Flagfall at time control

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Roger de Coverly
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Flagfall at time control

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:33 pm

I expect we've all seen it happen. A player makes his last move before the time control and starts his opponents clock. Without playing a move, the opponent points out that the flag is down. So valid claim or not? The flag can only have fallen before the move was completed by pressing the clock. The game hasn't finished by checkmate or stalemate either.

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:44 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I expect we've all seen it happen. A player makes his last move before the time control and starts his opponents clock. Without playing a move, the opponent points out that the flag is down. So valid claim or not? The flag can only have fallen before the move was completed by pressing the clock. The game hasn't finished by checkmate or stalemate either.
The player whose flag has fallen has lost on time.

6.7 a. [...] The time between making the move on the chessboard and stopping his own clock and starting his opponent‘s clock is regarded as part of the time allotted to the player.

I'm not sure if anything in the Laws says this more explicitly than the above, which I concede doesn't make the answer to your question that clear.

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Tristan Clayton
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Tristan Clayton » Sun Mar 31, 2013 5:46 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:I expect we've all seen it happen. A player makes his last move before the time control and starts his opponents clock. Without playing a move, the opponent points out that the flag is down. So valid claim or not? The flag can only have fallen before the move was completed by pressing the clock. The game hasn't finished by checkmate or stalemate either.
Unless I'm missing something, how can this be anything but a win on time? The flagfall shows that the required number of moves was not made in the allotted time.

The only problem I can see is if the opponent moved, restarted the clock, and then had trouble proving when the flagfall occurred. The opposite problem happened in a game of mine once when my opponent did this, my flag fell after the clock was restarted, and he was convinced I had lost on time.

Unless an arbiter observes the moment of flagfall I think it would be hard to prove.
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David Robertson
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by David Robertson » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:58 pm

Loss on time to the player not completing the move. No question, surely.

But be happy there's a fallen flag as evidence. I've had a couple of instances with digital clocks (which I greatly support, by the way) where my opponent and I, arguably both too gormless to know what's gone on, have passed through the control with the digits 'flipping' into the next period, and the suspicion/likelihood that someone didn't quite make the time. In both cases, glances and shrugs were exchanged before simply ploughing on.

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Rob Thompson » Sun Mar 31, 2013 8:06 pm

As the claimant in question, it's worth noting that the clocks were analogue and it's been known that the physical act of pressing the clock knocks the flag down. Certainly the flag-fall was close enough to the move being played for this to have been entirely possible. Also, the arbiters weren't watching as it was about 45 minutes before the theoretical end of the first time control and so they didn't expect anything like this to happen at that point. Beyond that, I have nothing to add to Roger's description of events.

Fwiw, I suspected that the claim was valid but with no great certainty. Given that my opponent had just blundered a couple of pawns in time trouble leading to a relatively simple ending to convert I didn't consider it worth arguing, and duly won the game some 30 moves later.
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John Ariss
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by John Ariss » Sun Mar 31, 2013 10:45 pm

As one of the arbiters at the time,I feel that Rob has hit the nail on the head with his conclusion.He approached me along with his opponent and stated what had happened.Rob didn't make a claim as he said he hadn't seen the flag fall and didn't know if it had fallen due to the clock being banged ( I have personally experienced this before),he merely asked what the procedure was.
His opponent didn't seem to know either and am sure that should he have known it had fallen he would have been first to put his hand up to it.Also I feel that if Rob had claimed and it had been accepted his opponent would not of contested,he would have accepted the decision(which by the way wasn't mine to make in this instance).
Luckily both players are well known to me and both have spotless reputations in these type of situations as I have found out over the years.
The problem occurred due to the nature of the analogue clocks and his opponents'panic' in time trouble.
Obviously, as Rob stated the arbiters weren't in the close vicinity,as it wasn't expected.
I will refer to an occasion a few years ago when, my team was playing an away game and both board 1's were in time trouble.
With a matter of seconds on the clock, our player claimed a flag fall,a split second before the home player claimed.
I had noticed however that our player had hit the clock that hard that it had dislodged the home players flag, on close inspection you could tilt the clock back and his opponents flag could still rest on the minute hand, I said that in my opinion our player knocked the flag down,whilst people actually argued that 'our player claimed first'.
The captains decided to call it a draw,my journey home wasn't very comfortable !!.

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Marcus Misson
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Marcus Misson » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:07 am

Digital clocks aren't much more help.Last week a player at my club made the control, when we looked at the clock it had reset itself to the next period, so he must have run out of time in the first period. But there was no physical sign on the clock (flashing red lights whatever). His opponent said "look you're out of time" or something like that but was rebuffed.
I did mention this to one of the opposition who did not see it at the time (I'm such a fair guy) but I'm not sure he appreciated the situation.
If it was me I would have claimed the win on time and played on no further.
Just be warned - I've seen this particular clock flash in 'obvious' time failures but it seems there is a grey area in the last second of the time control. I may investigate it further.
Alex Holowczak wrote:
Marcus Misson wrote:I may investigate it further.
What type of clock is it?
I think it was a Saitek Chess Timer Digital Clock Model: DC001
Last edited by Marcus Misson on Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:24 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:14 am

Marcus Misson wrote:I may investigate it further.
What type of clock is it?

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:11 am

Rob Thompson wrote:As the claimant in question, it's worth noting that the clocks were analogue and it's been known that the physical act of pressing the clock knocks the flag down. Certainly the flag-fall was close enough to the move being played for this to have been entirely possible.
Interesting, but not relevant! If the flag falls before the player has 'completed' the requisite number of moves and his opponent claims this before making his reply then the win must be awarded. The only exception is if the clock is faulty (i.e. it's showing 2 minutes to the hour with the flag down!).

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Paul Buswell » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:05 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Rob Thompson wrote:As the claimant in question, it's worth noting that the clocks were analogue and it's been known that the physical act of pressing the clock knocks the flag down. Certainly the flag-fall was close enough to the move being played for this to have been entirely possible.
Interesting, but not relevant! If the flag falls before the player has 'completed' the requisite number of moves and his opponent claims this before making his reply then the win must be awarded. The only exception is if the clock is faulty (i.e. it's showing 2 minutes to the hour with the flag down!).
Strictly speaking, is there a need to claim? We are not talking QPF. My understanding was that other than QPF flagfall was a matter of establishing the facts, rather than claiming. I agree that one then needs an impartial and accurate observer, but such a person might be present. I think, for example, of when the players do not immediately notice flagfall but carry on for a move or three before then noticing and having to decide when the fall occurred.

PB

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:59 pm

Paul Buswell wrote:strictly speaking, is there a need to claim?
Based on
Rob Thompson wrote:...the arbiters weren't watching as it was about 45 minutes before the theoretical end of the first time control and so they didn't expect anything like this to happen at that point.
and
FIDE Laws of Chess wrote:A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.
the answer to your question is yes, there was a need to claim.

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:39 pm

Paul Buswell wrote: I think, for example, of when the players do not immediately notice flagfall but carry on for a move or three before then noticing and having to decide when the fall occurred.
When asked by members of the local club, I tell them that they only have a valid claim if they haven't played their next move. So the clock is stopped showing one flag up, the other down with the claimant to move and the claimant's clock notionally running.

On digital clocks, you need to know how they will behave when time expires. More often than not, the clock doesn't know the move count required for the time control, so it can be arbitrary whether it shows a flag fall display or automatically moves on to the next time period. Personally I think the clock should be programmed and set so as to act as an assistant arbiter and indicate losses on time, but arbiters are resistant to this.

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:02 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:On digital clocks, you need to know how they will behave when time expires. More often than not, the clock doesn't know the move count required for the time control, so it can be arbitrary whether it shows a flag fall display or automatically moves on to the next time period.
if it's correct that some clocks don't show a flag fall they don't conform to FIDE's requirements for chess clocks - "In case of passing a time control, a sign on the display must give clear signal which player passed the time limit first." (FIDE Handbook - Standards of Chess Equipment). Can you give examples of such clocks so they can be avoided?

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:11 am

Ian Thompson wrote: Can you give examples of such clocks so they can be avoided?
If the arbiters don't interfere with the settings, DGT's running on increment will stop and flash a flag graphic when time expires. When not running on increment, DGTs will usually flash a misleading flagfall but continue into the next session..

I'm not sure of the detail of the programming on Saitek clocks, but older models would not show the flagfall if they were satisfied that the the clock had been pressed enough times.

It's been apparent that the clocks in the Candidates have been programmed to ignore the nonsense in the FIDE Laws of Chess and to add the extra hour at the fortieth move and the sixtieth move.

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Re: Flagfall at time control

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Apr 02, 2013 12:26 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:When not running on increment, DGTs will usually flash a misleading flagfall but continue into the next session.
Why is this misleading? How is it any different from the flag on a clockwork clock falling as it moves into the next session, when the players have already made the time control?

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