February 23, 2014 13:13

Moscow Chess960 (Fischerrandom) Event Won by Grigoriants on Tiebreak

A Chess960 (Fischerrandom) rapid tournament was held on Friday and Saturday at the Moscow Center for the Education of Chess. Ten participants fought in a two-day round robin, and in the end Sergey Grigoriants and Boris Grachev tied for first place. Grigoriants had the best tiebreak and was declared winner. As always with Fischerrandom, many fun and wild games were played.

Photos © P. Plotnikov courtesy of the tournament website

For many years Chess960 (or Fischerrandom), the chess variant where the pieces on the first and eighth rank are shuffled, was played by the world's best players at the Chess Classic in Mainz, Germany. Unfortunately this great event ceased to exist a few years back. It showed time and again that there are many fans of this game, most notably Levon Aronian, world #2 in classical chess.

On Friday and Saturday a serious and strong Chess960 tournament was held in Moscow. At the Center for the Education of Chess, ten players gathered for a round robin event over two days: Vladimir Belov, Andrei Deviatkin, Olga Girya, Boris Grachev, Sergey Grigoriants, Mikhail Kuznetsov, David Paravyan, Alexey Sarana, Anastasia Savina and Andrey Stukopin. The time control was 20 minutes plus 10 seconds increment.

For each round, a different starting position was chosen. In the first, the players had to start with a “queen fianchetto” and in the following game White managed to build up decisive pressure on taht a1-h8 diagonal:

In the following game we see some important rules for Chess960 in action. The pieces on the first and eighth rank are set up randomly (though Black basically copies White's setup) except that the bishops must be placed on opposite-color squares, and the king must be placed on a square between the rooks. Castling is still possible: basically the rule is that the king and rook need to end up like in classical chess, so Kc1 and Rd1, or Kg1 and Rf1. The position quickly became quite normal, and it was all about White's center and Black attacking it:

Sometimes you might forget that at the very first move White is attacking something. The following is a typical crazy Chess960 game:

And what about this one?

Also in the following game the players play quite creatively:

If you want to see more games (and if the chess program on your computer can handle Chess960 games, like Chess.com's game viewer), you can download the complete PGN here.

Moscow Chess960 2014 | Final Standings

# Name 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 Pts SB
1 Grigoriants,Sergey ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 ½ 7.0/9 28.50
2 Grachev,Boris ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.0/9 25.75
3 Deviatkin,Andrei ½ 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 1 0 1 6.0/9  
4 Stukopin,Andrey 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 1 1 1 5.5/9  
5 Belov,Vladimir ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 ½ 1 4.0/9  
6 Savina,Anastasia 0 0 0 1 0 1 ½ 0 1 3.5/9 12.75
7 Sarana,Alexey 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 ½ ½ 1 3.5/9 12.25
8 Paravyan,David 0 0 0 0 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ 3.5/9 11.50
9 Kuznetsov,Mikhail V 0 0 1 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 0 3.0/9  
10 Girya,Olga ½ 0 0 0 0 0 0 ½ 1 2.0/9  
L-R Deviatkin, Grigoriants, Grachev
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Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers


RG13's picture

Lasker would have loved this!

tamz29's picture

I don't even recognize any players here. Why aren't stronger GMs playing this?

Thomas Richter's picture

Good question. There are stronger players living in Moscow, were they contacted by the organizers? If so, were all of them unavailable or not interested at all? Or would they be interested if the organizers could offer more money (as the Mainz organizers did) or if, as in Mainz, the tournament was part of a festival that also includes 'normal' rapid chess?

The World Mind Sports Games in Beijing feature rapid, blitz and - as (I think) Giri called it - "weird chess", formerly blindfold, last time Basque system. They didn't (yet) consider Chess960 as part of the program!?

Paul's picture

Isn't it spelt Fischerandom?

Anonymous's picture

"Lasker would have loved this!".

Uh, ok....I had Lasker pegged as a tic-tac-toe guy but you are the historian here...

RG13's picture

I was referring to the 2nd World's Champion approach to the openings. He didn't beleive in memorizing them. This form of chess would have given him an even greater advantage than his prodigous talent already did.

"Education in Chess has to be an education in independent thinking and judgement. Chess must not be memorized, simply because it is not important enough. ... Memory is too valuable to be stocked with trifles." - Emanuel Lasker

Harry O's picture

Thanks for this quote I totally agree!

Anonymous's picture

those solid 2600s

Russian chess player's picture

The name of the photographer is P. Plotnikov (not Plotnikova). Otherwise, that's an excellent report - thanks.

Peter Doggers's picture

Thx, corrected.

Mike's picture

I'm playing Chess960 at Lichess.org. For my surprise, because my general knowledge on positional strategy is better than openings memorization, my rating on Chess960 is 200 points ahead of my rating on classical chess. This is a very nice characteristic of this type o Chess: It demands almost no opening study, "just" talent and practice for strategy and tactics...

Mike's picture

Well, if the total number of possible positions of Classical Chess is said to be greater than the number of atoms in the Universe, in Chess960 you have to multiply this number by almost one thousand...

RG13's picture

I don't think so because probably all of the middle game positions can be theoretically reached by Classical Chess since number which compares with the number of atoms in the universe applies to nonsense positions also. As far as the opening is concerned there are at least 959 positions that aren't counted in that number but after the first few moves? Ask Prof. Regan to calculate it!

Mike's picture

Its a good challenge for a mathematician: How many normal (the ones that fit the rules) positions can be obtained in Chess960 up to the point where the game completely exhausts its possibilities, and how this number compares with the one of Classical Chess? Well, anyway, I think Chess960 is in fact a set of 960 Parallel Chess Universes, where Classical Chess is Just One of these Caissa Worlds...Chess960 is The Multiverse, Classical Chess is Just one Between many Worlds...The Multiverse is the Future of Chess...

Daniel's picture

I use the term old chess instead of classical chess.
The way to play is Chess960.
And position 518 is just one of the possible starting positions - a deep analyzed one though.

And look at these games -> no boring draw after 20 moves (is there a sofia rule in Chess960?)

Mike's picture

Yes, Chess960 is the Future...Another brilliant Fischer's conception...In fact, Chess960 is the Whole CHESS thing...FIDE should determine Chess960 as CHESS, and consider the old Chess just one of the many dimensions of CHESS...With Chess960, the Game returns to its Original Purpose: To establish a Battlefield where the Armies can demonstrate all the Human strengths in terms of Courage, Intelligence, Self-Control and Creativity ...The old Chess became almost totally boring and limited to mechanical computers...

filiusdextris's picture

Thanks for the awesome coverage of this format!

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