Bacon Random Chess

“TCEC to organize a Fischer Random Chess computer tournament,” reads the headline on the Chessdom website ( The official announcement says, “TCEC have decided to run a Special Event – Fischer Random Chess (FRC) tournament with the 8 best engines (supporting FRC) from the season that just ended.
In Fischer Random Chess (Chess960) the pieces at the starting position are placed randomly in one of the 960 possible ways. In this particular competition opening books won’t be used. The engines will play from move 1.
The tournament will start on 26th June, 2014 at 20:00 CET in a quad robin format with a total of 112 games. The results here will not affect the TCEC rating list.”
I am all for the “engines” playing “from move 1.” I cannot understand why humans make the programs start the game with an opening position previously played by human players. The programs are frequently forced, by humans, to make what the engine considers to be inferior moves.
I am against “Fischer Random” chess. To play “FR” chess a computer, or some kind of random position generator is required. I propose a kind of random chess in which a human dictates events from the get-go. The starting position sees only the pawns on the board. White moves first, placing any of his eight pieces on any of the back-rank squares. Black then has the next two moves. After that the players alternate placing the pieces until all are placed. This is called “Bacon Random Chess.” Your move!


2 thoughts on “Bacon Random Chess

  1. Mike Mulford says:

    Benko proposed the placement by the player idea back in the late 70s. He called it Pre-chess. I even played in a correspondence section in Northwest Postal Chess. Your idea of two consecutive placement moves is novel. I have no problem with it, but from my standpoint the advantage black gains from placing second helps neutralize white’s first move advantage, so it is arguable whether it is necesary or even desirable to reduce that benefit.

  2. GeneM says:

    . .
    Years ago I briefly dabbled with different “asymmetrical” back rank formations, to compare against chess960-FRC.

    Compared to chess960 start setups (meaning all 32 pieces), I can confidently say that…
    “Asymmetrical” setups, where the two kings do not start across from each other on the same column, are far more confusing to play than are any of the chess960 setups. Same goes for all other officer types, not just for the kings. I doubt people could enjoy asymmetrical games they way many enjoy chess960.

    By the way, ideally the ‘Random’ would be removed from Fischer Random Chess (and from chess960).
    Instead, one of the more sensible alternative 959 setups should be chosen as second stable setup to be routinely reused, reused a lot like the traditional setup of reused. Then we could all watch a new book of open theory grow from infancy, and a fast Fritz-fueled rate barely imagined when Fischer was WCChamp.

    Watch that opening book growth, and participating in it, would be an experience that today’s amateur and professional players will otherwise never have. The eventual results would also give us a perspective on opening principles in chess that we cannot obtain until humanity develops a second opening book.

    GeneM, 2014-June-27
    . .

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