The ex-world chess champion Robert Fischer is the author of this variant, which has a distinctive characteristic of starting each game with a random position. The game is also known as Chess960, as 960 is the number of all possible starting positions of the pieces. While this rule bears some resemblance to Corner Chess, it is crucial to clarify all the specifics as there are certain distinctions between the two:
- Pawns are placed in their standard ranks (2nd or 7th).
- The placement of a king in this variant requires it to be situated between two rooks, indicating that it can never begin the game in a corner position.
- One bishop must be placed on a light square, the second one on a dark square.
- The starting positions of both white and black pieces in this variant are symmetrical, with the same pieces occupying corresponding columns on the board.
At first glance, it may seem unusual, but castling is indeed a valid move in this chess variant. Despite having different starting positions, the king and rook still aim for the same final locations as in standard Chess. However, certain additional conditions must be met, and the initial positions may vary depending on the randomly generated start position of the game:
- For a castling move to be executed, neither the king nor the rook involved in the move must have made any prior moves since the start of the game.
- The king is not currently in check.
- The squares between the initial and final positions of both the king and rook involved in the move are unoccupied by any other pieces.
- The king would not cross a square that is being attacked by an opponent’s piece, or it would not finish its move on such square.
So, what’s behind the variant idea? Fischer wanted to make chess more about being creative and talented, rather than just memorizing specific opening moves. He created a new form of chess where the starting position was random, which meant that players couldn’t rely on memorized moves to win. Instead, they had to come up with their own unique strategies from the very beginning. Fischer thought this would make the game more fair because everyone would be starting from the same place and nobody would have an advantage from memorizing opening moves.
Let me finish the article the usual way, with a sample game converted to a video by my chess tool: