Is Chess 960 Better Than Regular Chess? (An analysis!)

Chess960 is a chess variation that the former world champion, Bobby Fischer, proposed to solve the memorization issue of chess. 

The thing is bobby believes that chess should be a game of skill and not memorization, the winners should be those that are better at thinking. 

With the emergence of chess engines the memorization problem has become way worse than in the days of Bobby Fischer. Now entire games can be memorized and played by the two players on the board (at the top level at least). 

You have to wonder if Bobby Fischer is right, maybe we really need an update to this century old game. I will be breaking down all of the reasons why chess960 is really better than regular chess (if it overcomes its downsides at least). Let’s get started . .

For most players (intermediate), Chess960 is better than regular chess

In my opinion, chess 960 is better for intermediate players since it is more unpredictable. Perhaps this is the single aspect in Bobby Fischer’s history that he managed to get correct before it ended. 

Putting aside our differences of opinion, there is one thing on which we can all concur, chess 960 is just less deterministic than regular chess. It follows less set patterns. 

Intermediate chess players would be in a better position as a result of this (a level where you know the concepts but have not memorized many openings yet) while experts would be in a worse position. 

Simply said, it strikes me as being more entertaining, modern, and intriguing.

Chess 960 is a variant of the game that brings it closer than ordinary chess to simulating real-world situations and conflicts, which may be of interest to individuals who like making such analogies. 

It is not always possible to anticipate the first configuration in which an army or other force will begin, the conditions between battles are unpredictable. I think it is fair that its counterpart game would also be unpredictable to a certain degree. 

This does not mean that chess 960 is better overall, just for intermediate players that are not yet too deep with opening preparations. 

Chess960 is better than standard chess in the grandmaster level and above

In my opinion, chess960 is really something that would make chess at the highest level even better. Observing grandmasters at work demonstrates how memory has become the dominant strategy in the game. 

Our competitions for weaker and intermediate competitors may remain to use the standard beginning position; this way, we won’t have to throw away all of the opening publications. 

However, we should allow the chess masters to show off their creativity by performing from an original position that they have never experienced previously.

According to what I’ve been told, there are really several grandmasters who are in support of Chess960.

This rule modification will surely be able to generate more conclusive games that are indicative of “true chess”. With so many draws today chess is really turning into something different entirely. 

Chess 960 would be able to present something more interesting, creative, and artistic, plus it would level the playing field. Another alternative is to have a separate section for chess960 only, this way we could appreciate both standard chess and chess 960. 

This is actually being practiced now, there is even a separate world chess championship for chess960. 

As it becomes more exposed to the public, perhaps the community will realize that chess960 has its place in competitive play, it may even replace standard chess. 

Chess 960 is better since it reward more skilled player rather than the more prepared one

Chess960 is better in accommodating the true talent of the one playing it. In regular chess where it is now all about memorization, preparation takes over skill and natural gifts. The main gift I am talking about is creativity.

How in the world would you beat someone who has memorized stockfish lines using pure creativity only? In terms of improving one’s inventiveness and talents, playing Chess 960 is superior to playing standard chess.

It ensures that there will be no engine line prepared beforehand and the true skill of the one playing it will be tested. 

In addition, this variation is more equitable than the game of chess since it does not rely on how well one player can recall individual pattern combinations. 

This way someone who had been playing for years won’t have the “secret edge” against those that have only started playing it. Experience should be able to give some kind of advantage, but not in the form of pattern recognition. 

I believe in making the ones that are gifted and skilled the winner instead of the more experienced. All these engine lines and hidden pattern recognition advantage kinda takes away from the naturally creative and talented. 

It is almost impossible to prepare in Chess960 unlike with regular chess

You see, just by the fact that the positions are scrambled at the beginning of each match, the game already changes a lot. It is almost impossible to prepare beforehand what lines you will play in Chess960.

We have to remember that the game of Chess 960 has 960 unique beginning positions. It is entirely unreasonable to expect individuals to be able to learn all of these positions in a short notice. 

In addition to that, it is quite challenging for a software program that plays chess to take part in any games. I am not as knowledgeable on whether engines can perform well on chess960. 

However I have a looming suspicion that even if the chess960 positions are given beforehand, chess engines are not as equipped in dealing with the games.

Also the starting positions are mostly generated just before the match so this won’t even matter people won’t be able to use engines to play the game for them.

 As a result of all of this, it would force the competitors to invent original games and tactics centered on chess standards instead of generating moves depending on a huge array of opening conceptions that have previously been established. 

This would make the game more interesting. As a result, the playing field will be much more level. At the higher level of standard chess, sometimes it doesn’t even feel like a human game anymore.

 It feels like a game played between computers with their human disguises. Chess 960 might be able to come to the rescue since it will kick the chess engines out of the chess matches. 

The drawbacks of chess960 and why it is not as popular as regular chess

It should come as no surprise that Chess960 has several drawbacks. It is well known that in some situations, the benefit of white making the initial move in Chess960 might be much more advantageous than it would be in traditional chess. 

It wouldn’t shock me if there had been a handful of situations in Chess960 where white will be in a significantly stronger position than black after the first move. This is also true in standard chess of course but it is more exaggerated in chess960. 

Since there is nobody who would call out (or fix) a random chess960 game, no efforts will be made to equalize it. One of the most attractive features of chess is that it is a balanced game. 

White may have a little advantage in traditional chess but it is usually not enough to push for anything. 

In chess 960, there might be a forced pawn capture (or even piece capture) at the beginning of the game just because of the randomness of the positions. 

This luck factor may turn off a lot of people. Due to this situation, Chess960 competitions above the junior level could be more difficult to organize as a result of this “luck” factor.

Chess960 is terribly imbalanced when compared to regular chess

After a few rounds of Chess960, I believe that most people will concur with this assessment. When playing as black, you may find that you have to guard two squares that are very vulnerable at the start of the game. 

It is very unlikely that there will be no imbalance or whatnot.

If your assault as white in one of these situations (where you have some advantage in the opening)  is unsuccessful, you are typically screwed, much more so than in conventional chess, and will lose the game. 

If we want to make this feasible in competitions, it is conceivable to filter out such scenarios and also to let destiny exercise its role. Let the players have an equal amount of white and black piece rounds and basically hope for the best. 

This makes formal competitions with chess960 not as balanced when compared to regular chess. 

Some position in Chess960 is ridiculous, not to mention that it is still regular chess minus the opening phase

At first, playing chess960 is a delightful experience, but as time goes on, it gets less exciting and less engaging. 

It is helpful if you struggle with openings, but it does not need understanding of openings, and your enemy cannot use a library to discover the ideal moves to play against you. 

The caveat is that after around 20 moves, the match invariably winds up transposing to a position that could have been obtained in a normal game of chess. This happens no matter how many times you play the game. 

You can argue that this would still help in improving your middlegame and endgame experience, but it is hard to prove. In addition, certain beginning positions in chess960 are so ridiculous that they are laughable. 

Beginning with your knights on a1 and h1 may be a genuine pain in the neck. The only squares to which they may grow are b3 and g3, neither of which are desirable locations. 

I really have to put in many moves before I can get the knights into a position that is significant and centered in cases like this. The beginning position in normal chess is much more rational and straightforward to play than other chess variants. 

I still think that most people, especially beginners and intermediate players, would enjoy chess960 more. Formal competitions would also get a favor by removing the most memorized and studied phase of the game, the opening. 

All of these engine lines litter top level chess that you cannot even tell if the games are played by humans anymore. I think chess 960 is still raw and can be improved, but it is an interesting concept to say the least. 

Conclusion

Chess960 is going to be more enjoyable than regular chess for most people. Not only that it is unpredictable, the actual games are going to be crazier and there will be more attacking opportunities. 

Let’s be real, most people pick up chess because of its apparent positional beauty.

In the eyes of an experienced player regular chess is still beautiful, but for most people the memorized lines are just bland and boring. 

Top level chess competitions will also benefit from having games that are more exciting, matches will also be decided by “skill” rather than preparation. 

Chess960 has its disadvantages of course but the idea is there, and it solves the problem on a surface level. 

If chess960 can be modified in a way that it removes imbalanced positions then it will undoubtedly be better than regular chess. That is all, thank you for reading. 

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