Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-30-2019, 06:17 PM
HeyHomie's Avatar
HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,942

How Much (If At All) Does Fisher Random Chess/Chess960 Level The Playing Field?

Could a random patzer such as myself stand a chance against, say, Magnus Carlsson, at Chess960?

Here's what I think:

On the one hand, Chess960 completely throws all of the openings, variations thereof, and related gambits out the window; things that, unlike me, Magnus has been studying for decades.

On the other hand, unlike me, Magnus can see six, ten, twenty moves ahead, and he'd chew me up and spit me out even with Queen odds.

What's the Straight Dope on how well regular GMs perform at Chess960?
Old 05-31-2019, 06:30 AM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 84,429
Memorizing openings is relevant at the lowest levels of competitive play. But a grandmaster (or even just a master) doesn't just memorize the openings; he understands them: why does this opening work, based on what general principles? And those principles (things like "control the center") will apply just as much in random chess as in standard.
Old 05-31-2019, 05:57 PM
Jas09 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 5,692
Well, here are the Lichess Chess960 leaderboards:

You will notice that it is full of titled players (GM, IM, etc). They also have Chess960 titled tournaments (that can only be entered by players with FIDE/USCF titles). I believe Magnus has won almost (if not) all of them he has entered.

Here is Magnus's account at Lichess: His 960 rating is 2747. That would be number 1 on the ladder if he played enough there to qualify. So yes, he would destroy you.

Specifically, he will know the appropriate opening setups regardless of the starting configuration and his overwhelming advantages in tactics and endgame technique will be more than enough.

ETA: To answer the thread title question: If anything Chess960 actually makes the playing field less level. That was Fishers point - remove the boring memorization part to reward strategic and tactical skill.

Last edited by Jas09; 05-31-2019 at 05:58 PM.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:31 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017