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
    Apr 19, 2018 at 14:28

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
    Apr 19, 2018 at 14:55
  • 5
    I can confirm that lichess, for example, allows you to have the standard starting position in a Chess960 tournament. Took me by surprise...
    – Ghotir
    Apr 19, 2018 at 21:12
  • But Why chess960 and not chess959, though?
    – BCLC
    Jan 19, 2021 at 0:28
  • wait why would we expect this to be in appendix f please?
    – BCLC
    Jan 19, 2021 at 0:33

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'

Unless I missed something: On page 9 there are 5 mentions of 'set up of the pieces', but there is no mention to exclude the standard setup. Wish they emphasised that the standard setup is still included (if it indeed is).

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