Stanley Random Chess

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For those without comedic tastes, the self-proclaimed experts at Wikipedia have an article about Stanley Random Chess.

What is Stanley Random Chess? It's a game. Stupid.

How old is Stanley Random Chess?

Old. Why is this part even in this article?

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 considerable scope for creativity and imagination, particularly in analysis and commentary. Despite its name, SR Chess is not random, but is carefully regulated by a well-established and internationally-adopted set of rules which function in addition to 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 as a result of the Great SR Chess Purge. SR Chess is being rediscovered and regaining popularity, promoted particularly by enthusiasts who play it regularly online.

What are the rules of Stanley Random Chess?

Bishop

A Bishop from the game

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 or sequence is obtained, the winner being the person with the most material at that time (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?

SchemingMind.com is currently the only correspondence chess server where SR Chess can be played. Although a good grasp of the rules can take time to master, the correspondence chess server schemingmind.com states that it 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.

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 automatically corrects and adjusts illegal moves. SR Chess is not for everyone, but it certainly recommends itself on account of its historical claim and its creative play.

Newcomers to the game should feel free to jump right in, preferably with an experienced player. The experienced player will usually be more than happy to annotate what is happening in the game.

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, 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.

What is Stanley Random Chess Commentary Like?

The following annotations are excerpted from an exhibition game between GM Topov and Austin Lockwood. The entire game commentary can be read here.

  • Nanashi No-Gombe: The current position reminds me of an exhibition game between GM Viktor Demetri Plaztov and the Gdansk All-Soprano Choir. As everyone knows, Viktor always preferred to indicate his moves through charades. When he pantomined that his Bishop should take a particular Knight, this was accidentally interpreted as a rather vulgar suggestion by his opponents. The resulting riot lasted for several days. Because of this incident, there was a subsequent attempt to ban the use of charades in SR Chess. A compromise was met when it was agreed that players who insist on using such tactics must supply a qualified licensed interpreter, or at the least cue cards.
  • GM Topov: Sadly black is forced to abandon the Fierce Knight Advancement (Stage 2) for now, in favour of this clearly inferior broadside move first used by the Englishman Sir Francis Drake. A skilled SR Chess player, Sir Francis Drake was also noted for circumcizing the world with a 100 foot clipper. The highlight of his career was when he defeated the naval commander of the Spanish Armadillo in a decisive SR Chess Match in 1588 (a game that historical revisionists later presented as an actual naval battle, in a successful attempt to bolster Drake's reputation with Elizabeth I.) In the course of a Rematch against the Spanish, Drake died suddenly on January 28th, 1596, and is still believed to be dead. For unknown reasons, his playing career suffered a dramatic decline after his death.
  • Nanashi No-Gombe: White was able to avoid the worst aspects of the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit by the 'balancing of the diagonals' with the Knight move. But it is apparent by Black's King-side castling that the option is still being maintained. If Black had gone with Queen-side castling, the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit Reversed, or simply Karkarese-Iberian Gambit, might have been possible but White's undeveloped Pawn at a2 prevented its effective prosecution at this point. As to the over-extended Rook, Jeffery Freud (an amateur player with no relation to Sigmund) presented a lengthy dissertation during the 1927 Vienna SR Chess Sidewalk Exhibition about this position. The twenty-hour speech revolved around the interplay of various psychological complexes involving envy, fear and pride.
  • Austin Lockwood: A rare slip-up by GM Topov allows me to take control of the key central croix area. This would normally guarantee a fairly easy white win, but I'm sure the GM has something up his sleeve. Not, of course, in the same way that the notorious 'Stanley Rascal' of 1924, Sir Cuthbert Farquar-Smyth, kept a supply of spare white queens up his sleeve during the international match between England and Romania. Amazingly none of the officials noticed until the end of the eighth week of the match, by which time it was too late and Sir Farquar-Smyth's results were allowed to stand.
  • Nanashi No-Gombe: One of the most notable cases of SR Chess fixing occurred when GM Jimmy Joe Ratchet discovered after a game that his Queen had been glued to the board. Surveillance video proved that his opponent, and brother, GM Billy Bob Ratchet was responsible. Stills clearly showed him bringing in heavy equipment and excavating a tunnel from one of his Pawn's position to the opposing Queen. The result of this game between the Ratchet brothers was still considered valid, partly because Jimmy Joe never actually touched his Queen during the entire game. In fact, he was able to win the game by simply moving a single Knight around the field, whinnying and making clop-clop noises. This audacious strategy, called the JJ Ratchet Equine Bluff, has been attempted by many SR Chess masters but never successfully.
  • GM Topov: This is not the only scandal that has rocked the world of SR Chess. One needs only think of the deplorable incident with the copper-plated pawns and the nine-volt battery at the 1946 Finnish Nationals, the case of the uncarved bishop at the 1962 World Championships, and the 1934 disqualification of Norwegian grandmaster Ola Nordmann for arriving at a tournament with excessive body-hair. Although perhaps not to the extent of other sports, SR Chess has also had its share of drug scandals, such as when Canadian grandmaster John Benson was stripped of his GM title and sent home in disgrace from the 1988 ISRC Olympiad, after testing positive to a banned performance-enhancing stimulant said to improve hand-eye coordination and lateral rook catapult control. Benson has since retired from SR Chess and moved to England, engaged in his new hobbies of bee-keeping, and building a collection of life-sized wax replicas of himself (his collection currently numbers 93).
  • Nanashi No-Gombe: One of the most notable cases of SR Chess fixing occurred when GM Jimmy Joe Ratchet discovered after a game that his Queen had been glued to the board. Surveillance video proved that his opponent, and brother, GM Billy Bob Ratchet was responsible. Stills clearly showed him bringing in heavy equipment and excavating a tunnel from one of his Pawn's position to the opposing Queen. The result of this game between the Ratchet brothers was still considered valid, partly because Jimmy Joe never actually touched his Queen during the entire game. In fact, he was able to win the game by simply moving a single Knight around the field, whinnying and making clop-clop noises. This audacious strategy, called the JJ Ratchet Equine Bluff, has been attempted by many SR Chess masters but never successfully.
  • R. Maximus Toeffr: Yes, indeed, the Lurking Bishop Threat is a very real possibility here. I remember when I was a youngster at parochial school, there was a bishop who lurked a lot. His name, as I recall, was The Very Reverend Patrick O'Leary and his twin, Larry O'Pedraigh, was an official in the local Satanist cult. The similarities do not end there. They were joined in a most unfortunate manner which I shall not describe. (It is enough to say that they were constantly cheek to cheek. This caused logistical difficulties of the first order as you might well imagine.) At any rate, they were highly ranked SR Chess amateurs and had to make use of a special wrap-around board so that each could sit behind his pieces. This necessitated the use of mirrors to observe the opposite half of the board. It is said that the entire audience at the last game played by the twins was driven mad by the image of these identical twins, so much alike, yet so opposite in character, sitting back to back, screaming in rage at each other but unable to even reach each other. The game was incredibly evenly matched. Just as it appeared that White was in place for a checkmate - only one move ahead of Black checkmating White, A STAR move ended the game with the completely unique result of simultaneous checkmate of both sides. The brothers' heart could not take the strain and they fell as one on top of the wrap-around board, scattering pieces and wiping out the last position. Thus it is that no one knew just how this incredible conclusion was reached.
  • GM Topov: The retelling of Sir Francis Drake's SR Chess victory as a fictional naval battle against the Spanish Armadillo is not the first time SR Chess Games have been reconstructed under the pretense of being important historical events (usually battles or wars). Modern scholarship recognizes that this is the product of the Great SR Chess Purge in the 19th century, which necessitated the removal of all references to SR Chess from the anals of history, and replaced them with other historical events. In view of the Great SR Chess Purge, it is now believed that notable historical events such as the ones that historians refer to as "the Napoleonic Wars", "the Crimean War", and "the American Civil War" are actually entirely fictional accounts and reconstructed histories of what was originally in fact a series of friendly SR Chess games. Records of the moves of most of these games are unfortunately lost, although a partial manuscript fragment does give details of the first six moves of a Big-Macedonian opening (popularly referred to as a "Big Mac") from a game played between Athens and Sparta as part of the Inter-Greek Team League, a friendly competition that was active from 431-404 B.C. Historians under the influence of the Great SR Chess Purge have reinterpreted the game in question as the "Peloponessian War", and it is now certain that this "War" is entirely the fictional product of imagination. Fast-food giant McDonalds is being sued for infringement of copyright for using a modified form of the name of the illustrious opening as an absurd label for one of their hamburgers.
  • With the generous financial support of the Swiss government, scholarly research is still being conducted into whether the accounts of World War I are an entire fabrication. It is strongly suspected that stories of this war are a belated product of the Great SR Chess Purge, and that they originate in what was actually an International SR Chess tournament in Germany. If this supposition proves correct, then World War II would have to be renamed World War I, or to be more correct `the Great War' (since one can only accurately speak about a First World War if there is a Second). Given the immense public outcry that would result from the elimination of a World War from the anals of history, the ISRCA is currently in dialogue with the United Nations, the Royal Society for Historians, and US President George Bush, to consider a proposal for a new World War I, to be held in Brussels in Spring 2006. This would eliminate the psychological confusion that could result from the sudden absence of a First World War, and would necessitate only minor revisions to history textbooks used in American schools. An earlier date for the World War was not possible due to scheduling conflicts with George Bush's summer holidays, and with the baseball World Series, and did not receive approval from the TV networks planning to broadcast World War I live. Bids to host the war were also received from Buenos Aires, Yamoussoukro, and Reykjavik, but Brussels was chosen under the belief that future history students would find it easier to spell when writing essays on the subject, and because of its long-standing partnership with sprouts.
  • Nanashi No-Gombe: Under Section 45.a5^17 of Disability Exemptions for the Poetic Amore, a player with a history of allergy to pink and the proper affidavits from at least three certified phrenologists is automatically exempted from performing the Poetic Amore. Or if the player is simply unable to pronounce the word 'ululation'. It must also be noted that GM Petitfour Ralph Winston, who was known to break out in hives at the mere mention of the word 'pink', insisted on performing the Poetic Amore during his game at the 1899 Winter Regional SR Chess Challenge. The crowd, mostly Eskimo, were thoroughly entertained by his recitation from memory of over one hundred rather dirty limericks from various anonymous sources in Bantu. Unfortunately, upon completion he was immediately hospitalized with violently uncontrollable invective fits. Doctors later reported that his prolonged pink exposure could have been fatal if not for the fact that he was also currently suffering from a mild case of snow-blindness.
  • R. Maximus Toeffr: My most frequent SR Chess opponent is a dear friend who has done a great deal of research on the history of SR Chess. He turned up some amazing facts. I did not know until he sent me the URL, that the American astronauts went to the moon, not in order to show the Russians who was who, but instead to test the effects of reduced gravity on SR Chess. Each Apollo mission made a new move. Apparently they were not very good players as the game ended with a premature Vollenhauser after only six moves. Reputedly, Neil Armstrong said, "This is one small step for a man, but one giant leap for SRC." However the transmission was garbled and the record instead states the much less interesting quote you've no doubt heard most of your life. I just received an email from an irate space cadet who claims that just because I read something like this on the web somewhere, doesn't mean it's true. Horsepuckey, I say. I have a URL for a site that proves that everything you read on the web is completely true
  • GM Topov: The lights noticeably dimmed as the ISRCA database processed this rather complex right-handed capture of the partisan unbuttoned Knight, mainly because having two pawns on the same file has quadrupled the number of legal possibilities for loading black's rooks, and sets up the game for an exciting Third Set. White's c6 pawn now has an excellent prospect of winning "The Longest Surviving Pawn" Award, sponsored by the Charles Darwin Foundation. Darwin was a schizophrenic SR Chess amateur who spent most of his life in a bubble bath, playing a single SR Chess game against himself with inflatable pieces. As well as developing acutely wrinkled skin, he published an annotated account of the game under the title "The Organ of the Species." The book has survived longer than the man himself, which says everything really (he suffered a horrific death after neglecting to take the prescribed daily dose of medicinal super-glue to attach his wrinkled skin to his body). Some of the notions in Darwin's book, particularly his random musings about the evolutionary development of SR Chess pieces from primates, are thoroughly ridiculous, but the book does have value as a vacation fire-lighter.
  • Nanashi No-Gombe: The Twin Telescopic Rook configuration is one of the most interesting position in SR Chess. The ability to swap these Rooks without the opponent's knowledge is the true mark of a grandmaster. The Tumbling Slide can take down any opposing fortification, regardless of the number of sympathetic supporters in the crowd. Yet White is not completely defenseless. The dangling Pawn continues to harass Black. It is obvious that it is successively engaging its neighboring opponents in an in-depth debate. The White Pawn has taken the position that jelly donuts are actually intelligent beings. The Black Pawns insist that merely being able to perform complex trigonometric formulae is not a true sign of intelligence, but just a way of showing off.

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