Chess 960 tournaments: variety

  • #1
     
     

    Does anybody know about the exact present status of the following:

     

    In chess 960 tournaments, how often is the same starting position played?

    A)

       The same starting position is used for all games of all rounds of the tournament

    B)

       The same starting position is used for all games of the same round of the tournament, but for every new round of the tournament, there is a new starting position

    C)

       The starting position is the same only for the two games played against the same opponent (with black and with white), so there is a new starting position for every opponent I play, and all (or almost all, because the same starting position may appear by coincidence in some games) players of the tournament get to play different starting positions.

    D)

       There is a new starting position for every single game of the chess 960 tournament. So not even the two games played with the same opponent start with the identical position.

     

    When chess 960 tournaments were introduced here, I saw that option A) seems to have been used.

    However, option A) , as well as option B) which is only marginally better, are contrary to the spirit of chess 960 in my opinion. Chess 960 is about getting rid of opening theory, not about recreating opening theory for any single one of the other 959 starting positions.

     

    Has this been changed by now?

     

    I would think that a true chess 960 tournament should be playable according to option D), with different initial positions for all games.

    I have heard some people argue that because some initial positions may perhaps favour white more than others, it would be fairer and give more equal chances use option C), using different initial positions in all games except for the pairs of games against the same opponent. So I would be agreeable also to option C).

     

    Has option D) or option C) been introduced here already, do newly started chess 960 tournaments use one of these options?

     

    If not, then this post is feature request: I think it would be great if chess 960 tournaments here on chess.com would be programmed to use option D) or C) as described above.

     
  • #2

    Option A is used for 960 tournaments.

    I prefer option C.

  • #3

    I intend to run a live tournament one of these days, and intend to use option B.  (All games in one round use the same starting position.)  My reason is that it makes it easier for people to compare notes between rounds or after the tourney.

  • #4

    B is I think traditional for FRC tournaments to combat starting advantage. If you accept that some opening positions are better for white, that evens out the advantage (at least for the people playing white). But that's the tradition because of OTB play where you have one game per round. Here you play as black and white against each opponent, so option C should cover for that advantage by giving it to your opponent as well. Certainly option A is excessive.

    I'd think either B or C would be good. Unless you are going around scoping out the games of other players, they're the same.

  • #5

    Is there any plan for chess.com to support options B or C?  Wonder if anyone has asked them this question?  If so, did they give a timetable?  If not, I guess there is a enhancement forum somewhere that we could request this...

  • #6

    I have thought a lot about this topic over the past several years; and my opinion has changed in the latest year or two.

    By watching the annual chess960 tournaments in Mainz, it seems that....

    We have learned that we have already learned all we are ever going to learn from chess960 as long as the nonTraditional setup used keeps being changed.  The Mainz masters are not making any progress in chess960 because the setups keep changing.

    There is a lot about abstract chess that we could enjoy learning about from chess960, but only if we pick one nonTraditional setup and stick with it for a decade.  In other words, we should deemphasize the 'random' in "Fischer Random Chess".

    http://www.amazon.com/Play-Stronger-Chess-Examining-Chess960/dp/0977452107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269812257&sr=8-1

    Sadly, yesterday it was announced that the chess960 tournaments cannot be funded in Mainz this year.  They are hopeful that funding can be restored next year.

  • #7

    GeneM, this would change the spirit of chess960 a lot. Then the players would need to start doing opening preparation for that starting position, working out theory lines and novelties with a lot of investment of time and computer power, and they would need to start learning and remembering all of the new opening theory created for that position. I am not sure if you are aware of how much work this is and of how much this would change the spirit of chess960.

  • #8

    A few impressions. One, stats have indicated that some 960 positions favor White strongly (more than the standard position) others less or not at all. Other than that, I think Kasparov suggested that we might choose a certain initial position that seems reasonable to play with and stick to it for at least a year. This seems like a good suggestion to me. Yes, 960 is about avoiding opening theory, but it doesn't have to be about avoiding strategy and so on. There is no way that sound strategical ideas can be applied when you have never seen even a similar position before.

  • #9

    Atos, grandmasters playing chess960 are applying sound strategical ideas over and over. When you read their comments about their chess960 games, they very often look at the chess960 positions in terms of structures from openings they know and understand well.

     

    Schachgeek, fortunately chess960 has so many possibilities that it heavily reduces the need to work on opening theory well enough. It certainly makes work on opening novelties much less effective because I wouldn't expect anybody to really consider trying to prepare 960 different openings for a game with a specific opponent. :-)

  • #10
    Atos wrote:

    A few impressions. One, stats have indicated that some 960 positions favor White strongly (more than the standard position) others less or not at all. Other than that, I think Kasparov suggested that we might choose a certain initial position that seems reasonable to play with and stick to it for at least a year. This seems like a good suggestion to me. Yes, 960 is about avoiding opening theory, but it doesn't have to be about avoiding strategy and so on. There is no way that sound strategical ideas can be applied when you have never seen even a similar position before.


    What stats are you referencing? I haven't seen any convincing ones (large samples with solid players) myself. I'm not saying there aren't positions favoring white, I just haven't seen stats to back that up.

    And I think Kasparov's suggestion is a joke. He wants one position per year, so that GMs can study it. In other words, "Sure, we can have a variant that avoids opening theory, as long as it doesn't avoid opening theory."

    And of course you can apply sound strategic ideas to positions you've never seen before. People have to do that all the time in real life. There's no reason that Grandmasters can't do the same just because they can't memorize the strategic ideas ahead of time.

    And @GeneM, what are we supposed to learn from Chess960? What do we need to learn from Chess960? Why don't we just play it? It sounds like we're supposed to be learning new opening theory from it, but that is not the point.

  • #11
    ichabod801 wrote:
    Atos wrote:

    A few impressions. One, stats have indicated that some 960 positions favor White strongly (more than the standard position) others less or not at all. Other than that, I think Kasparov suggested that we might choose a certain initial position that seems reasonable to play with and stick to it for at least a year. This seems like a good suggestion to me. Yes, 960 is about avoiding opening theory, but it doesn't have to be about avoiding strategy and so on. There is no way that sound strategical ideas can be applied when you have never seen even a similar position before.


    What stats are you referencing? I haven't seen any convincing ones (large samples with solid players) myself. I'm not saying there aren't positions favoring white, I just haven't seen stats to back that up.

    And I think Kasparov's suggestion is a joke. He wants one position per year, so that GMs can study it. In other words, "Sure, we can have a variant that avoids opening theory, as long as it doesn't avoid opening theory."

     


    You are beginning to sound more and more like a trolling pest. I said that stats have indicated it, if you don't believe it go look for the stats yourself. I am not employed here at your service and I don't have to supply stats. And if Kasparov's suggestion is a joke, surely your comments are a joke too. Yeah there is nothing that could be gained from studying a position in a bit more depth, I agree, la la la... chess.com should be renamed ichabod.com also.. and 960 shoudl really be called ichabod chess, despite of his rather poor results in it.

  • #12
    Atos wrote:

    You are beginning to sound more and more like a trolling pest. I said that stats have indicated it, if you don't believe it go look for the stats yourself. I am not employed here at your service and I don't have to supply stats. And if Kasparov's suggestion is a joke, surely your comments are a joke too. Yeah there is nothing that could be gained from studying a position in a bit more depth, I agree, la la la... chess.com should be renamed ichabod.com also.. and 960 shoudl really be called ichabod chess, despite of his rather poor results in it.


    Excuse me? I ask a simple question and you have to insult me? If there are good stats showing an advantage in a particular position, I would be honestly interested in seeing them. I have looked for them, but I haven't seen them. I was hoping maybe you could help me out. I guess I was wrong.

  • #13
    ichabod801 wrote:
    Atos wrote:

    You are beginning to sound more and more like a trolling pest. I said that stats have indicated it, if you don't believe it go look for the stats yourself. I am not employed here at your service and I don't have to supply stats. And if Kasparov's suggestion is a joke, surely your comments are a joke too. Yeah there is nothing that could be gained from studying a position in a bit more depth, I agree, la la la... chess.com should be renamed ichabod.com also.. and 960 shoudl really be called ichabod chess, despite of his rather poor results in it.


    Excuse me? I ask a simple question and you have to insult me? If there are good stats showing an advantage in a particular position, I would be honestly interested in seeing them. I have looked for them, but I haven't seen them. I was hoping maybe you could help me out. I guess I was wrong.


    It's not the first time you responded to my posts on 960 in an unnecessarily  combative manner. I have seen such stats but I don't have them at hand right this minute. I might look for them tomorrow, they are somewhere on Google I think.

  • #14

    There's this table here, but its kind of a joke. Its the first thing you hit in google.   The author has gone back and crossed out big sections of it and apologized for it, and it seems possible to have been compiled originally for propoganda purposes or something.  He leaves out the most important stat it seems - the average expected advantage for white for a random 960 position.  He gives the highest scoring starting 960 positions for white and black, so why not the average.  For what purpose would that be left out.

  • #15
    ilmago wrote:

    Atos, grandmasters playing chess960 are applying sound strategical ideas over and over. When you read their comments about their chess960 games, they very often look at the chess960 positions in terms of structures from openings they know and understand well.

     

     


    This argument is similar to "when GMs play bullet, they play pretty good games." They play pretty good games but not as good as they would if they studied the position in a bit more depth. Surely it is not difficult to understand this, and not hanging pieces is not the same as playing with good strategy, and so on.

  • #16
    Eberulf wrote:

    There's this table here, but its kind of a joke. Its the first thing you hit in google.   The author has gone back and crossed out big sections of it and apologized for it, and it seems possible to have been compiled originally for propoganda purposes or something.  He leaves out the most important stat it seems - the average expected advantage for white for a random 960 position.  He gives the highest scoring starting 960 positions for white and black, so why not the average.  For what purpose would that be left out.


    And lol what makes you think that this "to have been compiled originally for propoganda purposes ". I am pretty sure that the powers that be are more concerned with nuclear weapons and economy right now than with chess 960.

    The point wasn't how random positions score on average, but that some positions score better than others for White or Black, respectively.

    A fairly reasonable solution which I think is already applied in some 960 tournaments that each player gets to play as White and as Black vs. the same opponent with the same starting position.

  • #17

    Sorry, Atos, you might have misunderstood my point: Have you had a chance to read a chess960 game commented by a grandmaster playing it in Mainz, for example, and seen how very specifically they apply their strategic opening knowledge they aquired by studying and deeply understanding strategic structures from the normal starting position?

     

    When I came across such comments in chess magazines, it was quite an eye-opener for me.

  • #18

    Atos - anybody that wants to can look at it and judge for themselves.  They don't have to rely on my characterization.

    Here are the stats on a chess960 DB:

    Weiss gewinnt: 1376 - white win : 1376 (43.45 %).
    Schwarz gewinnt: 1258 - black win : 1258 (39.72 %).
    Remis: 533 - drawn : 533 (16.83 %).

    (from http://www.chess-960.org/php/show_entries.php?defaultordering=date)

    Still looking at that site so don't know to what extent its broken down further.

    Incidentally, google can practically read your mind now, so don't know what the challenge is in researching things like this - just type it in google.

  • #19

    atos:  as far as the propoganda angle,  if you go to the original DB link he supposedly compiled this from, it says "File does not exist".  I'm not saying he's responsible,  its just slightly odd.  Crossed out results,  files no longer existing, and this is the first hit in google. Don't know what it means except that 960 for whatever reason is an extremely contentious issue for a lot of people  (Didn't know this until a couple of weeks ago.)

  • #20
    ilmago wrote:

    Sorry, Atos, you might have misunderstood my point: Have you had a chance to read a chess960 game commented by a grandmaster playing it in Mainz, for example, and seen how very specifically they apply their strategic opening knowledge they aquired by studying and deeply understanding strategic structures from the normal starting position?

     

    When I came across such comments in chess magazines, it was quite an eye-opener for me.


    I understand, and in fact I argued around here before that much of the tactical and even strategic understanding translates from standard chess to 960. What I am saying is I think that the standard of the game would raise if we chose some initial positions that look reasonably playable and applied ourselves to studying the ideas of this position in a little more depth. We might even make some opening theory for 960, which would help us to reach better middlegames and endgames. There is no field in the world where study plays no role, why should chess be ?

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