I don't play Chess960, or Fischer Chess as it is also known. I've seen a lecture or two about it, but I was never interested.

Last week I was a bit bored so I decided to participate in a tournament on chess.com. By mistake I joined a Chess960 tournament, but didn't want to resign. It's an online game so I wanted to have some fun.

I'm unrated in Chesss960 because I never play it. I played against players rated 1400+ and they beat me. I tried to apply the normal chess principles but it did ‘t work.

Here is one Chess960 position that I’ve mulled over.

[FEN "rnnkbqrb/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNNKBQRB w - - 0 1"]

For example, I've come to the conclusion that the best opening move, if you're white, is “g3” or “g4,” so the bishop and the queen can move, along with the rook later.

I think the knights are not as important and there's no need to develop them so quickly because the bishops are too strong. You're never gonna be able to control the center of board, especially if the opponent decides to play with the queen after 1... g3.

The knight on b1 is useless and the rook on a1 is in constant danger, and I don't know how to save it. I can't waste time developing the knights in order to bring the rook to a better place. By then the opponent will control the board.

Castling on the king side is a mistake. That's if you have time to castle. This game is very aggressive and maybe the best way is to keep attacking.

All that is what I think about the game. Maybe I’m wrong since I don't like it and I’m not used to it. I don't know any openings. I try to analyze each position, and the next thing know, I'm checkmated. I try to develop into a familiar position, but the bishops and the queen are not letting me take a breath!

The openings I read about are easy on paper but when you play the game it's very different, or maybe my opponents are too aggressive.

Can someone could tell me some of the best practices and openings are in Chess960 for a player who plays regular chess? I don't need to be a pro at it, I just want to play for fun!

  • 3
    There really seem to be two very different questions (or maybe more) rolled into one here. First, you seem to be asking about what the title mentions, roughly, how best to approach playing Chess960, but then you go on to talk mostly about the opening as it plays out in standard chess (from the usual position). If you are after both kinds of information (and I may be misreading your intent), then you should probably split them into two separate question posts that can be answered more cleanly.
    – ETD
    Jul 16, 2013 at 21:48
  • @EdDean I edited the title, lets focus on the openings for now, if you feel anything else should be edited, feel free to do it, i have no problem with that sir :)
    – Lynob
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:00
  • 4
    Please write standard English, including capitals.
    – thb
    Jul 18, 2013 at 3:17

5 Answers 5


I have found the trickiest part about playing 960 is the opening. So many possibilities! But, since the major pieces are random for every game it is unlikely you'll come across the same setup frequently enough to recognize some opening. So I say ditch trying to create one and stick with tried and true chess opening principles: Control the center, try not to move the same piece twice, limit king exposure.

After playing more games you'll come to find the endgame is familiar which shouldn't be too surprising - the board is still 8x8 after all.

  • true but please read my edit
    – Lynob
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:07
  • 4
    if you're playing in a chess.com 960 tournament all of the games in all of the rounds will have the same setup. Given your board I'd say d4 is a good start whereas Nd3 looks pretty weak.
    – Kilmazing
    Jul 17, 2013 at 15:36
  • Oh man, your answer seems bad if it were for the most recent revision, but OP well yeah edited, so actually good.
    – BCLC
    Jan 19, 2021 at 0:09

First, it is hard to say, what I should play, because the moves are depending to 90% on the moves from the opponent.

I would play e4 and d4 with Nc3 and Nd3. From there, the knights are looking over the complete centre, which is very convenient. Maybe also f4 and g3 for activating the bishop and afterwards Bf2 to cover the pawn on d4. In the beginning, I would stay in the middle with the king.

B2 may be a potential weak point.


First, as others have already pointed out, there are 960 different starting positions in chess 960. Normally when you play a 960 tournament on chess.com it will be the same opening in the entire tournament. However, it is important to realize that after this tournament if you choose to play 960 again you might never have this opening position ever again.

That put aside I will put in my thoughts on the exact opening position you have played. Here it makes sense to play g2-g4 to open for the already fianchettoed Bh1. Here, at some point you will have to move the g pawn at some point, otherwise your bishop will never get into the game. Probably an early f2-f4 as well.


I find that in many 960 starting positions there tends to be a weak square (pawn) that may have no protection at all, I look for that first. I play quite a bit of 960 mixed with normal chess and find that controlling the center with central and flank pawns (to release a queen or whatever you need to). This game is quite aggressive, and attacking first will work many times, but you do have to make sure you have enough pieces available to actually pull off a mate or you will just be resigning quickly. I like to control the center and delay castling until your opponent has committed to a side of the board then either leave my king where it is, and just attack, or castle to the opposite side and ruin his plan. It really ends up turning into regular chess after a few moves in the beginning. Once you castle and get your pieces out, it will just look like a complicated regular chess game. I find that there are many opportunities to pull off forking tactics to at least win an exchange. It's really a chance for tactics all over the place, and at any moment, much more than regular chess. You really need to watch what your opponent is trying to get going and to stop what he's up to. Be very aware of the squares that could fork your own pieces.


I use the general principles that I use in normal chess.

  1. Find the weak squares and plan around those squares. Here b7 starts off weak and, of course, the squares around the king--if castled or not.
  2. Find good squares for your pieces. The bishops are the hardest to develop, so start with them. Here the LSB has only one out, therefore that one's easy to find the good squares. The DSB is harder as it could be useful on h2-b8 or on a1-h8. On the h2-b8, it seems that a pawn would block one of the bishops, therefore the other diagonal is better.
  3. Control the center. Placing pawns there and controlling with the pieces is always a good idea. I would think in terms of playing c4 and d3 to complement my LSB.
  4. King safety. The king should be tucked away in the corner to protect itself from danger. With the aforementioned pawn moves, the queen side seems a little airy, but it's easier than moving the queen out of the way to castle on the king side.

I'm just curious, but what 960 opening did you study. There are 960 possible starting positions, so there's not likely any fixed opening except for the one that is the standard chess setup.

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