As a brief refresher, the entire purpose of Chess 60 was to reduce the benefit of opening preparation to effectively zero. Top level players, and frankly even >2000 ELO players (fairly highly rated) have played so many games and remembered so many openings, that the game begins much later than move one. For the best players in the world, it begins much, much later than move one. Since that’s not particularly fun to me, I created a version that would hit the sweet spot between Fischer Random Chess, (chess 960) and classical chess. Unfortunately, as it turn out, Chess 60 is really Chess 30, which leaves me with two problems. The first being that Chess 60 is a stupid name, which can easily be solved by calling it something else, like Chess 30.
More seriously, my concern is that, with only thirty starting positions it leaves the door quite open to players memorizing openings again. They may not memorize openings for all thirty positions, but there is a clear advantage to memorizing openings for a few positions, and hoping that you get to play those positions in tournament. Even with the original sixty positions there was a small part of that, and it makes for a very unfortunate meta-game, where the outcome of a game is determined in large part due to luck, if one of the players prepared for the position more than the other did.
My solution to this is probably going to be much more controversial than my original proposal, but frankly I feel it is much more exciting.
We simply don’t have mirrored boards:
This ruleset gives us the square of thirty starting positions, or nine hundred. With nine hundred starting combinations, it’s virtually impossible to do any meaningful preparation, except general chess study. The obvious counterpoint to this is that the boards may be “unequal”, as in, one side has a better position than the other. First of all, it is objectively true that one side will always have a better position than the other, however, locking the rooks and king into their original starting positions I believe drastically limits how lop-sided any two positions can be. Admittedly, I fully accept that some GM’s may look at the occasional rare position and declare that more than a pawn advantage, but I find that unlikely.
Frankly I look at a board like this, and I’m actually excited to play a game. So many interesting tactical possibilities here. I get excited just thinking about what the pawn structure for both sides will become in this game, and how the game will really be interesting right from move one. I’m calling this setup Chess 3030, although Chess 900 also sounds quite nice to m.