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Baseline chess with Fischer rules. Start with dropping major pieces on baseline, a variant that uses rules from Fischer Random Chess but is not random. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ken Regan wrote on 2010-05-13 UTC
Gene M., sorry I missed your excellent queries long ago.  The main benefit
is removing the randomness, and (I believe) improving Black's chances for
dynamic play.  The initial phase favors Black insofar as White must commit
first.  If Black needs to win in the last round or game of a match, he/she
can place his King on the opposite wing, etc.  I think it is harder to
deaden the game.  I see parts of similar arguments for Chess960 in the
selection from your book on your site.

You are right---my description omits the important detail that White begins
by placing 1 piece on the back row, then Black, then White..., as Bronstein
originally provided.  Move 8 is forced for each side, hence my joke about
it.  Your comment quoting Kramnik on corner bishops is especially
interesting.  I can add to my previous conversation with M. Winther (I
think this part was in private e-mail) that chess programs, at least the
ones I've tried which accept arbitrary starting positions, agree with
Kramnik in their evaluations.  However, one can also reply to Kramnik that
a corner Bishop is already 'developed'!---and go back to my original
point about recorded human tendencies.

I've heard anecdotally that a fair number of the symmetrical Chess960
setups are considered to magnify White's advantage of the first move,
enough that GM X was uncomfortable playing them.  Do you have stats on
White's win rate?  Of course it's possible that 'my' (really
Bronstein+Fischer's) variant would center on far fewer than 960 preferred
setups between both players, negating the hoped-for compounding by tens of
thousands.