Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

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Alistair Campbell
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Alistair Campbell » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:10 pm

Do these situations cause more grief and bad feeling than the rest of chess put together?

How often do they arise? (That is, situations that are not resolved amicably at the end of the evening, once tempers have cooled and the relevance to the match score is established).

I guess in evening league games without an arbiter, maybe something of the order of 1 in 400 games? Maybe 3 or 4 times as many arise but are resolved on the night?

How about in a congress? Probably more often, with there being more at stake, players being more aware of the rules and the relative ease of getting an instant decision.

As it is, in my experience, players are only vaguely aware of the rules, and a league game a bit of a stramash develops with everyone (and his dog) chipping in with suggested tries and possible defences. The Edinburgh League rules, as well as offering some well-meaning homilies of the sort discussed above, also permit each player to make a brief statement to support their case (but only during the consultation with the captains). If the situation remains unresolved on the night I don’t think the “case” is presented to the arbiter. Also, there is a suggestion that the player claiming a draw has to choose either that the opponent isn’t trying or that (s)he can’t win by normal means. I’m not sure if this leaves a loophole whereby you claim the player isn’t trying and the claim is rejected on the grounds that the player is trying (even though there are no normal means by which the player can win).

In any case, what are “normal means”? I guess a sequence of moves which is unlikely (but possible) to be played. So what is the standard of proof used? On the balance of probabilities? Beyond reasonable doubt? Somewhere in the middle? Is the standard of players taken into account?

Any arbiters willing to give an opinion?

Also, is there any feeling for the frequency of various classifications of claim? E.g.

• Opponent not trying
• Claimant has a large material advantage
• Simple book draw (e.g. bishop and wrong rook’s pawn)
• Complicated book draw
• Claimant has a perpetual
• Position is blocked
• Position is claimed to be drawn with something approaching “best play”.

The requirement only to provide the position in some cases seems to me to miss out some valuable evidence. If it can be seen that the claimant has played for that position, possibly only reaching it deep into his last 2 minutes, then wouldn’t that be evidence for the defence?

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:28 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote: If it can be seen that the claimant has played for that position, possibly only reaching it deep into his last 2 minutes, then wouldn’t that be evidence for the defence?
Not necessarily.

Keith Arkell on his spectacular winning record in that pawnless ending speciality of his

it became clear during many of my post mortems that both my opponent and I were playing for the same ending - R+B v R!
http://streathambrixtonchess.blogspot.c ... w-iii.html


Just because you’re heading for an objectively drawn ending doesn’t mean you’re going to draw it. (KRB v KR being very different to KR v KB, of course, but the principle is similar).

I wonder what Keith Arkell’s rating would be if he had to hand back the elo points for all the games he’s won from drawn positions in the endgame (even tablebase draws). Something approaching mine, I suspect.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon Feb 02, 2015 6:59 pm

I think a definative answer is difficult because there are so many variables involved such as how drawn the position is (drawish but still with play, possible to win, a theoretical draw) and the skill of the players at the board. It doesn't help that players of all standards disagree on whether playing on in your opponents time trouble is sportsmanlike or not.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Brian Towers
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Brian Towers » Tue Feb 03, 2015 7:19 am

Alistair Campbell wrote:Do these situations cause more grief and bad feeling than the rest of chess put together?

How often do they arise?
The sad fact is that there is no good reason why in this day and age they should arise at all.

All standard chess should be played with an increment. There are no good reasons for not doing so. I admit I have an old analogue clock gathering dust somewhere but I can't remember the last time I saw an analogue clock in any of the chess clubs I've played at. Actually, now that I think about it the last time I saw an analogue clock in any chess club was in early 2010 at the Eden Rd chess club in Sunderland (now closed down) when I was back in the UK for my father's 90th birthday. They were playing something like 30 in 1h15m with an extra 15 minutes to finish the game - simply archaic.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

NickFaulks
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:35 am

Earlier in this thread I saw R+RP v R quoted as a canonical example of an ending too simple for a 150 player to be required to play it out. May I suggest that anyone who holds that view should take a look at Howell-Nakamura from Gib yesterday?

NickFaulks
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:47 am

Brian Towers wrote:
Alistair Campbell wrote:Do these situations cause more grief and bad feeling than the rest of chess put together?

How often do they arise?
The sad fact is that there is no good reason why in this day and age they should arise at all.

All standard chess should be played with an increment. There are no good reasons for not doing so. I admit I have an old analogue clock gathering dust somewhere but I can't remember the last time I saw an analogue clock in any of the chess clubs I've played at. Actually, now that I think about it the last time I saw an analogue clock in any chess club was in early 2010 at the Eden Rd chess club in Sunderland (now closed down) when I was back in the UK for my father's 90th birthday. They were playing something like 30 in 1h15m with an extra 15 minutes to finish the game - simply archaic.
Absolutely right, a 3 second increment gets rid of this nonsense. I simply do not understand the British attachment to mechanical clocks - or, worse still, why you sometimes see digital clocks being used without increment in a quickplay finish. There must be a view that these disputes add to the excitement of chess.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:50 am

I seem to have double posted somehow. Mods, this one can be deleted.
Last edited by Jonathan Bryant on Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:54 am

NickFaulks wrote: May I suggest that anyone who holds that view should take a look at Howell-Nakamura from Gib yesterday?
Do you think they would have played it out if Howell's King had been on h1,h2 etc rather than a1, b2 etc?

General rule surely, defending King controls the queening square = draw. That's at least in part because the King and pawn ending is drawn after a Rook trade. Still I did once see an ending of K + P v K played out to a threefold repetition claim. It was with an increment, so rather than simply declare a 10.2 draw when asked for, the arbiter had to play through the whole game to validate the repetition. It was annoying to other players as well, since it delayed the publication of the pairings for the next round. You might play it as far as checking that your opponent knew the technique of moving the king backwards rather than diagonally, but repeated trying to provoke the same error was unnecessary.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Feb 03, 2015 9:56 am

NickFaulks wrote:Earlier in this thread I saw R+RP v R quoted as a canonical example of an ending too simple for a 150 player to be required to play it out. May I suggest that anyone who holds that view should take a look at Howell-Nakamura from Gib yesterday?
Another example last night: 200+ rated chesser losing Rook and pawn vs rook because he didn’t know to move the king to the short side.
General rule surely, defending King controls the queening square = draw.
No, not in practice. I see no reason to assume that players up to and over 200 know how to draw this ending. I have seen plenty of evidence to the contrary, though.


I would certainly prefer to play with increments. The London League doesn’t seem to want to purchase digital clocks. I gather the stated reasons are cost and perceived risk of theft although I might be wrong about that.

There’s also the issue of potential over-run. The central venue is not one of those where you can just stay until midnight if needs be.

Not that a three second increment would remove all disputes anyway. Would there really be an accurate move count by anybody watching on at that speed? There’d need to be to claim 50 move rule.

In principle, though, I’d certainly prefer to play with increment so hopefully solutions can be found for these problems.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 10:43 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:Would there really be an accurate move count by anybody watching on at that speed? There’d need to be to claim 50 move rule.
Digital clocks can count the number of times they have been pressed if you let them. It needs some obscure process of button pressing to find out the count.

The local rules for Bunratty disallow a fifty move claim once you've stopped scoring. Elsewhere, has the legality of a fifty move claim been tested where there are perhaps twenty moves recorded after the last pawn move or capture and thirty moves of ticks? You only need the position of fifty moves earlier to establish the lack of pawn moves or captures, not the actual moves.

Whilst a three second increment might increase the number of defended drawn positions, I could suspect that it would increase the number of lost on time in won or winning positions. At least with Appendix G, you have a serious advantage but no time to convert, a draw offer is always on the claim with an opponent both unable and not trying to win by normal means claim in the offing if it is refused.

Jonathan Bryant
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:36 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Jonathan Bryant wrote:Would there really be an accurate move count by anybody watching on at that speed? There’d need to be to claim 50 move rule.
Digital clocks can count the number of times they have been pressed if you let them. It needs some obscure process of button pressing to find out the count.

Which makes that feature pretty useless when you need to know if a defender has survived the 50 moves or not. And that’s leaving aside the potential for discrepancy between presses of the clock and moves made.

It’s hard to monitor moves made when time is very short. Last night after a mutual rush to get to the time control my opponent checked with me that we’d made it to 36 as he wasn’t sure. We’d actually already played 38 moves so even though he was 'recording he must have missed a couple out in his hurry.

Small increments will always be tricky in this regard, I think. 30s just not practical in evening league chess though. Not in the London League anyway.

The Central London League uses 15 second increments I believe. That seems like a good compromise and I assume the league organisers would have changed it if it had caused any problems of games going on to long.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Feb 03, 2015 12:54 pm

Jonathan Bryant wrote: Which makes that feature pretty useless when you need to know if a defender has survived the 50 moves or not.
I'm told that not making the count available on the display was a deliberate if stupid design choice by DGT. It purports to be a "Digital GAME Timer", so there could easily be games other than chess that could benefit from being digitally timed with an accessible count of the number of times pressed.

Surrey Border and Berkshire leagues make 80 10 available as an option. Perhaps the 10 seconds is short enough that players don't actually try to win KRB v KR and similar with one minute left. All the venues using this have an amount of flexibility on finishing times. In the abandoned systems of adjudication or adjournment, you could have a long period while someone sealed their last move or where match captains argued about the relative merits of the player's adjudication claims.

Martyn Harris
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Martyn Harris » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:00 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote: As it is, in my experience, players are only vaguely aware of the rules, and a league game a bit of a stramash develops with everyone (and his dog) chipping in with suggested tries and possible defences.
Unfortunately "win by normal means" has connotations of forcing a win, with people switching into adjudication mode. Such analysis is irrelevant as there is no requirement that a player wishing to win a game has to gain an edge before his opponent runs out of time. Instead, if the claimant wants a draw he needs to prove the draw before running out of time. Reaching a known drawn position is not the same as proving the draw.

Turn the argument around. Instead of worrying about the non-claimant winning by normal means consider the claimant losing by normal means (I suspect that decisive games come about through losing moves rather than winning ones). It is not normal for a player to cooperate in a help mate, or to place his bishop unprotected by the enemy king in an otherwise trivially drawn opposite coloured bishop ending. It seems reasonable to discount such perverse play. However inaccuracies, mistakes and downright blunders are part of normal chess, and if they are all that the claimant needs to commit to lose the game, then surely the claim should fail. Arbiters will inevitably disagree amongst themselves as to where the boundary between perverse play and blunders lie, but very few will treat such claims as an exercise in adjudication.

By making a two minute claim a player is effectively trying to use their own shortage of time to deny the opponent a chance to play for a win. This is only reasonable if there is no win to play for. Not just no forced win, or even no likely win, but no win that doesn't require moves that would bring the game into disrepute.

Also, there is a suggestion that the player claiming a draw has to choose either that the opponent isn’t trying or that (s)he can’t win by normal means.
No, you are allowed to claim on the basis of and/or provided you can provide all the relevant supporting evidence.
The requirement only to provide the position in some cases seems to me to miss out some valuable evidence.
If both players are short of time then there may well be no record of the moves available to submit. Under such circumstances you can't hope to show to an absent arbiter that the opponent is not trying to win, merely that the final position is dead.

Paul Dargan
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Paul Dargan » Tue Feb 03, 2015 1:25 pm

Sometimes in bridge, when adjusted scores are required, the 'worst result at all probable' is awarded, this is usually accompanied by some relevant examples. Perhaps this is what you get (or are supposed to get) when you make a non-trivial 10.2 claim? There too the skill of the players involved is also a factor. I know that Alex has provided some examples previously - but I do think publishing examples that are agreed to be clear-cut / borderline / depend on the strength of the players would help both arbiters and players know what the law is meant to say.

Paul

Alistair Campbell
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Re: Claiming a draw with less than 2 minutes on clock.

Post by Alistair Campbell » Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:18 pm

Martyn Harris wrote:

Also, there is a suggestion that the player claiming a draw has to choose either that the opponent isn’t trying or that (s)he can’t win by normal means.
No, you are allowed to claim on the basis of and/or provided you can provide all the relevant supporting evidence.
The requirement only to provide the position in some cases seems to me to miss out some valuable evidence.
If both players are short of time then there may well be no record of the moves available to submit. Under such circumstances you can't hope to show to an absent arbiter that the opponent is not trying to win, merely that the final position is dead.
I was quoting Edinburgh League rules which suggest that it is an "either/or" not an "and/or". I think this may a typo - I'll take it up with them.

I think I was suggesting that if it were possible to present more evidence (such as up to date score-sheets, should they exist) to the court then there was more chance that justice may prevail. Of course, it may be that the moves do not help the claimant's case.

With regard to eliminating the situation in the first place, I think, as Jonathan has suggested, there are two main constraints. One is "kicking out" time, where you have to be out of the premises by a certain time; the other is the cost of purchasing new clocks.

Presumably time controls (with increments) can be and are set to approximate the same playing time (without increments). The problem is that whereas current time limits lead to a maximum duration for any game, one with increments can outlast this maximum duration; this risk can be reduced by fiddling with the time controls but at the cost of reducing the time and hence potentially quality and enjoyment of the majority of games.

We could have a whole different thread on the economics and pricing of chess activity in the UK - however, were some leagues to compel the immediate implementation of "anti-10.2" policies, they would be placing a burden on some clubs that would not be tolerated. And all to reduce the hassle from an eventuality that is unquantifiably unlikely?

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