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Shahrady (Шахрады)

Among the chess variations, there are sometimes quite interesting ideas that give classical chess a very specific and original flavor. Shahrady is one of these variants of chess. The game was invented in 2000 by the well-known Russian children's chess coach V. A. Kupchenko.

The game has its adherents in Russia, where OTB and correspondence tournaments for this chess variant are held regularly.


Standard Chess setup.



Standard set of chess pieces.


Shahrady follows the rules of regular Chess with the following exceptions:

1. King - moves like a regular chess king, he is obliged to evade check and can be checkmated, but he is absolutely devoid of any aggressive actions - he is forbidden to capture.


2. In a situation where a player is the first to make a capture, his opponent, instead of capture any of such a player's pieces in response, has the right to say PASS, skipping his move in this turn. In this case, the piece captured by a player does not leave the game but is sent to his opponent's reserve. Thus, by refusing to exchange, the opponent can keep his captured piece in the game.  If the opponent doesn't pass and:

- captures any of such a player's pieces in response, both captured pieces leave the game forever.

- makes any move other than capturing, then the captured piece leaves the game forever.

During the game, there can be an unlimited number of pieces in the reserve.


3. On any turn, instead of moving a piece on the board, a player may select a piece in his reserve  and place it on any empty square of his half of the board. This is called dropping the piece, or simply, a drop. A drop counts as a complete move.

The pawn cannot be placed on the first (for White) and eighth (for Black) ranks.



4. Since the kings in the game are not aggressive (they cannot capture), they can be located next to each other on adjacent squares. In this case, the game ends immediately and the player with more material on the board wins. To do this, the points of the pieces remaining on the board are calculated, where pawn = 1 point, knight and bishop = 3 points, rook = 5 points and queen = 9 points. If the points are equal, a draw is awarded.


To illustrate the idea of ​​this chess variant, I will give a small problem and a short game played in one of the online tournaments.

White to move and draw.

The players do not have any pieces in their reserve.

1. b5-b6+!

If Black captures the pawn with his Bishop, he will be left without a Queen:
1. ...Bxb6 2. Qxg5 fg 3. Pass (White keeps his Queen in the game, sending it to the reserve) Kd6 4. Qb4+ By dropping the Queen from the reserve, White gives check and wins the game.

That's why Black plays:

1. ...Kc7-c6

Now, if 2. Qc2+, Black wins by placing his King next to White's King 2. ...Kd5. The Kings stand next to each other on adjacent squares. Game over. The material is being counted. White has 10 points, Black has 13. Black wins.

To avoid such an outcome White plays:

2. Qg2xg5 f6xg5 3. b6xa7

And Black makes a draw with 3... Kc6-d5.


Now let's look at the game played in the April correspondence tournament on the website

Kholodov V. (RUS) - Voityushkevich G. (BLR)

1.Nf3 e6 2.e4 Nc6 3.d4 d6 4.Bb5 Bd7 5.0-0 a6 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.e5 h6 8.Qd3 d5

9.Qg6! fxg6 10.(Pass) 

This allows to keep the white Queen in the game by sending it to the White's reserve.

10. ...Bb4+ 11.c3 Be7 

12.@ Qg4 (White drops the Queen onto his half of the board)

12. ...h5?

Now checkmate is inevitable:

13.Qxg6+ Kf8 14.Qf7#

As we can see, the game is somewhat reminiscent of Hostage Chess or Crazy House, although it is not at all similar to them. "Pass" or taking a piece into reserve, of course, means a loss of tempo, but, as we saw above, this can be a very effective weapon in the fight for strategic initiative.

Also, one of the features of this chess variant should be noted: the peace-loving nature of the Kings. They are not aggressive and can easily be checkmated with one piece, for example, a Queen. This forces us to play extremely carefully, and also to remember the possibility of dropping pieces into the game.














More detailed information about Shahrady and online tournaments can be found on the website of the author of this game

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Author: Вадря Покштя. Inventor: Victor Anatolyevich Kupchenko.

Last revised by Bn Em.

Web page created: 2024-06-03. Web page last updated: 2024-06-05