FIDE decides: New format for chess

by ChessBase
4/1/2024 – Apart from a few minor modifications, the game has remained unchanged for over a thousand years. However, with the advent of comprehensive, systematic preparation it has become less interesting. FIDE has decided that some radical measures need to be taken to save chess. Here’s what they have decided.

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“The situation is becoming really serious,” said a high ranking FIDE official. “It is especially due to computerised openings preparation. We must imagine a situation, in a few years from today, when grandmasters will play the first 25 moves of their game in less than a minute — after which one player will fall into thought, and after half an hour he will resign the game! He will have recognized that his opponent had a prepared line that is completely winning.”

So what has FIDE decided to do to alleviate the situation? Make use of a trend that organisers have been experimenting with, more and more often, in the past few years: Freestyle Chess – also known as Fischer Random or Chess 960. This form of chess has shown how the game can proceed with both players thinking creatively about every move from the start of the game.

Now FIDE intends to switch chess fully to Freestyle. How will this be implemented? Article 2.3 of the FIDE’s “Laws of chess” shows the “initial position of the pieces on the chessboard as it is currently used.” From 2025, it will be changed to read:

Every year, on the 2nd of January, ten initial positions of the pieces on the chessboard, will be picked by respected experts, from a list of 958 Freestyle positions.

That means we will get ten positions, selected from all possible Freestyle positions, with the exception of the traditional starting position, which is Fischer Random position 518, and its mirror position.

In any tournament or Open, thirty minutes before the start of each round, one of the ten positions will be selected at random and announced to the participants. This means that the players will have half an hour to prepare for their game with the starting position that has been selected.

Why restrict the choice to ten positions, why not select the starting position of each round at random from all 958 Freestyle positions? We asked the FIDE experts in charge of the change to explain. He said:

Well, first of all, a great number of the 960 positions are very strange. They lead to unattractive games. But more importantly, we should remember that preparation has always been part of the game, and we do not want to suddenly eliminate it completely. Players will be able to do a certain amount of preparation for ten positions – knowing full well that in 12 months, in 365 days, that preparation will become obsolete and can be thrown away.

Future World Championship matches

In addition to the revised Article 2.3, FIDE is implementing a special rule for World Championship matches. There, one position, which will be played in all the games, will be selected and revealed to the players one day before the match begins. This gives them a restricted amount of time to prepare, while at the same time avoiding a match that is a pure battle of preparation.

A possible World Championship starting position (not actually selected)

So, starting from January 2nd 2025, no more games with the standard starting position will be sanctioned or rated by FIDE. We are told that the sudden switch to Freestyle was decided in large part due to the great success of the Weissenhaus tournament and the interest it generated among organisers and chess fans.

One important player, the strongest on the planet, was informed by FIDE of the rule change. Here is his reaction:

What about our readers? Do you like this initiative by FIDE? Comment down below.

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Nomich Nomich 4/1/2024 01:45
960 will only depopularize chess . It's worst to play 960. How can you introduce it to the world?? How can you show it in the movie? how can you teach that to kids ?? it will only make them mad. 960 is too complicated and it's always advantage for White easily. How can you read books with 960? its just a matter of win , loss and draw and There's no more beauty in it. And you will see so many mistakes and blunders in 960 and the games are so ugly. It should be stopped!!!!!!!
Nebojshica Nebojshica 4/1/2024 01:42
What nonsense !
Jacob woge Jacob woge 4/1/2024 01:40
I am a gastrosopher. I always go with my gut feeling.
impr0ving impr0ving 4/1/2024 01:18
I'm a gastroenterologist. Thank you for all the extra business I'll get from removing hooks, lines and sinkers from fish chess players who swallowed everything you had to say.
adp adp 4/1/2024 01:18
This rule change is necessary because of global warming.
GR2 GR2 4/1/2024 01:13
April 1
thirteen thirteen 4/1/2024 12:50
If this was real, it would negate centuries of chess history, and indeed hurt Chessbase income, along with every other recorded marketing and collected investment. Immediate purchases of theory would halt. Immediate interest failure, from many, if not, just from myself alone would result. Those that support it are welcome to enjoy it. But just like going to Mars without being ready for it, all cars going electric, those futures are to me premature. Enough said.
Navatoma Navatoma 4/1/2024 12:42
It's April Fools' Day
flachspieler flachspieler 4/1/2024 11:36
It is all about money. In so far it would be fair if the Weissenhaus guy called his event "feestyle" and not "freestyle" which is - since 20 years - a name for a different chess setting: humans using arbitray help during their game.
Ingo Althofer.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 4/1/2024 11:35
You forgot to mention the new option of promoting to a second king.

Creating a whole new chapter of endgame theory. How much material do you need to mate two kings?

Obviously, one mate and one stalemate is worth only 3/4 point.

Wholesale of endgame DVDs as well. I ca’n’t wait.
nemecz nemecz 4/1/2024 11:24
April! :-)
Frederic Frederic 4/1/2024 10:42
The prank has a genuine historical background, which I will narrate in time...
chessbibliophile chessbibliophile 4/1/2024 09:50
A wonderful prank that I almost fell for. Then the penny dropped.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 4/1/2024 09:43
As a lot of chess 518 addicts won't believe this story, let me disclose a secret only known to a few selected customers: chessbase is planning a bargain sale of their opening cd's. So be quick to pre-inscribe!
frankiekam frankiekam 4/1/2024 09:35
1st April. Just saying.
scharvoze scharvoze 4/1/2024 09:25
Is it april already?