Question regarding dispute

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Andrew Zigmond
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Question regarding dispute

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon May 02, 2016 12:56 am

I was recently involved in a dispute; albeit one that wasn't pursued any further. In the interests of confidentiality I won't specify where the dispute occurred or what capacity I was involved, although I will note that I wasn't a player and that it has nothing to do with the County Championships. There was no neutral arbiter present.

Two players were nearing the first time control with quite a few moves still to play. The white player had about six minutes left, the black player was down to two minutes in a complex position where white held the slight initiative. White had stopped scoring (even though he should have been) while black was scoring when he shouldn't have been.

At this point the white player seemed to be trying the attract of a third party and then put a question to his opponent. The black player not unreasonably pointed out that his concentration had been broken.

By now neither player was scoring and a third party was keeping score. The game continued and black's flag fell. Something close to anarchy ensued with various spectators getting involved when they shouldn't have been. I personally was seeking to ensure another game still going on wasn't disturbed and concentrated on watching the finish of that instead. While this was going on several players reconstructed the finish of the game and determined that black's flag had fallen with six moves left to the time control.

However the black player was unhappy at his opponent's behavior in speaking to him when he was so short of time. His view (and that of some spectators) was that the distraction should have incurred a time penalty which would have given him more chance of reaching the control. It seems that English wasn't the white player's first language and it was never made entirely clear (to me at least) what question he was asking.

The matter was deferred so that an arbiter could be consulted about the complaint about white's behavior. However after a night's reflection black decided (in view of a few other factors as well) that life was too short and that he would accept the loss.

So what do the arbiters and armchair controllers think the outcome would have been if the dispute had been pursued.
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

James Coleman
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by James Coleman » Mon May 02, 2016 2:12 am

As far as pursuing any claim after the game it seems like logically the result should stand.

MJMcCready
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by MJMcCready » Mon May 02, 2016 2:59 am

It's difficult when so many rules are broken at once. I would say they both made mistakes so the result should stand. White was the guiltier party through not scoring.Was the team captain still playing at that moment?

Sean Hewitt
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon May 02, 2016 10:31 am

My observations are based on the facts as presented. There may of course be another side to the story!

Black should have required white to keep score, and claim a two minute time penalty for him not doing so, as well as make him bring his scoresheet up to date.

You don't say whose move it was when white asked his opponent something, nor what that something was. He may, for example, have been properly asking if black would like a draw having moved, before pressing his clock. So I will restrict myself to saying that if what was asked was improper, or asked at the wrong time, then again black should have stopped the clock and claimed a two minute time penalty.

In any event, black did neither of these things. In each case, by moving, he forfeited the right to claim for these breaches subsequently (although please see comment below).

When black's flag fell and it was established that he was short of the requisite moves for the time control then he has lost. He has no recourse to previous infractions for which he did not claim at the time. That said, if white still has more than 5 minutes left, and did not write down his penultimate move then that is a current breach for which black could claim and get an additional two minutes.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon May 02, 2016 10:42 am

Sean Hewitt wrote: When black's flag fell and it was established that he was short of the requisite moves for the time control then he has lost.
USCF rules require the claimant of a win on time to have a more or less complete scoresheet. BCF/ECF and for that matter FIDE have always been satisfied that beyond reasonable doubt not enough moves have been played. In the days before increments, there had been an incident where Karpov got the benefit of the doubt. His opponent said 39 moves, Karpov said 41, it depended on counting repetitions. There hadn't been an arbiter paying close enough attention, so Karpov was ruled not to have lost.

Alex McFarlane
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Alex McFarlane » Mon May 02, 2016 11:17 am

I totally agree with Sean's first line.

There is not an automatic 2 minute penalty in the circumstances given. League rules might specify this to simplify things but the Laws of Chess do not.

Normally an arbiter would just give a warning for a first offence of not recording. If it is repeated then a time penalty would be given. Continual repetition would see the player given a loss.

Brian Towers
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Brian Towers » Mon May 02, 2016 11:56 am

This sad, sorry story just underlines the fundamental weakness of the common belief in English chess of "We don't need no steenking arbiters!"

It's a disease which has affected the ECF for a long time. For reference compare the number of FIDE FAs for France (56), Germany (61) and England (7). Picking the federation, Iran, of another frequent contributor to the forum we see 38! England is more on a par with Iceland (3).
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

NickFaulks
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by NickFaulks » Mon May 02, 2016 5:22 pm

Brian Towers wrote:This sad, sorry story just underlines the fundamental weakness of the common belief in English chess of "We don't need no steenking arbiters!"

It's a disease which has affected the ECF for a long time. For reference compare the number of FIDE FAs for France (56), Germany (61) and England (7). Picking the federation, Iran, of another frequent contributor to the forum we see 38! England is more on a par with Iceland (3).
Isn't that largely because the rules are devised to underpin the need for arbiters?

The number of FIDE arbiters is of course a red herring. FIDE arbiters are not needed for tournaments, even when they are FIDE rated. They are needed for norm events, but the paucity of those in England is explained by a shortage of money, not of arbiters

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Mon May 02, 2016 6:24 pm

Thanks to everybody who has commented so far. Just to clarify a few points; by the time the distraction occurred both players had stopped scoring and when the flag fell it was unclear how many moves had been made and the point was made that if neither player had a record, neither could make a claim. The game was subsequently reconstructed by spectators and it was established that black hadn't made the control.

The crux of the matter wasn't so much the fact that black lost on time (he held his hands up to his poor time handling) but the interruption. The white player seemed to be trying to attract the attention of a specific spectator and then asked his opponent something (possibly whether he was required to score - that point remains unclear) when any player should have known that his opponent was desperately short of time and trying to concentrate. It didn't help that another game was in progress which set everybody to whispering in little groups.

The laws of chess have always been unambiguous that it is forbidden to annoy or distract the opponent in any way. The white player clearly did that. The argument that black forfeited any claim by playing on is valid but what penalty would an arbiter have applied?
Controller - Yorkshire League
Chairman - Harrogate Chess Club
All views expressed entirely my own

Michael Flatt
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue May 03, 2016 10:08 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:I was recently involved in a dispute; ... There was no neutral arbiter present.
I infer from what your post that you were present at the event as an Arbiter and you did not consider yourself neutral

An Arbiter has a duty to be neutral and if a player requests the intervention of an Arbiter you have a duty to respond. If you have some affiliation with one or other players you could make that known but that should not prevent you, if required, from making a ruling based on the Laws of Chess and the rules of the competition.

The Organiser, for his part, should be present or otherwise available to convene an Appeals Committee should one or both the players wish to dispute the Arbiter's ruling.

The fact that a group of spectators were able to recontruct the end of the game and determine that one player had not met the time control suggests that at least one of them considered himself/herself sufficiently knowledgeable and competent to take on the Arbiter's role. Such an intervention must have been with the players' and organiser's agreement.

The fact that chess players can co-operate and resolve disputes in the absence of an officially appointed Arbiter is to be applauded.

The point at issue was not that the players had a dispute, which is to be expected in a competitive event, but that the Organiser had no procedure or plan to resolve such a situation. Had it been a team event the two captains could have come to an agreement as how to resolve the dispute.

NickFaulks
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by NickFaulks » Tue May 03, 2016 11:27 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote: The argument that black forfeited any claim by playing on is valid
I don't think that's right. In my opinion what the aggrieved player should have done, and should generally do in such cases, is play on but make it clear that they are doing so under protest and will appeal. Having made a public complaint, it might be argued that they were doing that anyway.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue May 03, 2016 1:30 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: Had it been a team event the two captains could have come to an agreement as how to resolve the dispute.
I would have thought from the context of the question that most likely it was. But perhaps the resolution would have been marginally different had it been an internal club or county championship.

Michael Flatt
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Michael Flatt » Tue May 03, 2016 1:33 pm

NickFaulks wrote:
Andrew Zigmond wrote: The argument that black forfeited any claim by playing on is valid
I don't think that's right. In my opinion what the aggrieved player should have done, and should generally do in such cases, is play on but make it clear that they are doing so under protest and will appeal. Having made a public complaint, it might be argued that they were doing that anyway.
I have to agree with Nick.

The fact that an official is not present should not deny a player his legitimate right to play a game without being distracted nor harassed by his opponent, if that did is indeed what happened. The player obviously has a right to make a complaint to the organiser who has a responsibility to provide necessary and sufficient supervision of play, either by a use of a qualified arbiter or another competent individual.

The competition could not have been FIDE rated.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue May 03, 2016 1:35 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: The competition could not have been FIDE rated.
If it was a local Yorkshire competition, it may not even have been ECF graded.

NickFaulks
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Re: Question regarding dispute

Post by NickFaulks » Tue May 03, 2016 1:40 pm

Michael Flatt wrote: The competition could not have been FIDE rated.
I don't doubt that it wasn't, but why not?

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