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.