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Dresden Olympiad r1

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So are they going to forfeit 100 people today or what? Or has that insane rule been altered? I agree one hour is weird for a professional sport, but 15 minutes for courtesy and confusion seems reasonable. Official site still not showing any sign of where to go for live games, which start at 1500 local, 9am EST. [Live game links are here. h/t evanhaut.] The ICC will be showing around 44 games live per day, mostly top teams and top players. I'll be doing podcast wrap-ups each day with occasional guests. I'm sure Ilyumzhinov will be crushed (not literally this time) to learn he missed cheerleaders and a Freddie Mercury impersonator at the opening ceremony. Update later. Post your best links.

Aronian-Caruana and Svidler-Korchnoi to start things off with a bang. USA gets Iceland and it looks like Nakamura gets rested. Remember, only five players for the four boards this year. -- Hmm, 9:05 and no moves yet. I can only assume all 1350+ players have been forfeited. -- Hey, moves! Caruana is the latest mortal to scoff at Aronian's prep in the Anti-Moscow Semi-Slav. On the official site you can only see one large board at a time and then you have to go back and choose another one, etc. If you click the bold live link above the other four on each pairing you'll get all four (tiny) boards. The Chessdom guys are doing some crazy constant posting here.

Update: Will somebody please finally confirm what's going on with the no-show rule? Are they sticking with forfeiting anyone not at the board at the start of the round? -- According to several people on the scene, they are sticking with the rule but aren't going to enforce it until round three. A few players were warned today. Place your bets now how many scandals there will be. If they forfeit someone on one of the top teams there will be noise.

Update: Susan Polgar is in Dresden and kindly posted her photo gallery links from the opening ceremony and round one. Thanks Susan! Any chance you can sneak in a few games for the US?! ChessBase has photos as well. Unsurprisingly, almost all of attractive female players, but at least they went with the strongest ones. In a few days they'll be trolling the lower tables for babes as usual. You can see the results and pairings easier at the Chess Results page instead of seeing their data crammed into the frame at the official site. You can see all the teams, all the players in order by rating, etc. Always nice. Round 2 pairings here.

If you've been feeling depressed and are looking for that last thing to tip you over into suicidal, you must check out today's "Chess Olympiad TV" at the official site. You have to download and install a client, but it doesn't take long and it's well worth it. Just the other day I was complaining about the dearth of ice-skating Freddie Mercury impersonators singing "We Will Rock You." Sweet lord almighty that's scary. On the other hand, many people in Europe think the Eurovision Song Contest is actually music, so there you go.

I'm doing podcasts after each round for ICC Chess.FM. I'll be tossing in a few diagrams and such in later editions, but I haven't slept in 36 hours so tough. That's also my excuse for why this first one is barely coherent, even for me. It's more like German opera than German chess. I promise I'll be perkier and much more succinct for the rest. Here's round one in a 5mb MP3. Link will probably change later, fyi. Depending on how your browser is configured, you probably just want to right-click it and download the file. Actually it's a rambling mess, so you probably don't. But if you do.


fyi, the site lets u see all four boards simultaneously -just click on the fat 'live' button..

Is Bacrot's knight sac 15.Nxe5 theory?

"First result of the day! Jorge Picado from Nicaragua wins against Vital Keith from the Seychelles to open the Chess Olympiad results. The moves : 1. e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.c3 Nf6 4.e5 Nh5 5.g4 0-0 6.gxh5 gxh5 7.Qxh5 b6 8.Bd3 Re8 9.Qxh7+ Kf8 10.Bh6 Bxh6 followed by 11.Qh8#" -- Chessdom

Does anyone has info on how to get citizenship of Seychelles? Wouldn't mind playing the olympiad once

Is Morozevich playing on 4th Board (although today it is 3rd Board in absence of Kramnik)?


Moro playing on 4th Board might be a good move by the Russian Team because Moro tends to score heavily against lower rated opponents due to his playing style.


Whew... Akobian and Onischuk save the day for the Americans after Shulman lost his game. I think this new match point system is really going to help teams like the U.S. that love to pull out 2.5/1.5 wins against much weaker teams.

And Wesley So takes down 2700+ Ni Hua! That kid is good.

Georgia's going to sue me for jinxing them as a dark horse. Their horse just got turned into glue by four Finnish IMs! 3-0 so far and it looks like 4-0 might be on the way. Ouch.

If China doesn't win this one it will be quite funny. The favourites, heh...
And guys have a look how Aronian dismantled Caruana. Impressive.

It does look like Morozevich is on board 4 for Russia even though he is the highest rated player on the team. I think that makes him the highest rated player on board 4 in history. I wonder if this is meant to demoralize other teams: if the guy on board 4 is rated 2787, what can one hope for against a team like that?

Lot of top players are going to lose tons of rating points once olympiad is over. You play 2 draws against some unknown 2500s and you have already lost heavy rating points. Olympiads should be excluded from rating calculations as that will encourage all top players to participate without the fear of losing rating points.


I remember reading an interview with Morozevich where he said exactly that, Jack.

All 3 biggest favourites won by only 1 point.
Which is all they need.

Korchnoi held Svidler to a draw while the 3 Vietnamese top boarders held their much higher opponents (Ivanchuk, Karjakin, Eljanov).

Biggest suspense: China vs Philippines, because China started with a loss. Wesley So played a nice game against Ni. That boy has a bright future. But Wang Yue and Wang Hao convicingly won.

The biggest surprise for me is that Hungary only plays 4 draws vs Iran.

Putting Moro on a lower board is not a big surprise, but a logical move. He always wins big time against much lower rated players. On the top board he might risk losing a couple of critical games, though still winning other games. On the other hand, Russia won't miss him that much on the top boards - they still have Kramnik and Svidler. It's a perfectly logical strategy.

Mig its always a good idea to check the games in such cases (i think the results are wrong)

Expect a new rule to be implemented in the next olympiad. Board order of players will be dependent to their rating.

A question to you experts:
What happens if a non-playing team captain's mobile rings in a match which is underway?


The 1 minute forfeit rule stays in place but is not being enforced for the first two days.

Georgia lost by only 1.5 - 2.5
Still a big surprise, considering they have 4 Grandmaster against none on the other side.

There is a picture that shows how Campomanes opens the Olympiad by playing 1.e4 in the game Svidler-Korchnoi. I wonder how Korchnoi must be feeling after all those years (recall 1978 Baguio) about Campomanes, and about him opening this game. Notice how on the picture, Korchnoi demonstratively looks into the opposite direction of Campomanes....

"Putting Moro on a lower board is not a big surprise, but a logical move. He always wins big time against much lower rated players. On the top board he might risk losing a couple of critical games, though still winning other games. On the other hand, Russia won't miss him that much on the top boards - they still have Kramnik and Svidler. It's a perfectly logical strategy."

I am not so sure. Moro has been doing ok against the other top players recently (that is why he has kept and increased his rating). But if he does go down in flames, like he is bound to do, the whole team may be worse off if he does it on board 4, as opposed to boards 1 or 2, as the others will have to make up the deficit against stronger opposition. So I think the strategy can backfire. It already did backfire when he lost to Sargissian and Avrikh on board 4 in the last Olympiad and Russia had to settle for a draw against both Armenia and Israel.

Arik Braun (GER 2) v. Georgiev

Check out 74... Ra7!

and the game appears halted... I think he puts them over the top versus Bulgaria!


Biggest surprises of round 1:

1) Germany(2) 2.5-1.5 Bulgaria (seed: 41 vs 6)
2) Finland 2.5-1.5 Georgia (seed: 52 vs 17)
3) Iran 2-2 Hungary (seed: 40 vs 5)
4) China 2.5-1.5 Philippines (seed: 3 vs 38)
5) Vietnam 1.5-2.5 Ukraine (seed: 37 vs 2)
6) Switzerland 1.5-2.5 Russia (seed: 36 vs 1)

Special Kudos to Evgeny Sveshnikov for beating Boris Avrukh (Latvia-Israel)and of course Georg Meier and Arik Braun for taking dawn two Bulgarian big shots. Check out how Cheparinov got humiliated on board one.

India beat bete noir Canada!

I was surprised to see the Vietnam team (three 2500+ and one 2400+) was able to hold 3 draws to the Ukrane team (all 2700+). I quickly played through the 1st board game (Son vs Ivanchuk), I was surprised even more to see Son really got Ivanchuk on the run in this game with a king side attack
(Son doubled his rook on the half open f file,
then pushed up the g/f pawns ramming through Ivanchuk castle). Nice performance by Son.

Yeah, in the top 3 matches it might seem like the top seeds are just taking it easy because after all what they need is just to win the matches, no matter how narrowly. But if we follow the games, they actually were facing some tough opposition.

By the way, I noticed the pairing is not simply top seeds from the top half facing low seeds from the bottom half of the list, as in previous Olympiads. Seed 1 was not facing seed 78 from the lower half of the list. It was seed 1 vs 36, seed 2 vs 37 etc.

The top seeds did not start off facing some team like Turkmenistan or Singapore which they could beat with a wide margin. Russia started off facing not-so-bad Switzerland, Ukraine vs Vietnam, etc.

Speaking of Vietnam....

What is the "ICSC" team (country? region? organization?) that the Vietnamese girls played today??

My Google returned:
International Council of Shopping Centers
International Civil Service Commission
International Chemical Safety Card
Interstellar Capital Systems Consortium

Those surprised at Vietnam and the Philippines' Wesley So haven't been paying attention to Asian chess.

@Lee: International Braille Chess Association

Similar, Lee, but it's actually the International Committee of Silent Chess, a 50 year old organisation that represents the hearing-challenged, not the visually-challenged.


Ten teams didn't show up, it seems, or at least weren't paired in the first round. I like chess-results.info for the results.

New rule for FIDE Handbook. All chess officials and players must use their seat belts when riding in cars.

Re. No-show rule: An Egyptian player was a minute late and issued a warning, but the arbiter said that for the first two rounds they weren't going to be super strict about the rule.

The round also started a few minutes late, so that gave players cutting it close a little breathing room.

Henry: They're using Accelerated Pairings, but not taking any measures about teams from the bottom half who won in round 1, facing each other in round 2. That's boards 13 to 15 of the round 2 women's pairings, for example.


In my nightly press conference, I asked about the issue of players being late. The top German arbiter said that there were a number of players coming late today.

However, the organizers and the Chief Arbiter agreed to only give warnings in the first two rounds. They will start forfeiting the players starting in round 3. Many players are not happy about it.

Here are the links to the pictures:

Olympiad Round 1 Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/SPICEChess/1OlympiadRound1Select?authkey=XVxiJhAi7Kw#

Opening Ceremony Pictures: http://picasaweb.google.com/SPICEChess/0DresdenOlympiadOpeningCeremony#

Best wishes,
Susan Polgar

Melikes this novel concept of "accelerated pairings", however it works. It was much too pathetic to watch two unnecessary rounds of 4-0 shutouts over sub-2500 teams.

An excellent rule change IMO, which also justifies the shortened schedule.

Looking at those pictures (especially Svidler-Korchnoi, #29/54 in the first link): I really don't understand how the players can concentrate in these surroundings! It would be like asking Ian Thorpe and Michael Phelps to compate at my local YMCA -- during the regular lap swims.

I disagree. The games should be rated. If you are 2700, then you are expected to beat (not draw) a 2500. If you don't, that's just punishment. Elite players have to step out of their small club. Otherwise, how will 2500s get to 2700? :-)

And, incidentally, can I nominate #46/54 of Susan's Round 1 pics as Picture of the Day? So many layers there that I don't know what the hell it means...

The best opportunity for 2500s to meet 2700s is in the olympiads or club championships (the german, french, russian, etc, club championships), plus sometimes in open tournaments. That's why players from non-european countries (even including the US) have less chances to get high-level practice.

Well, nowadays you see Indian or Chinese players in european club championships, BUT ... only those who are already close to the 2700 level. It still doesn't address the disparity for those who are still trying to move up.

Other than that, the only way for 2500s to move up seems to be to beat other 2500s really hard.

Which teams are playing in Polgar's #46 photo?

The alarm on my cell phone went off in the tournament room when I was captain for the Irish Men's team at Turin 2006. There was no penalty, but I did want to crawl into a hole.

Don't leave in a dream world. Don't expect the 2750+ players to donate rating points just because you want to. The 2750+ players would rather skip the Olympiad. That's the practical world. Everybody has to earn their rating points the hard way. Olympiad is not a "rating sale at a discount" for 2400/2500s. Check the game on Board 4 between India and Canada. The 2372 guy from Canada played a forced drawing line (Draw in 13 moves, although his Indian opponent allowed that variation without thinking that this guy is playing for a draw with White!) and still gained rating points. I am not sure if that is what you call "Game of Chess".

Olympiad does not offer much to the top players, neither money nor is it a WC cycle. So live with the fact that a good number of top players would skip Olympiads because its more of a lose-lose situation for them.



Dream world? Most top players are playing. Which ones are NOT playing?? Anand... who else? Seems like you all are taking this issue more seriously than they are. Is rating points more important than playing in the Olympiad? It's not just about rating points folks. I've been to Olympiad tournaments and I'll be at this one... the spirit is a lot different than a closed tournament. Most of you have never been to an Olympiad and cannot understand the spirit of this tournament. Who wouldn't want to be a part of it? The Olympiad is a great experience for top players to interact with players from many different countries and different levels. It's just a wonderful environment and a chance to represent your country and lead them to glory. I'll bet many of the top players would disagree with you, otherwise they wouldn't be playing.

To a player who is confident of his ability to compete at the highest level, the rating is secondary.
A great team or individual performance at the Olympiad is a smart career move.

Looking at the Round 2 pairings, I see that 8 (!) countries have no opponent. Strange, right?


Your talk about top players losing tons of rating points is nonsense.

I checked the most recent 4 Olympiads for the performances of top players (those who are top 20-25 at that time). There are more or less as many who gained ratings as those who lost. And the amount gained or lost are just like what they get in other tournaments.

Even when they play on lower boards or against lower rated players, their average performance is more or less as their rating predicted.

Going further back, during Soviet times, you can find top 10 players on board 4. They smashed all the lower rateds like hell. There was no rating system at that time, but from the scores we could estimate they wouldn't have lost tons of rating points.

If a top rating is for real, the player should be able to win big against lower rated players. And in fact, their average performance shows that they are able to deliver those wins.

Losing rating points is not a problem for top players to make them avoid Olympiads. And in fact, in every Olympiad most top players actually play. Some lost rating points, some gained, just like in any tournament.

In Germany1-Scotland (3.5-0.5) Barmidze-McNab seemed to have agreed draw in a won for white pawn endgame (w: pa2 Kb4; b: Ke5, white moves...Kc5 etc).
Why this ? to avoid a 4-0 ?

The whole argument about top players not participating because they are afraid of losing Elo is just out of place. Absolutely ALL top players except for fresh and celebrating WC Anand take part. So what's this discussion about?!

One more thing about top players losing in Olympiad against lower rated opponents.

Of course those losses are the most newsworthy and highlighted in the news. But there are tons of other results that are just as expected, or even better, only they are as newsworthy, precisely because they are as expected.

Some results are even better than predicted by rating points. The 4-0 wins posted by Armenia and Azerbaijan are over-performances. According to their rating points, their expected wins are 3-1 (plus 2) in both cases.

Despite all the highlighted upsets, at the end of the Olympiad the average performance of all top players will be more or less as predicted from their ratings.

In the second paragraph I meant: " only they are NOT as newsworthy ... "

Ovidiu - I'm sure they'd just agreed a draw and put the kings in the center, but the board registered Ke5 as a move.

second round postponed!!!! seems that there are some protests about team compositions!

The round 2 of the Chess Olympiad is postponed!

The reason was a change in the composition of the teams a few minutes ago. The decision has been taken by the arbiters in Dresden.


>Ovidiu - I'm sure they'd just agreed a draw and put the kings in the center, but the board registered Ke5 as a move.>

your are right, the black king was in f6 and while Kf6-Ke5 loses the normal Kf6-Ke7 draws

One of the presumed big surprises was Finland-Georgia, which the offial site declared won by the Finns with the score 2.5-1.5; however the chess-results.com site gives the victory to the Georgians. The difference seems to be in the Pantsulaia-Lehtinen game on board 3. The final position looks winning for White (Pantsulaia), but the last move was his 40th, and maybe he exceeded the time limit. Does anybody knows what the real score was?

Georgia defeated Finland 2.5 - 1.5

I like this accelerated pairing system. Starting from the 1st round on, we've seen interesting matches. Even the top seeds were facing decent opposition.

Moro on 3rd board seemed to work, at least in the 1st round. He's the one who won.

Already in the 2nd round we could see some high level encounters:

Ivanchuk - Ivanisevic
Radjabov - Movsesian
Bologan - Aronian
Dominguez - Kasimdzhanov
Kazhgaleyev - Jobava

Don't generalize based upon your one Olympiad (well even this year appearing is one thing, but in quite a number of rounds the top player from a top team would skip the round because the opponent team's top board has a low rating. Did you care to notice that Kramnik, Topa, Leko did not play in the first round?) Find out how many among the top 10 played for their countries in last 10 Olympiads. Also find out how many rounds the top players skipped and against which opposition.

Just being theoretical and saying that "if one is confident of one's abilities and..." doesn't change the facts on the ground. We will see that in a number of initial rounds, the top players will be choosy. If you are a professional then you have to be careful about your rating which matters a lot to get invitation to the tournaments that matter.

Looking at the result of the previous Olympiad and saying that top players gained rating points is like predicting an outcome of a football match after it has been played out. Playing against a lowly rated opponents is always a risky venture. A top-10 player cannot be sure of the end-result especially, when sometimes he has to agree to a quick draw or try to win a game from a drawish position simply because the match situation demands it.



No, it is not the same as predicting after the game is over. You could do the score predictions based on the ratings at the start of the tournament, without considering the actual result. After doing the calculations you then compare the predictions with the result. And as I said, you will find on the average the results are just as predicted. It is valid prediction if you calculate it first before looking at the outcome.

By the way, what is the basis for saying that "Playing against a lowly rated opponents is always a risky venture"? Of course it should be based on previous results. But tons of facts show you are just wrong. High rated players do beat low rateds convincingly most of the time, more or less as their ratings predicted.

Of course, there are cases where high rated players lost big time. But those cases are rare (not "many" as you said). And if it happens frequently to a certain player, probably he is overrated in the first place.

Jackinley, way to discard other peoples facts for your assumptions. And then demanding the others dig for more facts...


Kramnik, Topa, Leko not appearing in the first round doesn't necessarily imply they find it too risky, and feared losing rating points, as you said. It's more an issue of saving their energy for stronger opposition, when the reserves are enough to beat the weaker ones.

And did you care to notice, Kramnik and Leko appeared in the 2nd round against much lower rated opponents anyway? And what about Morozevich on the third board, right from the first round? And Carlsen, Ivanchuk, Jakovenko, Radjabov, Wang Yue, playing those 200 points lower?

You suggested, checking the last 10 Olympiads. Why don't you do that yourself? I bet you, at least 6 of the top 10 appear in the last 10 Olympiads. And that includes playing many games against much weaker players.

You are making a big deal about losing points, more than the top players themselves :-).

By the way, while checking the previous Olympiads I noticed, Ivanchuk played starting in the first round in every Olympiad he's in. In many cases, he played in every match through the whole tournament. A real chess warrior.

Kramnik started very actively. Guess he learned something from Anand :-).

Am I the only self esteem-challenged here who goes over the games of Botswana v. Yemen (women's section), in order to laugh, to feel superior to someone?

Check that. Am laughing at Galal-Sebetso (Yemen v. Botswana, mens section). These guys must be 1500s and 1600s territory.

Also see Mody-Kwak, board four of U.S. Virgin Islands v. Hong Kong. Mody must be 1200 or so.

Since when is trolling for babes a crime Mig?

Jackinley appears very new to following Olympiad tournaments. I have seen others (even websites) make a great deal over rating points. Team X "upset" Team Y with a draw because they were rated 200 points lower. This is not the way team tournaments are played. Those of us in countries with professional sports understand that being a star without winning a team championship does not means as much. Rating points are not tangible, but certainly a gold medal is.

How many top ten players played in the last 10 Olympiads... every single top player has played in at least one. How's that? Better yet, you name me one who DID NOT play in the last ten Olympiad.

I wonder if nobody is concerned about the inequity of the third round pairings. For example, in the Open, among the teams with 2-0 match scores, we have top-level matchups such as Russia-Cuba, but after the 4th of those, we have mismatches, such as England - Malta. In general, these are not due to upsets in the early rounds, they are systemic with Accelerated Pairings. Tweaks could have been made in the second round pairings to avoid much of this, but for an event such as the Olympiads, you do have to go with the pairing rules you published. Then have faith that everything will even up in the end.

Canadian arbiter Phil Haley, who invented Haley Accelerated Pairings, tried to get FIDE to accept Accelerated Pairings as early as the first Swiss event, Haifa 1976. Thirty-two years (how appropriate!) later, we have them! I'm a fan of Accelerated Pairings, but thinking has moved on and it is time to suggest Système Suisse Accéléré Degréssif (which I call SAD), a more subtle form of acceleration developed by French arbiter Jean-Claude Templeur and used in the annual 600-player open at Cappelle-la-Grande. It should go without saying of course that not all arbiters admire Templeur's work.

Given what we know about acceptance of ideas in the chess-administrative world, we might look forward to a SAD Olympiad in 2040, if other currents of history haven't overtaken us by then.

I guess I shouldn't hide that I developed the Haida Pairing System specifically for large team events. I submitted it to FIDE in 1980 and then presented it in person at the 1996 FIDE meetings. No comment from anybody in FIDE. Oh well. It is a more serious departure from the Swiss norms than Accelerated is or than SAD would be. It weighs a win against a strong team more heavily than a win against a low-rated team.

Jonathan Berry
IA (1975), CGM, FM

The chess world would be a better place if more people listened to Mr Berry, but then again..."forget it Jake, it's FIDE."

Who said rating points are not tangible?
They are important in world championship qualifications and tournament invitations.

I think top players are willing to play lower rated opponents, such as in the Olympiads, not because they think ratings are not tangible and don't care about it. They do care, but they are confident enough they could win enough to keep it, which in fact is proven by their results.

That, and various other reasons, such as the prestige of the Olympiad. Plus, as I mentioned before, there's not that many elite events to begin with, so to make a decent living they also have to play in non-elite events.

I think the question was not whether top players appear in Olympiads at least once. But how often? How many times do they skip, and how many times do they attend? If they skip more often, even if each of them do attend sometimes, it could still make the point that they prefer not to attend.

But that's OK, because even if you count the frequency (I did), they seem to attend more often than they skip. Not only do they attend, but they do so frequently. Hence your original point is proven :-).

I'm surprised people are making a big noise about the no-late rule.

In every other professional sport, if you are late you lose.

Tolerating 1 hour lateness, as is the usual practice in chess, is completely unprofessional. I wonder why people didn't have this rule before. Do we need the Germans just to tell us this simple thing?

If 100 players come late, then 100 players should lose, and I bet you, next round they won't be late again, whatever the reason for being late the first time around :-).


I would agree with you except for one thing. The clicking clock is punishment enough. In other sports the teams must be there for games to start. Not so in chess.

Right. What I meant was that attending and participating in the Olympiad tournament outweighs the risk of losing rating points. One cannot appreciate it unless they've actually been to the tournament. There is absolutely no tournament like it anywhere.

I don't agree with your elite/non-elite analogy. There are no cash prizes in the Olympiad, so that is not an issue. The idea of representing your country amidst 150+ others is perceived to be a great honor. It also gives top players tremendous exposure and business opportunities since there are many vendors and officials there. There is business conducted, alliance forged and networking that is done there.

Rating points are a small issue when there is so much to gain by being there.

As far as punishment is concerned, the ticking of the clock could be considered as one. But it's not just an issue of punishment. If someone is serious about attending a tournament, what's the excuse for being 1 hour late? Does he respect the tournament or not? There's no excuse, unless of course there's an emergency situation, but that should be dealt with as a special case, not an excuse to allow lateness in general.

Well yes, I did mention the prestige of the Olympiad, which is a big attraction for top players to play,

My main point was that not only does it outweigh the risk of losing, but the risk of losing itself is not significant. In general, the top players could win as expected, no reason for them to fear such a risk. It's just the same risk as in any other tournament.

This is different though. The game has technically started at the correct time and forfeits if a response is not made in one hour. It doesn't make sense to have the hour rule if you impose the "no late rule." German organizers are changing the rules. Of course players are serious about playing, but again if you have a clock what's the point of imposing any other rule?

I'm surprised at how *little* opposition there is to the zero-minute rule. The one-hour rule (the Rubinstein Rule) has served us well for decades. It is a self-administering, sliding-scale punishment for being late. It is a very good rule!

Guess what? FIDE wants to change the Rules of Chess to incorporate a zero-minute rule. Such a provision was "guided" through the Rules Commission. It may be that in the General Assembly they'll relent and offer a 15-minute forfeit rule as if that were a compromise. Reminds me of Soviet negotiating tactics.

Outside of the holy halls of the Olympiad, a zero minute rule, aside from all of its other drawbacks, will make it easier for games to be thrown, without the thrower losing face.

Perhaps there's little opposition because there's no real argument in support of the 1 hour rule, except for tradition?
I still don't see any excuse for people coming 1 hour late. It's not an issue of already getting punished by the clock, but what's the excuse to be late in the first place? If one is serious about playing then he should come on time. Of course, special cases of coming late (emergencies) can be taken care of on a case by case basis, but not as a general rule that everybody can be 1 hour late.
The issue of throwing a game is lame. People find ways to throw a game if they want to. Besides why is it not a big issue in other sports?

Second-hand Woes
With apologies to none
My tangled webs are spun
On rubber boards no less
Made checkered for some chess
One time I played a tardy lass
Perhaps arriving from some class
Both yard and valley she'd traverse
While seeking token in her purse
No matter that a rule's a rule
And one more minute I'll win this duel
But here she comes I'm not surprised
She's heaven sent I realized
Just fourteen moves were all it took
For my whole game to be forsook
With smile wider than the hall
She says I'm sorry but not at all.


There's no evidence that special circumstances were taken into account, see the Gabon round 11 incident reported by Shaun Press.


If they don't use common sense at the top event of the FIDE calendar, what hope is there in the boondocks?

Other sports don't have 12-hour playing days.

So, you plan to arrive an hour early just in case the bus doesn't show (and in my country, a G8 country, often they don't show), and end up in your indoor clothes waiting outside a locked door in the snow or rain. And your unpaid working day is suddenly an hour longer.

Other sports do have concerns about thrown and pre-arranged games. For example, the most popular sport in the world.

More debate on the demise of the Rubinstein Rule here:



OK, if special cases weren't taken into account, that should be fixed. They should have rules for special cases, or at least the TD should be allowed to make exceptions. But that still doesn't justify giving everybody 1 hour as a general rule. Something like 15 mins is perhaps fine to avoid ridiculous cases. But why 1 hour?

I checked the bulletin board. There's not much real argument there (on both sides) as far as I see.

Your only argument is that it facilitates cheating. I don't find that convincing. People who want to throw a game will just throw a game. You were asking for refutation of it. But I think the original argument is not that strong to begin with. It is already weak as it is, even without specific refutations.

I know other sports are concerned about people throwing games. My question was are they concerned by this particular issue i.e. it is easier for people to cheat with a zero-tolerance rule.

It's not complicated or hidden, but maybe if I explain in detail, it will become clear. My apologies, this is a long post.

First, let's take the case where players want to pre-arrange a win. At present, simply not showing up for the game does not quite work. After 15 minutes or so, other players and arbiters notice that the cheater is missing and go out to find him. This immediately puts everyone on guard for a throw. In real life, a throw is achieved by the thrower either playing badly on purpose, or playing normally and then losing on time. This leaves a record (the game score) that can be examined forensically and perhaps used later, together with other evidence, to "convict" the cheater. I was arbiter of a big open where the games in general were not published. There was one particular game that I thought might have been thrown, but I did not have enough hard evidence. I collected a bunch of games from that round and published them. AFAIK, nothing has happened, but maybe some day the score of that game will come back to bite the player who threw it ... if he did throw it.

Not only does playing the game create "evidence", it also creates strain in the cheater. Sure, there are some throwers who do it without qualm, but for others it is difficult. That is sometimes reflected in the game itself. They are proud enough that they want the world to know that they could not possibly lose to "this idiot" under normal circumstances, so they choose to lose in some bizarre way, after achieving superiority. That again is evidence.

Now flash forward to Zero Forfeits. A player can lose with no qualms, no internal conflict, no loss of face or time. He just shows up 20 seconds late for the round. Even in your 15-minute example, it is unlikely that the player will be found and dragged to the board. After the hubbub of the round start has settled down, ten minutes have passed. In 50 minutes, you can find most players, but not in 5 minutes. "I missed the bus", "I didn't have money for a cab ride", "I met my opponent's girlfriend. I didn't know she was that hot!" "There was a lineup at the toilet" "I can't play without a coffee." "The elevator didn't work." "I slept in." all become reasonable excuses (as opposed to "I threw the game") for cheaters under Zero or 15 Forfeits.

Here is a slightly different example of how Zero Forfeits would encourage cheating. A player needs one more game to complete his norm. At present, if the player needs a draw or a win to complete that norm, the cheater might approach him with a proposition to draw or lose the game in exchange for compensation. The player can tell the thrower to fluff off, and not thereby kill his norm chances. However, under Zero Forfeits, the cheater approaches the norm hopeful and asks for compensation simply to show up for the game on time! Because, by showing up late, the game becomes unrated and the norm is dead. That sort of incentive is not available with the 1-hour rule, because, as before, the cheater is likely to be brought to the table anyway.

That detailed enough?

henry, you write "People who want to throw a game will just throw a game." Reminds me of the argument equating the availability of a coca bush with the availability of crack cocaine. You want to replace a labour-intensive, exposed, guilt-ridden road to a pre-arranged result with an instant, easy one. Plus, as in the second example, you are inventing new ways to cheat.

Or, from literature, the temptation of Jesus after 40 days in the desert. The thing that Satan asked Jesus to do was simple. It wasn't "...and then sit here for three hours pretending not to worship me".

(grin) On the other hand, FIDE's new measure will enrich the vocabulary of English. From Zero Forfeit we will have nouns and verbs zeroforfeit, zerocoffee, zerochat, zerothrow, zerothrew (verb), zerowhore (noun and verb), zerogift (to give an opponent a watch whose time is set a minute or two slow), zero-enabled (adjective), zeroly (adverb), zerosister (a pretty girl to kiss your opponent on his way to the playing hall). Zerosisteroastrian (the opponent who worships that girl, or at least lingers long enough to get forfeited). Hey, maybe I shouldn't complain, this could get hot. Pah! All that old-fashioned stuff about Truth and Beauty. Your chess beauty is so Lasker! Get with the 21st century, get zero! (/grin).


Thanks for writing the long response :-).

All those cases I could already imagine since the beginning of our discussion, even before your last email. I just don't think they make it clearly easier to throw the game. If a player can find an excuse to be 15 mins late, he could also find an excuse to be 1 hour late. I'm not so sure people would actually try to drag him to come. Correct me if I'm wrong, I remember Morozevich was late for one game in a recent tournament, but nobody dragged him, and he just lost. Not to say that he threw that game, but nobody dragged him to come.

Also, the "forensic" evidence issue is not that convincing. Anybody could just say he blundered. Even Topalov or Kramnik blundered. So what?

I would be convinced when there is statistics, i.e. after changing the rules, significantly higher cases of throwing the games occur (of course, you need to prove that those games are actually thrown).

Again thanks for your detailed response. Sorry, I'm still not convinced.


I thought I've included the following in my last email, but apparently I only had it in my mind but didn't actually typed it in.

I don't think there is an analogy with he coca example.

How much more labor-intensive is it to show up late after 1 hour compared to 15 mins?

An intentional blunder is recorded and exposed, but so is a real blunder. How do you convincingly tell the difference? Even in the case from your own experinece, you still cannot prove anything, as you said yourself.

And as far as guilt, I don't see how intentionally being late 15 mins brings much less guilt than being late 1 hours or intentionally producing a blunder. Both are cheating cases. If a player feels guilty at all for that kind of cheating, then the details doesn't matter, he still feels guilty. And if he does not feel guilty at all about such things, then of course it doesn't matter either :-).

And as far as Jesus is concerned, anything is simple :-) :-).

BTW, I am curious, in the last Olympiad what percentage of games were actually lost because of the zero-tolerance rule? I've heard of some cases, but what is the statistics?


You have a healthy skepticism. When I write about things I've observed and done, you doubt it. When I speculate about what chess players will do, based upon my experience, you doubt that too. Skepticism is a good thing. But others read this blog, too. They might want to know what sort of experience you're basing your judgments upon. Care to share that with us? I post under my name, and my experience in chess is easy to look up. But if anybody wants to be bored, I could post a summary.

I tried to figure out how many games in the (Open) Olympiad were lost due to Zero Forfeit. It's complicated by the fact that one game, widely reported as a Zero Forfeit, has 13 moves in the TWIC database. If other Zero Forfeit games also have spurious moves attached to them, we may never know.

I'm only slightly unhappy with the pointless experiment of Zero Forfeit at the Olympiads, though the measure could have been applied with common sense. A player arrives at the board, shakes hands with the opponent, gets up to get a pen from the arbiter's table, the gong sounds and he's forfeited? Give me a break. It's the imminent application of Zero Forfeit (or 15 Forfeit) to all tournaments that I see as destructive to chess.

It's almost impossible to calculate exactly how many games were lost on a lateness forfeit in Dresden, but it was a big number.
For example, three of the four Malawi players were late for the final round and were forfeited despite the pleas of their opponents for the match to proceed. The fourth Malawi player was then also forfeited on the grounds that a team must contain a minimum of two players!
On the other hand, the Rwanda team just went home early and missed the final round, but the results list treats both matches as the same.


You didn't reply to any of my questions, but changed the discussion to the irrelevant issues of biographies.

If you want to talk about experience, the 100 arbiters at Dresden also have experience, don't you think so? And they support and execute the rule. Should I believe in the opinion of 1 person (even assuming he is a big expert), or those 100 arbiters? You tell me.

If you want to talk about experience, tell me how many experienced players or arbiters support your specific argument: that the new rule makes cheating easier? One expert opinion is interesting, but we would be convinced if it is confirmed by others.

If you are serious about the issue, then the problem is not your opinion vs mine, or your biography vs mine, but between yours and experts in general.

If you have that much experience, then give me an analysis of Dresden games. What percentage of increase did you find in people throwing games, compared to other tournaments that follow the conventional rule. It should be higher, since it is easier to throw games in Dresden, according to your hypothesis. So give me the number. With your big experience, it should be easy to give a convincing reply. I'm only asking for a few numbers.

Most esteemed Devil (written not because I worship devils, but because Tassie Devil revealed his identity to me in person),

The dozen Zero Forfeits (and no-show forfeits and protest forfeits and insufficient team size forfeit) documented by Shaun Press in his blog report of the 11th round, all show up in the TWIC database as zero or 1/2-move games.

Likewise Guseinov-Tkachiev.

There are many zero or 1/2-move games from early rounds, but those could be because the team didn't arrive in Dresden or because of irregularities in game transmission.

After, say, Round 4, however, the only other forfeit games I found involved Uganda, which according to the same Shaun Press, had only two real players and tended to use the other names as place markers to get board matchups the way they liked. Those two simply didn't show for the games.

So, on the surface, the only Zero Forfeit games after round 4 in the (Open) Olympiad were the ones that have been reported.

However, the Ermenkov game, from round 11, widely reported to have been Zero Forfeited, appears with 13 moves in the TWIC database. We need more information before we can say that these perhaps spurious moves invalidate the method (of choosing Zero Forfeit candidates from among the database games where one side never made a move).

I admit that calling a game a Zero Forfeit means working backwards, but that is required. In theory, every forfeit at Dresden was a Zero Forfeit, and we remove it from that category only if the forfeited player didn't show up within the hour.

It's an obvious question to ask, but the number answer, IMO, is less important than the individual stories.

Ermenkov was able to play 13 moves in round 11 because he was not forfeited at first - the arbiter told the opponent to play. The Jamaicans then appealed to the chief arbiter Ignatius Leong who overruled the match arbiter and declared a forfeit.

On a conservative count there were 17 zero forfeits in the Open Olympiad and 11 in the Women's Olympiad. The other forfeits were more likely to be players absent from Dresden, going home early, walking out when their teammate was forfeited, or being forfeited because their team had only one player that day.
Still, a bit more than Kirsan's claimed "just three or four for the whole Olympiad".


It's difficult to know how far you have your tongue in your cheek.

In the previous post, you asked four questions (sequences of words ending in a question mark.) I made a valiant attempt to answer the last two. So that leaves these:

"How much more labor-intensive is it to show up late after 1 hour compared to 15 mins?"

Would you like that answer in ergs or in ISAU (International Standard Annoyance Units)?

"An intentional blunder is recorded and exposed, but so is a real blunder. How do you convincingly tell the difference?"

You make it sound as if you've never read a detective novel. The moves are not *proof*, they are *evidence*. They may suggest further investigation ...

In short, those two questions appeared either rhetorical, or examples of healthy skepticism. I gave you the benefit of the doubt.

As for the questions in the next posting, aren't you going at the straw man *ad absurdam*? Especially the ones in the last paragraph.

On the proposition that the Zero Forfeit rule, if applied to tournaments in general rather than just to the Olympiads, will facilitate two methods of cheating, one new and one enhanced, the score in arbiters is 1 for (the proposer) and ? against. ? is either zero or one depending upon henry's identity. ? is not Schroedinger-ed, because there is evidence as to which box henry pertains.

Silence from arbiters doesn't surprise me. In almost two decades since I wrote the Ethic Zero letter, I've received hardly a comment about it, even though on the surface you'd think all of the thousands who read it would react with something: "not constructive", "nonsense", "brilliant", "obvious" ... I was honoured that one of the few who wrote was the famous Lim Kok Ann. He was angry at first, but when I replied and he re-read the Ethic Zero letter, he was OK with it.

henry makes assumptions about the "100" arbiters in Dresden. He doesn't know how many protested against the rule (arbiters in general are more circumspect than I am, so they could well have done it in private). We do know that they enforced the rule as they saw fit, and we do know that this ranged from amazing strictness down to laxity (the reported non-forfeit of Mongolia against Ukraine, women). And even the ones who enforced it strictly may have thought it was a stupid rule. They might have enforced it strictly because they believe that laws should be enforced strictly, full stop. It says nothing about what they think about the rule.

Even if the arbiters thought Zero Forfeit was a good rule for the Olympiad, the cheating methods it has been alleged to facilitate don't really pertain to team competitions. Or at least I didn't think so when I first wrote.

One prominent arbiter urged me to write to the Presidential Board (in whose hands the Zero Forfeit matter now lies), adding that petitions don't work. I'm not sure where he would put my Open Letter approach. I'm guessing that he would classify it as a petition. But oh well. I did send the Open Letter to FIDE and several senior officials. That doesn't stop others from doing likewise, in their own words. The email is office at (you-know-what) dot com. You do know what. FIDE doesn't officially reply to communications from individuals. Sometimes they'll even send an email to that effect!

So yeah, sure, I'd like an expert with whom to debate the proposition. Then readers would have a better handle on whether it is valid.

So is Ermenkov's 13 move game going to be rated?

It's strange you mention Ermenkov. He was the victim of a forfeit rule when he was not at the board against Jamaica. According to Ian Rogers, Ermenkov told him that he arrived at the board and discovered he did not have a pen. When he returned 30 seconds later, he had forfeited.

I personally believe details are missing from Ermenkov and perhaps it was longer than 30 seconds, but he went to the arbiter who stated that Ermenkov should play. Did he greet Warren Elliott of Jamaica at the board? Did he take his seat? Apparently none of these issues mattered. The arbiter perhaps thought it was a stupid rule and when told that Ermenkov was at the board earlier, he awarded him a chance to play.

In fact, I took a picture and Ermenkov had played 1...c6 in response to 1.e4. The Jamaican's went to the Senior Arbiter who only asked if Ermenkov was at the board at the start of the game. The answer was no so a forfeit was awarded.

Mr. Berry, congratulations for your well-reasoned posts and for all your chess activities that I have read about (arbiter, organizer, correspondence and OTB player, etc.) I fully agree that the "zero-minute" rule is ridiculous, except perhaps in small closed events where all the invited players are offered to stay in the same hotel which hosts the tournament.
However the potential for cheating is the wrong reason for abolishing it (common sense should be enough), because if people have decided to fix a game it is usually for money considerations which outweigh their sense of shame. So they will always find a more or less creative way of "doing the job", without caring about how bad it may look (how can you prove the deal anyway?).
For instance, a couple of years ago here in Italy there was a last-round game between two foreign IMs notoriously prone to this kind of practice. After about 15 moves of play, the gentleman with half a point less was disqualified because his cell phone started ringing. He started cursing against his stupidity in forgetting to switch it off, but somehow nobody found the show very convincing...


Thanks for the kind words. As I understand it, the Cell Phone Forfeit rule arose from a desperate situation in many countries where ringing was making it difficult for players to concentrate on their games. My first encounter with the curse of cell phones was at the 2000 Olympiad in Turkey where the phones themselves were feared to disrupt the communications with the senory boards and put the recording and transmission of an entire round's games at risk. Still, FIDE board member GM Azmaiparashvili not only brought his phone into the playing hall (past the cell phone checkpoint), but when it rang (on two occasions that I witnessed), he answered the phone. If somebody tried to approach him while he was talking on his cell phone, he took evasive manoeuvres. A tall man, he was able to walk quickly, and he deftly weaved between tables, chairs, and spectators. I was unable to catch him.

We didn't have nearly such problems in Canada, and as late as the 2003 Canadian Open, had milder measures. But the crafty IM cheater you refer to would surely have ensured that he received a cell phone "warning" in an earlier round, so that in the final round a ring would achieve the desired effect. Even then, the use of a cell phone creates evidence. Possibly the origin of the call can be discovered, and if the answer is: "oh yeah, he asked me to call him at 15:15", you've caught your cheater.

In Canada, decades earlier, we did have a faint harbinger when digital watches first became popular. Every hour there would be the atonal symphony of dozens of watches chiming, over the course of a few minutes. That threat eventually went away, as digital watches came from the manufacturer with the hourly chime turned off by default. It annoyed not only chess players.

So you make a good point. However--the desperate threat posed by cell phones justified the desperate measure (though in an ideal world, the low battery alarm of Nigel Short's gift phone would not have caused his forfeiture in Liverpool. It would have been safer not to allow any electronic devices--except perhaps for the now defanged digital watch--in the playing hall).

By contrast, the Zero Forfeit rule has as its principal rationale the question of sportsmanship--the players are present to shake hands before the game. Sportsmanship is exactly the quality that it attacks by opening up a new exploit of an old cheat, and a mostly new cheat. The "threat" posed by players showing up late is adequately dealt with under the present rules by starting the clocks on time, followed by the 1-hour Rubinstein rule. It is rare that a player arriving an hour late has an excuse which elicits a great deal of sympathy from the arbiters or other players in the tournament, and even then an hour is a long time to wait. Change the rule to 15 minutes, and matters will become emotionally charged far more often. Change the rule to 0 seconds, and you have 28 extra forfeits, affecting even the top team placings, as at Dresden. And of course it isn't over, because when the two dozen players have returned to their countries, it will be asked whether they should be allowed to represent their countries ever again. Exactly that question has been asked in Canada, and we were not involved in any of the Zero Forfeits!

The possibility that you mention, of a clever game thrower using a cell phone as a way to avoid losing face (by intentionally making bad moves or by flagging), in a way reinforces my argument that a new face-saving way to throw a game should not be added to the cheater's arsenal of tricks. Let's not forget the new category of cheat.

Last night I happened to be reading Paul Hoffman's book King's Gambit. In it, he relates that Canadian GM Pascal Charbonneau, until 2003, had what I will call "stage fright". If Charbonneau arrived early for a game of chess (or tennis), he would get very nervous, and vomit. Yes. So he always arranged to come to the playing hall at the instant, more or less, when the game was to start. Fortunately, he overcame stage fright, otherwise we might have had more Zero Forfeit stories from Dresden.

I don't know if there is a FIDE rule specifying what organizers have to provide before the start of the game (it may be too obvious to be worthwhile mentioning). Yet, several incidents were related to missing pens, and could be avoided by specifying "a table, a board, a complete set of pieces, a clock, notation forms, two chairs to sit on AND TWO PENS". On the other hand, other incidents were related to last-minute bathroom stops, and it would be odd to also request "a bucket and some toilet paper just in case". What I want to say ... : I agree with prugno that the "zero-minute" rule is indeed ridiculous - at least arbiters should be flexible in such situations (and this should probably be explicitly mentioned in the rules).

Yet, I consider very late arrival rude not only to journalists (who want to take photos at the start of the round) and sponsors (who want media coverage of the event), but also to the other player. I once played a grandmaster who arrived about 45 minutes late - as he was more than 500 points higher rated, obviously he won anyway (and my natural nervousness increased while idly waiting at the board). Referring to GM Charbonneau's "stage fright" (which was apparently over once the game started): It was probably known to his colleagues, so a 'clever but unsportive' opponent could arrive late on purpose, assuming that Charbonneau's loss of concentration would more than outweigh his loss of time on the clock.

I am not sure how to define 'very late' in the first sentence of my second paragraph, but 15 minutes seems reasonable. And I agree with prugno that cheaters will always find a way to throw a game ... . Regarding the mobile phone incident, the IM probably informed his collaborator beforehand and was sure he would comply (that is, not mention that and why he was asked to call at that very moment). An even safer way would be to arrange a low-battery alarm !?

Putting all things together, I would support a more restrictive forfeit rule - in my opinion the benefits outweigh the somewhat increased cheating potential. And I think even with the 'established' 1-hour rule there are situations with valid and verifiable excuses (car breakdown, very bad weather, public transport problems) justifying some sort of clemency. Once, we did not even show up for a team match (and informed the other team beforehand) because the weather forecast was quite clear about freezing rain in the afternoon, and the match was in a small village which could not even be reached by public transport. We were forfeited 0-8 (the weather forecast turned out to be wrong, I don't know if this affected the decision) - but frankly spoken, we did not care too much because we did not want to risk our lives for a game of chess.

BTW Jonathan, during our conversation in another thread I was actually unaware that you are an experienced international arbiter - otherwise I may have phrased some of my comments / recurrent questions a bit differently.

Yet what I wanted to demonstrate, and conclude from our discussion: The rule about (discouraging and punishing) 'obvious move repetitions' is so vague that it is impossible to apply in practice. Concerning your (joking) remark about automatic electronic detection of book draws and drastic penalties: At the Olympiad it would not make sense anyway because on some lower boards, players rated <2000 could reach a plausible book draw without even knowing that it had been played before. And at high-profile events (MTel Masters), there are different means to penalize players, notably not inviting them again for the next event.


Thanks for that chilling description of a Zero Forfeit decision tree.

There are forces in FIDE that wouldn't mind enhanced vigilance. Hmm. A Sportsmanship Verification Committee? With its own cameras? Tighter choreography of the handshakes? More frequent interference by arbiters in the course of the game. That's an ongoing trend, it doesn't need a question mark.

I remember when Bent Larsen wrote that the best arbiter is the one whose name you have forgotten a week after the tournament ends. Four decades ago.

I remember shaking hands with my opponent when sitting down at the board, and again when the clock was to be started. If one of us arrived after the clock started, we'd shake hands then. Wait, that was four weeks ago, at a tournament! Nobody was counting.

Whose idea is this zero-forfeit nonsense anyway?

I've always believed all arbiters are power-mad loons (with the exception of Mr Berry, by the look of it), but this really does take the biscuit.

And as for the clown up-thread asking what 'excuse' there can be for showing up an hour late, what is this, school?? I need an excuse? God help us. It's only a game, you know.

rdh, I guess it is "FIDE's" idea - which of course does not answer who (or ahich committee) is personally responsible. It may be motivated by attempting to make chess more fully comparable to other sports, where it is, to say the least, uncommon if one team or one player arrives only after the match has already started. Though rules may not be applied very strictly, I guess a football (soccer) match occasionally starts a minute or two late if one player still needed to go to the bathroom, tie his shoestrings, .... .

"I've always believed all arbiters are power-mad loons"
Is this based on personal experience, and if so, how many incidents? I would say in 90-99% of all chess games arbiters have "nothing to do than being present just in case", and do not mind at all. Most common exceptions are probably time-trouble and related (un)intentional misbehavior, number 2 may be verifying draw claims.
BTW, I don't think the arbiter of Topalov-Kamsky was pleased that he suddenly had to play a role in the match .... .

And about your third point: call it explanation rather than excuse if you prefer .... . I still consider vey late arrival as rude towards your opponent - despite the fact or maybe even because it is only a game. So an explanation is at its place (and, if possible, advance notice) - whereas in the 'old' system shoulder shrugging or nothing at all was sufficient.

Very late arrival rude - perhaps. I think very late arrival is normally the result of travel problems or oversleeping. But liking to arrive five minutes after the round starts and avoid the scrum has never seemed terribly rude to me. I do know one GM who always arrives forty-four minutes late in the London League (45 being the default time there), which to be honest I do think is rude, though he's a charming civilised fellow who obviously disagrees. But it's not the purpose of the laws to punish rudeness, within limits.

I'm sure it's FIDE's idea, but there are a number of idiots in FIDE. I just wondered if anyone knew which particular idiot was suggesting this.

Power-crazed loons - well, see for example Ljubojevic-Speelman, Phillips and Drew 1980 or 1982, among many other examples. Better still, read Gijssen's pompous and silly column at Chesscafe to give you the mindset I would consider typical of an arbiter.

rdh, I still think you are, to say the very least, overly generalizing if you suggest that "_all_ arbiters are power-crazed loons". You give one name from today and one example from the quite distant past, "among many others" (where we have to guess what you have in mind). I do not remember the Ljubojevic-Speelman incident, just started playing chess around 1980 .... . I would be curious to know, even though any single incident cannot be blamed on all arbiters worldwide.

Kirsan Ilyumzhinov takes the blame (credit?) for the Zero Forfeit at the end of this Yuri Vasiliev interview, ChessBase version.


I was an arbiter at Calvia. My recollection of whether players arrived on time is different from the President's. To be precise, overwhelmingly, in the women's olympiad where I was, both players were present and shook hands.

Before I saw the interview, I guessed that maybe the Zero Forfeit was a request from the Euro sponsors of the Dresden Olympiad. Perhaps to facilitate flash photo-journalism.

In April, there was a 15-minute (to replace the existing 1 hour Rubinstein) forfeit rule in a published draft for the 2009 FIDE Laws of Chess. No discussion, no rationale, no wringing of hands. When I read that, I thought they had lost their minds. But Occam's Razor demanded that maybe my software for reading the document (not a text file) was not up to the task. My software was failing to show some important caveat in the document. However, it turned out that Occam's Razor failed me!

As for arbiters and the Zero Forfeit rule, well, the top arbiter views chess as a game involving two players and an arbiter (whereas the rule summaries you find in mass produced chess sets don't mention an arbiter), so further opportunities for arbiters to intervene are no sadness for him.
Also, there are individuals who are anxious to do what the President wants, and who would blame them? Personal loyalty is important in FIDE.

It's trendy to blast FIDE, but unfortunate events of recent months have revealed that many trusted non-chess institutions all over the world are pretty bad. And very few of the individuals responsible have lost their jobs or jets or yachts. So let's accept that FIDE, even with its idiosyncracies, is typical.

Incidentally, Tassie Devil sent his list, and I see no reason to question his total of 17 + 11 = 28 Zero Forfeit games at Dresden. That includes *only* games decided by the new rule. It excludes games which would have been decided under the old rules, had those games been allowed to continue.

The top arbiter being Gijssen, I take it?

Frankly, a fact which speaks for itself.

Thomas, in L-S the arbiter intervened during a time scramble, against the wishes of both players, to insist that a particular move had been played and should stand, provoking the predictable shouting match during everyone else's time scramble. The situation was resolved eventually by Jon Speelman offering a draw rather than capturing the queen which the arbiter was insisting had been left en prise (his only legal move).

See also, for example, Golombek's lamentable performance at several Petrosian candidates matches, Gijssen's own laughable career, every 4NCL arbiter with the exception of Richard Furness, the fellow who decided Socko-Foisor, etc, etc. I could go on.

this stuff from geurt gijssen's chesscafe column is hilarious... when the rules conflict with common sense, the rules still win !!


Question Dear Geurt, in a local tournament Player A (with the white pieces), made his move when the round started. His opponent (Player B) was not in the playing hall. Ten minutes later, Player A received a cellular phone call and the arbiter told Player A the he must lose the game because of this. However, the call was made by Player B to tell Player A that he would be late. Did the arbiter make the right decision by forfeiting Player A? Regards, Manuel López (México)

Answer It is clear that Player A violated Article 12.2b:

It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic means of communication, not authorised by the arbiter, into the playing venue. If a player’s mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game. The score of the opponent shall be determined by the arbiter.

According to the Laws of Chess, Player A loses the game. If Player B arrives in time, he will receive a point. But is it a normal 1-0? I was told that FIDE considers it 1-0 by forfeit, because there is a result before the game began. The question remains: at which moment does a game begin?

rdh, at the very least your suggestion that "ALL arbiters are power-crazed loons" is invalidated by your own posts: you excluded Jonathan Berry ("by the looks of it") and Richard Furness (from personal experience?).

You are correct with respect to Ljubojevic-Speelman from the distant past, but other cases are less clear. Concerning Socko-Foisor, I would say Monika Socko deserves at least as much blame for claiming victory as the arbiter for deciding in her favor. Some sources suggested it would have been too much to ask from her to accept a draw, implying elimination from the tournament. Maybe .... in this case playing a second Arnaggedon game (with reversed colors?) would have been the best salomonic decision!?

At a German tournament, rules were subsequently changed to specify that the position has to allow "assisted mate [Hilfsmatt] minus one", meaning that the game has to be drawn if mate would require a terrible blunder on the very last move. This still does not solve all issues: What about h-pawn and wrong bishop against bare king (if the latter can reach or already reached the right corner field)? What about 'unclear' positions such as K+R against K+R? The main responsibility is with the players, not with the arbiter.

Concerning Geurt Gijssen, I did not name him "the top arbiter" (others may do so). Yet in the example quoted by chessvoyeur, he was in a difficult situation. Who would expect him to publicly disagree with a colleague, whose decision was correct based on the written rules? Concerning mobile phone incidents, several scenarios are possible, for example player B asking a friend to call player A during the game. In such a case, player B deserves moral blame, the arbiter is probably 'powerless', and player A could have avoided the situation by switching off his mobile phone (or even better, not bringing it to the tournament hall).

I had a desire to make my organization, but I didn't have got enough amount of cash to do it. Thank heaven my fellow said to use the loans. Thence I received the collateral loan and made real my dream.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on November 13, 2008 3:36 AM.

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