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Fischer Random Chess. Play from a random setup. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

As a variant that's close to chess, Fischer Random (aka Chess960) does the trick of avoiding all opening theory admirably.

One thing Chess960 lacks compared to chess is ironically usually seen as it's very strength and reason to exist, i.e. that one can't study Chess960 opening theory at home (if that's viewed as desirable/enjoyable), plus book sales thus will suffer, arguably to the detriment of popularizing the variant. This would be partly due to not otherwise having more literature around (i.e. about the opening phase of Chess960).

A way to solve that to some extent is to adopt Kasparov's idea of using the same starting position for a year & then switching to a new one. I'd go farther and suggest not switching the start position for 50 or even 100+ years (chess opening theory took a long time to develop, after all). One drawback of this idea is that the game would be studied to death by, say, 960x100 years from now, whereas never knowing the position one will begin with, as per the rules of Chess960, would avoid such study. However, the lifespan of any board game of skill (e.g. chess) is liable to be finite for one reason or another, IMO.

My estimates for the values of chess pieces applies here too, naturally: P=1; N=3.49; B=3.5; R=5.5; Q=10 and a fighting value of K=4 (though naturally it cannot be traded).