Stanley Random Chess (SR Chess)
By Gregory Topov
WHAT IS STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
Stanley Random Chess (commonly designated as SR Chess) is an alternative form of chess that apparently predates regular chess, and offers greater complexity and creativity.
HOW OLD IS STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
Technically speaking, SR Chess is not a chess variant, since purists allege that modern chess is merely a simplified form and development from SR Chess. With documented historical evidence dating back to the early English monarchy, SR Chess claims to be one of the original sources of "Common Chess", which SR Chess enthusiasts refer to somewhat contemptuously as Simplified SR Chess.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
Even those who contest its historical claim to primacy must concede that Stanley Random Chess appears to be a more complex and challenging game, with much more scope for creativity and imagination. Despite its name, SR Chess is certainly not random, but is carefully regulated by a well-established and internationally-adopted set of rules which function alongside the rules for Simplified SR (Common) Chess. Consequently SR Chess has less legal moves than Common Chess, but is also less burdened by the need to memorize opening theory, with a genuine focus on creative and imaginative play. Sadly, despite its alleged antiquity, for centuries it has suffered under a cloak of secrecy. Now that SR Chess is being rediscovered and regaining popularity, it may well also be the future of chess.
WHAT ARE THE RULES OF STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
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:
1. As a result of the additional unique rules governing move sequences and board patterns, approximately 50% of Common Chess moves are illegal in SR Chess, accounting for the somewhat strange and apparently random moves at times.
2. After move 30, the game enters VH Conditions (VollenHauser Sudden Death Principle), and the game can come to a sudden end if the right pattern/sequence is obtained, the winner being the person with the most material (a "Forced Inferior Material Resignation", or Forced IMR).
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 experienced players.
WHERE CAN I PLAY STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
Although a good grasp of the rules can take time to master, the correspondence chess server SchemingMind.com has obtained a XML SRC rule parser from the ISRCA (International Stanley Random Chess Association) which is interfaced with the official ISRCA database, and uses a special algorithm to automatically replace any illegal moves with the nearest equivalent legal move. The apparent "randomness" of these transposed moves can be initially perplexing to novices, but it enables new players to enjoy playing SR Chess without requiring a complete mastery of the rules. SchemingMind.com is currently the only correspondence chess server where SR Chess can be played.
HOW CAN I LEARN STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
The best method for learning SR 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 corrects illegal moves. SR Chess is not for everyone, but it certainly recommends itself on account of its historical claim and its creative play. But don't take our word for it, to understand the secrets and attractions of SR Chess, you must really see and play it for yourself.
WHERE CAN I READ MORE ABOUT STANLEY RANDOM CHESS?
Novices should first read 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.
Of historical interest are some articles on famous players like Lord Humberton-Snapf, Antonio Pancris of Baden-Baden, Otto Bolshnaut, and Victor Seignovich.
More information about SR Chess can also be found on the only correspondence chess server that enables playing SR Chess online.
Source for this FAQ: