Illegal moves

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Peter Shaw
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Illegal moves

Post by Peter Shaw » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:59 am

A curious incident from a match last night in a game between two strong players:

Black played the illegal move Ba6-d1. The bishop was on its way to f3 so he'd intended to play Ba6-e2. White didnt notice and made his move. I'm sure he would have played the same move against Be2 as either way black was playing Bf3 next. Black played Bd1-f3 and the game carried on. It was agreed drawn a few moves later.

If I understand the rules correctly (this was standardplay), if it's found that an illegal move has been played the game should be reset to the point before the illegal move and resumed from there. So if white (or indeed black) had noticed the move was illegal it would actually be in their best interest to say nothing and wait to see how the game develops. If the game turns against them they can point out the illegal move and go back to try something different. This doesn't seem right to me!

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Stewart Reuben » Tue Mar 25, 2014 2:31 am

Peter Shaw. You have come across a well-known defect in the FIDE Laws for which there was no appetite for change. In the USCF Rules, after 10 moves by both sides, the illegality cannot be corrected. FIDE are very concerned about the game being available to view. The USCF are more concerned about the playing schedule.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:22 pm

Something Odd happened last night in a cup semi final a player resigned only to notice his opponent had stalemated him so what comes first the resignation or the stalemate.The player said i resigned so i happy to let the resignation stand.
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:24 pm

The stalemate comes first - you can only resign if the game has not already been completed, and checkmate or stalemate immediately ends a game.

William Metcalfe
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by William Metcalfe » Tue Mar 25, 2014 6:55 pm

That was what i said Jack but the player would not have it luckily it did not affect the match result
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:32 am

Does it change matters if it was pointed out by a helpful spectator? I wasn't sure of that. Obviously different to someone resigning then spotting it themselves.

Neither of the players noticed at all, and to be honest - while its very unlikely - I couldn't even be 110% sure there hadn't been a half move from the side stalemated. You can imagine how far gone thought wise from managing to stalemate with K&B (& pawns) vs K & pawns.

In fact neither player, with it being irrelevant for the match, was especially bothered about the result :) If it was I guess we'd have had it checked somehow.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:03 pm

Martin Carpenter >Does it change matters if it was pointed out by a helpful spectator?<

That is a solecism. A spectator must never interfere.

In one British Championships congress there was a time scramble. There were several spectators present. There was an arbiter writing down the moves, or possibly just recording the number of moves. A player made an illegal move, changing the colour squares on which his bishop operated. The game continued. After one flag fell the arbiter started to get matters sorted out. The game had to be reconstructed. Only then did one of the spectators point out that there had been an illegal move some time earlier.

Those spectators knew their place in the universe! The position reverted to before the illegal move and the game was continued after the clocks were adjusted.

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by MartinCarpenter » Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:09 pm

True enough. No arbiter either though of course, or there wouldn't have been any problem.

Are things just in legal limbo once a spectator does intervene like that?
(Everyone was happy in the end so no actual problem but it might have got queried if the match had dependened on it.).

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:15 pm

Once a spectator interferes, it must be a mess. It is for an arbiter to sort matters out. If there is no arbiter of course it is a bigger mess.

David Blower
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by David Blower » Thu Mar 27, 2014 9:20 pm

Peter Shaw wrote:
If I understand the rules correctly (this was standardplay), if it's found that an illegal move has been played the game should be reset to the point before the illegal move and resumed from there. So if white (or indeed black) had noticed the move was illegal it would actually be in their best interest to say nothing and wait to see how the game develops. If the game turns against them they can point out the illegal move and go back to try something different. This doesn't seem right to me!
You are right. Lets say then that in that match, only one player notices but does not say anything at the time, but then the game continues for 30 or 40 moves, and then the same player blunders their queen, losing the match.

The player then says: "30 moves ago, you made an illegal move with your bishop, so the game has to go back to that position." Technically they would be right.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:35 am

David Blower wrote:
Peter Shaw wrote:
If I understand the rules correctly (this was standardplay), if it's found that an illegal move has been played the game should be reset to the point before the illegal move and resumed from there. So if white (or indeed black) had noticed the move was illegal it would actually be in their best interest to say nothing and wait to see how the game develops. If the game turns against them they can point out the illegal move and go back to try something different. This doesn't seem right to me!
You are right. Lets say then that in that match, only one player notices but does not say anything at the time, but then the game continues for 30 or 40 moves, and then the same player blunders their queen, losing the match.

The player then says: "30 moves ago, you made an illegal move with your bishop, so the game has to go back to that position." Technically they would be right.
It was possible in the old days, with perpetual adjournments, to reach session five, discover that an illegal move had been made in session two (for example), or worse, you resumed from the wrong position at the start of session two; and then have to go all the way back to that session to resume the game from the correct position.

David Williams
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by David Williams » Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:58 am

I once observed a time scramble where one player played a bishop to somewhere roughly between two squares, and when he moved it next he completed his error, and had two bishops on the same coloured squares. No arbiter present, neither player noticed, one of the bishops was soon captured, and I think a draw was agreed with both flags hanging. I did wonder at the time whether the opponent could have stopped the clock, and said "You have clearly made an illegal move. I've no idea how or when, just put two minutes on my clock and let's carry on."

Stewart Reuben
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:27 pm

A player makes an illegal move. His opponent responds without correcting the error. The game continue and then it is discovered.
Surely both players are at fault and one should not be singled out just because he was the first?

Of course Ignatius Leong wanted both players to score 0 in such circumstances in rapidplay and blitz. He really enjoys forfeiting people.

E Michael White
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by E Michael White » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:13 pm

Stewart Reuben wrote:A player makes an illegal move. His opponent responds without correcting the error. The game continues and then it is discovered. Surely both players are at fault and one should not be singled out just because he was the first?
I disagree with you on that, if it were standard play; although this may not trouble you.

IMO the first player who played the illegal move should suffer a penalty but not the second.

In support of my view I suggest the second player is not responsible for the original illegal move and does not have responsibility for immediately checking the legality of his opponents moves; so the second player should emerge penalty free. The first player has a responsibility not to play illegal moves and should suffer a penalty for infringements of those rules.

Also according to what is currently written in the rules a response by the second player to an illegal move without correction is unlikely to be illegal in the position arrived at and a penalty is not specified in the rules. The position itself would be illegal for that game, for which the first player is solely responsible.

What you suggest is just an arbiter ruse to avoid taking action and resetting clocks. Do you not see that if arbiters act in this way they will bring the game into disrepute as some players may try illegal moves in the hope that their opponents don't notice.

Peter Ackley
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Re: Illegal moves

Post by Peter Ackley » Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:28 pm

Back in c. 2005 I had a game in the Border League which started something like 1.f4 d5 2.Nf3 g6 3.g3 Bg7. At this point my opponent took off his coat and knocked over several pieces. After resetting them the game continued 4.0-0 (with the Bishop incorrectly on g2). Neither of us noticed and the game was adjourned at move 30 with a perpetual on the board.

Upon getting home both of us noticed the problem and, after a phone call, a draw was agreed. Had we have not then the resumption would have commenced at move 4 and we would have had to make it to 50-odd moves in the next playing session!

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