Once in 960 times, Chess960 should just be the same as regular chess. Are there any known instances of this? Or is this selection automatically excluded, after which they just roll the dice again? So is it really "Chess959"?

EDIT: Found this: https://lichess.org/forum/lichess-feedback/chess960-starting-position-518-is-like-regular-chess. An online player complains that he has faced the dreaded 518 two times. And why not? My golfing uncle hit two holes-in-1 during his career, and that’s got to be a lot less likely than 1 in a thousand!

But I think that Chess960 can’t be that popular at top levels or there would be a celebrated example where GM X faced GM Y over a 518 Game Array.

  • 3
    This is the first time I have heard of Chess 959, though searching on the internet gives other clues.
    – ABcDexter
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 14:28
  • 2
    @ABcDexter chess959 is what is played in FIDE WFRCC. See my answer. Fischer random = checss959. Chess960 is a different game from Fischer random.
    – BCLC
    Commented Feb 13, 2023 at 12:59

3 Answers 3


There is no mention of excluding the regular starting position in Appendix F. of the FIDE Laws of Chess, so it's really Chess960 and not Chess959. I can imagine that there are chess programs or websites which do exclude the regular starting position, but this is against the official rules.

  • 1
    Using the two tables method the standard starting position is 518.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 14:55
  • 6
    I can confirm that lichess, for example, allows you to have the standard starting position in a Chess960 tournament. Took me by surprise...
    – Ghotir
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 21:12

There is a "Chess959" which advocates the removal of SP 518 (which is when the factors that lead to "randomizing" the chess pieces happen to have the same arrangement as the traditional layout.) The rationale for removal is that players have so much training in that one starting position that the game becomes less about who is the better, more reactive OTB chess player and more about who has prepared their opening lines.

Assuming both players are actively participating in Chess959 as opposed to 960, in the event of rolling SP 518, simply re-roll.


2019 Update:

From 'Regulations for the 2019 FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship', it's excluded:

If during the event the start position of classical chess is selected, the draw for the initial setup of the pieces will be done again.

Even 2022:

Also Regulations for the 2022 FIDE World Fischer Random Chess Championship

If the start position of classical chess is randomly selected, the draw for the initial position of the pieces will be repeated.

Check out:

Chess959 not Chess960 ! See in 2019 and 2022 regulations that FIDE's World Fischer Random Chess is actually Chess959. Now can lichess please do the same?

enter image description here

2024 Update:

In 2024Feb Freestyle Chess (GOAT not MTOAT I guess):


the way the position is drawn using 958 balls (the normal chess position, and the same position with queens and kings swapped, are excluded)

So SP518 and gender-swapped SP518 (SP534) are out.

  • 2
    Am I mistaken or is SP534 not equivalent to standard chess (because castling is not symmetrical), and that difference is not trivial (you won't be able to reverse-copy-cat standard openings for long) ? Is so, is there any explanation given about why is it excluded in this 2024 tournament ?
    – Evargalo
    Commented Mar 29 at 9:44
  • @Evargalo You're right. It's not copycat, but maybe it's similar enough. I think there was some explanation I saw on twitter or instagram.
    – BCLC
    Commented Mar 29 at 11:08

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