Subversion of the Spirit of Chess960

_emily

Chess960 is designed to provide an unpredictable starting position, within limits. All of its unique advantages and disadvantages stem from that feature, and people who choose to play it rather than standard chess do so for that reason. Any system which allows a player to predict the starting position therefore subverts the spirit of the game.

Chess.com allows a player to cancel a game within a small number of moves. This seems like a reasonable policy for normal chess, but it has peculiar implications for chess960:

Any player can start a bunch of games and selectively choose only those starting positions which match a given set of criteria. For example, a player could devise strategies which only apply to games with bishops on the same side of the board, and then selectively play only those games to which the strategies apply.

This doesn't seem like a big deal by itself. If those players want to reduce the variety in their games, they can do it. Maybe they'll gain a slight advantage in preparation, but people with more free time on their hands have a similar advantage. These hypothetical chess960 players are just like players of normal chess who always play the same opening, or the same defense to a given opening - except for one thing. In chess960, the first move requires much more thought than in normal chess. A player might generate a complete strategic system from scratch for a particular chess960 setup, before making a single move. This time investment is much higher than it would be in the opening of regular chess, and if one's opponent cancels the game, one cannot simply start a new game with the same initial setup.

Because the loss for the player whose opponent cancels is uniquely high in chess960, I think we should consider eliminating the 'abort game' option for new chess960 games, at least after enough time has passed that people stop accidentally starting chess960 games when they intend to play regular chess.

I use the word "consider" because I want to initiate a discussion. If somebody has good reasons why the 'abort game' option is useful for chess960, I would love to hear them.

Even if the option remains officially avaliable, I would also like to encourage players to weigh the investment of their opponents before choosing it.

slack

Yeah, it sucks to have a game cancelled after you've spent a couple minutes pondering the initial set-up, but I'm not sure this is a big enough problem to warrant the changes you are suggesting. It's only happened to me twice out of the 20 or so games I've played.

I think this problem will work itself out as more people play 960 and decide if it suits them or not.

_emily

Slack - You might be right that the problem will work itself out over time. However, the scenario I initially described implies that players with a particular style have an incentive to abort games. If my hypothesis is correct, it will still happen, albeit less frequently, once people are more used to chess960 as an option.

Regarding the question of whether it's a big enough problem to warrant the change in policy, I have yet to see any unique reason to retain the policy (beyond the time frame in which people are still accidentally accepting 960 challenges), so even a small reason to get rid of it should be sufficient.

Gonnosuke - I think you're right, and that's why I suggested waiting until people are more used to chess960 before assessing the "real" frequency of aborted games. I also agree that there should be a better system for distinguishing the game types, such as separate lists of seeks.

Mimchi

You are bringing some excellent points. However, I think we shouldn't take points so seriously. So what if they abort? Your brain got a workout by thinking

ktmnz0

Maybe the abort button should be eliminated from the sight for all games.  I'm new to the sight and maybe I'm talking out of turn, but if you decided to push the play button, why not play the game? 

ArtNJ

I've had a bunch of aborts, and I'm sure all are from people who had no idea it was a 960 game.  A confirmation screen ("This is a Chess 960 Game, a rules variant, not standard chess.  Do you still want to accept this seek? Y/N") would be helpful. 

Matthew11

how do you get to it?

JazzTChess

HELP ELIMINATE THE ABORT OPTION.  If you think chess.com should get rid of the abort option, add your voice to the "Eliminate the Abort option" post within chess.com’s Site Feedback and Suggestions Forum.   Let’s see if we can get it changed!

Go to: http://www.chess.com/forum/view/suggestions/eliminate-the-abort-option

to help get rid of the abort rule!