Bobby Fischer may have been one of the most controversial figures in the world of chess, but his strongest legacy is turning out to be his idea for how the rules of the game should change.
The former world champion felt there was too much memorization and opening preparation in chess. Some players could rattle off the first 20 moves or more of popular openings based on pre-game study.
He thought this could be overcome by randomizing the starting placement of pieces on each player’s first rank. All other rules stayed the same. This form of chess came to be known as Fischer Random.
It’s also called Chess960, because that is how many different opening patterns the random placement can generate. The game has grown in popularity, and a world championship in Fischer Random is now officially sanctioned by the world chess federation.
At the last world championship, Magnus Carlsen offered a piece sacrifice on his very first move. That would be impossible in regular chess. His opponent, Hikaru Nakamura, declined it and went on to win the tournament.
For players who don’t have the time or patience to study established chess openings, Fischer Random may be a way to enjoy chess without the need for hours of preparation.
Hikaru Nakamura v. Magnus Carlsen, Iceland, 2022
On his very first move in this Chess960 game, Carlsen as Black has offered a sacrifice of his Bishop . Should White now capture the piece?
No, because 2. Qxh8 Nf6 3.Qg7 Rg8 4.Qh6 d5 and the White Queen will be trapped next move.