Questions on conduct during a game

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Andy Ward
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Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Andy Ward » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:47 am

Tonight I was playing a cup game for a club I have recently joined and my opponent was doing 2 things throughout the game which I thought were either not allowed or just poor etiquette. The first was to write down every move before playing it (sometimes waiting for several minutes, sometimes scribbling it out then going for something else), the second to move a piece with one hand and then press the clock with another. I didn't make anything of it at the time as I'm not familiar with league-specific rules on this, but would it have been unreasonable to raise the point during play?

Cheers

MJMcCready
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by MJMcCready » Wed Mar 09, 2016 1:00 am

No not at all. You can't write moves before you make them anymore (note taking apparently) and the hand the moves the piece must also press the clock. You should point both out if they happen again as its possible your opponent wasn't aware that he was breaking the rules.

Niall Doran
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Niall Doran » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:33 am

If you've only been playing club chess for a while, you may not be aware that the rules on writing down moves before playing them changed recently (around 10-15 years ago!), so some of the older players may not have got used to the change. Players could write down their move either before or after playing it, and in fact some older chess books recommended writing it down first as a kind of 'sanity check' before actually playing it. I'm guessing your opponent has been playing chess for quite a long time!

Your opponent absolutely must press the clock with the hand that played the piece. So in both of these cases, your opponent was in the wrong.

However, if there is no arbiter present, you have to decide whether it's worth the hassle of pointing this out. Personally speaking, if it was an elderly person, I'd just get on with the game rather than create confusion and a bad atmosphere. In any other conditions, I'd point out the error, especially the issue with pressing the clock in rapidplay or blitz, as otherwise this gives your opponent a big advantage.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Joey Stewart » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:44 am

I guess you have to weigh up if they are doing it unintentionally or are seeking some sort of advantage - for example, the reason they changed the rule on writing moves down after they have been played was because of an incident where a coach was going round blunder checking his players moves by looking at their scoresheets and nodding his agreement if it was a good move for them to play.
The pressing the clock with the same hand is only really relevant during time scrambles, where one player could "block" the opponent from ever getting a press by permanently keeping their hand on the button.


If it happened to me and I did not suspect foul play I would probably let it go, if anything knowing your opponents move some minutes before they played it could be seen as an advantage as it means you can start thinking up your response on their time.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

Andy Ward
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Andy Ward » Wed Mar 09, 2016 9:57 am

Niall Doran wrote:If you've only been playing club chess for a while, you may not be aware that the rules on writing down moves before playing them changed recently (around 10-15 years ago!), so some of the older players may not have got used to the change. Players could write down their move either before or after playing it, and in fact some older chess books recommended writing it down first as a kind of 'sanity check' before actually playing it. I'm guessing your opponent has been playing chess for quite a long time!

Your opponent absolutely must press the clock with the hand that played the piece. So in both of these cases, your opponent was in the wrong.

However, if there is no arbiter present, you have to decide whether it's worth the hassle of pointing this out. Personally speaking, if it was an elderly person, I'd just get on with the game rather than create confusion and a bad atmosphere. In any other conditions, I'd point out the error, especially the issue with pressing the clock in rapidplay or blitz, as otherwise this gives your opponent a big advantage.
Those were my thoughts at the time, thanks. I've known it be advice in the past to write down the move first and check it, but also known it be prohibited in certain places. On the clock, it was a long game so no real time advantage to be had but it was just a nuisance during play. Saying that I would always prefer to win on merit as in the game than a technicality.

Andy Ward
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Andy Ward » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:01 am

Joey Stewart wrote: If it happened to me and I did not suspect foul play I would probably let it go, if anything knowing your opponents move some minutes before they played it could be seen as an advantage as it means you can start thinking up your response on their time.
To be honest this ended up being the case. I couldn't help but think of the story of a Fischer-Tal game where Fischer wrote down a winning move, Tal pulled an ecstatic face which caused Fischer to change his mind and play something else :wink:

MJMcCready
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by MJMcCready » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:46 am

As long as it isn't annoying you then its probably best to let it go but its surprising how little things can become big things under pressure.

Clive Blackburn

Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Clive Blackburn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:06 am

The writing down of moves before they were played would not worried me in the slightest, although I understand why the rule was introduced.
Using a different hand to move and to press the clock is something that I would certainly complain about though - even if the opponent does not permanently hold down his clock button in a time scramble, it is still impossible to know whether the clock was pressed before or after the move was made.

NickFaulks
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:29 am

Clive Blackburn wrote: although I understand why the rule was introduced.
Do you? I was never able to get a sensible explanation at the time.

Clive Blackburn

Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Clive Blackburn » Wed Mar 09, 2016 11:51 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Clive Blackburn wrote: although I understand why the rule was introduced.
Do you? I was never able to get a sensible explanation at the time.
Joey Stewart wrote: .... the reason they changed the rule on writing moves down after they have been played was because of an incident where a coach was going round blunder checking his players moves by looking at their scoresheets and nodding his agreement if it was a good move for them to play.
Was that not the reason then?

Andy Ward
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Andy Ward » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:03 pm

Clive Blackburn wrote:The writing down of moves before they were played would not worried me in the slightest, although I understand why the rule was introduced.
Using a different hand to move and to press the clock is something that I would certainly complain about though - even if the opponent does not permanently hold down his clock button in a time scramble, it is still impossible to know whether the clock was pressed before or after the move was made.
Yeah I mean I probably wouldn't flag either issue in any case unless we were short on time, it was just a bit irritating. Neither as irritating as a loud draw offer in a clearly inferior position though, which also happened later on.

Tim Harding
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:37 pm

Your opponent was incorrect in both respects and persistent behaviour of this kind should be stopped, but not by speaking to the player during play if it can be avoided.
World champion Tigran V. Petrosian used to write down his moves before playing them and GM Kotov recommended this in his book 'Think Like A Grandmaster'. Lots of players adopted the practice after that but it has now been outlawed.

The clock thing is also explicitly mentioned in the FIDE laws.

In a team match, inform your team captain who should then speak to his opposite number.
In a tournament or other events with an arbiter, tell the arbiter who will observe your opponent's behaviour and speak to him/her if necessary.

Don't wait until these issues become annoying. Get them sorted before the position becomes critical and time runs short.
Tim Harding
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NickFaulks
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 12:40 pm

Clive Blackburn wrote:
Joey Stewart wrote: .... the reason they changed the rule on writing moves down after they have been played was because of an incident where a coach was going round blunder checking his players moves by looking at their scoresheets and nodding his agreement if it was a good move for them to play.
Was that not the reason then?
I certainly never heard that one, and such behaviour is clearly in breach of other regulations and can be handled by less draconian means.

Martyn Harris
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by Martyn Harris » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:16 pm

Allowing the recording of moves before they are played would allow the scoresheet to be used as an aide memoire. Exactly what aid is being given would vary between players. Traditionally the move was written down before a final blunder check. However some players would use the scoresheet to keep a running record of the best move found to date. Typically these players scoresheets would contain numerous crossing outs as various moves were considered but later discarded.

One of my many failings is in positions where no obvious moves present themselves. One move is superficially attractive, but a little thought soon reveals it to be a short cut to an early bath. I look for other possible moves, find nothing particularly appealing, and play the one move I had already seen I must not. Being able to note down moves I must not play would be useful to me, which of course would be possible were pre-recording allowed. After all it would be impossible to limit the meaning of such pre-recording.

NickFaulks
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Re: Questions on conduct during a game

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Mar 09, 2016 2:24 pm

These are all very sensible ideas. My complaint is that on one day it was universally understood that "making notes" did not include writing down your next move in advance, but on the following day it did. No explanation was ever given for this abrupt change in interpretation.

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