Monday, September 29, 2008

Save Our Lightning

Here's our dear friend Shaun Press last week:

There is no doubt that Chess 960 is becoming more popular, and may even be seen at the 2009 Doeberl Cup. Under serious consideration is holding a Chess 960 event on the Saturday evening, in place of the Lightning. The same prize pool will be on offer (ie over $1000 like this year), and the intention is to alternate Chess 960 and Lightning from year to year. Hopefully the 'resistence to change' trait that afflicts many chess players will be overcome by the 'lets try something different' fever this time.

Under serious consideration? Chess 960? Never mind the fancy name. That's Fischerandom! Yes, the sort of chess where they shuffle the pieces around on their starting blocks so that you can pretty much throw your theory off the table. It's the kind of chess for those who can't be bothered to play correctly.

Honestly, I hope Mr Press and his co-organisers aren't serious. Why dump the lightning? I hope they remember that some folks even drive down to Canberra for the day just to play in a few good games of lightning. Because for these guys, it's the only time they have, for their own little Doeberl pilgrimage.

I played in a Fischer Random event once, earlier this year in the Aussie Champs I think, and that was enough. It's a curiosity. Nothing special. Not as much excitement as a crazy lightning event. We have to stop these guys.

But look, at day's end, I'm an open-minded sod. So tell me your preference: lightning or Chess 960? Look to the right and vote in the poll.


Ryan said...

I'm definitely not a fan of Chess960, Fischerandom, or whatever it is called these days.

Chess isn't broken, so why fix it?

Chaos said...

Granted I won't be participating either way :) But I agree with your sentiment. I have tried Fischerrandom 100s of times and it just is nonsense.

Shaun Press said...

I'll exclude myself from the voting because (a) I'm not planning to play in the Lightning/Chess 960 and (b) it was my suggestion to O2C that we look at holding it next year.
The idea came out of the coverage of the Mainz Chess Festival and the success of the chess 960 event there (also from previous discussions with Manuel Weeks on this issue). It is about doing something different, in the hope of attracting new players to a new event, without losing the existing players. It will hopefully be a fun event (albeit with $1000 in prizes) and that the format will actually even the field a little (in terms of potential upsets).

Anonymous said...

Can't you have both a Lightning and a Chess960 tournament, and then see which is more popular? Or perhaps the tournament schedule gets in the way...

If you do decide to have a Chess960 tournament, definitely use a rapid time-control (20+10) rather than lightning, since it is much easier to make a tactical blunder in Chess960 than in lightning.

I recall reading a very recent article somewhere proving that Grandmasters winning material with cheap tricks (e.g Ne4 winning an undefended d2 or f2-pawn) in Chess960 is similar to beginners playing for Scholar's Mate.

Anonymous said...

do chess 960 so when the current random chess 960 world champion levon aronian is in oz he can show us how its played