Castling in Chess480

So I’ve recently registered for play in three more correspondence chess (cc) tournaments. Games have already started in two of them, bringing my active game count to about 50. As more players come on board the number of my active games will increase, and as games end the number will decrease, but I’ll probably have an average of 50 or so games in progress every day through the rest of this year.

Time consuming? Oh yeah. I spend at least three or four hours each day working directly on my games and at least another solid hour or so studying. And this all has to be quiet time, free from distractions. It’s a damned good thing I spend most of my time alone. Heh.

One of the tourneys that just fired up has me playing Chess480, a variant new to me. It’s closely related to Chess960, or Fischer Random Chess (FRC) as it’s more properly called. FRC has been around for a long time, and I’ve been playing it for decades. At first I had difficulty understanding the difference between the two: Chess480 and Chess960.

The difference lies in the particular Castling rules for each variant.

The rules for Chess480 as given at the club where I’m playing this tournament:

Chess480 is played with an Orthodox Chess set but employs a randomly generated array. Each new setup is determined by a computer program (or manual procedure) which assigns starting squares according to the following guidelines:

* White Pawns are placed on their Orthodox home squares.
* All remaining white pieces are placed on the first rank.
* The white King is placed somewhere between the two white Rooks.
* The white Bishops are placed on opposite-colored squares.
* The black pieces are placed equal-and-opposite the white pieces. 

Orthodox Chess rules apply when applicable.

“Orthodox Castling” is used.

Orthodox Castling

This is a move of the King and either Rook of the same colour on the same rank, counting as a single move of the King and executed as follows: the King is transferred from its original square two squares in the direction of the Rook (which may move the King over or into the Rook’s original square), 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 can not move two spaces towards the Rook, then the King and Rook exchange squares.

(1) The right for castling has been lost:

1. if the King has already moved, or
2. with a Rook that has already moved

(2) Castling is prevented temporarily

1. if the square on which the King stands, or the square which it must cross, or the square which it is to occupy, is attacked by one or more of the opponent`s pieces.
2. if there is any piece between the King and the Rook with which castling is to be effected.

Well, okay, but I didn’t really understand the difference between Chess480 Castling and Chess960 Castling until my research led me to this excellent article

http://www.schemingmind.com/journalarticle.aspx?article_id=37

with clearer explanation, diagrams, and a brief history of how the current Standard Castling rule has evolved from that used in Medieval times.

It’s a very entertaining read for those interested in such matters.