King Takes Self
In the annals of celebrity bios, few could be more icky than Bobby Fischer's Pathetic Endgame, Rene Chun's portrait in the December Atlantic Online of the greatest chess player who ever lived. Did you not know that Bill Clinton is a "secret Jew," and that the Holocaust was a "money-making invention?" Apparently you've not been paying attention to Fischer's broadcast radio rants from his self-imposed exile in the Philippines. It's like watching Tiger Woods play a perfect round of golf while he informs the TV cameras that pod people from Venus control the United Nations.
However deranged Fisher might be about subjects outside chess, he still thinks clearly enough about the game itself. I had never before heard of "Fischer Random Chess," but it seems a hopeful way to restore a future to chess now that the calculating brawn of computers has shown the limits of what once seemed like the game's infinite universe of variation. FRC is:
. . . a tweaked version of shuffle chess, in which both players' back-row pieces are arranged according to the same random shuffle before play begins. Although not revolutionary, the premise of FRC is compelling: with 960 different starting positions, opening theory becomes obsolete, and the strongest player -- not necessarily the player who has memorized more strategies or has the most expensive chess-analysis software -- is assured victory.