders. The rest is up to the human mind! If you ever look at a computer evaluation of chess960 game, you will see what I am talking about. Essentially if you take out the blunders, the game is almost a complete empty slate, as if you were to take grains of sand and arrange them on a table in ways that please you! There is a huge gamut of choice. Even if one starting position appears to the player as unbalanced, that starting position either is not unbalanced for reasons that are not yet clear to the player, or if it is actually unbalanced, it returns to balance when seen from the perspective of the entirety of all positions in Chess960 that are similar to it. In that respect I think it would be wrong to play only one Chess960 position in a fixated fashion. I doubt that Bobby would have wanted that anyway. So Advanced Chess960 still finds the more skilled players. Choices made very early on will steer to loosing endgames, whether you use a computer or not. Actually, the whole notion of positions being unbalanced attracts players who are able and willing to find order and harmony in a surface appearance of disunity.

This is where it gets more sticky and complicated. What would an Advanced Chess960 rating system actually achieve? That depends on point of view and points of view are inherently "sticky" in our mind like a spoon in a honey pot. The commonsense point of view is that we might as well acknowledge computer assistance in online chess up front and in the open. It is simply ridiculous not to. Thankfully there is no prize money at for winning tournaments. If there was money involved, computer cheating would be rampant. The only prize at is that you can measure your skill against other players. That is some prize and should not be underestimated! In that light, there is no motivation to cheat and you can and probably will get a clear distinction between computer assisted play and games without assistance. It just has to be formalized.

So some people like myself, we want to use computers like an astronomer uses a telescope. That is totally legitimate and should be recognized. Advanced Chess960 is a huge egalitarian step. For the first time, amateurs who have not started the game very early in life, can actually contribute to the theory of Chess960, without fear that their ideas are fundamentally flawed. Previously, these lofty heights was only available to those who were born with a chess set in their cradle. The human brain (viewed distinctly from the mind from a philosophical reference point), is plastic to some degree, but at a basic level, operates from some well entrenched starting processes that are formed very early on in life. Teaching an old dog these tricks (any dog older than say fifteen years) is always going to be problematic. But with a computer to assist, even computers that are decade old or that run on mobile phones, those older human brains that have not been wrought drilled in chess vision from birth, are freed to explore the more creative aspects of the game within the limitations and confines of public scrutiny.

So on a basic level, Advanced Rated Chess960 would distinctly seperate out those who like computer assistance from those that don't. The database would begin to accrue wonderful games full of ideas that would not have been possible without the telescopic vision of the computer. The databases will be free of silly blunders, and later on when the chess professionals enter the Chess960 universe, they will access that database and then scale the dizzy heights of the 960 mountain unassisted. They will not have done it without all those that have gone part way up the mountain with oxygen bottles to set up the base camps of ideas and knowledge for them.Smile In Chess960 there are a lot of base camps and it is a very tall mountain and there is very little oxygen up at the top!

For example, I personally think white's gambit opening in the following example is quite beautiful and interesting, but it is going to take a lot of computer assisted and human assisted analysis to prove whether it is actually brilliant! If nothing else, it very funny! That is what is so special about Chess960. It produces a good laugh as well:

Do not underestimate the scale of this full blown gambit! Just one variation is already very interesting! 1.d4...d5, 2.c4...Bf5, 3.Nc3...dxc4, 4. e4 and you tell me where the black bishop on f5 should go! Perhaps this opening should be called the glider gambit?

However here is the deep aspect of the question, should we bother with rated Advanced Chess960? This is where I reach a perfect draw in my mind and actually, the result is actually quite beautiful in it's own right. If we do proceed with it, we create a new competition and a lot of energy. That is great! If we do not, then you cannot know who is playing advanced chess from those who are not! However what I have done, is to declare it in the game header, that it is advanced chess960 and to leave the game unrated. That has produced an effect that I did not expect! You end up playing players around the 1200 mark that do not have computers, or even if they do, simply loose for lack of basic theory or just from simple error. It is very unlikely to get a really deep game happening in the move list.

But that is actually not true! The perception of "deep" high quality games cannot be separated from a sticky point of view in my own mind! It is actually good to play many computer assisted games at the 1200 level, because it is teaching players how to play Chess960 without fear of loosing their rating. Without a rating system, there is discussion and learning that goes on without the veil of secrecy that accompanies competitive play. This is a good thing to do! Occasionally a player will come a long that will be able to scale the great heights of a Chess960 game all the way into the endgame, but you cannot know that in advance and when it happens, there is great learning. But there was great learning anyway! So unrated Advanced Chess960 is a very holistic way to play the game that involves our minds in sharing with other souls at all levels of skill, rather than just a pure desire to win from the point of view of only ourselves. Not only that, but the computer helps us to see the many "deep" lines that do not actually get played in the game for want of a simple error, and even simple errors do not destroy the quality of the game variations that did not actually get played! Go figure that.

Answers are not resolutions let me make it clear. The answer is simply to introduce an Advanced Chess960 rating system at The resolution as I said, is a perfect draw I think. Chess and Chess960 is not actually a game that exists in it's own right. Chess is an exercise of the mind and that is all that it is. The mind moves along combinations that draw it to a perception of all that is our minds. You don't actually need a computer to do that! Even simple tactical combinations are inherently perfect, as is a thirty move combination. The perception of our minds is actually scaleless in extent where big and small are actually immaterial, perceiving a world that is entirely neutral, yet always interrelated and transforming. Personally, I have always felt in my spirit that the starting positions of a chess960 game are not actually the start of the game. They are just the transforming sometimes chaotic pre-organisation of the army that has already transpired prior to the real battle itself.

This is why I have reached a perfect draw on the topic of rated advanced chess960. I think I will return to the unrated position I am playing through cited above, as well as a number of other unrated games. These games are helping beginners to learn and are just plain fun like an interesting double wing attack I've got to get back to. It is a beautiful perfect draw.


Harry O


Advanced chess is cheating here, if you want to play it you need to go somewhere else, sorry.


Hi Kaoparov

Ok I will go somewhere else. I think my post was too long for you to read properly and so I apologize for that. I declare all games as "Advanced Chess960 (computer assisted)" up front in the game header. I also double check with the opponent before the game starts. Have a look at my games to see how I suggest Advanced Chess could be done while it is not being recognized at If you still think it is illegitimate to do this, then could you suggest a reason why so that I can understand?



PS) In any case I've started an "Advanced Chess960 Community" group here at so I'll move myself over there Sealed


Yes, I didn't have the energy to read all of your post :) I see your games, I think you are allowed if you ask your opponent before the game. But of course, you can't play  tournaments or team matches like this. I think it's clear, enjoy your games!


It's not allowed to use assistance in rated games, even if both sides agree.


I recommend for Advanced versions of both 960 and standard chess. 

I share your interest in advanced 960 - it's actually quite challenging.  In many ways, it requires more skill to use an engine well in 960 than it does in standard chess because engines open poorly and if you want to have any chance of winning against an engine-assisted opponent you have to use your brain in the early stages to reach the type of middlegame position that allows you to outplay your opponent.

If you want to play an unrated Advanced 960 game here feel free to send the challenge or drop me a note. 


I am against all the bureaucratic restrictions. For me chess is a game, for fun. For some of you, it can be a science, and you want to study it, with the help of a computer... why not? For some of you, it is a profession, and you have to obligate your customers to follow your rules... why not? But both approaches are really boring for me. Kind regards from the heart of Africa.


You can play unrated and pre-agreed "advanced" games here.