Ever Heard of "Chess 960?" Todd Wolf North Dakota Chess Assn. – KFGO News

In This Podcast:  Todd Wolf, the five-year president of the North Dakota Chess Association.

I had never heard of Chess 960.  I thought it might be a new video game version of the classic board game.  Wrong.  

It’s a twist on the old game, envisioned by former chess great, Bobby Fischer.  The Rooks, Knights, Bishop, King and Queen are placed randomly on the back row.  The Rooks are still the front line soldiers. 

Here’s more details on a $250,000 Chess 960 tournament next month. 

SAINT LOUIS (August 24, 2018) The Saint Louis Chess Club will bring ten of the top chess players in the world, including legendary world champion Garry Kasparov, to play in the Champions Showdown this September. The matches will be played in Chess 960 style, also known as Fischer Random, with a $250,000 prize purse. The competition will include six rapid games and fourteen blitz games over the five days of play.

“Bringing this amount of talent to an event is a tribute to Saint Louis, the chess capital of the world,” said Garry Kasparov. “People will get to see chess champions battle it out in a nontraditional and exciting format that will challenge all competitors.”

Fischer random is a variant of chess created by Bobby Fischer in the late 1990s in which the pieces on the home rank are randomized. The 960 represents the number of possible starting positions. Players will not know the order of the home rank pieces until they arrive before the start of the round and will have to rely on their creativity in rapid and blitz games.

“This format of the unknown setup presents quite the challenge for even the top players in the world,” said Tony Rich, executive director of the Saint Louis Chess Club. “We will see some of the most interesting games as this format puts these players in positions they may never have seen before.”

Play will begin at 1 p.m. each day September 11-14 at the Saint Louis Chess Club and be broadcast live on



Saint Louis Chess Club

Our guest in this podcast, Todd Wolf, says that he’s tried the 960 variation, and didn’t do too well.  But, he does a great job explaining the differences between the standard game and this new version.  Thanks, Todd.

(Jack Sunday is a radio veteran with nearly 50-years “behind the mike.” He likes to say he’s not old….just aging. Follow Jack on Facebook and Twitter @nodakjack. Listen weekdays for “The Drive With Jack Sunday,” 4-7pm on 790, KFGO.)

Top 10 Benefits of Chess – Chess.com

Chess is played everyday around the world and brings people of different cultures and backgrounds together. Let’s take a look at the top 10 benefits of learning and playing chess!

  1. Chess brings people together.
  2. Chess teaches you how to win and lose.
  3. Chess helps children.
  4. Chess can help you focus.
  5. Chess as an educational tool.
  6. Chess develops creativity.
  7. Chess builds confidence.
  8. Chess and problem-solving.
  9. Chess exercises the brain.
  10. Chess and being calm.

1. Chess has the power to bring people together.

Chess is one of the oldest games in the world dating back over 1500 years. The game of chess has evolved as it spread around the globe to the game we play today. As a result, this journey has brought people together from different cultures, ages, and backgrounds over a common bond and passion for the game.

chess brings ages together

Chess brings all ages together!

2. Chess teaches you how to win and lose.

Of course everyone likes to win, but it is just important to learn how to accept losing. As the saying goes—sometimes you give the lesson, and sometimes you receive the lesson! Most important, try to learn from those losses and come back a better player. Just as in life, we need to get back up when confronted with failure and come back stronger and wiser. Winning with grace is an important character trait that chess can teach a person.

chess mistakes

If you lose a game of chess go back and learn from your mistakes.

3. Chess helps children realize the consequence of their actions. 

The scholastic chess boom around the world has been on a steady rise over the last decade. More important than these children becoming great chess players or getting high ratings is that chess teaches children from an early age that their choices have consequences both good and bad. Thinking your moves through and trying to play the best move that you can is rewarding, while playing too quickly, and rushing your decisions can have negative repercussions.

chess for children

Chess can help children develop important character traits.

4. Chess helps you focus.

As Bobby Fischer said, “Chess demands total concentration.” A chess player can make moves like a grandmaster for 30 moves and then get distracted on move 31 and make an elementary blunder that loses the game! This intense focus is useful in everyday life when confronted with school assignments, daily tasks, and deadlines.

chess helps discipline and focus

Chess can help a person develop discipline and focus.

5. Chess is a great educational tool for schools.

Before, during, and after-school programs are extremely popular and for good reason. Chess is a low cost activity for children to become involved with right at their own school. Children of different ages, backgrounds, and special needs can all take part in a chess class or club. 

chess and education

School chess programs create great opportunities for students socially, emotionally, and academically.

6. Chess helps to develop creativity.

They say a persons’ personality comes out in their chess game. A shy and passive person might play more reservedly while an outgoing and social person might be a bold attacker. The wonderful part of chess is that there is room for everyone’s styles and personalities. In your own personal way, you can show your creativity in the type of moves, plans, and tactics that you come up with at the board. 

Chess creativity

The chess board is your canvas to express your creativity!

7. Chess as a confidence builder.

Chess is all you – you put in the time studying, you put in the time competing in tournaments, you spend the time analyzing your losses and finding your weaknesses. With all this work a sense of confidence is developed. Even working through a tough period where you plateau in your chess development can help you build resilience and confidence.

Chess confidence

Working on your chess improvement can help to build confidence.

8. Chess helps develop problem-solving skills.

In every chess game, you play you are faced with challenges and problems that you have to solve in order to play your best game. Chess can help you to think ahead, not rush your decisions, and weigh the pluses and minuses of your choices. The correlates to challenges we face in everyday life, and just as in chess, we try to make the best choices to develop positive outcomes for our lives.

Problem solving

Every chess game proposes problems you have to solve.

9. Chess exercises both sides of the brain.

When playing chess, your brain will be challenged to exercise logic, develop pattern-recognition, make decisions both visually and analytically, and test your memory. Chess can be enjoyed by any age—as a result, these brain exercises can be part of the health of your brain for your entire life! An active brain is a healthy brain!

Chess brain

Chess can keep your brain active and sharp throughout your life.

10. Chess helps you learn how to be calm under pressure.

An intense game of chess where you have given everything, your time is running low, and you still have to make critical decisions to bring the point home teaches us to remain calm under pressure. You have be intensely focused, while at the same time remaining calm so that your brain can work to its maximum. We are all faced with deadlines, presentations, interviews, and tests throughout our life, just as in a chess game, we have to remain confident and calm to perform our best. 

Calm chess

Remaining calm and confident is the path to victory.

Share some other ways chess can benefit and enhance a persons life in the comments below!