Chess 960 is a popular chess variant that can be played on many platforms. All rules are standard, except the starting position is randomly generated. Some of these 960 positions give more than usual advantage to white. In some of these 960 starting positions, the king is not really safe even after castling.

One big de-merit of chess 960 is the complicated castling rules. A case is made for chess without castling in this answer by Remellion (also, see other answers for the same question).

So, why not kill two birds in one stone? What are the Pros and Cons of introducing chess 960 without castling as a new chess variant?
It may or may not take off. But, there are so many chess variants now. So, I don't see any demerit (see this answer of Jeorje for related comments). I have seen this suggestion in forums (example). But, this variant is never made nor considered seriously to my knowledge (e.g. currently, we cannot make this with make custom variant option of chess.com). To be fair, one could play this in existing chess 960 platforms by inserting some initial moves that manually moves all 4 rooks or 2 kings and then get back to the initial position (see the 1st position is this answer for an example).
Why is not chess 960 without castling considered seriously?

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    @People who voted to close this question, I would appreciate if some explanation is given as to why you find this an opninion-based question. I find it strange because " Why isn't Chess960 the standard?" and "What are pros and cons around banning castling?" are not deemed opinion-based. Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 5:14
  • recreational closing of anything that is interesting or somehow threatening is a curse of chess.se
    – Laska
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 14:32
  • Can't you play without castling just by giving the starting board FEN without castling rights?
    – qwr
    Commented Jul 9, 2023 at 15:35
  • I voted to close in the queue, on the grounds that the question required more focus. You are only asking one real question here. There is a lot going on in the question that makes it a little hard to follow. The question structure, set itself up for a opinionated style discussion response. I am guilty of asking opinion based questions ( chess.stackexchange.com/questions/33292/…), so there certainly no shade being cast. SE just doesn't lend itself towards Discussion style questions/answers
    – Dheebs
    Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 0:17
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    @Dheebs, I understand your intention. But, many points made in the question were removed too. e.g. this was also removed erarlier: In some of these 960 starting positions, the king is not really safe even after castling. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 7:14

2 Answers 2



Most people don’t know the castling rules anyway

Chess engines often struggle to castle effectively in games or recognize it as a move

It would open the game up to beginners

Comment: Somehow the world champion of the game (Wesley So) tried to castle out of check during a game of 960


It would be dwarfed by the largest followed chess variant of all time, causing its players to switch to 960 to be able to play more

It’s an unnecessary change, liken it to changing the standard of math from pi to tau

You would lose all the benefits that castling brings in the first place, such as shortening the process from 3-5 moves to one

Castling opposite sides would no longer exist, and the kings would be slightly stuck in the center, leaving the edges of the board out of the game

  • Why is castling on opposite sides important in chess 960? (I feel like "kings would be slightly stuck in the center" should be rather mentioned in the point before this one. Commented Jul 10, 2023 at 8:30

An obvious reason why chess 960 without castling doesn't make sense is that there would be no reason for it to be chess 960 any more.

The reason it's called chess 960 is that there are exactly 960 permitted starting positions for each player that have bishops on opposite colours and the king between the rooks. But the only reason for the latter restriction is so that castling works.

Therefore if you were going to remove castling from the game, for consistency you should also remove that artificial restriction and make it chess 2880.

  • Sure, but that's just a criticism of the name "chess 960 without castling". The new variant could be given a different name, or more than 960 positions could be considered. Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 7:11
  • @CyriacAntony it's not a criticism of the name so much as trying to remove castling without considering how that relates to the other rules. If the question had asked about "Fischer random chess without castling", I would still say "if you remove castling, you should also change the rules on which starting positions are permitted". Commented Jul 11, 2023 at 8:37

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