Arbiter Interference

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
Alex Holowczak
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Arbiter Interference

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:03 pm

It seems to happen at every rapidplay tournament I play in. Someone's flag falls, and the arbiter steps in, "Your flag has fallen." It happened again today. The player involved (who won as a result), even complained angrily.

Surely an arbiter should know that in rapidplays, the player has to point it out himself? I don't understand why so many of them get it wrong. Is it just a Midlands phenomenon?

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Rob Thompson » Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:55 pm

Are you sure that it is left to the players? I was under the impression that an arbiter should point it out
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:02 pm

Longplay - Arbiter points it out.
Rapidplay - Player points it out.

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Paul McKeown » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:20 pm

Alex,

If asked a few months ago, I would have agreed with you. I think the laws for rapidplay may have changed relatively recently.

I reproduce FIDE's Appendix A to the Laws of Chess:
A. Rapidplay

A.1 A ‘Rapidplay’ game is one where either all the moves must be made in a fixed time of at least 15 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted + 60 times any increment is at least 15 minutes, but less than 60 minutes for each player.

A.2 Players do not need to record the moves.

A.3 Where there is adequate supervision of play, (for example one arbiter for at most three games) the Competition Rules shall apply.

A.4 Where supervision is inadequate the Competition Rules shall apply, except where they are overridden by the following Laws of Rapidplay:
A.4.1. Once each player has completed three moves, no claim can be made regarding incorrect piece placement, orientation of the chessboard or clock setting. In case of reverse king and queen placement castling with this king is not allowed.
A.4.2. The arbiter shall make a ruling according to Article 4 (The act of moving the pieces), only if requested to do so by one or both players.
A.4.3. An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started. The opponent is then entitled to claim that the player completed an illegal move before the claimant has made his move. Only after such a claim, shall the arbiter make a ruling. However, if both Kings are in check or the promotion of a pawn is not completed, the arbiter shall intervene, if possible.
A.4.4.1. The flag is considered to have fallen when a player has made a valid claim to that effect. The arbiter shall refrain from signalling a flag fall, but he may do so if both flags have fallen.
A.4.4.2. To claim a win on time, the claimant must stop both clocks and notify the arbiter. For the claim to be successful, the claimant’s flag must remain up and his opponent’s flag down after the clocks have been stopped.
A.4.4.3. If both flags have fallen as described in (1) and (2), the arbiter shall declare the game drawn.
Note law A.3 and the intro to A.4, in particular. Where there is inadequate supervision, then the remaining rapidplay laws, laid out in the remainder of A.4, will apply. However, where supervision is adequate, then the normal laws of chess apply. A.3 seems to suggest that 3 games per arbiter is adequate, although I'm not enamoured by the "for example", preferring either nothing (let the arbiters or organisers decide), or a "that is", explaining exactly what adequate supervision consists of. Anyway, if supervision is adequate, then the normal laws of chess shall apply, which I think should imply that the arbiter ought to leap in on flag fall. This is, I think, a relatively recent change... Stewart Reuben should be able to tell us.

Best Regards,
Paul McKeown.
"Liberty without equality is of noble sound but squalid meaning" - LT Hobhouse

E Michael White
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by E Michael White » Sun Oct 11, 2009 10:49 pm

The rules should also specify whether inadequate arbiter supervision at the start of a 20 player round, remains inadequate when at the end of the round only 3 of the games are left in play.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:19 pm

We had an "adequate supervision" case in the DCCA Team Rapidplay today, which was a G/12 event (a Blitz time control). A player attempted to make a 10.2 claim with bishop against rook - but there was only one arbiter for a sixteen-game event, which meant Blitz Rules applied. And under Blitz Rules, you cannot make 10.2 claims.

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:27 pm

E Michael White wrote:The rules should also specify whether inadequate arbiter supervision at the start of a 20 player round, remains inadequate when at the end of the round only 3 of the games are left in play.
I would have thought it obvious that the rules in force at the start of the game apply for the whole game. For example:

1. There may only be 2 games still in progress, but if they are on top and bottom boards it may not be possible for an arbiter to supervise them both.

2. How are the players to know what rules they are playing under at any moment during the game? Are they expected to be constantly counting how many other games are still in play?

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Ian Thompson » Sun Oct 11, 2009 11:32 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:Surely an arbiter should know that in rapidplays, the player has to point it out himself? I don't understand why so many of them get it wrong.
Was the arbiter a qualified arbiter? If the arbiter was qualified, when did they obtain their qualification? (I think I'm correct in saying that once the ECF has given someone the arbiter title, there is no retesting to ensure they maintain their competence, so there is no guarantee that someone who qualified many years ago has kept up-to-date with changes in the Laws.)

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Eoin Devane » Mon Oct 12, 2009 1:29 am

Irrespective of the above, I imagine that Alex was referring to a game at a normal weekend rapidplay, at which I presume there would have been only a few arbiters overseeing the whole tournament. Thus, the supervision would have been "inadequate", and the arbiter's action would have been incorrect under A.4.4.1.

All this rule debate just goes to show how grateful we should all be for the many excellent arbiters that we have in this country!

E Michael White
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by E Michael White » Mon Oct 12, 2009 8:28 am

Ian Thompson wrote:I would have thought it obvious that the rules in force at the start of the game apply for the whole game.
You and I may agree that would be best; arbiters may hold different views.
Ian Thompson wrote:1. There may only be 2 games still in progress, but if they are on top and bottom boards it may not be possible for an arbiter to supervise them both.
Dont forget that there could be 2 arbiters dividing up the games with 6 games left, which could make them feel adequate without having to run too much, as one may cover the top boards and the other the lower boards. The rules need to be a bit more definite over this.

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Alex Holowczak » Mon Oct 12, 2009 10:02 am

Ian Thompson wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Surely an arbiter should know that in rapidplays, the player has to point it out himself? I don't understand why so many of them get it wrong.
Was the arbiter a qualified arbiter? If the arbiter was qualified, when did they obtain their qualification? (I think I'm correct in saying that once the ECF has given someone the arbiter title, there is no retesting to ensure they maintain their competence, so there is no guarantee that someone who qualified many years ago has kept up-to-date with changes in the Laws.)
To be fair, I'm not certain that he was a qualified arbiter. I don't know who it was either. To his credit, he did admit as much when we pointed it out, and the person who lost conceded the game anyway.
Eoin Devane wrote:Irrespective of the above, I imagine that Alex was referring to a game at a normal weekend rapidplay, at which I presume there would have been only a few arbiters overseeing the whole tournament.
Correct.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:07 pm

I played at the same tournament as Alex and a couple of interesting things happened to me too.

1. Thirty five minutes into a game the arbiter noticed that my clock was not working (and had never been working). My opponent had used 20 minutes so he turned my clock to 15 minutes. I completely accepted this in the interests of fairness. However, I assume that technically we should be given a new clock, with mine again registering zero time used. There are two reasons for this
A It could have been that I had genuinely used no time and it was my opponent's clock that was faulty.
B I cannot believe that if my clock should have shown that I had used 31 minutes that the arbiter would/could declare that I had lost.

2. I did something that I don't believe I have ever done before, I put two pawns on a square because I promoted and I still had my queen and both rooks on the board. Somebody later questioned whether this was technically speaking an illegal move and that my opponent could claim extra time - Is this true?

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Ian Thompson » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:51 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:1. Thirty five minutes into a game the arbiter noticed that my clock was not working (and had never been working). My opponent had used 20 minutes so he turned my clock to 15 minutes. I completely accepted this in the interests of fairness. However, I assume that technically we should be given a new clock, with mine again registering zero time used. There are two reasons for this
A It could have been that I had genuinely used no time and it was my opponent's clock that was faulty.
B I cannot believe that if my clock should have shown that I had used 31 minutes that the arbiter would/could declare that I had lost.
The rules require the arbiter to use his "best judgement" in determining what the corrected clock times should be. Although it's not impossible, I think that A is so unlikely to be true that an arbiter could not reasonably assume this. For B, I don't think its written in the rules anywhere, but my understanding is that an arbiter should always leave a player with a reasonable amount of time to reach the next time control, whatever he thinks the correct clock time might be.
Matthew Turner wrote:2. I did something that I don't believe I have ever done before, I put two pawns on a square because I promoted and I still had my queen and both rooks on the board. Somebody later questioned whether this was technically speaking an illegal move and that my opponent could claim extra time - Is this true?
Its definitiely an illegal move and your opponent could have claimed it. However, if an arbiter was watching they should have intervened, as the rapidplay rules say "if ... the promotion of a pawn is not completed, the arbiter shall intervene, if possible."

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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 12, 2009 3:57 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:2. I did something that I don't believe I have ever done before, I put two pawns on a square because I promoted and I still had my queen and both rooks on the board. Somebody later questioned whether this was technically speaking an illegal move and that my opponent could claim extra time - Is this true?
Upturned rooks are traditional but not approved of by arbiters. You're supposed to stop the clocks and drag the arbiter away from a 10.2 or watching someone's flag to find you a spare queen (or any other piece)

It's the second question in their quiz here

http://chessarbiters.co.uk/Documents/you2.htm

Matthew Turner
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Re: Arbiter Interference

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Oct 12, 2009 4:04 pm

Roger,
Many thanks for that link, but the answer to number 9 seesm to me to be bizarre.

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