Adjournment Tales...

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Richard Bates
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:07 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:It is dangerous to offer a draw at adjournment. If you sealed, then the opponent is entitled to say, 'I'll decide after I've seen your sealed move. If you didn't seal then the sealant can say, 'I'll wait until I see your reply to my sealed move.
Arnold Denker tried to get me to reveal my sealed move saying, 'If it's OK, I'll agree a draw.' I refused to tell him and he offered a draw anyway, which I accepted. Arguably I could, under the current Laws, claim a draw as offers have to be unconditional.
There was a famous tale of a game (involving Kotov possibly?) where (Kotov) sealed and then offered a draw before the players returned for the resumption saying that his analysis showed that his advantage in the sealed position wouldn't be sufficient to justify continuing. His opponent accepted.

(Kotov) had sealed a move which allowed mate in 2.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Stewart Reuben » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:36 pm

In the Lloyds Bank Masters in 1977 I think it was Geoff Lambert who offered Kotov a draw at adjournment. 'How dare you offer a grandmaster a draw when I'm completely winning?' Geoff promptly resigned. He had a zwischenzug which either won or at least forced a draw.
Using computers has taken some of the colour out of adjourments. Indeed most are now either agreed drawn or resigned without resumption. I had a game against David Goodman that was played after the rest of the 1st division of the London League had concluded. I spent ages on it, partly with the late Simon Webb. David spent ages with Ray Keene. I lost, going wrong, I think, after many moves. It decided the first THREE places in the league.

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John Clarke
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by John Clarke » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:39 pm

A fictional adjournment tale (from Anthony Glyn's 1966 novel The Dragon Variation).

A UK player seals in an apparently lost position. Later that evening, his USSR opponent's second approaches him and says: "XXXX says if your sealed move is YYYY then he offers a draw". The envelope is produced (I forget how they're able to do this, when presumably the arbiter has custody of it) and opened, revealing the drawing move has indeed been made. Draw accepted; all shake hands.

The book was much praised at the time for its realistic depiction of the chess scene, but this incident seems to me to lack credibility. BTW, an actual position from the 1966 British Championship was used as the basis for it.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Richard Bates
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Richard Bates » Mon Dec 12, 2011 9:49 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:In the Lloyds Bank Masters in 1977 I think it was Geoff Lambert who offered Kotov a draw at adjournment. 'How dare you offer a grandmaster a draw when I'm completely winning?' Geoff promptly resigned. He had a zwischenzug which either won or at least forced a draw.
Ah yes, I've heard/read about that one - i'm confusing stories where Kotov is concerned.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:34 pm

John Clarke wrote: A UK player seals in an apparently lost position. Later that evening, his USSR opponent's second approaches him and says: "XXXX says if your sealed move is YYYY then he offers a draw". The envelope is produced (I forget how they're able to do this, when presumably the arbiter has custody of it) and opened, revealing the drawing move has indeed been made. Draw accepted; all shake hands.
A certain amount of negotiation in tournaments was not unusual if the players and their advisers had some degree of trust.

There was also the incident related by Bill Hartston in one of his books. This was in a Student Olympiad where the opponent of one of the English players had sealed a complete howler in a winning position. Before the resumption he analysed with his opponent without disclosing the sealed move and managed to convince himself and the English opponent that the position was drawn. Needless to say he wasn't trying very hard to demonstrate a winning plan.

Malcolm Clarke
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Malcolm Clarke » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:38 pm

As a small point it is I believe Glenn Lambert rather than Geoff Lambert.

It appears from what is written about his game with Kotov elsewhere on the internet, that Lambert resigned when Kotov showed him his continuation, when if that line was played Lambert had a forced win.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Stewart Reuben » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:18 pm

Mine was a genuine mistake - and I rather think so was Kotov's from what I remember of the incident.

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John Clarke
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by John Clarke » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:29 am

Here’s another adjournment story, a real one this time. I was still at school when it happened (but was also a member of the local adult club just across the road, with whom we had an informal arrangement to use their facilities when needed).

It was the second round of an individual knockout event, early in December. The original game at my opponent’s club the previous week had been drawn; so this was a replay at mine. By the call of time we’d reached an ending with Q and several Ps on each side. Material was level, but as it happened my opponent was able to seal a move that won a P. This left level Ps on one wing and a one-P majority of his on the other. Promising for him, certainly, but no easy matter to win.

We’d arranged to resume at my club the following week. But he didn’t show up, and I’d had no message to say he wouldn’t. An obvious default? The competition organiser, who was there that evening, suggested I could claim it as one, but didn’t make a firm ruling, leaving it up to me to decide. Like a twit, I didn’t commit myself either.

As usual on such occasions, I’d stayed in town after school rather than go home and then come back in again, so it wasn’t till much later that evening that I got home to find a letter from my opponent, spinning some yarn about a more urgent engagement that had prevented him from appearing as arranged. (Like many people in the late 60s, he wasn’t on the phone .... and the mail was a lot faster and more reliable then. But why not leave a phone message at the school, under whose colours I was playing in the competition?) He revealed his sealed move, winning the P, and suggested I should concede the game without resuming – claiming that he was too busy between then and New Year to come and play it off. I replied, also by mail, saying no dice, and suggesting a new date. No answer came, nor any other sort of communication.

At this point, of course, I should have at least tried to enforce the original default. (That’s if it could have been construed as one – he had tried to notify me, after all.) But I was still naive enough then to believe that people usually spoke and acted in good faith. It wouldn't have occurred to me that he might be trying to save himself the effort of playing a long and difficult endgame. Besides, I thought being hard-nosed about the thing could have caused unwarranted ill-feeling.

As it was, matters were allowed to slide until mid-January, by which time the organiser - himself also not on the phone! - was getting anxious. My opponent apparently proposed (not to me) a date for the resumption, but this time I was the one who was otherwise engaged. So I suggested the week after that – only for the organiser to declare that was too late, the schedule would get out of whack, etc, etc. His counter-proposal was that the game be adjudicated.

The alarm-bells should definitely have sounded at that point. Again, why didn’t I enforce the default? Well, it seemed (and somehow still does seem) too late for that, somehow – but of course it ought to have been tried. Instead, like the artless clot that I was, I agreed to the proposal, believing the position was drawish enough for me to “get a result”. I wasn't cynical enough to realise that the competition schedule was the real concern, not justice on the board. It wasn’t till later that I found the position wasn’t adjudicated by a master as I’d been allowed to believe, but by the previous year’s winner of the event, who could have been primed beforehand about the desired outcome.

And so, of course, a win was found for my opponent, and the competition timetable was saved in the nick of time from disruption.

If at times since I may have seemed over-zealous in applying rules of any kind, there’s your explanation.
"The chess-board is the world ..... the player on the other side is hidden from us ..... he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance for ignorance."
(He doesn't let you resign and start again, either.)

Martin Benjamin
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Martin Benjamin » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:45 am

From the London League many years ago, when most matches were played at a neutral central venue.

Two players agreed a date, time and venue for an adjournment (Bishopsgate, the usual venue for matches and adjournments in those days). All was well, except that the day after the agreed date, both players claimed that the other had failed to show up. Each insisted that he and not the opponent had been present on the same date, at the same time and in the same room at the same venue. Clearly someone was telling a brazen lie. I never discovered how this was resolved.

Off topic, but connected to the above in terms of behaviour/attitude which leaves me lost for words. In a London League game in the 1970s we were coming towards the end of a session when an elderly player in another match suddenly slumped over his board seriously ill (for those who remember the old St Bride's Institute London League venue, probably that long trudge up steep flights of stairs did not help) I was a teenager at the time, but I had some First Aid training, so I and some others went to help. He was seriously ill, and even stopped breathing at one stage, but someone managed to revive and stabilise him until an ambulance arrived. When I went back to resume my game after about 20 minutes, my opponent gleefully informed me I had lost on time (I was clearly winning the position, so he could at least have offered a draw!). What stuck in my mind most was the relish and triumph with which he announced this. Amazingly, he was not the only one who did this. One player suggested to his opponent halting play only to be told that "nothing stops for chess". More than 30 years later, I still don't get it.

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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Richard James » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:50 am

Martin Benjamin wrote: Off topic, but connected to the above in terms of behaviour/attitude which leaves me lost for words. In a London League game in the 1970s we were coming towards the end of a session when an elderly player in another match suddenly slumped over his board seriously ill (for those who remember the old St Bride's Institute London League venue, probably that long trudge up steep flights of stairs did not help) I was a teenager at the time, but I had some First Aid training, so I and some others went to help. He was seriously ill, and even stopped breathing at one stage, but someone managed to revive and stabilise him until an ambulance arrived. When I went back to resume my game after about 20 minutes, my opponent gleefully informed me I had lost on time (I was clearly winning the position, so he could at least have offered a draw!). What stuck in my mind most was the relish and triumph with which he announced this. Amazingly, he was not the only one who did this. One player suggested to his opponent halting play only to be told that "nothing stops for chess". More than 30 years later, I still don't get it.
I was playing in the same match. My opponent and I were both disturbed by the incident and agreed a draw. Sadly, the elderly gentleman in the other match did not survive.

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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Richard James » Thu Dec 15, 2011 12:57 am

A few weeks ago I was visiting another club for an away match in the Thames Valley League. When I arrived a dispute was in progress over an adjournment.

There was a white queen on d5 which could move to either b7 or f7. White, who was using descriptive notation, had sealed Q-B7. Black, who was using algebraic notation, and may not have been familiar with descriptive, assumed this was Qb7 and would not agree that Qf7 should be played. We all told him that Qf7 was clearly intended. His match captain, who was present, agreed, but he still wouldn't accept it. White went off to phone his match captain to ask for advice, but meanwhile our match had started. Eventually the adjournment resumed with Qf7 having been played, and White eventually won. Ironically, Qb7 was probably the stronger move.

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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:10 am

Richard James wrote: White, who was using descriptive notation, had sealed Q-B7. Black, who was using algebraic notation, and may not have been familiar with descriptive
Times change. At one time players who used algebraic would sometimes seal in descriptive on the grounds that controllers, as they then described themselves, wouldn't have anything to do with new-fangled ideas like algebraic notation. An attitude sometimes seen to this day from arbiters with regard to using computers to assist the running of tournaments, and whisper it, do pairings.

It doesn't happen very often, but a match tonight featured an identical sum of grades. It finished according to the form-book at 3 each.

http://www.berkshirechess.org.uk/match_ ... n=20112012

Martin Benjamin
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Martin Benjamin » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:16 am

Richard James wrote:
Martin Benjamin wrote: Off topic, but connected to the above in terms of behaviour/attitude which leaves me lost for words. In a London League game in the 1970s we were coming towards the end of a session when an elderly player in another match suddenly slumped over his board seriously ill (for those who remember the old St Bride's Institute London League venue, probably that long trudge up steep flights of stairs did not help) I was a teenager at the time, but I had some First Aid training, so I and some others went to help. He was seriously ill, and even stopped breathing at one stage, but someone managed to revive and stabilise him until an ambulance arrived. When I went back to resume my game after about 20 minutes, my opponent gleefully informed me I had lost on time (I was clearly winning the position, so he could at least have offered a draw!). What stuck in my mind most was the relish and triumph with which he announced this. Amazingly, he was not the only one who did this. One player suggested to his opponent halting play only to be told that "nothing stops for chess". More than 30 years later, I still don't get it.
I was playing in the same match. My opponent and I were both disturbed by the incident and agreed a draw. Sadly, the elderly gentleman in the other match did not survive.
Richard - assuming it was the same incident (I think it has happened more than once), I did not know that he subsequently died and I regret mentioning it at all, as chess is irrelevant in that context.

Is it 35 years or more ago that we were both playing London League for Richmond at St Bride's? Eheu fugaces anni labuntur ....

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Stewart Reuben » Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:04 am

Harry Golombek once sealed Q-B4ch. It could have gone to either B4. He had the devil's own job convincing the arbiter that ch was part of the move so that it wasn't ambiguous.
That is an advantage of the algebraic notation and gives a flimsy reason for FIDE being bossy and insisting on algebraic. Harry's sealed move was before the FIDE Law about scoring in algebraic came in.

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Re: Adjournment Tales...

Post by Jon D'Souza-Eva » Thu Dec 15, 2011 10:40 am

When algebraic started to take over from descriptive in terms of popularity, it was quite common for players who usually wrote in descriptive to write the move in both notations in the adjournment envelope. Of course the problem was that they very often made a mistake with the algebraic version! The most common mistake was Black assuming that the ranks were numbered with 1 starting from his end of the board. For some reason the files didn't seem to get mixed up, so you'd get something like "Q-KB3 (Qf3)" being sealed as a Black move in a position where both Qf3 and Qf6 were possible. I don't remember any disputes being caused by this as it was always clear that the player intended to play the descriptive move.

My worst adjournment experience was when I was playing someone in the London League and at the end of the playing session he sealed a move and gave me the envelope (I assume!). I had a winning position, but when I got back from the match I realised I didn't have the envelope on me. I told my captain that I was going to have to resign the game and he told me that my opponent had won in exactly the same circumstances three times in the previous two seasons! When I phoned up my opponent to inform him that I didn't have the envelope he initially said that he would be claiming the game, but then backed down sharpish when I told him I would be taking it to the appeals board and bringing up the previous three cases. He very gracefully allowed the game to be continued without a sealed move and I won without too much trouble.

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