In the chess variants Chess960 (aka Fischer Random Chess) and Chess480 the castling moves are radically different.

Do the castling rules in Chess960 favor established FIDE Chess players more than the castling rules in Chess480 and if so why?

What are other reasons to favor one castling system over the other?


3 Answers 3


I believe the premise of the question is rather unclear! If you're already saying that there are a set of FIDE rules for castling, then the comparison between other types of chess should be straightforward, wouldn't you say? Either they follow the rules or they don't, whereas you seem to be asking for a crude-subjective-qualitative comparison here (you use words like "which is better" or "favored"...), which is kinda impossible because castling in standard chess has well defined rules.

First off, unlike the well-known chess960 mode, chess480 still lacks a coherent definition as many different types of it exists apparently(one where queen has to be restricted to appear on the left of the king, other where the king has to be on dark squares etc.) so as long as there's not a coherent and consistent description of the game, it remains very difficult to do any comparison (unless e.g. you ask for a specific scenario).

But anyway, all that differs, is basically the positions of rook/king after castling, in chess480 in certain scenarios, if possible, unlike Chess960, the final position after castling will not be the same as the final position of a castling move in traditional chess. Quote and image from Wikipedia:

the king is transferred from its original square two squares towards (or over) the rook, then that rook is transferred to the square the king has just crossed (if it is not already there). If the king and rook are adjacent in a corner and the king cannot move two spaces over the rook, then the king and rook exchange squares.

In chess480:

enter image description here

In chess960:

enter image description here

So as far as traditional castling rules are concerned, they are both equally undermining, as for one thing in either mode, the kings can be found on squares other than e-square in the initial setup and still be castled...

Maybe you could further clarify, as to what exactly you intend to achieve with such comparison. (and if you do, then I will edit my reply accordingly.)


I believe the question is quite subjective, but nonetheless, I think that both castling rules were designed to favor "classical" chess players.

When you think about a chess variant that permutes the starting position of the pieces but that also wants to allow castling, you immediately face the problem that in the "classical" chess both the final position of the rook and king and the number of squares the king and rook have been moved is perfectly clear when castling on either side (since the starting position is always the same), but this is obviously not possible for your variant. (This is also an important point of discussion in Cylinder Chess, although here the starting position is fixed.)

In our variation, you may only accept one of those premises: either the rook's and king's final position is the same as in "classical" chess (as is chosen in Chess960) or they move the same amount of squares as in "classical" chess (as is chosen in Chess480). That is, the standard rules are being split into two different branches.

As a FIDE chess player, I feel it is way more comfortable to know where my rook and king are going to be when they castle (that is, I will know where will I have to defend) that not, so I think Chess960 castling rules suit FIDE chess players best. An important argument for those novice to chess not being comfortable with this variation is that the final position of king and rook may look completely arbitrary, and understandably not appealing. More on this subject can be found on this article.


I believe, perhaps naively, that Chess960 will become more popular over time and eventually become the successor to classic chess. Perhaps not in our lifetimes.

I look at the rules of castling in Chess960 just as I look at the rule of en passant.

When the game of chess evolved, and players began moving pawns two squares instead of one, it changed the texture of the game... or it would have, had it not been for the en passant rule.

The same is true of Chess960's castling rules. It preserves the inherent texture of the game.

If you look at a middlegame of Chess960, it is usually indistinguishable from a position that might have come from classic chess.

This is one of the genius parts of Fischer's invention... it does not change the game. It merely removes one of the most onerous aspects of the game (rote memorization). The essence is the same.

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