Friday, July 1, 2016

2016 960 Tournament - Off to a HOT Start!

On a very warm night - some very hot chess was played in the very cool and air conditioned chess club.

If you have never played 960 chess, here is your chance! We had 13 players enter and we need another to make the pairings even. So you can still join this event in our next meeting - and round - on July 11 at 6pm. The round will start at 6:30 pm.

Here is the line up for the July 11 round (White is listed first):

Board 1: Nick D - Jason M
Board 2: Ken T - Marcello M
Board 3: Sam T - Vince V
Board 4: Paul M - Mike N
Board 5: Roy M - Luigi M
Board 6: Larry W - Americo M
Bye: - Luca M

As you can see, Luca needs an opponent! So stop on by and get in this tournament!

Lets take a look at some 960 action from the first round. As you can see, the board is set up in a random fashion. This eliminates the standard chess openings from a players memory and leave you to "play chess" from the first move.

Two things can happen here. One is that tactical shots can be found quickly due to the random structure. Sometimes pawns are unprotected or pieces are sitting unprotected from the very first move!

The second issue is that your mind will sometimes picture pieces in their normal location. If you are not consciously aware of where your back-rank pieces are actually sitting, you can get in trouble quickly.

Take a look at these 960 miniatures:

1. g4      Nc6?
Already not a good move, although it is fine in regular chess - and that is the danger of 960. White can now play b4! and gain space and threaten to make Black waste time moving his knight away from the pesky and rook protected pawn. That rook is not usually on b1 of course.

2. Nd3      Nd4
Black immediately going after the unprotected c-pawn - but neglecting his own development.

3. Rc1      g6
4. b3        Nxc2+
5. Rxc2    Bxa1
6. Rxc7    ........
Whoops! Black's own weak c-pawn falls. So Black gained nothing. But the game is not lost with developing moves like Qg7, Nd6 or the ugly Kd8.

6. .......         b6?
Does Black's mind thinks the queen is where the king is and vice versa. Now White's better development carries the day.

7. Bxa8       Rxa8??
Yes, Black is playing by rote. His king is trapped on the back rank and his Queen is not protecting anything.

8. Qg2!       Rb8
9. Qb7        and Black is toast!

 Or how about this one:

1. b3      Nf6
2. Nc3     e6
3. Ng3     Qe7
4. O-O     O-O-O
5. e4        Nc6
6. d4       e5?
Black thought his center was better with both the queen and rook there, but this loses a pawn.

7. d5          Nd5?
8. Nxd5      ed
9. Qxd5      g6??

Black mentally thinks his rook is on a8, but it is not!

10. Qxa7    and Black is busted.

Chess 960 is a nice change of pace from regular chess and a new challenge for all chess players.

Get here on July 11 and get in on the fun.
PS: There will be players hanging around looking for a casual game of regular chess also!

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