Assistants at the board

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abi&timadams
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Assistants at the board

Post by abi&timadams » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:23 pm

In the FIDE rules, under 'E. Rules for play with Blind and Visually Handicapped' section 9, it states,

9. The visually handicapped player shall have the right to make use of an assistant who
shall have any or all of the following duties:
a. make either player's move on the board of the opponent
b. announce the moves of both players

Unfortunately we cannot find any reference to a disabled player not blind or sight impaired who may need assistance with moving the pieces and/or writing the moves down. Is this covered under the rules and if so where would the assistant be expected to sit or stand in order to minimise disruption to the opponent? What form of communication between the disabled player and assistant is permitted? Is the guidance different in FIDE and ECF events? Apologies if we have just missed the relevant section. Thanks in advance.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:38 pm

There is a previous thread on this subject at http://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3391.

abi&timadams
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by abi&timadams » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:07 pm

Thanks for that David, but we feel the thread doesn't address quite a lot of the potential issues so we would like other views if possible. For instance, is there any guidance on where the assistant should sit or stand? Should they only approach the board when a move has been played? If a competitor is in a wheelchair and unable to move a piece, write down moves, or press the clock, should the assistant sit at the board like the player usually would? If so, where would the disabled player be located? Every potential situation cannot be covered but we would welcome some fresh input on the issue.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 14, 2012 3:48 pm

As noted, there are no FIDE rules regarding handicapped players apart from the material about keeping score. There are or were some BCF/ECF ones. If these don't go far enough, then a league or county could come up its own local interpretation. If it only applies to one player, you could just have an unofficial local agreement. So if a player is unable to keep score, it's agreed by the match captains and league controller that this will be accepted for games within the league without a time penalty.

I would suspect the BCF rules may have been first drafted by the late Bruce Birchall. I also seem to recall the BCF setting up a review body with the EDA and BCA.

John Upham
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by John Upham » Wed Mar 14, 2012 5:33 pm

I had the pleasure of acting as a "runner" in a 4NCL game between a visually impaired player and player audibly restricted by the voluntary use of ear plugs.

I was required to communicate the moves between the two boards and to the players themselves. The game was a thrilling Steinitz Defence.

I shall not be volunteering to repeat this activity in the near future.
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Matt Fletcher
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Matt Fletcher » Wed Mar 14, 2012 7:26 pm

As a junior, I played a few times against someone (whose name unfortunately escapes me) who used a motorised wheelchair and was unable to move pieces etc. As I recall, his board was always at the end of a row to allow for more space. He sat at the board with his assistant (his dad) to one side (I think usually on the clock side, behind the clock).

His dad would generally read a book or his newspaper until his son told him a move. He then made the suggested move on the board, confirmed with his son that he had moved correctly, then pressed the clock. I assume he also recorded the moves but I'm not totally sure of this. I don't recall there ever being any issues with this set-up - the only time I remember it being a problem was when he wanted to have a lengthy post-mortem and his dad would have preferred not to!

David Sedgwick
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:24 pm

Matt Fletcher wrote:As a junior, I played a few times against someone (whose name unfortunately escapes me) who used a motorised wheelchair and was unable to move pieces etc. As I recall, his board was always at the end of a row to allow for more space. He sat at the board with his assistant (his dad) to one side (I think usually on the clock side, behind the clock).

His dad would generally read a book or his newspaper until his son told him a move. He then made the suggested move on the board, confirmed with his son that he had moved correctly, then pressed the clock. I assume he also recorded the moves but I'm not totally sure of this. I don't recall there ever being any issues with this set-up - the only time I remember it being a problem was when he wanted to have a lengthy post-mortem and his dad would have preferred not to!
That sounds like a description of the late Nicholas Stephens (http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/?ref=138828K).

Matt Fletcher
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Matt Fletcher » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:08 pm

David Sedgwick wrote:
Matt Fletcher wrote:As a junior, I played a few times against someone (whose name unfortunately escapes me) who used a motorised wheelchair and was unable to move pieces etc. As I recall, his board was always at the end of a row to allow for more space. He sat at the board with his assistant (his dad) to one side (I think usually on the clock side, behind the clock).

His dad would generally read a book or his newspaper until his son told him a move. He then made the suggested move on the board, confirmed with his son that he had moved correctly, then pressed the clock. I assume he also recorded the moves but I'm not totally sure of this. I don't recall there ever being any issues with this set-up - the only time I remember it being a problem was when he wanted to have a lengthy post-mortem and his dad would have preferred not to!
That sounds like a description of the late Nicholas Stephens (http://www.ecfgrading.org.uk/?ref=138828K).
Yes, that's right - I couldn't remember the name :oops:. I had heard he died very young. He was a very decent player.

Reg Clucas
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Reg Clucas » Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:44 pm

Many years ago I played against a severe cerebral palsy sufferer in a congress. He was wheelchair bound, had no use of his hands and had very impaired speech. His 'assistant' was also playing in the congress, and had arranged with the organisers to always be seated at the board next to his friend. My opponent would tell the assistant his move (completely unintelligible to me) and the assistant would interrupt his own game to make the move on our board. As with most cerebral palsy sufferers, there was nothing wrong with the player's brain and we had a decent game.

One would hope that organisers, and anyone playing such an opponent would do anything possible to accommodate their needs, without the need for any regulations. But I suppose this can't be taken for granted.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Stewart Reuben » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:21 am

It seems to me you do the best you can in whatever the circumstances. I believe no further Laws of Chess are required, although there could be more extended guidelines.
I am attending a FIDE Meeting in Dresden 20-22 March concerning disabled players and chess. If you want this non-issue (in my view) raised, please offer your advice.
For example, one word of warning for pairings: don't pair blind players against deaf ones unless you are able to provide a steward to communicate the moves.

LawrenceCooper
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by LawrenceCooper » Thu Mar 15, 2012 9:38 am

Stewart Reuben wrote: For example, one word of warning for pairings: don't pair blind players against deaf ones unless you are able to provide a steward to communicate the moves.
I agree with this, having witnessed one such game at the Goodyear Congress in Wolverhampton about twenty years ago. They ended up with two very different looking positions :shock:

John Upham
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by John Upham » Thu Mar 15, 2012 10:56 am

Stewart Reuben wrote: Don't pair blind players against deaf ones unless you are able to provide a steward to communicate the moves.
I was such a steward as mentioned above and it was an experience I do not wish to repeat! I was tempted to allow the positions diverge but thought better of it.

That would have a allowed me to play a game with the Black pieces versus one opponent and with the White pieces against the other! :lol:
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Giulio Simeone
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Re: Assistants at the board

Post by Giulio Simeone » Thu Mar 15, 2012 12:41 pm

Reg Clucas wrote:As with most cerebral palsy sufferers, there was nothing wrong with the player's brain and we had a decent game.
Yes, cerebral paised people very often have severe physical handicaps, but many of them have a normal intelligence. Their logical skills maybe even superior than average, since their childhood their mobility is very restricted and so, when there isn't mental retardation, they are likely to develop good intellectual abilities, it mostly depends on their parents' attitude.

Around Rome there are no less than three cerebral paised chess players, one of them plays very often with good results. Once I played with another one of them, who's wheelchair bounded, can do only a few movements with his arms and legs and speaks very lowly: he told the moves to his girlfriend who standed next to him, she made the moves and pressed the clock. With me he lost, but later in the tournament he defeated also some experienced players. I don't know whether there are rules also for players who can't move by theirselves, if you are interested in the subject you can write to Alessandro Pompa (alexandrospompa@yahoo.it) who often has been the arbiter in tournaments played by this player. I think he knows english.

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