Roger de Coverly wrote:It's quite frequent for local leagues to permit the continued use of descriptive notation and the ECF have raised no objection. A proposal referring to FIDE rules last year to remove from grading adjudicated games or games potentially subject to adjudication was rejected, so a proposal to outlaw descriptive would likely suffer a similar fate.
I'm not sure whether I could find it again, but when this issue has come up in the past, it was an opinion that descriptive could be permitted even in the Hastings Masters.
Ah yes, the difference between de re and de facto and the prerogative that national federations have to bend towards the realities of lower level chess.
I remember a while ago being the arbiter in the national 1/16 final championships (national rated but not FIFE rated, thank goodness). This is a format the ECF would do well to consider. Basically the 1/16 finals are played in the clubs and are open to all players who don't have a grading above 1800 (i.e. including ungraded players who saw an article in the newspaper and wandered in off the street). Played as a 9 round Swiss the top 20% finishers qualify for the 1/8 finals. You can enter as many as you like. That is to say if clubs A, B and C are running these on their club nights of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday respectively then you are free to enter all of them. One successful top 20% finish will qualify you.
The 1/8 finals are the same again only FIDE rated and limited to qualifiers plus players in the range 1800 - 2200. As for 1/4 finals and above I'm afraid I've never got that far so I'm not sure.
During the first round I stopped to watch a game between a kiddie who looked about 9 and this old guy who looked to be the wrong side of 70. The kiddie was already a piece up and another looked to be about to drop, but no, the kiddie was going for a rook instead. The rook duly fell and a few moves later the piece as well. I noticed the old boy wasn't writing the moves down. Not a single one, not even a token attempt. The kiddie wasn't concerned and just played. I looked at the old boy's hands. They looked mangled. Maybe he couldn't write the moves down? I wandered back to the office to see if he had dispensation to not record.
"Oh, that must be old Joe", the club secretary said. "He's a former boxer, used to be town champion, over 80. Just leave him. The game won't last long". Then it came back to me. During the pre-competition monologue there had been the usual "Sermon on the Mobile Phone", albeit a rather short one, followed by an interminable banging on about "playing all your games", "not entering if you think you'll pack in half way through", "not fair to the other players", "they've paid their entry fee because they want to play chess not have a bye". It all made sense. That had been aimed at Joe.
I wandered back into the playing area to see that Joe and the kiddie had already put the pieces back and Joe was kibitzing.
A couple of weeks' later I made the mistake of stopping by Joe's game again. This time he was playing a middle aged man. Joe's knight was pinned against his queen. Closer inspection showed that the knight wasn't long for this world, attacked from all sides. Just then Joe picked up the knight and looked for somewhere to put it. Then he spotted the bishop bearing down on his queen and put the knight back down, folded his arms and went into a long think. I looked at his opponent. Absolutely no reaction. I'm afraid I just watched. Thank goodness it wasn't FIDE rated.
A few moves later there was a mass of rather one sided exchanges and a few moves after that middle aged man delivered checkmate. Being a proper chess player with a grading and all he didn't announce checkmate and Joe looked rather bemused. He picked up his king looking for somewhere to put it. It was then as an arbiter that I stepped in and explained that it was checkmate.
Joe took it well. Middle aged man was rather pleased with his finishing combination. I headed back for the office, job well done, for a calming cup of tea.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.