Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
MSoszynski
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:43 pm

Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by MSoszynski » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:54 pm

I am thinking of the situation where digital clocks are used, and there is sufficient mating material for both sides. Your flag falls but your opponent doesn't notice, and the arbiter isn't close enough to notice either.

The game continues. Shortly your opponent's flag falls too. Now here's the point. A digital clock will show, plainly and incontrovertibly (unlike an analogue clock), whose flag fell first. So it seems a draw by mutual flag falls is not possible as the arbiter has definite proof of the sequence of events.

Have I got that right?

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 8495
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:09 pm

Yes, you're right.

If you set the Freeze to be On, which you can on some clocks, this situation can never happen. If you're using increments, Freeze is On on a DGT 2010, but if you're using a guillotine finish, Freeze is Off. You can set Freeze On or Off on a DGT 3000. I can't immediately think of a good reason why you'd ever want the Freeze to be Off if you're given the choice, so long as the Move Counter is also Off.

Freeze is a setting that defines what happens when one clock reaches 0.00. If Freeze is On, then the other clock will no longer count down. If Freeze is Off, then the other clock will continue to count down when it is that player's turn to move.

Tim Harding
Posts: 1634
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Tim Harding » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:13 pm

MSoszynski wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:54 pm
I am thinking of the situation where digital clocks are used, and there is sufficient mating material for both sides. Your flag falls but your opponent doesn't notice, and the arbiter isn't close enough to notice either.

The game continues. Shortly your opponent's flag falls too. Now here's the point. A digital clock will show, plainly and incontrovertibly (unlike an analogue clock), whose flag fell first. So it seems a draw by mutual flag falls is not possible as the arbiter has definite proof of the sequence of events.

Have I got that right?
Basically you have it right.

These cases are dealt with in the FIDE Arbiter manual. With digital clocks, yes, the clock will indicate which fell first so there is always a winner (assuming mating material as you stipulate).

With mechanical clocks if both flags are down and it is impossible to determine which fell first then it says "article III.3.1 of the Guidelines about games without increment including Quickplay Finishes are applied."
That clause says it then depends on whether the mutual flag fall occurs in the final period. If it's the final period then it is a draw; otherwise the game continues, i.e., the clocks are reset with whatever the time allowance is for the next (usually final) period and play goes on. Of course these days such cases are rare.

It also says these guidelines only apply to classical and rapid, not blitz (which never has more than one period). So if it happened in blitz with mechanical clocks it's a draw, just as it always used to be.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Nick Grey
Posts: 929
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Nick Grey » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:17 pm

Some people may get a bit wrapped up in rules. Not sure of your reasoning not to call your own flag fall if you actually noticed
You lose either way in my opinion.
You have got it right.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:48 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:09 pm
so long as the Move Counter is also Off.
As far as I am aware, the DGT clocks (the 2010 anyway) always count the number of times it has been pressed and will display this on demand. That doesn't mean it will do anything with the information. It's a potentially useful feature for leagues and tournaments with 10 or 15 second increments as it could validate or otherwise 50 or 75 move claims.

NickFaulks
Posts: 4453
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by NickFaulks » Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:49 am

MSoszynski wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:54 pm
A digital clock will show, plainly and incontrovertibly (unlike an analogue clock), whose flag fell first.
I was victimised by a clock which did not do this - it showed both flags as being down. It was ruled by retrograde analysis that I must have lost on time, even though I was pretty sure I hadn't and the clock was evidently faulty in at least one way.

This was an away fixture with the equipment supplied by the home team. I do not believe that the clock was taken out of service.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:04 am

NickFaulks wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 8:49 am
I was victimised by a clock which did not do this - it showed both flags as being down.
I believe there are some arbiters who consider that the drawback of traditional clocks, that they don't indicate which flag fell first, should be recreated in their digital equivalent and got DGT to implement it, for non-increment modes at least. Alex H notes above that newer designs make it user programmed.

MSoszynski
Posts: 150
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 4:43 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by MSoszynski » Wed Oct 10, 2018 9:21 am

Nick Grey wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:17 pm
Some people may get a bit wrapped up in rules. Not sure of your reasoning not to call your own flag fall if you actually noticed
You lose either way in my opinion.
You have got it right.
Ah, but if he's oblivious of the clock you could play on and checkmate him or he could agree a draw. It's not up to me to point to a piece en prise, or a threefold repetition, so why should I point to my flag?

Graham Borrowdale
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2016 10:54 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Graham Borrowdale » Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:58 pm

With manual clocks at least, I thought you had to claim the win on time if your opponents flag falls, before you make your next move. If you make a move you lose that right. Therefore if you then make a move and your flag falls your opponent can claim the win on time, despite the fact that both flags have fallen. Is that incorrect?

Not that I am wrapped up in rules, just curious. I was once denied a win because I did not notice my opponents flag fall, and I have resigned with seconds to play several moves rather than lose on time.

I agree with Nick that calling your own flag fall would be nice - its not the same as pointing out a piece en prise as that would be giving advice to the opponent. Some players put their queen en prise and resign without waiting for their opponent to take it, and some cricketers walk when out rather than wait for the umpire.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:19 pm

Graham Borrowdale wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 12:58 pm
Therefore if you then make a move and your flag falls your opponent can claim the win on time, despite the fact that both flags have fallen. Is that incorrect?
On a mechanical clock or a digital not programmed to stop at first flag fall, it's a draw.

If there was a watching arbiter who observed the sequence of flag falls, but didn't intervene quickly enough after the first, I wonder what the decision would be.

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1688
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Europe

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Oct 10, 2018 1:59 pm

Quite clear. The flag falls when a player or the arbiter observes the physical indicator on the clock to have operated. So in this case the flag falls at the moment the arbiter saw it. I suppose in theory he should have spoken aloud to inform himself.

Reg Clucas
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 3:45 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Reg Clucas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm

FIDE rules state -

6.8 A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.

No distinction between analogue or digital clocks, or whether the player has the move or not. So if both flags have fallen then presumably the first player to claim wins on time?

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 17305
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:01 pm

Reg Clucas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm
No distinction between analogue or digital clocks, or whether the player has the move or not. So if both flags have fallen then presumably the first player to claim wins on time?
"Valid claim" is not defined, I would have said that to be valid, you must stop the clock with one flag down and the other standing. If it's a digital clock running on increment, it will usually have frozen in that state anyway. Otherwise the both flags down = draw comes into effect.

The one that comes into play is where you have to play a fixed number of moves in a fixed time, say 40 moves in 100 minutes that some Congresses still use. Leagues too of course where they have an intermediate time control. White plays his 40th move, restarts the clock. Without moving Black points out that the flag has fallen, I think that's a valid claim but I suspect I have seen an arbiter rule otherwise.

Reg Clucas
Posts: 280
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 3:45 pm

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Reg Clucas » Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:35 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 4:01 pm

"Valid claim" is not defined, I would have said that to be valid, you must stop the clock with one flag down and the other standing. If it's a digital clock running on increment, it will usually have frozen in that state anyway. Otherwise the both flags down = draw comes into effect.
That may be correct, but I was looking at it in a more simplistic way, i.e. the claim is valid if the flag has actually fallen. If the word 'valid' was missing from the rule then a player could claim whether the flag has fallen or not.

Tim Harding
Posts: 1634
Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:46 pm
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Contact:

Re: Is a mutual flag fall a draw?

Post by Tim Harding » Wed Oct 10, 2018 5:17 pm

Reg Clucas wrote:
Wed Oct 10, 2018 3:18 pm
FIDE rules state -

6.8 A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.

No distinction between analogue or digital clocks, or whether the player has the move or not. So if both flags have fallen then presumably the first player to claim wins on time?
NO and that has never been the case.
Please read all the answers Alex and I gave above.
Tim Harding
Historian and Kibitzer

Author of 'British Chess Literature to 1914', Joseph Henry Blackburne: A Chess Biography', and 'Eminent Victorian Chess Players'
http://www.chessmail.com

Post Reply