I'd heard of Shuffle Chess before 'Fischer Random' emerged. And without much enthusiasm I must confess, except that the name seemed appropriate.
But see what happens: the great late Bobby Fischer, dissatisfied with the way Chess is evolving (or indeed the lack thereof), suggests his own variant, that next becomes increasingly popular in certain sections of the Chess community under the name 'Chess960', a reference to the number of possible initial positions in the game.
The 'future of Chess', no less.

I hold Chess in high regard, but not to the point of contemplating divine origins. It's a man-made game and I do have a quarrel to pick with its rules, regarding some points, or Grand Chess and Dragonfly wouldn't exist.

Implicitly: we welcome Chess players who are willing to explore variants. So with Chess960's star rising, we considered it a good game to attract more players to the Pit.
"And", I thought, "at least it will have no use for castling".

Obviously I hadn't read the rules, silly me. The very first thing one reads in Chess960 - Wiki is:

  • Chess960, or Fischer Random Chess, is a chess variant produced by the late former World Champion Bobby Fischer by modifying the rules of Shuffle Chess so that castling possibilities exist for all starting positions.

If I were a cynic I'd have no trouble noticing that, true, Chess960 compares to Chess like a decade's worth of tabloids to a brilliant book, but at least we've saved the weirdest move, implemented specifically to fix a problem in Chess, and even made it weirder, despite the fact that the very problem doesn't even exist, in Chess960.
Let me put it bluntly: This is castling for the sake of castling. Castling has a specific justification in Chess. It should never even have been considered in a 'shuffle variant'.

You may have noticed that with this latest addition we now have no less than four great Chess players - Emanuel Lasker, Edward Lasker, José Raúl Capablanca and Bobby Fischer - and one former worldchampion Draughts - Herman Hoogland - who've come up with a couple of games ranging from 'bad' to 'not good enough'.
Admittedly there's one notable exception: Ljuban Dedić was Yugoslavian champion of International Checkers in 1989 and president of the Croatian Draughts association later. He developed Croda, an outstanding Draughts variant, out of dissatisfaction with Draughts' abominable margin of draws.

  • Emanuel Lasker made Lasca, that is, he 'extracted' the mechanism from its Shashki housing and put it in a Checkers housing instead. He should have noticed that the mechanism is severely hampering its own kings by allowing them to be buried under their own men. He might have sensed something was wrong there. But he remained stuck on the in this case unholy 'checkers trinity' of an initial position, an opposite direction of play, and promotion.
    He was hampered by his own premiss and basically left the mechanism in a similar housing as the one he found it in.
  • Herman Hoogland was worldchampion International Draughts from 1912-1925. He advocated to reduce the board once more to 8x8, keeping the rules of the international game, but with a weird king that would capture men the normal way, but would capture kings only in a straight fashion - and those two combined. It works, but as an organism with an artificial limb.
  • José Raúl Capablanca and Edward Lasker worked on an idea that has been around since the end of the 16th century: Chess with a logically complete set of pieces by adding the other two pieces that combine basic moves: the rook-knight combination and the bishop-knight combination. They experimented with a 10x10 board as well as an 8x10 board, see Capablanca Chess.
    They were hampered by another premiss: that pieces should fill the first row and pawns the second. Very strange, considering the existence of Xiangqi and Shogi.
    Of course they intuitively favored the square board, but pawns would be too far apart. Giving them the option of a moving three squares initially gave rise to new problems concerning e.p. capture and the options of a pawn that initially moves only one square: may it still move two squares after that? Of course they still needed castling, with the rooks tucked away even farther.
    Grand Chess solves all these problems simultaneously.

The problem with players playing 'inventor' appears to be their inability to 'think outside the box', that is: outside the concepts they're familiar with from existing games. And rearranging the old seldom renders something new. Fischer was just kind enough to illustrate this point once again.

Let me quote from John Kipling Lewis' appeal for simplicity:

In examining Bobby Fischer's rules for Chess960's castling we see that it totally ignores the origins of castling in favor of appealing to chess players who are already familiar with the castling positions that result from Standard Chess. Unfortunately the system is confusing to newer players who aren't as familiar with Standard Chess. The final resting squares of the King and Rook feel arbitrary to new player who may not have played enough Standard Chess to intuitively remember them.
It seems that simplification of the castling rules for Chess960 could help promote the game for beginners, streamline the rules and reconnect the game with it's historical roots. To that end I suggest the following castling rules for Chess960:
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 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 can not move two spaces over the Rook, then the King and Rook exchange squares.

As said before: castling should never even have been considered in a 'shuffle variant' in the first place, so here's another superfluous 'solution', but it shows that not everybody is quite so happy with Fischer's brainchild.

Another good example is Mig Greengard, whom I quote from 'Mig on Chess' (#177):

Call it Fischerandom, Chess960, or just call it crazy, the Mainz organizers seem determined to force this chess variant on us. In case you are unfamiliar with it, shuffle chess places the pawns as usual but piece placement is randomly determined before each game. (The king must be between the rooks in this latest definition.) Castling is simple as long as you have a PhD in astrophysics. The "960," a new name for an old game, comes from the total number of possible positions. (Although I think half of this number are just reversed with only the side to move being different.)
Shuffle chess can be fun, being a purely tactical affair from move one. What drives me crazy is when its proponents tout it as some sort of improvement on chess. "It eliminates opening preparation so it's all about talent," they claim. Each generation produces another "solution" to the increasing level of opening prep, and each generation considers the last generation's suggestion stupid. Capablanca wanted to enlarge the board and add new pieces. Then Fischer wanted to scramble the pieces before each game. (Rumors that Kasparov wanted to rename the king "The Garry" are unconfirmed.)
Maybe 20 years from now someone will suggest smacking each player on the head before each game so they can't remember their preparation. I was there in Buenos Aires when Fischer presented his "creation" in 1996 and even helped with writing press releases and translating the rules into Spanish. Along with everyone else I was surprised to find that he was deadly serious about it replacing chess. I think that caused me to doubt his mental stability as much as his assorted scurrilous and anti-Semitic comments.
Openings and the huge amount of pattern recognition they reflect well into the middlegame are intrinsic to chess. Removing these things from the game and calling it an improvement is like ripping the first five chapters out of an Agatha Christie novel to make it more interesting.

I rest my case.