Stanley Random Chess (commonly designated as SR Chess) is an alternative form of chess that predates regular chess, and offers greater complexity and creativity. While SR Chess appears superficially to be similar to Standard Chess, it is actually a far more advanced and complex form of chess that predates Standard Chess, and requires greater creativity and more imaginative play. SR Chess implements the extra rules governing move sequences and board patterns that were later lost when Standard Chess developed as a result of the Great SR Chess Purge in the nineteenth century (commemorated annually on April 1).
The rules are the same as Simplified SR (Common) Chess, with the addition of some rules governing move sequences and board patterns. These rules are too complex to summarize, and are subject to local variations, but new players will notice two main differences from Simplified SR (Common) Chess:
As a result of the additional unique rules governing move sequences and board patterns, a significant percentage of Common Chess moves are illegal in SR Chess. The SchemingMind server replaces those moves with legal moves - resulting in somewhat strange and apparently random moves at times. Such replaced moves are called STAR moves.
SR Chess enthusiasts typically provide extensive analysis and commentary of games in progress, so generally it does not take long for dedicated newcomers to get a good feel for the game and its rules by observing games or playing with experienced players.
Unfortunately it is not possible to reproduce the complete rules here; at the last count the official ISRCF handbook consisted of 175 volumes (which have to be transported to tournaments by articulated lorry). SchemingMind is very grateful to the ISRCA for allowing us to interface directly with their database and for providing us with an XML SRC rule parser to control the games played here - without this facility an array of several hundred servers would be required to host games on this site.
Be warned... if you attempt to play this game as Standard Chess, you may find that unexpected transpositions are made to your moves after submission, since an automated algorithm adjusts illegal moves to the nearest legal move.
Learning the Game
The best method for learning Stanley Random Chess is to observe experienced players playing the game, or to play it online with the benefit of the innovative technology provided by the schemingmind.com chess server that automatically corrects and adjusts illegal moves. Although it is sometimes unfairly associated with parodies like Mornington Crescent, Fizzbin, and Calvinball, Stanley Random Chess is a playable game, and is actively played online. SR Chess is not for everyone, but it certainly recommends itself on account of its historical claim and creative play, particularly with respect to the imaginative analysis of games.
Novices should first read StanleyRandomChessForIdiots, and/or Stanley Random Chess Introduced & Explained for Beginners, and consider examining an annotated Exhibition Game. Studies have been published about the historical origins of Stanley Random Chess, and articles have been published on famous players like Lord Humberton-Snapf, Antonio Pancris of Baden-Baden, Otto Bolshnaut, and Victor Seignovich. Retired SR Chess grandmaster Gregory Topov is a leading authority on the game.
recently played SR Chess games
Note that games played before late 2008 were subject to an archaic rule known as Vollenhauser Conditions (also known as Forced I. M. R.). As a result, games sometimes ended abruptly after the 30 move, the player with more piece value winning the game. See below for more about the Forced I. M. R. withdrawal.
See the following resources:
Stanley Random Chess Introduced & Explained for Beginners (journal article)
chessvariants.org page for SR Chess
The GM Topov Files
Dutch annotations on an Exhibition Game
Forced I.M.R. Withdrawal Announcement
Game Rules approximation
While full SRC rules are difficult to comprehend, the following rule of thumb approximates them fairly well.
You play normal chess, but each time you make a move, there is a probability (p) that your move will be replaced by a different legal move (a so called 'STAR' move). The value of p is based on the the pieces you have on the board (queens = q, rooks = r, etc.) and is calculated using the formula:
- p = (9q + 5r + 3b + 3n + p + 11)/100
The chances of a replacement move are actually less than p depending on the number of available moves, because a STAR move can be any legal move, including the move you entered.
Game Page Help
The Action Bar
The Action Bar is the most important part of the game screen, this is where you interact with the game by entering moves, conditional moves, comments, draw offers, resignations, and much more (if you are not viewing one of your own games, the Action Bar is not shown). The Action Bar is in four parts, from left to right:
- The Move Input Box: where your move or conditional move is shown; it is possible to type into this box, but not recommended, you can enter your move by dragging and dropping the pieces on the board.
- The Action Selection Dropdown: this is where you select the action you want to do, for example, move, enter a comment, accept a draw offer, claim a draw, etc. Only the actions which are relevant to the current game are shown.
- The Continue Button: this button sends your action back to our server; sometimes you might see a pop-up text box before the action is sent, this is so that you can write a message to your opponent. You can set your preferences so that this box is always shown to confirm you move (under the "Chess Board" tab "Confirm moves before committing), some people find this helpful as a "blunder check".
- The Next Game button: clicking the button will take you to the next game for which it is your move.
The Game Information Panel
Under the Action Bar, you should find the Game Information Panel. This gives you more information about the game; because there is too much information to see on one screen here, it is arranged into "tab"; you can move between the various screens by clicking the buttons, from left to right:
- Game Overview: this tab shows the full history of the game, including comments (you cannot read the comments from another player's game, unless the game is marked as "public"), leave taken, etc. You can click the moves to see the position on the chess board.
- Hide Comments: this tab shows the moves of the game only, without the distraction of the comments shown on the game overview tab.
- Material Balance: this tab shows the captured pieces in the game. If you are playing CrazyHouse chess, or a similar game, you can drag pieces from here to the board to make a "drop".
- Tags: You can "tag" games, this makes it easier to come back to games, you can find the games you have tagged from the game database screen.
- Variant Information: this tab is available for some chess variants, it will show you a description of the variant.
- Opening Information: In standard chess games, this tab will show you information about the chess opening you have been playing, taken from the Game Explorer.
- Analysis Board: Opening this tab will overlay an "analysis board" on the main chess board; you can move the pieces around freely on this board to try out various ideas in the game.
- Engine Analysis: This tab allows you to analyse the game using a chess engine; because the use of engines is not allowed on SchemingMind, this tab is not available for ongoing games.
- Help: If you are reading this, you have already figured out what the help button does!
The Chess Board
The chess board shows the current position in your game; if it is your move, or if you can enter a conditional move, you can drag and drop the pieces on the chess board.
If you wish to castle, simply drag your king over the rook on the side you wish to castle on. When you promote a pawn, you will see a pop-up prompting you to select the promoted piece.
We have a number of different designs for chess boards and pieces, you can select the one you prefer from your personal preferences.
Under the chess board is a navigation toolbar (this toolbar looks slightly different if you are looking at the analysis board).
From left to right:
- Download Game: This button will allow you to download the game in PGN format.
- Move to the Start: This button will show the start position of the game.
- Previous Move: This button will move position shown on the board back one move.
- Next Move: This button will show the next position on the board.
- Last Move: This button will show the current position on the board.
- Flip: This button will show the board from the other player's perspective (by default you see games from White's perspective unless you are Black; you can select an option to always show the board from White's perspective in your personal preferences).
- Animate: If you are not looking at the last move in the game, this button will animate the game from the shown position to the last move.
- Stop Animation: This button will stop the animation.
- Analysis Board: This button will show the Analysis Board (see above).
View this article in the Knowledge Base.