Getting Crushed at Chess960

In this game I played poorly from the opening, continued to make mistakes and my opponent continued to find very good moves to punish me. It's a simple recipe for getting crushed.

Hopefully games like this will teach me something about how to handle the opening and I can improve my play overall.



  • 8 months ago


    After 24 ...Bxc6, white has mate in six.

    25 Rxd6+ Kxd6

    26 Qh2+ Kd7

    27 Qc7+ Ke8

    28 Qxb8+ Nc8

    29 Qxc8+ Ke7

    30 Qd8++

  • 5 years ago


    Thank you Loomis, your Chess960 articles have reawoken my interest in it. I used to play randomly until I lost too many and stopped playing 960 altogether but, after reading one of your articles, I began playing again, using some of your suggestions and went on a winning streak! So, thank you once again for reteaching Chess960 to me.

  • 5 years ago


    Thanks for the Chess960 examples! If I can offer a thought for you. In both games Loomis and Karpov1, the player that lost did not follow a Chess960 general opening principal that I will try to illustrate. The idea is to:

    1) Plan your opening around two thematic pawn moves called "free moves". White actually can get three such moves in some positions, but black very rarely.

    2) Try and play out a "free move" to start according to your sense of theme and your plans. A "free move" is just that. It's up to you to find a nice pawn move that does the best job that you can think of. Always be aware of undefended squares and thus the tactical issues that crop up very quickly in Chess960.

    3) Try and think about developing a knight before the next "free move" pawn move.

    4) Think about your second pawn move "free move" before playing out a minor piece (perhaps a knight perhaps not).

    The trick is:

    • White possibly get's up to three thematic pawn moves "free moves" but black only ever two.
    • You have to know what a "barter move" is. A "barter move" is a pawn move that is a structural requirement that both sides are compelled to play and as such is an equal exchange of pawn tempo to achieve a mutual structural necessity. For example in Loomis game, white played 2.b3 (a "barter move"). Why is it a "barter move", because essentially black is going to have to play it as well (to release the bishop) and so the pawn move is actually neutral in the sense of tempo expended. That is why it is called "barter", because the players exchange this pawn move with each other.
    • A "barter move" does not count as a "free move".

    In Loomis game, white played the opening very well:

    1. f4 - a "free move" - a theoretical thematic allocation of pawn moves (2-3 for white)

    2. b3 - a "barter move" - a mutually compelling requirement for both sides

    3. Nf3 - played out a knight after the first "free move" but before the "second"

    4. e3 - "the second free move" - white has used up his bare minimum theoretical allocation of "free moves", but essentially his opening has been completed structurally speaking! 

    Very efficient!

    If you can understand the distinction between the pawn move types, then you will have found a general principal for playing sound chess960 openings that will NOT BE the absolute best in all situations, but will return you a solid position in most of them. Think of it like investing.

    The general principal that I am suggesting to you, is actually almost identical to the standard chess opening where both sides usually play out a "free move e4 or d4" then a knight (Nf3) then another "free move e4/d4" before the next minor piece (doesn't have to be a knight).

    Have a read of the theory if you like in my blog on it:

    Yes in Chess960 there are exceptions. There are some positions where the knight can advanteously be played out first. There are some positions where the queen can come out early. But these positions are actually pretty rare (<10% of all positions). We are talking about achieving solid positions that amateurs like us can find quickly and easily, that allow us to keep our heads together for the toughest phase of the Chess960 game, as we transition into highly unfamiliar territories of the midgame.

    Enjoy 960

  • 5 years ago


    Same situation I have faced like Loomy, we think about the remedy

  • 5 years ago


    Here is a game I played - I completely misjudged the position, however I can at least admit that I didn't spend a long time analyzing.
  • 5 years ago


    loomis I have read your blogs several times love to have a game with you. You do a great job of analyzing even when you get beat upSmile

  • 5 years ago


    Wow! Despite your obvious knowledge of the game, you got yourself a sound beating. Special marks for not trying to "cover" for your mistakes, Loomis, being brutally honest is not people's ordinary meat-and-potatoes.

  • 5 years ago


    Chess960 is not implemented in Live chess at You don't have to play in tournaments or get "sucked in", it is a game option for e-chess.

  • 5 years ago


     how do u play chess 960 on live chess? there is no option on!

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