What is neoclassical chess: Questions and answers

What is “Neoclassical chess”?

“Neoclassical chess” (“Nc chess”) is an evolution of the game of chess, but is above all chess.

How is Neoclassical chess played?

All rules are identical to the rules of chess. The only difference is that the game starts on a certain (fourth) move, by White.
The first three full moves (i.e. three by both White and Black) are obtained in a random manner just before the game starts
through a software program designed for this purpose, among positions taken from recent chess master practice.

Why Neoclassical chess?

Nc chess addresses the impact of computers on the opening phase, both during training and play, which has boosted a pre-existing problem into a seemingly intractable one. Opening preparation takes for the professional and dedicated amateur an important part of chess preparation time, and often becomes an arduous rote-memory exercise destined to avoid unpleasant susprises in prepared lines, and less so to obtain knowledge and insight into the main ideas of each opening line. Of course this detracts from training time for the middle game and endgame, or from learning while enjoying the study of master games of the past. A good part of high-level games lose the spontaneity and identity of chess as a fight of the mind and as a sport, necessarily linked to “Over the Board” (OTB) playing performance. Often we find ourselves trying to remember which one was the good move in a given position, instead of applying chess skills over the board.

Which program is used to play Neoclassical chess?

In order to play Neoclassical chess, a method and its implementation in diverse applications, both patented[i], are used. They provide the initial position of the game, unknown to the players until that moment. This constitutes a single, worldwide standard of play. With this standard we ensure that the probability of starting the game from a given position is identical to the relative frequency with which such position occurs in recent master practice. The application will be available in all major mobile and tablet platforms.

What are the desired consequences for chess?

Neoclassical chess can be very beneficial for professional and amateur players of all leves alike. And for the world of chess generally, that has lost some vitality during actual play, and has somehow allowed the computers to impose their rule on the players. Neoclassical chess aspires to coexist naturally with chess, and to become an alternative to it which attracts players of all levels, from elite to early amateur, to the same or greater extent as the classical game.

Why do we say that it is an “evolution” of chess and not just another variant of chess?

Because it is the only variant of chess invented to this date that does not eliminate or ignore the history of chess: any Neoclassical chess game could have arisen as a game of chess for the last few centuries, since the current main rules were established. We also argue that from a logical-mathematical viewpoint[ii], it is the only chess variant that fulfills this condition and solves the mentioned problem about the opening and many others.

How is it different from chess960 or “Random Fischer” chess ?

Neoclassical chess is completely different from chess960, where the vast majority of games (99,89%) could never have arisen as classical chess games, and give raise to positions during the opening (and often for half the course of the game) which are strange to the intuition and experience of classical chess. Chess960 ignores all history and traditions of classical chess. Another difference is that Nc chess does not intend to eliminate the study of the opening, but to rebalance its importance relatively to that of the middle game and endgame, and to make it similar to the study of these.

But if the initial moves are randomly obtained, does that not lead to much more dedication to the study of the opening, in order to study all of them?

Opening study in Nc chess is based on understanding, not on memorizing long lines that will be forgotten or are left obsolete due to theoretical innovations. Hence it will relieve players from the burden of rote memorisation. You may not be an expert on the opening you are going to play, but your opponent will likely not be either.

¿Is it Neoclassical chess drawing lots on the opening ?

That is only one ingredient of Nc chess, as there are just too many ways of doing it, leading to arbitrariness. A single standard with strong logical foundations 

is needed in order to define a new game.

In Neoclassical chess, a principled problem definition is put forward: 

What is the game nost similar to the classical chess game that achieves sufficient randomness of the initial position in the new game, as well as a distribution of openings according to recent human master opening preferences ? That leads to randomizing on a representative collection of classical games, and getting the initial position at the minimal number of moves after the classical initial position necessary to achieve the randomizing objective.

Why precisely 3 full moves are imposed ?

The number 3 is neither magical not arbitrary: is our standard depth based upon a stable singularity of the empirical distribution (set of relative frequencies) of chess openings in human master play. This depth is the key parameter and is chosen to be optimal in a clearly defined sense: that Neoclassical chess be as similar as possible to classical chess[iii].

What other benefits we expect from Neoclassical chess?

We believe that Neoclassical chess will significantly increase the proportion of “over the board” play, and the interest on chess competitions by chess fans and spectators. We also believe it will increase the interest of the non-chess world and the social impact of chess[iv].

Who invented Neoclassical chess?

Neoclassical chess is an original invention by Gabriel F. Bobadilla, chess amateur from Madrid, Spain (FIDE 24518107)[v], Dr.-Eng. in Applied Math and Industrial Engineer (Univ. Politécnica de Madrid), M.S. Elec. Eng. (Caltech), Master in Economics and Finance (CEMFI, Bank of Spain), and an investment management professional.

[i] US Patent Pending no. 62146423

[ii] Pls see in the web the paper “Foundations of Neoclassical Chess”.

[iii] Pls see in the web the paper “Foundations of Neoclassical Chess”.

[iv] Pls see in the web the paper “Neoclassical Chess: a Bright Future for the Game”

[v] https://ratings.fide.com/card.phtml?event=24518107


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