The end of the game

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Richard James
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The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:06 pm

Quickplay finish in an evening league match. White has K&Q v K. He plays the mating move, announcing 'Checkmate' and, before he can take his hand off the queen, Black points out that White's flag has fallen.

White claims a win because he played the mating move. Black claims a draw because White hadn't completed the move by taking his hand off the piece.

Who is correct?

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: The end of the game

Postby Matt Mackenzie » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:08 pm

Mate ends the game, innit?? The other player had to point out the flag fall BEFORE he delivered it.......
"Set up your attacks so that when the fire is out, it isn't out!" (H N Pillsbury)

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:09 pm

That was my first thought as well.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:21 pm

5.1a. The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the checkmate position was a legal move.

Yes, checkmate immediately ends the game. For checkmate to have occurred, the move needs to have been made, i.e. the piece needs to have been released (unless 4.6a to 4.6c are relevant). "Completed" is the wrong word when it was mentioned above. "Made" is the correct word, I think.

I think the game is a draw, because if your version of events is true and the player hasn't released the piece, then white hasn't made his move - indeed, it is still his turn to move*. If he hasn't made his move, then the game can't have ended, so it certainly can't be checkmate. Someone has observed that the flag has fallen, so it has fallen. Thus it's a draw, because black cannot win by any series of legal moves.

*1.1 ... A player is said to ‘have the move’, when his opponent’s move has been ‘made’.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:27 pm

That was my second thought...

I wasn't there and the information was reported to me by a third party. As far as I know the facts aren't in dispute, although the clock may have been knocked over at some point. I think it all happened in a split second in a time scramble.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:31 pm

Richard James wrote:That was my second thought...

I wasn't there and the information was reported to me by a third party. As far as I know the facts aren't in dispute, although the clock may have been knocked over at some point. I think it all happened in a split second in a time scramble.


I think the time has passed to make any complaint whatsoever about the clock being knocked over!

If what you say is the correct version of events, then I'm in the draw camp.

The other point I'd make is that so far as the Laws define 'checkmate', saying that it's checkmate doesn't mean that it is checkmate!

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Sean Hewitt » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:41 pm

Assuming the facts are not in dispute (never a safe assumption in chess) and are as described, then it's a draw. It's not checkmate because white hasn't made his move yet. By not releasing the piece, he still has the option of choosing to move the queen elsewhere.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby E Michael White » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:42 pm

Well you’re all partly right and all partly wrong I guess. Was the K+Q v K after the move was attempted or before ?

According to what is written in the rules the mate has to be made ie the queen released.

This wasn’t the case here and the other player claimed on time. The question is was another move playable with the queen by the player or was the move attempted the only legal move ? If another move was playable then it might be a win for the opponent depending what pieces are on the board. ie could the opponent have mated after a different queen move and unskilled play ?

There are further complications for example was it a capture move with the queen and the captured piece touched ? If so probably a draw as no other move is playable so the opponent cant avoid being mated.

Also was it a pawn promoted to a queen. The choice of piece is finalised when the queen touches the square. Does the make a difference? Probably not as the move is not made until the queen is released.

League management committees have argued about less than this for years in the past.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:47 pm

Not a capture or a promotion, nor the only legal move. Something like WQ d7, WK e6, BK f8 and White was in the process of playing Qf7.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:48 pm

E Michael White wrote:The question is was another move playable with the queen by the player or was the move attempted the only legal move? If another move was playable then it might be a win for the opponent depending what pieces are on the board. ie could the opponent have mated after a different queen move and unskilled play?


Is there ever a situation during KQ v K when the Q only has one legal move on the board?

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:51 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
E Michael White wrote:The question is was another move playable with the queen by the player or was the move attempted the only legal move? If another move was playable then it might be a win for the opponent depending what pieces are on the board. ie could the opponent have mated after a different queen move and unskilled play?


Is there ever a situation during KQ v K when the Q only has one legal move on the board?


No - I didn't understand why that question was asked.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby E Michael White » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:05 pm

Richard James wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:
E Michael White wrote:The question is was another move playable with the queen by the player or was the move attempted the only legal move? If another move was playable then it might be a win for the opponent depending what pieces are on the board. ie could the opponent have mated after a different queen move and unskilled play?
Is there ever a situation during KQ v K when the Q only has one legal move on the board?
No - I didn't understand why that question was asked.

It wasnt clear to me whether K+Q v K existed before the last move was attempted or the final position on the board.

If the last move had been Q x R and the R and Q touched there would be no other legal move. Similarly with a pawn promotion.

If the player picked up his queen and batted the rook out of the way as if playing with toy soldiers ( Alex those are things that 6 year olds got as presents in the past before mobile phones were invented ) it might be more interesting as he wouldn't have touched the rook if one had existed. In the situsation now clarified Richard thinks none of this happened because it was K+ Q v K before the last move was attempted.

It's worth checking however whether the opponent managed to say "flags down" or similar before the move was made. If there was no arbiters and captains dont act as arbiters in this league, only the players may point out flag falls.
Last edited by E Michael White on Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:19 pm

E Michael White wrote:It's worth checking however whether the opponent managed to say "flags down" or similar before the move was made. As its Rapid only the opponent may point out a flag fall, its no good relying on witnesses to say what happened afterwards and any arbiter if there was one cannot say so either.


Yes, as far as I understand it, Black claimed flagfall after the WQ landed on f7 but before W took his hand off, so, as Alex H points out, the move had not been 'made'. It was a quickplay finish to a league match, not a rapidplay event.

Yes, when I was 6 I played with toy soldiers. (Does anyone else remember the red plastic soldiers that came in packets of Cornflakes?) At the moment the 6-year-olds at the school where I spend most of my time are all obsessed with trying to play chess, because their parents think it's good for them. In fact most of them play with the chess pieces as if they're toy soldiers. They've probably never seen a toy soldier, but would be much better off if they had! But that's another topic, to which I'll return later this month.

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Alex Holowczak » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:38 pm

E Michael White wrote:Alex those are things that 6 year olds got as presents in the past before mobile phones were invented.


I may have needed David Sedgwick to teach me how to use a phone with a ring dial, but I do know what toy soldiers are. 8)

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Re: The end of the game

Postby Richard James » Sun Apr 01, 2012 11:46 pm

I have been asked to point out that the issue has not yet been resolved and has not yet been submitted to the league authorities. I had received a phone call earlier this evening from a third party asking my opinion.

I posted the question on here, without identifying the players, the teams or the league, partly to generate an interesting discussion and partly to attempt to resolve the issue through the expertise of the members of this forum rather than troubling the league secretary or committee.


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