The problem with Chess960

There may be 960 different legal starting positions, but the definition of a terrible position never changes. Most of these 960 positions not only look bad, they are bad. The only reason why the engines are not showing excessive evaluations right from the start is that both sides are standing equally bad. This is really ugly chess.

The Future of Chess?

Chess on the highest level is dead! Computers have solved the problems of opening theory and everyone has access to this information. The only way to get an advantage these days is to catch your opponent in a line where he has forgotten his notes. The so called solution to this dilemma is supposed to be Chess960.

Last night we had the chance to watch world class players slug it out in St. Louis. Frankly speaking I was not impressed. If that is chess, maybe I don’t like the game after all. On the other hand this whole experiment reminds me of the good old Animal Farm: Every starting position is equal, but one is more equal than all the others.


How to lose a drawn endgame

Can someone explain to me why Naka gives MC a protected passed pawn? The only explanation that I can come up with is arrogance. I am not claiming that white has an obvious win, but it was just simply totally unnecessary because even 4 vs. 3 is theoretically drawn. On club-level this is an easy draw, but a world class GM manages to lose.

Aronian got lucky to beat Grischuk and MC certainly got lucky too. Let’s hope the tiebreak won’t be as boring as the classical games.

More on the Ba5-Winawer

More on the Nc3-Petroff

In the Candidates Tournament back in March Caruana lost in the Nc3-Petroff. Finally he got the chance to show his improvement. Aronian chose not to test it, blundered in an equal position and lost. Yes it was a blitz game, but these guys play better blitz than others play in classical games. Recalling your prep is not an issue in blitz.

Update: Shortly after Caruana repeated the line in a classical game.

A few rounds later Carlsen joined the discussion.

Another draw in the Italian

KID refuted? Nope, just another forced draw!

Evaluating a similar Position

Today in the game Svidler-Mamedyarov in Biel, another variation of the same structure appeared that I have already discussed before.

By going through the same process one should arrive at the same result. According to the Point-Count-Method black is slightly better. This time Stockfish agrees with this evaluation and gives Rc8 with a tiny advantage for black. In static positions point-count is reliable.

Winning with the Najdorf?

This time it was Svidler’s turn to deal with the underdog. He chose the Najdorf once again. When 6.Be3 appeared on the board he thought for a while and played e6. Georgiadis tried another brillant attack in the style of Tal, but this time he came up short. Svidler just played perfect moves and refuted it cold.

Winning with the Winawer?

How do you play for a win with black if you are a huge Elo-favorite? The typical answer would be the Sicilian or even 1…g6. Instead Carlsen goes for the Winawer. Why the Winawer? Here is the reasoning: White cannot keep the symmetry, not even in the Exchange Variation. Since the position cannot be simplified white has to play for a refutation, because black has the better pawn structure. Georgiadis played the game of his life to earn the draw.

Play it safe!