In article in wiki about chess960, it is stated that:

It has been argued that two games should be played from each starting position, with players alternating as White and Black, since some initial positions may offer White a bigger advantage than in standard chess. For example, in some Chess960 starting positions White can attack an unprotected black pawn after the first move, whereas in standard chess it takes two turns for White to attack and there are no unprotected pawns

But what are these positions? Is there a comprehensive study of some of them?

  • There could potentially be many dozens of these positions. What kind of an answer are you expecting when you ask "what are these positions"? – Wes Apr 23 '14 at 21:53
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    @Wes I highly doubt that out of 960 possible positions, there would be many dozens of them. One or 2 dozens, may be. I expect to see something like this: here is a position (example). It leads to a forced N moves (because everything else give you a terrible play). After these N moves White is better by 0.7. By the way here are some other bad positions for white. And if you want - here is a study about some other positions. P.S. - I would be highly surprised if such answer will appear, because it requires a lot of search and analysis. But there is always hope inside of me. – Salvador Dali Apr 23 '14 at 22:14
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    There is a Boinc project (distributed computing that use idle time of personal computers) that aims to develop a kind of opening theory about chess 960. However, I could not find any result or any recent update about it. – WilQu May 2 '14 at 12:48

I asked myself the same question a year ago.

I found this interesting page: http://computerchess.org.uk/ccrl/404FRC/opening_report_by_white_score.html#table_start

With statistics for every 960 positions based on 144,300 games played by 123 engines.

Apparently the position that gives the biggest advantage to White is RKNQBBNR with a White score of 63.9%.

Note that on the previous page the standard position has a White score of 56.0%. I once read that the true White score in standard chess is 55.5% for GM games. Since these two numbers are pretty close it would seem that the statistics of the previous page are meaningful and pretty accurate.

Also, someone once told me that if we just inverted Knights and Rooks then White would have a big advantage: NRBQKBRN. But the previous page actually says that White only scores 47.4% in that position, so maybe he was wrong.

Anyway, I seriously doubt there exists a position where White has an advantage of +0.50 or more. And every single one of the 960 positions are very probably just draws with best play.

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  • Cool, this is the best resource I have seen so far. I am still confused with what white score of 63.9% mean. Does this mean that out of all non drawing games white won 63.9%? Or out of all games white won 63.9%? – Salvador Dali Jul 3 '14 at 1:43
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    White score = (White's winning percentage) + (Draw percentage / 2) – Fate Jul 3 '14 at 1:52
  • @Petrosian Good response, until the last paragraph.How do you know or justify the claims made in the last paragraph? – Santropedro Aug 27 '17 at 23:15

While probably all 960 positions are a draw with best play, some positions give White the possibility of entering a position that forces Black to play exact, in order to not get in material disadvantage. In other words, White can make immediate threats that must be countered correctly. You can see this page for the motives you have to look out for:


These are not the only starting positions with that motive but they are prototypical.

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