Chess960 starting position No 1


Concentrate on h-side castling as castling a-side will be rather laborious and long-winded. However, castling h-side will not be easy as there are no ideal places to move the rooks on f1/f8 to.

However , both bishops on a1/a8 seem to threaten seriously the h-side if you castled there. So , if you succeed in developing smoothly without being forced by your opponent to castle quickly h-side , you may consider castling a-side , as your king’s position looks much safer there.

Weak points and squares


Development of pieces

The bishops on a1/a8 have quite a promising diagonal. The bishops on d1/d8 can also be easily developed , but take care not to block the other bishop with the c-pawn.

There is quite a good square for the e-knight on f3 in order to protect your kingside , if you castled h-side. Again , think first what to do with your f-rook.

General advice for the first moves

1.b3/b6 to open immediately the long diagonal for the bishop 2.f4/f5 3.Nf3/Nf6 and you will have to decide then if castling a- or h-side. It seems however advisable to prepare castling both sides, so develop first your minor pieces and if you decide then to castle h-side reconsider how to develop your f-rook.

Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited, except with the express written permission of the Author.

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.

Chess960 – What for?

Before beginning with  a short introduction into the specific requirements and rules of Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess) just a few words of advice concerning the fundamental differences between Over The Board[OTB] and Correspondence Chess[CC].

1. Never trust your eyes . Trust only the board , because sometimes your eyes may be directed to the wrong square, file or side of the board.

2. If ever you are convinced that you have found the right move or even any winning move, just lean back, relax and calmly regard the board. Take a day or even two. You have all the time you need.

3. Do not be too confident in analysis of OTB games of high-rated title holders. In CC you will have to look much deeper into the position. 20 years ago, when starting with CC, I had to pay a high price for being too confident in those analysis.

4. Choose the opening, line and variations corresponding to your own style and your own skill. Do not always try to find the best move or to follow theoretical recommendations. You should feel quite at home in the position. It is of no use when theory gives a big plus but you are ending up in a position which is not quite to your liking and where you do not know what to do next!

5. Build up an opening repertoire of your own and choose the lines and variations corresponding to your preferences and skills.

6. Never play too hastily. First try to find out what are the general lines and plans of the opening and where you could perhaps divert from the theoretical and well known variations. Always try – whenever possible – to make your opponent leave his books and databases so that he has to rely on his own brain and find the moves and answers alone !

The Introduction

When hearing the term of Chess960 or Fischer Random Chess you may ask about the fundamental difference between Chess960 and Standard Chess. 

The rules, principal assessments of positions, main characteristics of how to open the game and to handle middle- and endgame. They are all the same compared to Standard Chess.   But you may say there’s no Opening Theory, no commentated Game Archives, no Books and no systematic introduction into the 959 starting positions? Yes indeed you are thrown back to the origins of chess as it has been played hundreds of years ago. You can’t prepare any match and game in advance. The starting positions are determined by a random generator and you will – in most cases – have to face an unknown initial position.

You may say: but that is making a big of a difference between Standard Chess and Chess960? Well, not at all. Don’t forget right after the 10th or 20th move in most of your games you will  have to face completely new middle game and later on end game patterns and every single pattern is needing  a different approach. Well in Chess960 this different approach is needed right before the first move and that is making the whole difference between  Chess960 and Standard Chess. You may wonder why I mentioned the number of 959 starting positions? Very simple: Number 518 is the Standard Chess Position making Standard Chess a Variation of Chess960 though.

I will continue this contribution about the specific characteristics of many starting positions like

– Castling

– Development of pieces

– Weak points and squares

– A general advice for the first moves

I hope you will enjoy it!


Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited, except with the express written permission of the Author.

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved.



7 Surprising Health Benefits of Playing Chess

Grandmaster and world chess champion Bobby Fischer is famously quoted as saying, “Chess is life.” But can this two-player game, consisting of a square checkered board and playing pieces that are moved in different ways depending on their royal or military designation, benefit your mental and physical health? Absolutely! Check out these seven surprising health benefits of playing chess and then consider your next move.

  1. Grows dendrites:

    Dendrites conduct signals from the neuron cells in your brain to the neuron they happen to be attached to. Learning and playing a game like chess actually stimulates the growth of dendrites, which in turn increases the speed and improves the quality of neural communication throughout your brain. Increased processing power improves the performance of your body’s computer, the brain.

  2. Exercises both sides of the brain:

    To get the most benefit from a physical workout, you need to exercise both the left and right sides of your body. Studies show that in order to play chess well, a player must develop and utilize his or her brain’s left hemisphere, which deals with object recognition, as well as right hemisphere, which deals with pattern recognition. Over time, thanks to the rules and technique involved in the game, playing chess will effectively exercise and develop not one but both sides of your brain.

  3. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease:

    A medical study involving 488 seniors by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine shows that playing chess, which stimulates brain function, measurably decreases the risk of dementia and combats its symptoms. Instead of letting the brain deteriorate, keeping the brain functioning at a normal rate, especially with a mind exercising activity like chess, will reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s disease as well as depression and anxiety.

  4. Helps treat schizophrenia:

    Doctors at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in Bron, France, found that schizophrenic patients who were directed to play chess on a daily basis showed improvement in their condition when compared to patients who did not play. The chess-playing patients exhibited increased attention, planning, and reasoning abilities and interestingly, elected to continue playing chess as part of their daily routine, even after the study had concluded.

  5. Improves children’s thinking and problem-solving skills:

    A child who is introduced to chess at a young age is likely to do better in school for years to come. Research shows that playing chess improves a child’s thinking, problem-solving, reading, and math scores. Educators and chess experts generally agree the second grade is the ideal time to introduce children to chess, although some as young as four or five may be ready to learn and play.

  6. Builds self-confidence:

    With role models that include the young Norwegian grandmaster Mangus Carlsen as well as hip-hop producer RZA, the game of chess only seems to get cooler with every generation. But no matter what your age, playing chess will build up your self-esteem. When you play, you’re on your own, and if you lose, you have to take stock and analyze just where you went wrong. Playing and analyzing why you lost or won a game increases the level of mental strength and self-confidence that you bring to the world beyond the chessboard.

  7. Helps with rehabilitation and therapy:

    Chess can be used to help rehabilitate patients recovering from stroke or a physically debilitating accident and as a form of therapy for those with autism or other developmental disabilities. Moving chess pieces across the board can help develop and fine tune a patient’s motor sills, while the mental effort required to play the game can improve cognitive and communication skills. Playing can also stimulate deep concentration and calm, helping to center and relax patients who are experiencing different degrees of anxiety.

    Riley Merkel    Online Psychology Degree

Rooks, Towers, Castles and Chariots.

A rook ( borrowed from Persian ?? rokh, Sanskrit ?? rath, “chariot” )

The Rook was known as the Chariot in the Indian Chaturanga at first and was represented by the elephant figure., considered the division of heavy infantry in the game.
It was also known as the Ratha (Sanskrit ‘, Avestan ra?a) is the Indo-Iranian term for the spoked-wheel chariot of Antiquity.
It possesses powerful movement abilities, and is typically used in defense as well as for quick strikes to the opponent’s position from a distance.

In Chess the rooks represent the castle’s walls, which protect the king, queen, bishop, and knights.
The rook is second to the Queen in power on the board, and is above the Bishop, Knight and pawn in value .
The Rook becomes the king’s guard in a move called castling and is the only piece that interacts with the king while taking a turn to move.
The rook enters the game at any stage after the opening has been executed, it may be used for castling or as protection to other pieces and is more effective in tactical use to pin the opponents pieces, reinforce position and execute the endgame.

The strategy for a castle is to create a defensive perimeter to protect its inhabitants with in its walls from the enemy.
The idea of a fortress is universal to all cultures and those forts eventually evolved in to castles.
These massive forts were then added towers to become offensive posts to the approaching enemy.
Well built castles can be found through out the Persian Empire and well with in the Crusader countries.
Most of the first castles built predate the crusades but to determine who placed the Rook on the chess board is another challenge.
There might be too much burning haze to determine who deserves the credit for this.

Falak al Aflak Castle in Iran , … Castle Avila in Spain .