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‘T20 Chess’: New form of chess threatens to send tradition packing

Chess might be one of the oldest board games in existence, but its current form is being threatened by the rise in popularity of a more “challenging” set of rules.

It’s called ‘Chess 960’ – an alternative format of the game designed by American champion Bobby Fischer, that is threatening to usurp traditional gameplay by making the game less predictable.

Concerns from officials at the World Chess Federation that technology has led to the human thought process being outsourced to computers has made them more willing to accept this new form of the game, where pieces are shuffled randomly before being placed on the board.

Pawns remain in the same position as they usually would to start, while all other pieces are moved around prior to the beginning of the match.

Chess 960, also known as ‘Fischer Random Chess’ in honour of its creator, is named after the number of potential starting positions.

President of the Australian Chess Federation Gary Wastell believes Chess 960 is catching on and may soon be the most commonly-played form of the game

“I’ve got a feeling the future of the game lies in the 960 variation,” Wastell told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“All the games that are played in competitive chess these days are recorded move-by-move. You can pull up a database and see what your next opponent does in certain situations,” Wastell said.

The underlying goal of Chess 960 is to remove predictability and premeditation as much as possible, creating a greater challenge by keeping the top players on their toes.

“Players at the top are well-equipped with computers… that do the analysis for them. A big aspect of chess at the professional level is simply memorising the right moves to play in particular positions,” he said.

This year’s World Chess Championship between reigning champion Magnus Carlsen and challenger Fabiano Caruana begins next week in London.

Click below to hear the full interview and listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin, 4.00am-7.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings

Cam Reddin