Chess960 Explained!


What is Chess960?

Chess960 (also called FischerRandom) is just like regular chess... except that the starting position is shuffled to include 960 different possible positions! So you can throw out your opening book, but keep your opening principles. You play the same, but you just have different placement of pieces on the starting row.

The only change in rules is that castling is funky - when you castle, the king/rook end up in the same position as when they castle in regular chess (king on g-file and rook on f-file for kingside, king on c-file and rook on d-file for queenside).

The 960 comes from the number of different possible starting positions where there is a rook on each side of the king and where there are bishops of opposite color.

To start a 960 game, go here: and under Advanced Options choose Type: Chess960. Or, find a game here:  ->


(For more info, read here: )


I started a game of chess960 and got up to move 9 but after tring to play the move 9...kb8 a failure page appears.

This is the game:

Can you try and fix the bug.

(I am using Windows XP and Firefox3.5)


im glad got chess 960.  thank you


I was playing my first game in chess 960 and after my opponent made his 15th move a second king magically appeared on my back rank.  I couldn't move it but I couldn't move any pieces onto that square.


I 'm not sure if I like 960 chess setup, we'll see later.


Question -- just started a game. Inside the game (on the playing screen) my opponent and I are both listed as 1200, as we are both virgins to Chess960 that is good. Seems as if our ratings will be kept distinct from our Online games.... but... the game is still listed on my Online Games page and on that page my opponent and I show our same online chess ratings.

So... how do ratings work for Chess960? Are they kept separate or not, from Online?

Teshuvah wrote:

As far as I can tell they are seperate Bajoran_Moon.

Look at this guys profile:


Is that what you were wondering?

Ah great -- I see how it works now -- thanks!


Will there be 960 Team Matches and Vote Chess eventually do you think? I see there are already tournaments going... but for the groups, it'd be interesteing. I just tried to see if I could set something up for one of the groups I admin and not yet possible.


I'm in a match right now. It's fun


Hi guys,

This is a great variation on standard chess.  You will like it, I do.  There are otb tournaments and a world champion for this variation.  Years ago, I played a variation of this variation which was called transactional chess.  In that game both back ranks were scambled differently from each other.  That meant that games had to be played as doublets against each opponent.  Both players played one game as white and one game as black.  That was a blast!

Watch your backrank.

mwilkin9 wrote:

I'm in a match right now. It's fun

Can you tell me which of your teams set up the match? I'd like to message your team Admin and ask how s/he set it up.

jchurch5566 wrote:

Watch your backrank.

lol -- I'm learning that lesson the hard way already


Regular chess is still good for me

robmarsh wrote:

Regular chess is still good for me

 Of course it is, but this makes you think about your opening moves. Very tactical.


I hate chess 960. Different people different taste. I hate to the hilt.


that is chess 960


Thank you for this :)

scarjo wrote:

I think it's nice for a change. The only annoying thing can be to get your bishops developed. 

Yes, after only playing part of two games, I can see that is problematic. I also gather that all of the old rules (avoid knights on the rim, don't bring Queen out early, castle a.s.a.p., etc) may not necessarily hold the same weight as in standard chess. Already I have seen (mostly in my opponent's stronger play, not only in my own) that an early Queen development, for instance, can be beneficial, especially as it can help tie down your opponent's pieces (bishops esp) to their back rank... and depending on where the knights are at the initial set up, developing a knight on the rim may well be the right move.... I'm finding the interplay between following all the old rules of thumb and needing to be creative and open very entertaining!


Game explorer does not seem to work with it though




tongue in cheek


I'm finding gaining (or losing) tempos key in the opening as are the threats of spoiling castling. I have I think four games on the go. I'm really enjoying them. :)