The Stanley Random Chess Files - No. 8

The Essence of Stanley Random Chess: An Annotated Exhibition Game

GM Gregory Topov provides some personal annotations on a SR Chess Exhibition Game with Austin Lockwood from Britain.

This Exhibition Game was recently played on the internet chess server:

Exhibition Game 1: Austin Lockwood vs GM Topov (download PGN file of game)

Exhibition Game 1: Austin Lockwood vs GM Topov

[Event "Stanley Random Exhibition Match"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2004.12.01"]
[White "Austin Lockwood"]
[Black "GM Gregory Topov"]
[Result "1-0"]

1.b4 Nf6 2.Bb2 e5 3.Nf3 g6 4.h4 d6 5.Qc1 Ng4 6.e3 Qg5 7.hxg5 b6 8.Rh4 h5 9.Qd1 Nxf2 10.Rc4 a6 11.Kxf2 Bg4 12.Rxc7 Bg7 13.Na3 O-O 14.Nc4 Bxf3 15.gxf3 Ra7 16.Rc8 Nc6 17.d3 Kh7 18.b5 Rxc8 19.bxc6 Rxc6 20.Qd2 Rac7 21.e4 Rb7 22.Bc1 Ra7 23.Ba3 Rac7 24.Bxd6 Rc8 25.Bh3 Rc5 26.Bxc5 Rxc5 27.d4 Bh6 28.Qe3 Rxc4 29.Bg2 Ra4 30.Rd1 a5 31.gxh6 exd4 32.Qe1 d3

First Set


Austin Lockwood: Welcome to this exhibition match between Stanley Random GM Topov, and your humble webmaster. As many of you know, GM Topov recently retired from competitive Stanley Random Chess after holding the world championship for a record thirteen years, and we are indeed honoured that he has chosen to play this exhibition on - I only hope that I can produce a competitive game worthy of such an illustrious opponent and at least manage to last until the Vollenhauser Conditions. I will start with a classical opening, from Herbert and Morley (p5435 - the Genevan Gambler Attack).


GM Topov: The Genevan Gambler Attack is a sharp and risky opening, so black must be cautious. The Left Wing Butterfly Defence is not a usual reply, but serve well in this instance to introduce novices to the difficulty of unweighting dark squares in the event of a frozen bishop, as GM Wolfgang Plausch's opponent unfortunately discovered in losing the 31st German Championship of 1884.


Austin Lockwood: Before we enter the rather complex second dodecatant, I wonder, GM Topov, if you would mind explaining to our readers how the game has been transformed by correspondence play. We have had to make significant changes to the rules to enable play here on, mainly because the use of physical apparatus (for example, the lateral rook catapult) is not possible over the Internet; does this have a significant impact on game play?


GM Topov: The use of physical apparatus is a popular but fairly recent phenomenon (early twentieth century) common to Western forms of the game. Historically most of the original variations of the game require no additional supplies beyond a chess board and pieces. The advantage of modern variants (such as the one employs the lateral rook catapult) is the extra dimension for creative and aggressive play, especially in sequenced moves with odd numbers, and this form of the game has especially found favour with British players. In correspondence play the essence of the game is unchanged (plus there's no need for replacement pieces in the event of an accidental misfire!), and there is still ample scope for imaginative and creative play.

But back to the game: Novices should note the slow unweighting of the left corner quadrant, and the occupation of dark squares, both of which are typical of the Left Wing Butterfly Defence.


Austin Lockwood: Of course there is always a risk associated with either of the Butterfly Defences, the rear alternate rank intersections can be exposed to knight pincer vulnerabilities unless black is very careful. Normally I wouldn't dream of playing this move against a player of GM Topov's class, however I think this demonstrates how the caterpillar manoeuvre could potentially eat holes in a weaker player's butterfly.

John Kipling Lewis: (Neoliminal) I'm impressed with Austin's opening so far. It's often extemely hard to use the Gambino Gambit so early in a match, but if GM Topov moves his Queen then we may see a very interesting match, as the Gambino Gambit Accepted is a very lively and open variation.

R. Maximus Toeffr: (Surfnsuds) Note that white has apparently attempted the Fiancetto Feint of Fornival, sometimes confused with the Obligatory Moth, which is also sometimes confused with the flanking rear butterfly play. But the pawn at B4 shows us it is in fact the Feint. Risky, given Black's Bishop. I'm not familiar enough with the rules of SRC to know if BxP is allowable, but even if it is, the reciprocal BxP may be disallowed under the Treaty of Throckmorton, 1767. Or was is 1867. I always confuse those two centuries. At any rate, we may find out soon.


GM Topov: The unorthodox Rolling Barrel attack was pioneered by the Italian Mikko Scarlotti at the 1922 Nationals, and depending on white's response, can lead to the exciting Open Unflanked Carnival Combination (with a temporarily frozen knight on an unmoded square). But apparently the Rolling Barrel is prohibited in this position, since both white's knights are on white squares with an undeveloped d pawn (asyncratic unbalanced white disorder). Shame on me for neglecting to recall the 1932 Paris Revision that made this amendment, so the adjudicator has proclaimed a S.T.A.R. move in conjuction with automated ISRCA database.


Austin Lockwood: A rare slip-up by GM Topov allows me to 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.

R. Maximus Toeffr: But, but, but, but-t-t-t did none of the rest of you notice the subtle play on the white rear ranks! Amazing but true! The rooks exchanged places! I'm not sure what this means, or if there's a precedent. But it gives new meaning to the term, "castling."


GM Topov: In order to capitalize on my dubious attempt to create a Rolling Barrel, white has apparently given up playing the Fiancetto Feint of Fornival, in favour of a silent back-rank intra-rook exchange, to allow advanced column movement for the h pawn into the central croix area. With the Sequenced Rank Restriction still in effect, this is black's only decent reply, really, with prospects of later lateral play.


GM Topov: Qc1 was logical, and forced, especially after black's reply to the back-rank intra-rook exchange. Since we are playing with the "Rule of Sixes" (common in the modern era), neither player is allowed to unmode the dark squares in the first six moves, so Qc1 is really the only legal move that keeps the dark squares modal. I have several options with black at this stage, all of which require careful thought. Do I want to allow Austin the possibility of a Tubular Tunnel Attack along the diagonal? Or is the risk of gaining a short-shrifted knight (not in keeping with chivalry, I know, but it prevents a strong local balance near the central croix area!) too great? This could be a critical stage of the game.


GM Topov: Unbalancing the central croix area, and limiting back ranked play to the Policeman's Cuff (Tower of London Sequence, 1902).


Austin Lockwood: Absolutely brilliant! - I hope those watching this game were able to appreciate the power of this move. Of course I will now have to re-exchange my rooks and attempt to salvage some control over the fourth rank. This is the kind of play that enabled Topov to retain the world title for so many years!



GM Topov: 6...Qg5 serves well to illustrate one of the significant differences between SR Chess and Simplified SR (Common) Chess. In Common Chess, Qg5 would be a foolish and unthinkable blunder. In SR Chess, following the unbalancing of the central croix area, 5...Ng4 requires an immediate Implied Sacrificial Queen Gambit to keep the dark squares modal. So actually it is one of the few legal moves available for black at this stage, and would have been anticipated by both players already with the previous move. Since the Rule of Sixes is no longer in effect after this move, Austin will first need to dehex the left column, although re-exchanging the rooks will relieve the immediate tension created by the Sequenced Rank Restriction. For a proper understanding of the nuances behind the elementary theory behind 6...Qg5!, I refer you to GM Volga Sharpinksi's account of the semi-finals of the 1929 Russian Nationals, where GM Victor Seignovich used precisely this move on his way to defeating the reigning champion GM Vladimir Sputkin in the decisive game 17 (see Vol. 4 of Sharpinski's excellent "Exhaustive Pictorial Encyclopedia of Russian SR Chess: An Random Adventure of Memorable Stanley Moments"). It is doubtful that I can match the brilliance of Seignovich's unusual openings, so victory is far from certain, and the game seems evenly poised.

R. Maximus Toeffr: My understanding of modal play is incomplete; I have spent more time pondering the Mixolydian and Hypomixolydian modes than I have the SR Dark Squares mode mentioned above. So I am not prepared to predict with any certainty that this is indeed the Implied Sacrificial Queen Gambit. It is forced? I do not think so. In SRC, as GM GT is more aware than most, what seems obvious is often impossible - and what seems impossible is merely ineloquent. Thus it is here. The black queen has made an apparently daring leap into double jeopardy, but the sheer Austintation of the move may mean the queen is perfectly safe! Indeed the pawn at E3 (and a daring check!) may be in dire straits next, if my reading of Carpal-Tunnel's classic tome Stanley Defrocked (Full Court Press, 1894) is correct in any degree.


Austin Lockwood: Although hxg5 is rather awkward and clumsy in this context, it does have the benefit of giving significant material benefit to white, giving a possible advantage should the game reach Vollenhauser Conditions.

GM Topov: I concede that in the eyes of new players, Austin has an apparent temporary advantage, and is slightly favoured to win by Forced IMR if the game gets to VH Conditions. But the required strategy at this point needs to be carefully distinguished from that of Simplified SR (Common) Chess. Novices to SR Chess will likely not realize that the Implied Sacrificial Queen Gambit Accepted (7.hxg5) begins the onset of a fixed seven move Inverted Columbus Combination sequence (with flexible knights only). In a Simplified SR (Common) Chess game, black is clearly losing, but under SR Chess Rules, the outcome of the Inverted Columbus Combination is entirely unclear, and could very well lead to a sudden win for black. Black's play is risky, and white only needs a minor mistake to succumb to a Fort Knox blocking move, which will allow black to win by creating a forced mate in 12 with the help of a loaded rook (applying the notorious "Dirty Dozen Insequence" theorem of transposed play).


GM Topov: Setting up the long diagonal for the continuation of the Inverted Columbus Combination sequence. Note the symmetry and strength of black's pawns, which is the hallmark of this combination, and critical to its success in the later stages of the sequence.


Austin Lockwood: There was a very informative article by Dr. Nasal Splagbucket in ISRC Monthly (September 2004) refuting the Inverted Columbus Combination. Splagbucket is of the opinion that Nc3 blocks the long diagonal by virtue of the fact that white has trumps... let's try it... Oh dear - the rule parser has enforced a STAR move. Clearly Splagbucket's refutation has its flaws.


GM Topov: The final preparatory pawn move of the Inverted Columbus. Splagbucket's refutation only works when played with black, and fails to take into account that it is only adequate for white when the light squares are modal, and not the dark squares as in this game.

R. Maximus Toeffr: I just read that Splagbucket was indicted in a rather strange legal proceding. Not to change the subject too much, since it likely has some bearing on this game. It seems he was involved with an organized chess crime mob - some kind of a confidence ring involving SR Chess game fixing. Seemingly simple, his manipulation of the rules led to large sums changing hands behind the scenes at tournaments in Eastern Europe for an estimated three years before he ran afoul of the law. While this seems onerous enough, the most remarkable aspect to the case was the revelation late in the proceedings that his manipulations of the SR Chess rules resulted in NO NET CHANGE to SR Chess outcomes as expressed in STAR moves. Thus, although he was guilty of fixing the games, in fact they were played absolutely fairly.


Austin Lockwood: ...which of course explains why I didn't read Splagbucket's modal dark square exception condition, which was due to appear in October's ISRC Monthly. Instead they ran a picture exclusive of Czech SR Chess WGM Svetlana Gargoyle, who appeared dressed only in a lateral rook canon awning.


GM Topov: The Inverted Columbus gains momentum, as the first knight becomes flexible, with imminent threats to back ranked unmodal squares. Royal pieces are currently wild (Step 1 of the Snow White Step-mother Variation).


Austin Lockwood: The 'Magic Mirror' defence


GM Topov: Under the "Magic Mirror" defence (with the rook on c4 cleverly blocking the mirrored knight pairs on the b and f files!), all West Facing knights are temporarily frozen, preventing immediate material gain for black with 10...NxQ. This only works because the knight on b8 is not yet flexible, nor East Facing (as in the game attributed by legend to King Arthur against Merlin, AD866). I am beginning to question some of my earlier calculations regarding of the final stages of the Inverted Columbus, which are still very complex and unclear at this point.

The limitations of a West Facing knight reminds me of a curious incident that occurred at the All England SR Chess Championships in 1897. With Queen Victoria herself in attendance, the legendary GM Lord Humberton-Snapf was playing teenage sensation GM Reed Redding-Hood (nicknamed "the Wolf" on account of his large ears) for the title. When Redding-Hood played the illegal Ng4 by mistake, Queen Victoria herself (resplendent in a short red dress that even Czech SR Chess WGM Svetlana Gargoyle would have been afraid to wear) stood up and proclaimed a STAR move. Significantly, the Queen adjusted all knights to make them East Facing instead of West Facing, an act intepreted by later scholarship as expressing latent sympathies for the communism that would emerge in Eastern Europe. Humberton-Snapf was dressed as a bagpiper in honor of the occasion, complete with a set of bagpipes which he been using to play "Scotland the Brave" - most dreadfully, according to later newspaper reports - during his own thinking time. Following the STAR move, he launched into a solemn rendition of "Amazing Grace", and then performed a particularly daring Gladstone Goodge Street Gambit using one of the East Facing knights. It is common knowledge that he followed this two moves later with the now famous Camden Co-axial Combination, which led to his spectacular win 64 moves later. But it just goes to show how critical the knight alignment can be.

Second Set


Austin Lockwood: A fascinating story - not only is GM Topov one of the best players of the modern era, his knowledge of the history of SRC is second to none!

GM Topov: The daring adventures of my knight on f2 have come to a sudden end. It must be removed from the board, since, Austin has chosen to exercise his "Free Defrocked Knight Capture" option (usually allowed only once during the game, with written permission required from the chief adjudicator) on this move in view of the incredible pressure being exerted on his royal pieces.


GM Topov: Note that the eleventh move brings us into the Second Set of play. Following the completion of the First Set (after move 10), at this point the board is traditionally turned around, with both players switching sides to reduce any possible advantage due to seating position. Naturally it is impossible to implement this over the internet, and Austin is slightly advantaged by this limitation. In France, the players also exchange the black and white pieces after every Set, to eliminate any advantage that might be mentally associated with a certain colour. This is referred to in SR Chess circles with the term "l'échange de couleur". Note that the board and piece position does not change, but merely the colour of the player's pieces. Due to technological limitations, has not yet been able to implement "l'échange de couleur" at this point, but funding has just been received from the French government to allow a team of fifteen programmers to begin this important project.


Austin Lockwood: Unfortunately the fifteen French programmers found my copy of October's ISRC Monthly (with the picture exclusive of Czech SRC WGM Svetlana Gargoyle), so they haven't managed to get any work done yet!

GM Topov: I can't be entirely certain yet, but it appears possible that Austin has found a completely stunning and unprecedented refutation of the Inverted Columbus! With some desperate play, black perhaps has one final opportunity to rescue this aggressive and complex line.


GM Topov: Of historical interest is that the French "l'échange de couleur" tradition (exchanging colours at the end of the First Set of ten moves) became popular in England when the French SR Chess WGM Marie Antoinette Lautier married into the Stanley family in 1885. Marie brought the "l'échange de couleur" tradition with her to England, where it had an immediate influence on cricket. At that time, the French "l'échange de couleur" practice included stopping for a 40 minute tea break after the First, Second and Third Set. Both players were provided with tea and cucumber sandwiches, or - if their religious beliefs forbade cucumber sandwiches - milk and cookies. This practice was immediately adopted in cricket, and is still evident in the lunch and tea breaks common to modern day Test Cricket, although it is not common knowledge that this practice originates with SR Chess. Former International cricketer Ian Botham is currently working on a book on the subject, entitled "Test Cricket's Silent Debt: The Influence of 19th Century Stanley Random Chess on Modern Cricket." I recently received an advance copy of his manuscript to scrutinize for historical accuracy. In the fifteen chapter, "On Uniforms", Botham notes that Test cricket's practice of wearing white clothing also originates with SR Chess, since French SR Chess players were expected to wear uniforms that matched the colour of their pieces. Botham argues rather persuasively that to be consistent with original SR Chess traditions, one cricket team should be dressed in black, as was originally the case with SR Chess, and that the two teams should exchange uniforms during the lunch and tea breaks, in the true spirit of the "l'échange de couleur" tradition. Botham believes the uniform exchange would also promote a greater harmony among players, particularly in international Test series between India and Pakistan. The idea certainly has merit, although it must be admitted that modern SR Chess no longer retains all these traditions about uniform. Note that no tea breaks may be taken once VH Conditions come into effect after the Third Set.

Nanashi No-Gombe: (Interrupt27) I hope that White realizes that this is quite a precarious position. Although the pawns have the advantage of equal weighting of the diagonals, both the Knights and Rooks are not. Fortunately, these two pairs are not located on a same diagonal pattern. But White will need to adjust this condition before the next Set. Black is a great position. With the over-extension of White's Rook, Black can now exercise the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit. This is a recent variation (less than one hundred years old) of the Lateral Rook Catapult permitted with correspondence games. White would be wise to take precautions.


Austin Lockwood: Ah yes, I forgot about the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit - perfected in 1907 by GM Joăo da Silva in his famous world title challenge against GM Lord Humberton-Snapf. I believe the absence of l'échange de couleur in this game should minimise the damage.

GM Topov: As an aside, for the benefit of novices not familiar with terminology or scoring: Each set of ten moves (for both players) of a SR Chess game is regarded as a "Set". Since it is rare for a game to conclude in the First Set (within the first ten moves), a First Set Win is naturally worth more points than a Second Set Win (within the first twenty moves) or a Third Set Win (thirty moves). Games that conclude under VH Conditions are regarded as a "Final Set Win", and are worth the least points.


GM Topov: The game is now entering the final thrilling stages of the Inverted Columbus. 13...O-O results in a loaded rook, and naturally continues black's plan for concluding the Inverted Columbus with the Lateral Rook Catapult. But now that white has the possibility of developing the knight on a3 into an East Facing Knight (with immediate modal privileges), the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit might no longer be a satisfactory conclusion to the I.C. combination, particularly because the game is already in the Second Set.

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.


GM Topov: As always, the remarks of my long-time friend and fellow SR Chess enthusiast Nanashi No-Gombe demonstrate a perceptive insight and keen understanding of SR Chess strategy that far outshines his status as an amateur. He is in fact an expert on the subject, with an encyclopedic knowledge of SR Chess history and terminology. It is regrettable that much of this traditional SR Chess terminology and strategy is unfamiliar to players of Common Chess today. This is the sad consequence of the Great SR Chess Purge in the mid-nineteenth century. The Great SR Chess Purge is Nanashi's special area of historical interest, and he is regarded as a leading authority in the field. It is from his recent publication on the subject ("The Great SR Chess Purge: The Muzzling of Memories and the Corruption of a Classic", Stanley Random Chess Monthly, Vol. XLIII, No. 4) that I have learned that it involved the systematic cleansing of SR Chess materials from libraries and schools, apparently as a result of high ranking leaders developing a fierce antagonism toward the game. Sadly, this accounts for a great deal of the general public ignorance about SR Chess, and the popularity of its inferior and simplified variant, Common Chess.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The Great SR Chess Purge was a very dark time in history. So many public pantsings, so many hurled chess sets. We must never forget.


GM Topov: The final move of the Inverted Columbus, capturing the Silent Knight on f3. The piece acquired its name as a result of a scandal involving Australian GM Joseph Farnarkle, who was playing a blindfolded simul as part of a Christmas Charity Exhibition Series at a local shopping mall in Sydney on December 25, 1929. The ASRCF (Australian SR Chess Federation) had suspicions that Farnarkle was cheating during blindfolded games, and had dispatched two undercover agents disguised among the crowd. When Farnarkle's six-year old son was over-heard loudly telling his father that the knight on f3 was a West Facing Knight, and not an East Facing Knight as he believed, the ASRCF agents were prevented from arresting Farnarkle by the large crowd that was in attendance. The crowd's alcohol induced merriment soon turned ugly as they took the law into their own hands. Entirely unappreciative of Farnarkle's efforts to cheat by having his son speak to him about the game, the audience virtually lynched the Australian GM. He was stripped naked, forced to swallow both his knights, gagged with his blindfold, and so forcibly silenced for two hours until police reinforcements were able to dispel the crowd. Appropriately, a West Facing Knight on f3 has since been termed the "Silent Knight", and is even said to have inspired a popular song of the same name.

Regrettably 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: 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 accidently 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: Thank you for those excellent remarks about the regulating of charade interpreters. Nanashi recently published a monograph about the regulation of SR Chess. I share his opinion that the official regulation of SR Chess traditions has much improved the game, particularly the "Licensing of Distractors" provision that became mandatory since the Fourth SR Chess Convention of Lisbon, 1852. But perhaps Nanashi is best equipped to inform us about that, since one of his ancestors was present in person at the Convention, and was particularly adept at the difficult art of distraction.


Austin Lockwood: gxf3 is permitted on the fifth move of the Second Set (I was slightly worried that a STAR move would be declared there). My apologies if I am slow to move over the next few days - I will be presenting a paper entitled 'SRC on the Internet - Fantasy or Reality?' at the annual CCSRC conference in Prague. I am hoping to share the podium with Czech SR Chess WGM Svetlana Gargoyle.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The Fourth SR Chess Convention was significant because it was held during the height of the Great SR Chess Purge. Regional representatives were forced to travel incognito in order to attend, since Anti-SR Chess activists guarded most major ports and roads. My great-great-grand uncle, Nanashi no Takana, was able to make his way disquised as an emu. Because of the growing popularity of utilizing distractors, this subject was scheduled an entire day. In general there was great admiration for the practice of distraction, for many grandmasters had began their careers as distractors, but it was generally agreed that freelance, or un-declared, distractors were to be regulated. The enforcement of such regulation only applies to competition games. Private or exhibition games are still consider an open forum for the amateur distractor, or Non-rated Nuisance. For more information you might pick up "SR Chess Distraction for Beginners: Introduction and History" at your local SR Chess reading room. It has a fair number of diagrams demonstrating many of the classical facial expressions and hand gestures. But for the individual who is serious about distraction, I would suggest attending the Royal SR Chess Distractors Academy in Nuku'alofa, Tonga. It is a twenty-year course and guarantees the student the rank of Confuser Fourth Class upon successful completion.

The entire foundation of the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit is based upon the willingness of players to share the same field. This does not preclude captures, just the fact that neither player has resorted to flicking the opponent's pieces off the board. But the true test of the gambit is after the game when both players are able to successfully declare themselves the winner, regardless of the final position.

GM Topov: 15.gxf3 is a disastrous move for black, and confirms that Austin has indeed found a revolutionary refutation of the seven-move Inverted Columbus that black commenced with the daring 6...Qg5. Although the calculations were enormous at the time, I had retained the faint prospect of a frozen defence allowing the subtle 15...BxQ at the conclusion of the sequence, and so minimizing white's material advantage in the Final Set under VH Conditions. In retrospect, the Implied Sacrificial Queen Gambit of 6...Qg5 was unsound, and may prove to be the losing move. Nonetheless it was so beautiful I couldn’t force myself not to play it. Even if I lose the game, the rich sequence that followed was one of the most brilliant of my career. I am still pleased that I played Qg5 because of the beauty, and it would certainly have led to a winning sequence if it wasn’t for this miracle defence, gxf3, which prevented any variation of the Lateral Rook Catapult, including the Iberian-Karkarese Gambit.

This reminds me of a similar losing move played by Vladimir Marknik against the inventor Frank Bughouse (whose late brother John invented suicide chess) in an unofficial friendly match in Bahrain, 1902. Frank's brilliant physicist father Sir Fritz invented atomic chess, and the match was sponsored by his employer, Nuke Leer Games. As part of his atomic research, it was standard procedure for Fritz to blitz away an afternoon trying to capture the energy from lightning. He did not have a pleasant personality, and was regarded as somewhat of a loser, a mere pawn in the hands of the king of Bohemia. But they did knight him for his efforts after his work was checked and found to be good material. Fritz had to make many sacrifices for his career, and the end of his life was marked by tragic losses. Following the death of his wife Alekhina - the pair were a perfect match - Fritz ended up getting a good position in the king's castle, but spent much of his last years locked in a dark square room diagonally across from the king's bishop. I will not recount the tragic details about his son Fritz Junior, whom a local fischerman found floating with the royal carp of the deep blue palace moat, brutally skewered to death with kitchen forks, his face craftily shredded beyond recognition. In view of thse tragedies, Sir Fritz admitted in his Memoirs that Frank's victory over Marknik was one of his few joys, even insisting that the moves of the game be engraved on his tombstone upon his death.

Nanashi No-Gombe: Under the Bavarian Wurzt Estimate point system, the Implied Sacrificial Queen Gambit is rated lemon-brick-tuesday on the Tippy and Rodgers scale. GM Lady Cecilia Gladstone-Wedge was able to get this adjusted by a half-titch after successfully tossing her lapdog Sweetums across the Thames into a standard waste-paper basket.

R. Maximus Toeffr: It was this canine-flinging event that subsequently inspired Sir Orville Snoodley to attempt and nearly complete the first recorded (in tournament play, at any rate) SRC maneuver initially called the "Terrier Flight" (later simply referred to as the "Snoodly-Sweetums Projection"), It involved a small dog, the afore-mentioned basket, and several pawns arranged in a pleasing fashion along the river bank. Pastries and inedible meat pies were sold as the contestants prepared themselves for the clash. Insults were hurled, caught, and returned like tennis balls at Wimbledon. Knowing spectators placed bets. As stick-wielding bobbies kept the rabble from the chess table, Sir Orville's mostly-forgotten opponent, Baron Heinrich von Schmeinrick, produced a spare Knight on the board behind his opponent's King in what was later to be thought of as a terrible mistake. However, when the puppy-flinging commenced, it became clear that this move was indeed brilliant. The puppy missed the basket. Muttering, the crowd tossed a few meat-pies at the contestants and stomped away. Sir Orville tipped his King and the event would have been forgotten had the terrier not swam back across the river and bitten Sir Orville in a rather personal place. Sir Orville, his dignity now gone where his game had led, howled in agony and threw the board and all the pieces in to the air. When they fell to earth, they landed in checkmate position: Schmeinrick was the loser! However, since Sir Orville had already conceded, this remarkable evocation of whole-board STAR adjustment was judged interesting but irrelevant, and the game written off as yet another rather ordinary SRC match.

15...Ra7 (Reversed Inverse
Lateral Rook Catapult)


GM Topov: The Reversed Inverse Lateral Rook Catapult is a risky but bold maneuver, effective only in the case of immediately stone-walled (frozen) pieces.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The player not familiar with SR Chess would assume that 16. RxR is an optimal move. But having a pair of Rooks on the same file and located within the same diagonal pattern initiates the mandatory Poetic Amore. The offending player has the choice of author and work which will be recited, but the large pink tu-tu is still required. Because this is a correspondence exhibition game, proof of completion of the Poetic Amore can be provided with either photos or film.

GM Topov: The completion of the fifteenth move marks the middle of the Second Set, and is traditionally called the "Punto Intermedio" (not to be confused with the "Punto Que Comienza" or the "Punto Final"). This Spanish term designates the middle point of the game, and was first used in 1815 by the Puerto Rican grandmaster Juan del Pueblo, infamous for the bizarre costumes worn by his support team of two distractors, and his eccentric requirement that games only be played with his own set of SR Chess pieces which were hand-carved out of beeswax by his grandfather. Although the next Tea Break is only scheduled at the end of the Second Set, it is customary for all pawns to be shuffled at the "Punto Intermedio". This mandatory Pawn Shuffle (Bauer-schlurfen) is a process where the same coloured pawns trade cells, and does not affect the current board position.

This practice of Bauer-schlurfen originated in the late nineteenth century following a friendly match between Queen Victoria and Gustavus, Crown Prince of Sweden. At that time, matches between royal personages were played on a huge oval, with life sized pieces and soldiers in costume. This particular game was played in stormy conditions, and the two unfortunate foot-soldiers assigned to the role of Queen Victoria's pawns on a2 and b2 had not moved after five hours of play, despite the game being well into the Third Set. They subsequently developed serious cramps as a result of poor blood circulation, and one later died of hypothermia in a British hospital. Following an inquest, a SR Chess Improvement Commission was established in Edinburgh, with Queen Victoria presiding. The outcome was a Royal Decree that stipulated a mandatory pawn shuffle at the "Punto Intermedio", to ensure the physical movement of all pawns at some point of game, and to prevent any similar tragedies. Even though it had no effect on the game, the Decree was also applied strictly to over-the-board games.

In modern times, the Bauer-schlurfen is conducted as a very solemn ceremony, with players donning white gloves, and accompanied by a solo trumpeter playing the Last Post. Scholarship is still undecided on the question of whether the original intention of the Decree required the Bauer-schlurfen to be done right handed or left handed, and sadly there is no uniformity of practice in this respect. Naturally these accompanying traditions are quite impossible to implement over the internet. However if you look closely, you will notice that does implement an automated randomized pawn shuffle at the "Punto Intermedio", with all pawns of the same colour exchanging places.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The determination of the Bauer-schlurfen, whether it be right-hand or left-hand, is often accomplished with the use of two six-sided dice. Each player is allowed to toss a die. The one who is able to get their die to land squarely on top of the other player's head has the option of direction. Some have advocated the Random Bauer-schlurfen. This is accomplished by placing all the Pawns in a cloth bag, hitting it repeatedly with a large angry badger, then drawing out the Pawns blindfolded.


GM Topov: Being unable to complete the provisions of the mandatory Poetic Amore, white cannot capture black's a7 rook. While Rc8 is one of white's only means of escaping a Reversed Inverse Lateral Rook Catapult on the 7th rank, it could prove vulnerable to a Back Ranked Reversed Inverse Lateral Rook Catapult.

Nanashi No-Gombe: It is not often that someone new to SR Chess makes such a beautiful move. It has brought a tear to my eye. Not only has it balanced the diagonals for White but it has placed Black in the unfortunate position of having to forego any possible chance of the Counter-clockwise Spinning Knight Exchange.


GM Topov: Having balanced the diagonals, White's rook is holding, and is well placed to take advantage of black being unable to implement the Counter-clockwise Spinning Knight Exchange.

Nanashi No-Gombe: Black's use of the Fierce Knight Advancement is quite bold. Most opponents will fail to realize the influence that it brings to the overall position of the playing field. Simply by threatening both his Rook and Pawn, he has guaranteed their absolute fidelity. There is now little chance that these two particular pieces will desert. Still that Pawn in the 'h' file is looking a bit dodgy, giving half a chance it might decide to bolt.

GM Topov: R. Maximus Toeffr's account of Sir Orville Snoodley and a whole-board STAR adjustment is a splendid one. The notion of a whole-board STAR adjustment is certainly not apocryphal, although in that particular game it was discounted on account of Sir Orville's unfortunate premature resignation. It is especially closely connected with the "l'échange de conseil" tradition, of which mention has been made earlier. Under this tradition, the board is turned around at the end of every Set, and both players switch sides in order to eliminate any seating advantage. In France the "l'échange de conseil" tradition is combined with "l'échange de couleur" tradition to eliminate colour advantage.

Already in the early nineteenth century, it was noted that some players (particularly those involved with SR Chess game fixing) were using the "l'échange de conseil" as an opportunity to deliberately disturb the arrangement of pieces on the board, using their sleeves to adjust the position to their advantage. This abhorrent practice became known as the "Poco Manica Effect," and was particularly favoured and prevalent in gambling circles. Players of questionable heritage and inferior skill became especially proficient in developing special tricks in order to accomplish the effect. Especially noteworthy were the different manoeuvres involving cuff-links and shirt sleeves, including the development of magnetic cuff-links and over-sized shirt sleeves with buttoned chains.

The influence of "Poco Manica Effect" on clothing fashion was inevitable, particularly in countries where player uniforms were mandatory. In order to discourage deliberate attempts to use the "Poco Manica Effect" to seek an unfair advantage, at the recommendation of the SR Chess Improvement Commission, a Royal Uniform Decree was issued that restricted the size of shirt sleeves and cuffs to carefully defined limits. All players entering the tournament hall were subject to an examination by a "Uniform Inspector" before competition, where the provisions of the Royal Uniform Decree were strictly enforced. Although "Uniform Inspectors" have resisted unionization, they remain a strictly regulated profession, requiring impeccable credentials, extensive playing experience, a thorough criminal check, and the completion of a sixteen year program at the Conservatory of SR Chess in Berne, Switzerland. Of historical interest is the fact that in Europe, for a time, short sleeves were mandatory, but this provision was stricken on account of the difficulties it created for those playing outdoor games. The narrow sleeves and distinguished cuffs usually worn by SR Chess players today preserves the traditions of the Royal Uniform Decree, and consequently the "Poco Manica Effect" is rarely seen in modern competitive play.

In contrast to the "Poco Manica Effect" is the more legitimate "Grande Tavola Effect". This is when a player disturbs the arrangement of pieces on the board by accident. Note that the only real distinction between the two effects is the intention and the result (I am indebted to my good friend Nanashi No-Gombe, from whom I learned much about the precise distinctions between the "Poco Manica Effect" and the "Grande Tavola Effect"). Two important conditions must be met before a "Grande Tavola Effect" can be accepted and declared by an adjudicator. Firstly, no playing piece must remain in its original position, and secondly, the resulting position must not advantage the player who caused the effect. In the event that the tournament adjudicator accepts a "Grande Tavola Effect", he effectively proclaims an entire-board STAR move.

The "Grande Tavola Effect" has on occasion caused surprising results in tournament play. The most recent incident involved GM Edgar Mildew of Great Britain several decades ago, in an international match against German GM Karl Marx, a third cousin of the famous Marx Brothers. With the championship at stake, GM Marx was easily winning the game, despite giving up a slender material advantage. He announced a 23 move forced mate (which would win the game and the title) by thunderously announcing "Mein Sieg" (My Victory), and thumping his fist on the table. When all the pieces settled back onto the board, it was discovered that the resulting arrangement classified as a legal pattern under VH Conditions. The tournament adjudicator announced a "Grande Tavola Effect", and the entire-board STAR move allowed GM Mildew to create a Forced I.M.R. on the next move. Marx was shortly afterwards admitted into a mental asylum, and is rumoured to be working on publishing a novel about the game under the title "Mein Sieg", and its sequel, "Mein Kampf".

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.

One of the most notable cases of SR Chess fixing occured 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: 17.d3 is a reckless and stunning move creating a pawn formation reminiscent of Lord Cardigan's powerful "Charge of the White Brigade" (1854). This unexpected move throws into complete disarray Black's plans of using cavalry to implement a Fierce Knight Advancement (Stage 2). GM Pierre Bosquet would undoubtedly say: "C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la échecs" ("It is magnificent, but it is not Chess.") Which of course it isn't, because it is SR Chess, and that's what makes it such a brilliant move.


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.


Austin Lockwood: Unfortunately there are no legal moves available here, so I am forced to play a 'cheat' move. Cheat moves may be played at any point in the seventh dodecadent as long as the arbiter or the other player don't notice.

GM Topov: Under the fairly recent (early 20th century) Second Left Amendment to SR Chess rules (Rule 56B, sub-section xvii, para 3, Revised Elementary Version), in the highly unusual event that a player has no legal moves, "the adjudicator shall grant the aforementioned player a `Free' move." This `Free' move is sometimes referred to by critics of this Second Left Amendment as the so-called `Cheat' move, although the term is misleading and entirely unfair to the player who plays this move. Before creating a position without any legal moves, a player must first create a Locked Board pattern, the difficulty of which cannot be underestimated. The "Free" move is an appropriate reward for achieving this remarkable effect, and under its provisions the player is permitted to move any piece to any square of the board. So it is obvious that because there is no legal move, Austin's move is in fact fully legal.

Austin is also entirely correct that a `Free' move can only be played when the Arbiter and other player are not looking. But perhaps more should be said for those not familiar with this tradition. A long-standing practice requires both the Arbiter and the opponent to be blindfolded during the placement of the `Free' move. When the blindfolds are removed, both the Arbiter and the opponent engage in a "Unlocked Board Identification Challenge" (U.B.I.C.), to determine who can identify the free move first. An extraordinary Tea Break (referred to as the "Free Move Tea Break") is first taken to allow the placing of bets on the outcome, a practice that has been revolutionized by internet betting.

Since the inaugural U.B.I.C. in 1921 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, SR Chess periodicals have published detailed "Arbiter Statistics and U.B.I.C. Odds", which are closely studied by dedicated punters and gamblers. Statistically 55.6% of Unlocked Board Identification Challenges are won by the Arbiter, but some Arbiters are known to have greater identification skills, which oddly enough is usually directly proportional to their shoe size. Collector cards featuring particularly successful Arbiters in the U.B.I.C. have been issued by cereal box companies, and the limited edition collector card featuring Grand Arbiter Augustus Milverton of the UK is rumoured to be worth a million pounds. Due to legislation restricting rewards, the ISRCA is unable to award prizes to the winners of the U.B.I.C., although it is customary to give the Arbiter a case of beer should he win the Challenge. With the introduction of legalized betting in 1929, supervision of the application of blindfolds has been the responsibility of the trained tournament "Uniform Inspector." Blindfolds are usually tightened with a torque wrench according to the official specifications stipulated by ISRCA regulations, and calculated with a complex mathematical formula that includes as variables the competitor's weight in pounds, his current IQ, and the number of socks in his top drawer. A rigorous program of random drug testing is now also in effect.

Two Spanish Arbiters were recently court-martialed and promptly shot after attempting to bribe a Uniform Inspector to allow them to use see-through blindfolds. Although it was first suspected that the Arbiters were guilty of illegal U.B.I.C. Fixing (a federal offense, strictly punishable with death), it was discovered following their execution that they had a history of alcoholism, and were merely trying to win the beer. Unfortunately time does not permit me to describe the other traditions associated with the Free Move Tea Break, including the table-top surfing contest, the bearded clam hunt, the great peanut spit, and the sale of roasted turnips and souvenir dental floss manufactured from grandmaster nose hair (each individually numbered and accompanied with an autographed certificate of authenticity). The Salvation Army band is also usually in attendance.

Mention should be made of the remarkable events that transpired at the 1952 Olympiad, when grandmaster Paddy O'Larry (who is half Irish, half German, and half Italian, and also rather overweight, but was playing for his adopted country Poland at the time) chose to decline his Free Move in favour of retaining the Locked Board Position. His lawyers later proved conclusively that although declining the Free Move is illegal, it becomes legal as a Free Move by virtue of it being illegal. So although the board was technically in an illegal position, it was in fact a legal move, even though no Free Move had been played. After spending 16 hours trying to discover the non-existent Free Move, O'Larry's Swedish opponent and the Arbiter both developed severe psychotic delusions, and O'Larry won the game by default after his opponent was judged mentally incapable of continuing the game, and admitted to a local asylum for the mentally disturbed where he still spends all of his waking hours pondering the position on a chess board. After his retirement from SR Chess due to undignified blood and an artificial pulse, O'Larry became a scientist and invented the circulation of blood. Later in his career he combined with Isaac Newton to invent gravity, which indirectly had a profound effect on the further development and play of SR Chess in the years that followed.

Nanashi No-Gombe: In addition to his great assistance in the invention of Gravity, Paddy O'Larry was able to determine the absolute measurement of Time. Using a common yardstick, he was able to confirm that Time could be careful stacked in an area no larger than the state of Wisconsin. And if anyone was missing Time, that they should check there first.

bjordan: Finally...the move the fans have been waiting for! The thorny thrust is thematic in the Genevan, creating a minor threat to Blacks right butterflied knight, but more importantly, unmoding the left wing complexes. I am in awe of Austin's deft play in this game. The feint, the third rank rampart, and now this. GM Topov better generate some counterplay quickly!

Nanashi No-Gombe: White has definitely shown some nice intuitive thought with this game. Forcing Black to un-balance the diagonals with his Rooks, refusing to move his Queen and leaving that dangling Pawn on the 'g' file. Not to mention all that has been mentioned, it can be said that Austin definitely demonstrates many of the characteristics which ISRCA looks for in its members. Now all that is required for admission is the quasi-obligatory bathing-suit and the yodeling contest.


GM Topov: Austin has used his Free Move to good effect, and now that the Cartesian shadow begins to descend on black's half of the board, there is a real danger I could suffer further material loss should he successfully create a sudden eclipse.

R. Maximus Toeffr: Well, Black's rook capture has evened things up considerably. But Black is still at a distinct material disadvantage. Austin's offence has had a devestating effect on GM Topov in this game so far! A remarkable achievement indeed and one he should be proud of. I'd like to point out Austin's statistics to date in SR Chess. He's won fully 50% of his games and drawn a full 15.5%, placing him well within the range of expertise for elevation to the ranks of SR Chess Quasi-master for International play, and of course it means he rules SR Chess play at the local pub. GM Topov, whose remarkable 100% win record at SR Chess (at SchemingMind) is, however, world class. How much longer it shall remain at 100%, what with Austin's powerful attack, remains to be seen.

Nanashi No-Gombe: In the current position, White has seriously unbalanced the diagonals with Pawns. The refusal to budge the Queen has off-set much of the negative connotations resulting from this condition. Still Black forced to make the RxR move was a stroke of genius. Could this be the beginning of a Lurking Bishop Threat? The first sign will be the initial Bishop swap.

GM Topov: I stand corrected on an earlier observation. Apparently I was misinformed when I suggested that gravity and the circulation of blood were invented by former SR Chess GM Patrick O'Larry. This is of course a ridiculous notion. They were in fact invented by his third cousin once removed, Larry O'Patrick. O'Patrick was a powerful man (reputed never to have lost an arm wrestle with his secretary throughout his scientific tenure) who showed scientific promise from an early age. His mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin that he built with his own hands, but he had absolutely no interest in SR Chess. I do apologize for the mistake, which was largely caused by relying on the corrupted secondary sources provided by Sir Walter Augustus Snozdorkle in his "Unscientific American".

Nanashi No-Gombe: It should be noted that Patrick O'Larry and Larry O'Patrick were born conjoined. It wasn't until they reached middle-age that doctors risked seperating them, since this connection was through their mothers. Before this, and even years after, they were notorious for taking credit for each other's achievements.

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: The ramifications of the Great SR Chess Purge are immense. This can be seen not only in the confusion of the history of SR Chess but also in the confusion of history in general. This accounts for the massive increase in conspiracy theories during the mid-20th century and continuing until now. Anti-SR Chess activists, or Anti-Stanleys, did not consider the impact that merely changing one small detail could have on the flow of historical fact, never mind the attempt to eradicate one of the most influential developments of mankind. But the ISRCA fully intends to live up to its motto: Inconstans constantia in constans inconstantia.

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: Rest assured that the slight glitch with the ISRCA database is being rectified. Carl the Janitor is standing by with the calibrated sledge-hammer. He's had weeks of training and is not afraid to use it.


GM Topov: Seeking to simplify the game, and eliminate the complication caused by the two pawns on the c-file. This line is also a sound philosophical refutation of Darwinism.

The Great SR Chess Purge affected literature as well as history. It is not yet common knowledge that Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy was originally a classic non-fiction primer on SR Chess entitled "Lord of the Kings". Tolkien was a closet grandmaster who attended international SR Chess tournaments in disguise (usually as a French detective under the name Hercule Poirot). The title of his original Vol. 3, "The Return of the King," (which dealt with checkmating positions and creating Forced IMRs under VH Conditions) somehow escaped the notice of the Purge Team, and is original. The original Vol. 1, "The Fellowship of the King," dealt with the movement of the Queen and Pawns (later substituted with a wizard and hobbits, which is actually a Welsh mis-spelling of "rabbits"), while Vol. 2, "The Two Towers," dealt with Rooks.

Changing GM Tolkien's classic work on SR Chess into a childish and superficial fantasy story was the result of four years of work by a Purge Team of seventeen monks in a remote Welsh monastery. Friar Tuck was one of the few monks who refused to cooperate with the project, which was led by an abbot who had sympathies for the anti-Stanleys (Anti-SR Chess activists), apparently as a result of a childhood incident involving a loaded rook and a severe case of diarrhea. Friar Tuck's subsequent execution by hanging is commemorated in SR Chess circles today with a position known as "the hanging bishop," and it is customary to have two minutes of silence whenever this position arises.

For many years all four volumes of Tolkien's original work were used as the standard introductory textbook at the Taco Belle School of SR Chess. The original Vol. 4 (on Knights and Bishops), which Tolkien himself regarded as the best in the series, was discarded and burned by the monastic Purge Team when they tired of the project. This explains the confusion of contemporary literary scholars at the absence of a fourth book in the modern fantasy series dealing with the future of the elves in the Gray Havens. If the Team had completed the project, we would most certainly know what happened. But as it is, the world has lost a classic work on SR Chess, in exchange for a childish story about elves and rabbits (or in Welsh: hobbits).

Other notable literary works produced by the Welsh monks include "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" (originally an account of the classic blindfolded simul between GM Goldie Lox of Scotland and the Tree Top Trumpeters Team at the 1802 Scottish SR Chess Country Classic) and "The Three Little Pigs" (originally about the brilliant Wolfgang triplets from Germany). But the influence of SR Chess is most apparent in Lewis Carroll's "Through the Looking Glass". His identical twin, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was a grandmaster in SR Chess and originally wrote the book as a biography on British GM Alice Cooper and her subsequent transition from SR Chess to the cosmetic industry. When Dodgson was imprisoned for heresy and refusing to recant his beliefs in SR Chess, his twin Carroll was assigned the task of "purging" his brother's book, a task he accomplished while being rather drunk, which explains why he failed to remove most of the references to SR Chess. While completing the work in an intoxicated state, Carroll is rumoured to have broken the looking glass itself, and had seven years of bad luck.

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.

Nanashi No-Gombe: Everyone knows that the Internet, like the Mind, is a trans-dimensional medium which attempting to encompass not only this universe but an infinite parallel universes. And if there is infinite potential in a single universe, how much potential is there in an infinite of universes? So not only is anything possible, it is inevitable. Or was that just something I read on a cereal box?


Austin Lockwood: You'll be pleased to learn that the 198th Czech SRC conference went very well - I had the opportunity to present WGM Svetlana Gargoyle with a highly polished commemorative bishop on behalf of the BSRCF.

GM Topov: My, my, Austin, now that is exciting! From another player who is a close friend of WGM Svetlana Gargoyle, I learned that the official term for the garbled transmission that R. Maximus Toeffr refers to is a "Stanley Transmitted Distortion" (STD). It is especially associated with the "Loose Madame", a queen move which the Russians (with Black) apparently played with their sixth move 6...Qg5. Remarkably, that is identical to what was played in the current game, as are the other six opening moves! I have just learned that at the 198th Czech SR Chess Conference, WGM Gargoyle presented a paper with the thesis that this Exhibition Game is in fact the very game that would have resulted had the lunar missions continued! Both the Americans and Russians are watching the game very closely, because depending on the outcome of this game, the result of the Cold War may need to be adjusted, and we could see a global shift of power.

As R. Maximus Toeffr has mentioned, the original game ended after six moves. On one point he is misinformed, however. The lunar game did not end in a premature VollenHauser, but in a stalemate, only because both countries refused to move (which explains why neither side won the Cold War). At the Conference, WGM Gargoyle displayed photographs obtained from ISRCA headquarters showing that the clocks of both sides ran down at the exact same moment in 1989, which meant that the game was a dead draw. This remarkable outcome overloaded the ISRCA server that was monitoring the game, and the resulting electronic spike triggered the collapse of the Berlin Wall at the same instant. Thankfully a stalemate has not been the case in this online game, and we can expect a definitive result. It is remarkable to think that this game could change history! I have already received a telephone call from US President George Bush, offering me a bribe of US $3.5 million to lose the game deliberately by playing Kh6 on my next move and let the Americans, err, White, win. Unfortunately Bush does not appear to be sufficiently acquainted with the rules of SR Chess, so I have not yet accepted and am holding out for a higher offer.


GM Topov: Despite receiving another 37 phone calls from the White House this morning, and an unexplained inflation of my Swiss bank account, I have been unable to persuade George Bush's political advisers otherwise, and he stubbornly remains firm in his conviction that 20...Kh6 is the only legal (and losing) move at this point. I suspect that his political ambitions for a Cold War victory are clouding his SR Chess thinking. Naturally Kh6 is impossible, because it would place Black's king in a cross-checking position, so it is not a legal move. So I have decided to pass on the US$3.5 million for now (chicken feed, really), and not risk of being indicted by the ISRCA Grand Jury for International War Fixing. Instead I have opted to create a twin telescopic rook configuration on the c-file.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The Twin Telescopic Rook configuration is one of the most interesting positions 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.

GM Topov: The completion of move 20 brings us to the end of the Second Set, and a much needed Tea Break (perhaps the Americans and Russians thought the Tea Break was after the sixth lunar move, which would explain how the stalemate came about?). The British SR Chess Federation (BSRCF) has introduced some novel changes to this penultimate Tea Break, in order to attract younger players to SR Chess Tournaments. At BSRCF sanctioned tournaments, pop group Atomic Kitten (Tash, Jenny & Lil) will be performing live. The presence of this star act means that the correct annotation for this Tea Break is three STARs, plus an extra STAR for the novelty - it is in fact a four-STARred non-move. Under the new British rules, all the chess pieces are dipped in flourescent paint at the conclusion of the Tea Break, the lights are turned off, and the Third Set is played in complete darkness. The darkness has created new problems more of a social nature, such teenaged groping, and buttock pinching. An amendment to the revision has been proposed which would see either the introduction of mandatory seat-belts (to prevent illicit excursions by teenagers under the cover of darkness), or the lights turned back on for the Third Set and all players wearing 3D glasses. These British innovations are making somewhat of a mockery of the game, and are being frowned upon with extreme disfavour by the conservative High Board of the ISRCA. Thankfully these absurd practices they are not in place here for the Tea Break, and merely implements the standard lubrication of all on-board pieces with 5wt motor oil, and the optional consumption of unpixelled donuts and polyuploaded lemonade for the players.

Third Set


Nanashi No-Gombe: Sir Edgar Woosey, also know as the Sleeping Grandmaster, was renowned for appearing at a match dressed only in his pajamas, a rather ragged housecoat and fuzzy bunny slippers. He would immediately sit himself on his side of the field and drop off. Jenny Kafka, an excellent distractor of the rank "Second Class Worrier", would prod him with a stick upon the turn. She was rarely necessary to perform anything else since the decibel level of Sir Woosey's snoring was often sufficient to drive most opponents from the room. When thus enticed, Sir Woosey would muttered some apparent un-intelligible from his constant narcoleptic state. Most of these statements being filled with symbolisms, it was left to the judges to determine their meaning using a copy of "One and One-Half Dozen Dreams Interpreted" by Rellim Suvatsug and a random sampling from spectators' handbags. Sir Woosey's most famous winning move was "peanut bitter want glub-glub". Fans of SR Chess will never forget that game.

White's last move was a risky one. Not only does it seriously unbalance the diagonals, but that Pawn has escaped its Knight's control. White has to ask the question: "Can I trust its two companions to keep it in line?". But swapping those two Bishops was a masterful maneuver. And not only does the Bishop continue to lurk but that Forgotten Rook continues to be ignored, forcing it to seek intense Primal Scream therapy.


GM Topov: Novices should observe the semi-circle alignment of White's king, queen and three pawns, which is a clear indication of the Spanish Butterfry (not to be confused with the Spanish Butterfly, which is more of a flighty move, and doesn't have the same advantage of the cramped position caused by a cholesterolic effect). This novelty was first played in 1803 by the eccentric Spanish GM Inigo Montoya, who was in the habit of announcing "My name is Inigo Montoya. You fathered my killer. Prepare to die." at the commencement of every game. Montoya was diagnosed with Toxiphobia (the fear of poison) at an early age, and insisted on his opponent moving his pieces for him, with his mouth. During the game in question against Montoya, Puerto Rican grandmaster Juan del Pueblo (whom you will recall was in the habit of only using beeswax pieces hand-carved by his grandfather) subsequently lost his dentures in a rook. The game would have been postponed if a noble spectator had not donated his own dentures to del Pueblo in the interests of not delaying the game. As is usually the case in response to the cramped position the Butterfry creates, Black has only one legal move, so after much thought and careful deliberation, I have chosen to play it by diagonalizing my rooks.

Nanashi No-Gombe: Diagonalizing the Rooks is a harsh forced move. As well as un-balancing the diagonals, it forces the player to watch the Rooks suffer the symptoms of the Indentical Party Dress Syndrome - a rather debilitating disease whose effects can be recognized from across a crowded room. Already the Rook on the 7th file is showing terminal effects as it attempts to cower behind a screen of Pawns.


Austin Lockwood: Although only diagonal bishop moves are allowed in Common Chess, certain combinations of perpendicular/horizontal moves are allowed in SR Chess - this move was a good example, as it was in fact Bb1 then Bc1 in the same move.


GM Topov: After the unusual manner of playing 22.Bc1, White has created an I.P.D. (Initial Position Duplicate) with both bishops. This doubles the effects of the earlier Spanish Butterfry, and requires a further retreat of Black's rook along the seventh rank, to create more distance between it and Black's King. So 22...Ra7 is actually Black's only legal move under these conditions.


Austin Lockwood: Ba3 is the first nebular move of this game (not to be confused with a star move). This give black some opportunity for the galactic perpendicular drop, however it does leave my supernoval clusters intact.


GM Topov: Moving the bishop for the third consecutive turn as part of the Stanley Bishop Shuffle (recently popularized in a cross-over to Square Dancing) negates the effect of the earlier IPD and Spanish Butterfry, and again allows the Twin Telescopic Rook formation. Novices should observe the beauty of the carefully orchestrated repeated movement of the same two pieces for three consecutive moves (White's "Juliet" bishop and Black's "Romeo" rook). The elegance and grace of the Stanley Bishop Shuffle and the Solo Rook Waltz are dancing type manoeuvres that clearly distinguish SR Chess from its inferior variant, Common Chess. They have also had a strong influence on some forms of modern ballroom dancing and ballet, especially the performances of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.


Austin Lockwood: Bxd6 threatens the intra-telescopular rook split.


GM Topov: The strict rules governing dancing manoeuvres require me to move the rook for the fourth consecutive turn. The sheer romance and passion of these moves brings tears to my eyes. At any moment now, Black's Romeo Rook can be expected to propose to White's Juliet Bishop.


Austin Lockwood: Dancing rules are also quite strict about the order in which black and white square bishops are moved. I would have liked to continue the quasi-spiralitic dance with my black square bishop here, however Bh3 (white square bishop) was the only choreographed move available.

GM Topov: It would be a cardinal sin to deprive SR Chess enthusiasts of the great pleasure of seeing a rare rook-bishop courtship dance such as the one just witnessed. Perhaps mention should be made of the fact that SR Chess is always a public spectacle, and that there is no such thing as Private SR Chess. The very nature of the game requires that it be a public game. In fact, the European SR Chess Council adopted a resolution called "the Privacy Act" in 1826 that made the playing of private games (without the presence of observers) illegal. After an appeal from the BSRCF, a later amendment made some provisions for private games, but under the strict conditions that such games were never to be conducted behind locked doors, and that allowances always be made for the possibility of public viewing. Technically then, Private SR Chess does not exist. This is certainly not a regrettable development, since private games take away from the spirit of the game. The game is best played with an audience (usually with the strict prohibition of silence). SR Chess has the remarkable distinction of being one of the only games in the world that can be just as enjoyable for the non-players as for the players themselves! The present game serves as a superlative model in this respect.

Nanashi No-Gombe: There is nothing like playing SR Chess before a roaring crowd. Thousands chanting "Blood! Blood! Blood!" or "Block that Rook! Block that Rook!" And the spontanteous renditions of "Pop Goes The Weasel". Shivers run up and down my spine. In conjunction with BSRCF and its appeal of the 1826 Privacy Act, the Universal SR Chess Distractors Guild won the right to be present at any game, whether real or imagined. This necessitated the training of the Telepathic Corps of Distractors to assure their participation in the mental contemplation of SR Chess games.

25...Rc5 (Rook Waltz)


GM Topov: Following White's lead with both bishops performing the alluring Stanley Bishop Shuffle, the ongoing bishop-rook mating ritual sequence requires Black's other rook to join its partner in the Rook Waltz.

SR Chess Dancing in its purest form actually requires a simplified game, where all the focus can be on the two rook and bishop breeding pairs that remain on the board. SR Chess Dancing was the speciality of noted American scientist Benjamin Franklin (who invented electricity by rubbing cats backwards). After inventing Daylight Savings Time, he wrote a book entitled "The Unauthorized Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Other Writings" in which he recounted his brave adventures with daylight and with SR Chess Dancing, including a bishop-rook dancing manoeuvre similar to the one played here.

Franklin's career declined sharply after a visit to England in the late eighteenth century, when he played a friendly game against the current All-England champion, Shylock Holmes. Holmes later received the death penalty for a spree of serial killings, but was then posing as a brilliant detective, and played SR Chess in his spare time. The official regulations of SR Chess were under development at that time, and the selection of colour was still decided by an arm-wrestle. Holmes had played white in 294 consecutive games after being unbeaten in this novel colour selection process. But on this occasion he was not prepared for his opponent's brutal strength - although there has been speculation that Franklin used some early form of an electric stun gun. Holmes immediately collapsed over the board in some form of faint. One of the spectators, a certain John Watson, a medical doctor, rushed to his side and immediately injected him with a 7.5% solution of cocaine, which enabled Holmes to regain consciousness and commence the game in a partially revived state.

After winning the game handily with Black in just eight moves, Holmes revealed that his collapse had been staged in order to create a quick result, so that he could fulfill his intentions to attend a performance by the London Symphony the same afternoon. When the winning knight move had been played (a Hangman's Noose mating net with two pawns and two knights, a strategy since refuted with 2.Ke2), Franklin announced that "a horse divided against itself cannot stand" and resigned. He lodged a formal complaint with the BSRCF, and when his appeal was not upheld, made an official Declaration of Independence from the BSRCF, and formed a rival player's association in America, a revolutionary move that met with limited success.


Austin Lockwood: The white bishop finally ends the dance by accepting the black rook's proposal and delivering 'fin de courtship'.


GM Topov: Following the courtship dance ritual, the bishop-rook marriage has now been consummated with a second Marital Union, and Black may well be mated early in the Final Set. Like the philosophical grandmaster Socrates, my fate appears to be sealed by an overdose of wedlock. Following this Marital Union, White's queen now has gained official M.I.L. (Mother-In-Law) status, and is now at liberty to roam the board and cause havoc among Black's remaining pieces. Her less fortunate Black counterpart will have no such pleasure, having suffered the swift penalty common to Loose Madames after the foolhardy and unprotected 6...Qg5. I must concede, though, that it was a lovely exhibition of SR Chess Dancing, and a lovely wedding.


R. Maximus Toeffr : Romance is such a beautiful thing. As the end of the third set approaches, we find White well prepared for VollenHauser play. The dance is over, and the fat lady is almost done singing. But this is SR Chess, and there may be some suprises left in the game. Black can launch a new offensive starting with RxN, and then RxP, attacking the Queen behind the King. STAR moves may prevent this from being a kamikaze sequence, and victory might be snatched from the jaws of defeat yet again.

Nanashi No-Gombe: The Guinevere Assault, or "taking the Queen behind the King's back", is commonly performed with a Knight. Preferably one of the opponent's own. Right now White is in the perfect position for this adulterous act. All Black needs to do is encourage the inevitable, possibly acting as a go-between and helping pass love-letters between the two. The White King needs to be distracted, and the sudden appearance of a bastard offspring, or the Mordred Event, might accomplish this.


GM Topov: Despite a noble offer and multiple bribes (with the financial backing of the US Government, which has a vested interest in the outcome of this game) White's knight has refused to cooperate with Black's plan for treason by capturing White's queen. Having confided his secret plan for a traitorous Guinevere Assault, Black may be left with no other choice than to assassinate the loyal knight that refused to participate in the treacherous NxQ Lancelot Layover. Some might be concerned that using an opponent's own piece to complete a capture is match-fixing, particularly in view of the large sums of money being offered by George Bush as bribes to perform this move. It is rather extraordinary, but creating such a Self Perpetrated Assault (S.P.A.) is a perfectly legal manoeuvre under SR Chess rules. But because a Self Perpetrated Assault requires the cooperation of the other player (which is usually not reciprocated), the move has never yet been implemented in official tournament play, although frequently threatened.

Despite being a legal move, the Lancelot Layover (a variation of the Guinevere Assault) is named after a player closely associated with match fixing, Thomas Malory Lancelot. Lancelot was so concerned about match fixing that he insisted on shuffling the pieces before placing them on the board, instead of afterwards as is usually the practice. Despite his apparent obsession with fair play, his own ethical standards were called into question numerous times, especially when he was indicted by the ISRCA Grand Jury for piece-tampering early in his career. When an alert adjudicator at the 1925 Swedish Open noticed that his pawns appeared to be prematurely weighted, it was discovered that the base of his pawns had been drilled and replaced with cheese. He was acquitted following an investigation, where he pleaded insanity. He did not deny drilling the holes and filling them with Swiss cheese, but claimed to have mistakenly confused his pawns with his wife's home-made bread rolls (known to be rather hard).

Since this time, however, regulations require that all pieces (and the players) are weighed by the adjudicator before the start of the game and conform to the limits prescribed in the ISRCA charts. Overweight pawns are confiscated, whereas overweight players are immediately placed under house arrest, placed in solitary confinement in a sauna and on a high-protein diet. An international match involving Hirasaki Nagamuchi, a former Japanese sumo wrestler, was once delayed by six years until he satisfactorily met the weight requirements. By this time his Mexican opponent had long since lost interest in the game, and only after Nagamuchi had played 1.a4 was it discovered that his opponent had been admitted as a monk in a nearby Hindu monastery two years earlier, and had no intention of completing the game, being more interested in Brahmin than bishops. It is in honor of this unfortunate Mexican player that I dedicate this Deliberate Bishop Sacrifice of 27...Bh6, offered on religious and compassionate grounds.


Austin Lockwood: The Sacrifical Bishop Declined (Qe3) is a move often played imediately preceding VollenHauser Conditions, however note that the equally tempting sacrificial rook was also declined. The Double Declined Snub has often been seen as extemely offensive to black (often used by the recently incarcerated Dr. Nasal Splagbucket, usually resulting in physical violence). I hope GM Topov will forgive my presumption - here I am merely demonstrating the alternatives to the watching audience.

GM Topov: On one occasion the Double Declined Snub escalated into a civil war between the Provinces of Idia and Superegolia, following a game that involved the bard Pink Freud and his "distractor", a schizophrenic third-cousin named Sigmund Fraud. Here White's relocated queen has given Black a second opportunity to convince the knight on d4 to perform the treacherous Guinevere Assault (Lancelot Layover) with NxQ. The knight is currently West Facing, and correct play would require it to become East Facing first (a condition also commonly referred to as "Two Faced"). I received 22 telephone calls from the White House urging me to pursue this Self Perpetrated Assault, but first Black must address the much more urgent matter of pawn weighting.

R. Maximus Toeffr: I am, as always, enthralled to be the student of GM Gregory Topov, and upon learning of the Guinevere Assault and the Double Declined Snub, I feel my game can only improve immensely. I'd like to offer my thanks to both of these playeres, as well as the kibitzers, for the education and inspiration I have gained from them. Little did I realize, only weeks ago, that my life would be so subtly but irrevokably altered. My girlfriend noticed right away that I was muttering things like, "weighted pawns" and "rook-swapping." Even my wife has noticed. There may be a slight delay before I can make my next commentary on this game, as I am now looking for an apartment (or flat, as you Brits would have it). However, I trust you will all carry on in good form.

Hah! By a stroke of great fortune, my wife has allowed me back into the house, with the only requirement that I remain here alone for the next several hours. She and Verna Sue, my girlfriend, have turned into great friends and have just left to go shopping together. They say they're going to buy me a combined gift for the holidays. Isn't that sweet of them? I can't wait! But I wonder why they are going to a gun shop? They know I don't hunt.


GM Topov: RxN is retribution for the knight's unwillingness to participate in the Guinevere Assault. The Lancelot Layover abandoned, it's clear that the renegade Lancelot must be removed from the board. The US government will not be pleased at this development.


Austin Lockwood: White's penultimate pre-Vollenhauser move.


R. Maximus Toeffr: How convenient that they have WiFi in the critical care unit of the local hospital. I have been wondering how this game was progressing into Vollenhauser, and I am glad I haven't missed the all-important peri-Vollenhauser symptoms. But this is, after all, Silicon Valley, so I need not have feared. Well, I am recovering nicely, and the doctor says I'll regain full use within a few years. I am a bit concerned, however. One of my nurses looks an awful lot like the siter of my (soon-to-be-ex) wife. You may recall I mentioned her in a previous game's kibitz - she was married to Alaskan SR Chess State Champion Zebediah O'Toole, rest his soul. Anyway, I thought I saw her putting some strange greenish fluid into my IV this afternoon. And my laptop is starting to get a little blurry. So I may miss out on the kibitzing for another short while. Gee, I sure don't want to miss this exciting endgame.


GM Topov: Move 30 is the final move before the VollenHauser Sudden Death Principle (VH Conditions) comes into effect. Black's priority here is to increase its pawn weighting before the Final Set. Understanding the fundamentals of pawn weighting is one of essentials that novices should master for effective strategy. An old but time-tested classic on the subject is Baron Karl Von Damm's excellent two volume German work "The Queen and her Pawns in Waiting: Understanding Weighted Pawns" (Vol 1), and Vol. 2 "Understanding Unweighted Pawns", published in an English translation for the first time in 1906.

The calculation of pawn weighting is allowed at any time during the game, as long as players limit themselves to using fingers and toes. Count Tyrone Rugen of Florin had the misfortune of having six fingers on his right hand, and was subsequently handed a lifelong ban from tournament SR Chess on the grounds that his biological abnormality gave him an unfair advantage in match-play. Upon appeal this penalty was downgraded to a suspended sentence that would commence following his death.

A recently published thesis by a Harvard post-graduate student has suggested that Count Rugen's excessive number of digits could not have benefited him anyway, due to the mathematical difficulties created by the number six in the decimal system that is in use for SR Chess. He also cited Rugen's low intelligence, based on findings of standardized government regulated math test results from Rugen's childhood, and an incident that occurred while he was apprenticing as a black-smith, involving a barrel of oil, a red-hot horseshoe from the forge, and three neighbourhood cats. When calculating pawn weighting, Grandmasters typically use their toes rather than their fingers anyway, since it is extremely rare to have more than ten pawns of one colour on the board at any given moment.

R. Maximus Toeffr: I have just regained consciousness, and my spelling, never very good, is wosre than ever. I have been moved to the psychiatric ward, it seems. Happily they have a WiFi network here, and my blurry vision reveals that I haven't missed much more of this fascinating game over the holidays! Well, it turns out that the nurse I saw putting green stuff into my IV wasn't my soon-to-be-ex's sister. Nope, it was Verna Sue's husband in drag. Wow. I am lucky to be breathing, I guess. But on the other hand, it turns out he's a nurse here at this place, and I think he's the one who put me in the straightjacket. It is a good thing my nose tapers to a sharp point. But I am starting to get blood on the keyboard. Well, at any rate, I can't wait until the next move.


GM Topov: An "in-between" move, while waiting for VH Conditions to come into effect. This move completes the Third Set, and after the mandatory Tea Break, the Final Set commences with VH Conditions now in effect, and the possibility of winning by creating a Forced IMR. White has the advantage here, and I am still receiving regular telephone calls from the White House, urging me to "throw" the game and allow White to win, revising history, and providing a satisfactory American win to the Cold War. Television cameras are standing by.

Final Set: VH Conditions


GM Topov: Capturing a rim bishop creates The Collared Cleric board pattern (condemned by Pope Bean VIII in his fourth encyclical entitled "On the Disrespect of Priests, Clergymen and Pawns in Publick Entertainment"), and good chances for White to create a Forced IMR.


GM Topov: The Canadian Crosscheck is a play-off move I learned from a fellow Canadian, GM Wendel Templeton, and shows definite influences of desperate hard-hitting Stanley Cup play. It also has the advantage of increasing pawn weighting, and creating a royal attacking pattern.


Austin Lockwood: The use of royal attacking pawns is most unusual under Vollenhauser Conditions - I must confess that I have no idea what GM Topov is planning now.


GM Topov: A classic "Unbearded Lance Thrust" (so named due to the absence of supporting pawns), usually only played under VH Conditions.

White Win: Forced IMR under VH Conditions

White wins by Forced IMR
(Unharried Royal Pattern)

GM Topov: The Unbearded Lance Thrust allows White to capitalize on a Unharried Royal Pattern (quite different from the Unhairied Royal Pattern), and black must concede the game with an immediate Forced IMR allowed under this pattern. Note especially the alignment of White's king and queen relative to Black's pawns on b6 and a6. For understanding the nuances of this Pattern, see "A Reexamination of Forced Inferior Material Resignations: A Guide to Winning Play under VollenHauser Conditions" by Leopold Strauss (Belgrade Press, 1934), chapter 21 "Winning Patterns with Unharried Royal Pieces."

Austin Lockwood: Many thanks to GM Topov for agreeing to play this public exhibition match on - I'm sure GM Topov played some selflessly unsound moves for the benefit of this exhibition, had this been one of his many world championship matches I would not have stood a chance!

GM Topov: The game result means that Austin's international ranking moves up fourteen places, the US wins the cold war, and my Swiss bank account increases thanks to a generous donation of $3.5 million from the US government. But congratulations to Austin for a well-deserved win. Despite the attraction of its beauty, the extended Inverted Columbus sequence may well have lost the game for Black. I must confess that I did succumb to the lure of the financial rewards offered by the White House, consequently playing somewhat below my best at times. But it must be admitted that Austin's play was stellar (especially one outstanding STAR move), and the brilliance of his play in this game deserves recognition and acknowledgement.

SR Chess GM Gregory Topov

Posted Saturday - 2005-01-01 - 11:46:58 EST
by Staff Reporter Verdra H. Ciretop in Toronto
All Rights Unreserved - Loof Lirpa Publishing
Text may be freely copied & redistributed

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