Fischer Random chess Fischer Random chess

Forget the computer matches… forget blindfold… forget blitz. It's time to usher in a new era of chess in grand style. Much has been made of the role computers have made in chess. There are those who say that chess has lost much of its creativity and that openings have been solved.  Others rebut that the moves still have to be played on the board without the aid of computers; thus, leaving room for creative intuition.

About three years ago,
Bobby Fischer officially claimed that he was "finished with old chess" and only plays "Fischer Random." However, no public information has been made public on offers to sponsor an important match with this increasingly popular chess variant. What would be tantamount to an earth-shaking event would be a Fischer Random match between recently-released Fischer and recently-retired Garry Kasparov!

Fischer's version of chess is still the same as today's chess except for the starting positioning of the pieces (and a modified rule with castling). A computer would use an algorithm to shuffle the pieces on the first rank in one of 960 possible combinations. This would totally destroy opening preparation and effectively start the battle in midgame.  Kasparov, who is famous for his opening preparation, would certainly lose a crucial advantage. However, the reason he is a 2800-player is because he is strong in all phases of chess and not merely the opening.

Kasparov has recently made claims that his is still the top player in the world while Fischer (now an Iceland citizen) stated that if he still played "old chess," he would still reign supreme. The issue is not to settle that question, but we may be able to learn something from such a match.  Of course, the political overtones of this match could be overwhelming, but may be worth a try in 2006. There would not be any trouble finding a sponsor for this exhibition match and could reinvigorate a moribund chess world. Imagine the excitement!

Dr. Daaim Shabazz, The Chess Drum

Posted by The Chess Drum: 2 April 2005