From Variant Chess, Volume 3, Issue 26, Winter 1997-8, pages 115-116,
Issue 28 Summer 1998, pages 171-172
This article is based on a small booklet which John Beasley found in Tel-Aviv recently, with the title Free Programme of Chess, containing the results of a tournament held at the Tbilisi Chess Palace, Georgia, from 30 May to 5 June 1995, and involving a group of very strong players of the orthodox game in a form of ‘Free Chess’ devised by Gela Guraspashvili.
There were 12 players, all from Georgia, including 2 grandmasters, 3 international masters, 2 FIDE masters and 5 national masters, with Elo ratings from 2000 to 2500.
Play was in two 6-player groups, each pair playing one game, the two top scorers in each group going through to the final, where each pair played two games.
The booklet, contains 40 of the 42 games, and is surprisingly written in English, though it would have benefited from the attentions of a better translator. The statement of the rules is confused. The following is my interpretation, deduced from the evidence of the actual play:
There is an unclearly formulated rule that appears to permit a player to move a piece within his half of the board — or even perhaps to ‘transfer’ it to any other square — before all his pieces are placed. But pieces placed after the 16th turn can then only be entered on the back rank. This option is not used in any of the games, and seems an unnecessary complication.
There is no rule prohibiting a piece being placed where it would check the opposing king, though this seems to be observed, perhaps as a matter of courtesy, in the games, in all of which the kings are always placed on the back rank.
If kings were placed on the third or fourth ranks and checks were allowed this could result in positions with K in multiple check from pawns or knights. On the other hand if checks were prohibited, placing the king in an advanced position would restrict the placement of the opponent’s pieces, but probably any advantage in this is heavily out- weighed by the danger to the king from his advanced position.
Almost all the games in the booklet regrettably contain misprints, some of which make the final stages of the games incomprehensible. My guess is that they have been produced direct from the player’s hand-written score sheets, and that moves were not properly recorded when the players were caught in time trouble.
On the other hand, the games were played at a rate of 90 minutes for each player to complete all his moves, which one would have thought plenty of time to allow most games to reach a conclusion, yet the longest last only 39 to 42 moves (including the 16 placement moves) and none concludes with mate.
It is not made clear whether the final results were agreed, determined by the fall of the flag, or adjudicated. It may be that the final stages of the games were played at speed and that the moves were not recorded.
However this may be, here are some games from the Final. The four finalists were: Lasha Dzhandzhgava (alternatively spelt Janjgava) GM 2500, Tamaz Tabatadze IM 2450, Giorgi Bagaturov IM2460 and Alexandre Dgebuadze IM 2425.
In many cases I have used some guesswork in correcting misprints so cannot guarantee that the moves are exactly those played. Expert orthodox players may be able to deduce more likely lines of play.
Game 31: Bagaturov – Tabatadze.
The pieces were placed in the sequence: Ke1, Kb8; Ra1, g5; Rh1, f5; Nd2, Bb7; Bb2, e5; c4, c5; e3, Rg8; Qc2, d5; d3, b6; f2, Rh7; g3, Bh8; Bg2, Nd6; f3, Qf7; b3, b5; a3, Na5; Nc3, c7; to give the position:
Play then continued: 17. b4 R×h1† 18.B×h1 b×c4 19. b×Na5 c×d3 20. Q×d3 c4 21. Qc2 d4 22. a×b6 c×b6 23. a4 d3 24. Qc1 e4 25. Ba3 Rd8 26. Rb1 Qh5 27. Bg2 e×f3 28. Bf1 f4 29. g×f4 g×f4 30. R×b6 f×e3 31. Qb2 e×Nd2† 32. Kd1 Qh1 33. B×Nd6† Ka8 34. K×d2 Q×f1 35. Ra6† B×Ra6 36. Qb6 R×Bd6 37. Q×Rd6 (0–1)
Game 34: Tapatadze–Dzhandzhgava.
Placement: Kg1, Kg8; g3 d5; f2, e5; d3, Rf8; e3, c6; Rc1, Bg7; Bg2, Be6; Bb2, Rf7; Nd2, b7; c4, Ne7; Rb1, d6; f3, c5; Ne2, Ng5; Qc2, g5; g4, f5; h3, Qd7.
Play: 17.Rf1 b5 18. e4 f4 19. Nc3 d4 20. Ne2 Nc8 21. Rs1 Nb6 22. Rfb1 Ra8 23. R×a8† N×a8 24. Bf1 Nb6 25. Kg2 Rf8 26. Ra1 Qb7 27. Nc1 Ra8 28. R×a8 Q×a8 29. Be2 Bf6 30. Qb3 Nf8 31. Bd1 Qa6 32. Be2 Bd8 33. Kf1 Kf7 34. Qa2 Q×a2 35. N×a2 b×c4 36. d×c4 d5 37. c×d5 c×d5 38. e×d5 B×d5 39. Nc1 c4 40. Ne4 Ne6 41. Nd6† Kf6. (0–1).
Game 35: Bagaturov–Dzhandzhgava.
Placement: Ke1, Kb8; Ra1 d5; Bg2, e5; Bb2, c7; g3, Rf8; b3, b7; c4, a7; d3, Bc8; e3, Nf6; Nf2, a6; a3, Rf7; d2, d6; Rh1, Qg6; Qc2, g5; f3, Bh6; Nb4, Nc5. (The diagram in the booklet has WPe2, but WPd2 seems to be needed to support 20. Be3.)
Play: 17. Bf1 d4 18. e×d4 e×d4 19. B×d4 Re8† 20. Be3 a5 21. d4 Bf5 22. R×h6 B×c2 23. R×g6 B×g6 24. d×c5 a×b4 25. c×d6 b×a3 26. d×c7† K×c7 27. R×a3 g4 28. Bg2 a6 29. b4 g×f3 30. B×f3 Bh5 31. B×h5 N×h5 32. b5 a×b5 33. c×b5 Nf6 34. b6† Kc6 35. Rc3† Kb5 36. Rc5† Kb4 (K×b6? 37. Re4†). Draw. (½–½). (The final moves are given as 37. Rc4 Kb5 38 Rc5 Kb4, i.e. draw by repetition of moves, but Rc4 is unguarded so there is some error in the record.)
Game 36: Tapatadze – Dgebuadze.
Placement: Kb1, Kg8; Rg1, d5; b3, Bg7; a2, g6; Rh2, Rb7; e3, c5; f4, f5; d3, e6; Bb2 Bf7; Bf1, Ra8; Nf3, d6; c4, h5; h3, h7; Qa1, Ne8; b4, Qh8; Nd2, Nb5 (taking advantage of the rule that White cannot capture on the first move).
Play: 17. a4 Nc3† 18. Kc2 c×b4 19. d4 d×c4 20. B×c3 c×b3† 21. N×b3 b×c3 22. Ng5 Nc7 23. Bc4 h6 24. N×f7 K×f7. (1–0) (The move 21. Nb3 is missing from the text, and other moves are misprinted, so this reconstruction is conjectural.)
Game 37: Tapatadze – Bagaturov.
Placement: Kg1, Kg8; c4, e5; e3, f5; d3, Bg7; Rc1, g5; Bb2, Nf6; g3, Re8; Bg2, c6; Rf1 d6; h3, Bd7; Nd2, Ng6; Ne2, d5; f2, c5; Qc2, Rh7; h2, b5; f3, Qh8.
Play: 17. Rfe1 f4 18. d4 B×h3 19. Q×g6 B×g2 20. h4 g×h4 21. g×f4 e×f4 22. Q×g2 Rh6 23. e×f4 Qh7 24. Kh1 Qd3 25. Rg1 Nh5 26. Q×g7† N×g7 27. d×c5 Rf7 28. c×d6 R×d6 29. c×b5 c×b5 30. Be5 Rde6 31. Nb3 Q×f3† 32. Kh2 R×e5 33. Nbd4 Q×f2† Rg2. (0–1)
Game 38: Dgebuadze–Dzhandzhgava
Placement: Ke1, Kg8; Bg2 d5; c4, c6; d3, Nf6; e3, Bg7; Rh1 h7; Bb2, Rf8; g3, Bd7; f2 e5, f4, g5; b3, Qe8; Qa1, d6; Ne2, f5; Ra3, Ng6; f3, Rc7; Nh3, c5.
Play: 17. Ra4 g×f4 18. g×f4 d4 19. f×e5 d×e5 20. Ba3 Qb8 21. Nc1 d×e3 22. Q×e5 e×f2† 23. N×f2 Re8 (0–1) The diagram in the booklet has three White knights and no Black rook; so a lot of reconstruction here which may not be correct.
Game 39: Bagaturov–Dgebuadze
Placement: Ke1, Kg8; Bb2, Bg7; c4, d5; b3, c6; e3, e5; Qc2, Rf8; f2, Rf7; Nd2, g5; g3, Bg6; f3, h5; Be2, d6; d3, Qh7; Rh1, b5; Nc1, Nc5; a3, Nf6; Rh2, h6
Play: 17. g4 h×g4 18. f×g4 b×c4 19. b×c4 e4 20. d4 Nd3 21. B×d3 e×d3 22. Qd1 Ne4 23. 00 N×d2 24. Q×d2 d×c4 25. f4 g×f4 26. e×f4 Be4 27. f5 d5 28. Na2 Qg6 29. Rg2 Qg5 30. Q×g5 h×g5 31. Rd2 c5 32. d×c5 d4 33. Rc1 c3 34. N×c3 d×c3 35. B×c3 B×c3 36. R×c3 Rh7 37. Rc×d3 B×d3 38. R×d3 Rc7 39. Rd6 R×c5 40. Kf2 Rc3 (0–1)
Game 40: Dzhandzhgava–Tapatadze
Placement: Kg1, Kg8; Bg2 e5; d3, f5; g3, g5; f2, d5; e3, c6; Nd2, Nf6; Rc1, Bd7; Bb2, Re8; d4, Ba7; Qa1, c5; Nc2, Ne6; b4, Ra8; a3, d6; c4, b5; Ra2, Qh7.
Play: 17. a4 b×c4 18. d×c4 c×d4 19. b5 Kg7 20. b×c6 B×c6 21. Nb4 Bb7 22. Ra3 Rac8 23. Rb3 Ba8 24. c×d5 N×d5 25. R×c8 R×c8 26. N×d5 B×d5 27. Rc3 Rb8 28. Rc1 d×e3 (0–1)
At the end of the booklet on Free Programme Chess (described on pages 115-6) there is a comment from the winner, Lasha Dzhandzhgava, suggesting that doubled pawns should not be permitted and that a longer time limit is needed. The former point is certainly valid and a rule that one pawn be placed in each file can easily be incorporated.
I would also question the placing of the kings as the first move. The evidence from the games is that this results in the line pieces being set up in massive batteries directed towards the king’s field, with a consequent tendency to rather unsubtle direct attacks and rapid exchange of major pieces. It seems to me that placing the kings last could be more entertaining, keeping the opponent guessing where it might go, and encouraging a freer deployment of the line pieces.
It also occurrred to me that if the pieces were required to be placed in a definite sequence, there would be no need to give the placement moves as well as a diagram of the position reached: the moves could all be deduced from the position.
The obvious sequence is: Ps Ns Bs Rs Q K. The pawns being placed from each player`s left to right (i.e. a to h for White, h to a for Black) and the first N, B and R being placed on white, the second on black.
Another alternative would be a rule that no man may be placed where it attacks or is attacked by an opposing man. This would ensure that there are not multiple choices of pawn-captures on the first move and that the line-pieces tend to be placed behind the pawns. — GPJ
by Davit Gurgenidze Vice President, Georgian Chess Federation
From Variant Chess, Volume 3, Issue 28, Summer 1998, pages 171-172.
We would like to thank you for your interest in our experimental tournament in ‘Free Programme Chess’ (Variant Chess 26). A further match was played at the Tbilisi Chess Palace, 25 February to 4 March 1998 between the two young Georgian Grandmasters Giorgi Kacheishvili (2520) and Lasha Janjgava (2495). The moves of the games follow.
The rules were as before: the game begins on an empty chess- board and the opponents put the pieces by turns on the first four ranks. The first piece to be placed is the king. In this match doubled pawns were not allowed, and White was not allowed to capture a piece on the 17th move. (Italic notes are by the editor.)
Game 1. Kacheishvili–Janjgava
Ke1, Kb8; Ra1 e5; Bb2 d5; h3, g5; b3, h5; g3, f5; a2, b7; Rf1 a7; f4 c5; d3, Bg7; c4, Re8; e3, Rd8; Ne2, Nc6; Bc2, Bg8; Ng2, Qh8; Qa3, Nb5:
17.Qa4 Nb4 18.000 d×c4 19.Q×b5 c×d3 20.B×d3 e4 21.B×g7 Q×g7 22.Bb1 Nd3† 23.R×d3 e×d3 24.B×d3 Qa1† 25.Bb1 Bd5 26.Ne1 Be4 27.Nc2 B×c2 28.K×c2 R×e3 29.Rf2 Red3 30.Qa5 b6 31.Qe1 Rd1 32.Q×d1 R×d1 33.K×d1 Q×b1† 34.Nc1 h4 35.g×h4 g×h4 36.Rc2 Qa1 37.Rd2 Qg7 38.Ne2 Qa1† 39.Nc1 Qg7 40.Ne2 Qg2 (draw by repetition not accepted) 41.Rd3 b5 42.Kd2 Kc7 43.Re3 Kb6 44.Rc3 a6 45.Re3 Ka5 46.a3 Qf1 47.Rc3 Kb6 48.a4 b×a4 49.b×a4 Qa1 50.Rb3† Kc6 51.Nc3 Qh1 52.Ne2 Qd5† 53.Kc2 Qe4† (0-1) (Times: 1.45, 1.37)
Game 2. Janjgava–Kacheishvili
Kg1, Kb8; h2, b7; g2, f5; c4, e5; f2,a7; b4, g5; Nf1, h5; e2, c7; d3, d6; a4, Bd8; Rb2, Rf8; Ra3, Rh7; Qb1, Qg7; Be1, Bc8; Nc2, Ne6; Bd1, Nd7
17.b5 g4; 18.Nb4 f4 19.a5 Ndc5 20.e3 Ng5 21.e×f4 e×f4 22.d4 Bf6 23.Na6† Ka8 24.d×c5 B×b2 25.N×c7† Q×c7 26.Q×b2 d×c5 27.b6 Qd6 28.Bc2 Re7 29.Bd2 Ne4 30.Rd3 Qc6 31.Bc1 f3 32.g3 N×f2 (0–1) (Times 1.45, 1.45)
Game 3. Kacheishvili–Janjgava
Kb1, Ka8; a2, e5; b2, d5; c2, c5; d3, f5; Re1, Bg7; Bh1, g6; h3, h5; e4, a7; f4, b7; Rf1, Nc6; Qg1, Bg8; g3, Nb5; Nb3, Rb6; Nc1, Ra6; Bf2, Qh8
17.a4 R×a4 18.B×c5 e×f4 19.e5 B×e5 20.R×e5 Q×e5 21.B×b6 a×b6 22.g×f4 Qd6 23.Q×b6 Rb4 24.Qe3 Bf7 25.Qd2 d4 26.Re1 Nc7 27.B×c6 b×c6 28.Na5 Nd5 29.Ncb3 Nb6 30.N×c6 R×b3 31.Re7 Q×c6 32.Qa5† Kb8 33.R×f7 Qh1† 34.Ka2 Ra3† 35.b×a3 Qd5† 36.Q×d5 N×d5 37.Rg7 N×f4 38.h4 (1–0) (Times 1.16, 1.55)
Game 4. Janjgava–Kacheishvili
Kg1, Kh8; h2, h7; g2, g7; f2, e5; a2, d5; b3, c5; d3, b5; e3 Rd8; Nf1,a6; Rc1, f6; Be2, Bg8; c4, Rb8; Nd2, Ne6; Rd1, Nb6; Be1, Qe8; Qc2 Bh6
17.Ng3 g6 18.c×d5 N×d5 19.Ndf1 (the first of much futile manoeuvring, White's position is cramped from the start) Bg7 20.Ne4 Bf8 21.Nc3 Nb4 22.Qb2 Nc6 23.Ne4 Qe7 24.Ned2 Bg7 25.Nf3 f5 26.Qb1 a5 27.Bc3 a4 28.Bb2 a×b3 29.a×b3 Nc7 30.N1d2 Na6 31.Qc2 Rb7 32.Qc3 Rbd7 33.Ne1 Qf8 34.Qc2 Ncb4 35.Qb1 Qe7 36.h3 Nb8 37.Ba1 N8c6 38.Bb2 h6 39.Ba1 Ra7 40.Nf1 Rda8 41.Nc2 N×c2 42.Q×c2 Nb4 43.Q×c5 Q×c5 44.R×c5 R×a1 45.R×a1 R×a1 46.R×b5 Nd5 47.Bf3 Nc3 (trapping the WB) 48.Rb8 e4 49.d×e4 f×e4 50.Bg4 h5 (51.Be6? Ne2† 52.Kh2 Be5†) 51.B×h5 g×h5 52.g4 h4 53.Kg2 Ra2 54.Rd8 Nd5 55.Re8 Bc3 56.R×e4 Be1 57.g5 R×f2† 58.Kg1 Rf5 59.Rg4 Ne7 60.b4 Ng6 (0–1) (Times 2.30, 2.15)
Game 5. Kacheishvili–Janjgava
Kg1, Kh8; h2, a7; a3, h7; g2, g7; f2, e5; e3, c5; c4, d5; d3, f5; Nf1, b6; Ba1 Nf6; Be2 Rf8; Rc1, Ba8; b4, Bb8; Qc2 Re8; Rb1, Nd7; Ne1 Qg6
17.Nf3 e4 18.Nh4 Qg5 19.g3 f4 20.d×e4 f×g3 21.h×g3 N×e4 22.f4 Qe7 23.Ng2 d×c4 24.Q×c4 Ndf6 25.Rd1 Nd6 26.B×f6 R×f6 27.Qc2 c4 28.R×d6 R×d6 29.Q×c4 Be4 30.Rb2 Rc6 31.Qb5 Rc3 32.Rd2 Bc6 (problem-like transposition of R and B functions) 33.Qa6 Rd8 34.R×d8† Q×d8 35.Bg4 Be4 36.Ne1 Qd5 37.Qe2 R×a3 38.Bf3 Bd6 39.B×e4 Q×e4 40.Nf3 h6 41.N3d2 Q×b4 42.Qg4 Bf8 43.Nf3 Ra2 44.Qf5 Ra5 45.Ne5 R×e5 46.f×e5 a5 47.Nh2 a4 48.Nf3 a3 49.Nh4 a2 50.Ng6† Kg8 51.Qe6† Kh7 52.N×f8† Q×f8 53.Q×a2 (½–½) (Times: 1.30, 2.20)
Game 6. Janjgava–Kacheishvili
Kg1, Kh8; h2, h7; a3, d5; c4, e5; f2, g7; b3, c5; d3, b6; Rd1, a7; Re1, f5; Bc1, Rf8; Bg2, Re8; g3, Nf6; e2, Qd7; Nc2, Bh5; Nd2, Bb8; Qf1, Ne6
17.Ne3 Nd4 18.Bh3 d×c4 19.d×c4 Qf7 20.B×f5 N×f5 21.N×f5 Ng4 22.h3 Q×f5 23.h×g4 Q×g4 24.Qg2 e4 25.Nf1 Be5 26.Ne3 Qc8 (½–½) (Times: 1.20, 1.45)
The games were played at one per day, 25, 26 and 28th February and 2, 3, 4 March. Three wins by Black, one by White, and two draws. Final result: Kacheishvili 4, Janjgava 2.
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