Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

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John Upham
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Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by John Upham » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:31 am

An incident occurred in a local league match this evening as follows :

One game was still in progress with player A in the midst of sealing a move.

During this spectator B clearly said "Take the pawn" before player A had sealed his move

The opponent of player A was reasonably (IMHO) upset by this.

Spectator B (who was team mate of player A) was admonished but remained unrepentant.

The advice (good or bad) from B was unsolicited.

Who, if anyone, has committed an offence and what should be the penalty (if any?)

Thanks for your help.
Last edited by John Upham on Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:59 am

Well, B has certainly committed an offence:
FIDE Laws Of Chess wrote:13.7.1. Spectators and players in other games are not to speak about or otherwise interfere in a game. If necessary, the arbiter may expel offenders from the playing venue. If someone observes an irregularity, he may inform only the arbiter.
A, however, has not, and is perfectly at liberty to play B's suggested move should he wish to. (This does not seem altogether satisfactory, but if he weren't, a malicious B could suggest the only winning move, so as to deny A a win.)

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John Saunders
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:24 am

I'm not an arbiter but I would have thought a pretty hefty penalty should be imposed for such an infraction. How about a ban (measured in months or even years) from all competitive chess in the country? We tend to be a bit namby-pamby about this sort of thing in Britain but in places like Scandinavia, Spain and Australia they 'go for it'. If you navigate to the Australian Chess Federation website (http://www.auschess.org.au/), you'll find a link on the left of the home page marked 'Banned Players'. Click on it and they give a few instructions on the procedure for how you go about getting a player banned. And then further down the page they name and shame the banned player(s). There is just the one name there at the moment but the guy in question has more than a year of his 'sentence' to serve.
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Richard Bates
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Richard Bates » Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:51 am

Didn't this happen during a crucial last round game at an Olympiad once?

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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Dec 03, 2009 8:46 am

John Saunders wrote:If you navigate to the Australian Chess Federation website (http://www.auschess.org.au/), you'll find a link on the left of the home page marked 'Banned Players'.
Not sure we have enough players to go around banning them!

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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:51 am

There are two suitable penalities available IMO and they are not mutually exclusive. One is to ban the offending player (player B) but this does little if the move suggested is a good one in a tricky position.

The second (and more effective IMO) is that, assuming that this was a team match and that A and B are team mates, the team should suffer a penalty for B's offence. Something like the board concerned being scored a loss for player B's team (regardless of the actual result), plus the deduction of a further point from player B's team score. Of course, this needs to be provided for within the rules of the competition - either explicitly or via a suitable catchall rule.

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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Alex McFarlane » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:19 am

I assume player B's game is already finished. If not then sanctions could be taken there.

Otherwise I would agree with Sean but add one further possibility. As Jack pointed out spectators can be banned from the venue. It is therefore possible to ban player B fom competing in future matches on the assumption the venue is all league premises.

The League will of course need to hear both sides of the story before it can take any action. Even if the sealed move was not the one indicated this would not prevent action being taken but may reduce the penalty imposed.

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John Saunders
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by John Saunders » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:29 am

In the circumstances described, the offence seems a very serious one (open contempt for the laws of chess) but there is no evidence that the offender was aided and abetted by other members of his team. Hence, it would seem to me a bit harsh to apply a team penalty. I usually deprecate comparisons with other games and sports but will allow myself this one - when a footballer is sent off, the team is not also punished by the automatic award of a goal to the opposition. Of course, they are also punished by not being able to pick the player for some subsequent games - as would be the case if the chessplayer in question were banned. Punishing teams for the actions of individuals can be appropriate in some circumstances but can also be disproportionate and even lead to the team disappearing from the league (I can think of a precedent). If the club in question were to dissociate itself quickly from the action of this individual and also take action against him, I would be inclined to be lenient towards them.
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Peter Rhodes
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Peter Rhodes » Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:41 am

John Saunders wrote:I'm not an arbiter but I would have thought a pretty hefty penalty should be imposed for such an infraction. How about a ban (measured in months or even years) from all competitive chess in the country?
I agree. If there is no deterrent, then what is to discourage people from flouting the law - apart from their own good sense of fairplay ?

... and if we have players without any sense of standards - as seems to be the case in this scenario...
Spectator B .... remained unrepentant.
... where does that leave us ? Do we issue ASBOs asking people to refrain from acts which they should know perfectly well are outside of any decent norms of society ?

I probably sound like an old man but this is precisely the state of Anomie that we are collectively heading towards. Personally I would have this player humanely euthanised !!
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David Shepherd
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by David Shepherd » Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:47 am

Any idea of the relative grades? - for example I would not be so bothered if it was an inexperienced board 6 telling board 1 what to do as if it was board 1 telling board 6.


Was it posssible that it was just a mistake and the player thought the move was sealed? (one of the problems with adjournments is that other players or computers often look through the games to decide the best continuation - although there is a counter arguement that this helps improve the standard of your chess and allows games in an evening to be played at a slow place and higher quality)

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:05 pm

Richard Bates wrote:Didn't this happen during a crucial last round game at an Olympiad once?
Are you thinking of England v Spain at the 1986 Olympiad? Not actually a last round match, but certainly a crucial one :(
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:22 pm

Assuming the report is accurate, I would have thought banning the spectator for the rest of the season would be sufficient.

Sean and Alex are right, the team should be punished, maybe by just subtracting a game point (as there appears to be no evidence that the player encouraged the comment), but John makes a good point.

Taking the football analogy though, Tottenham were fined points a few seasons ago for an offence committed many years earlier, which seems completely unfair, as there probably wasn't anyone still at the club who had been there when it happened. But when West Ham avoided relegation using an ineligible player, the FA knew about it immediately and decided to do nothing. And we can doubtless think of plenty of other inconsistent decisions by sporting bodies.
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Mike Gunn
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Mike Gunn » Thu Dec 03, 2009 12:31 pm

This isn't true. West Ham were fined several million pounds by the FA.

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Matt Mackenzie
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Matt Mackenzie » Thu Dec 03, 2009 1:04 pm

And I also thought Spurs' points deduction was scrapped on appeal. Still, we are going off topic just a bit here :)
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Re: Unsolicited advice : have the laws of chess been broken?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:29 am

In the West Ham case, they should have scored zero points for the matches where they used the ineligible player - the financial penalty was meaningless; relegation would have mattered. And I think Tottenham had the points loss reduced, not removed.

Back to topic - I now know the identity of the spectator and in my experience he is a very nice chap, and well-behaved at the board.
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