Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Fischer's "Chess960" starts getting some respect

There's a pretty fascinating article up at Wired right now, about a new game chess legend Bobby Fischer has invented called "Chess960." (Well, actually he invented it in 1996; the article is about how the game is finally starting to get some respect among the rest of the chess world.) It works almost exactly the same as normal chess, except for one profound change - instead of the pieces being lined up in their traditional order at the beginning of a game (rook, then knight, then bishop, etc), they are instead lined up randomly. (The name of the game comes from the fact that there are 960 different ways to line up the pieces randomly.) The reason for the random lineup is simple - because Fischer believes that chess has become much more these days about memorizing opening moves, than utilizing a natural sense of creativity and intelligence. With the pieces appearing in a random order at the beginning of each game, all those giant "strategies for opening moves" books instantly become obsolete, giving even part-time amateurs a shot of competing against seasoned professionals.

Hey, sounds good to me! Anyone want to play a game soon?