Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Technical questions regarding Openings, Middlegames, Endings etc.
John Foley
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Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by John Foley » Thu May 20, 2010 3:31 pm

Last night in a Surrey individual championship match an incident occurred which raises an issue about reliance on one's opponent for record keeping in time control.

The first time control had apparently been safely reached and Player A was in a superior position:

Player A (with 7 seconds remaining): "Do you agree that we have reached time control?"

Player B (checking his faulty scoresheet): "No, there is stil one move to play."

Player A then instantly plays a random move which loses material, rendering his position losing.

A subsequent checking of the scoresheets, assisted by the arbiter, reveals that the correct number of moves had in fact been played before reaching time control. Player B then sportingly agreed to a draw.

What would the situation be if B had not agreed a draw? Would A have been obliged to continue on from with the erroneous move? A's erroneous move was played because of reliance upon B's mistaken statement of belief. The Laws of Chess do not seem to cover this situation.

Alan Walton
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Alan Walton » Thu May 20, 2010 3:48 pm

John,

If Player A had total faith that his scoresheet was up-to-date and correct, then he shouldn't have moved, reconstructed the game, and be proved correct

After he made that additional move, it stands

Some people in time scrambles will deliberately make extra moves to be on the safe side, this is because your mindset is more focused and less likely to make a blunder.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu May 20, 2010 3:49 pm

Why wasn't the arbiter writing down the moves? He should have been writing down the moves in a time scramble. He would then have answered A's question by instructing him to carry on until the flag falls. When the flag falls, the scoresheet would be brought up to date. If he hadn't made enough moves, he loses on time.

If B hadn't agreed the draw, then you carry on the game as played. Assuming the move was legal, why wouldn't you?

Sean Hewitt

Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Sean Hewitt » Thu May 20, 2010 3:54 pm

Alan is completely correct. The laws of chess are clear I think that the onus is on Player A to know how many moves he had made. Some players keep score regardless of time, some make ticks on their scoresheet, some make extra moves to be sure, some ask their opponent (who has no obligation to tell, by the way) and some ask the arbiter (who definitely won't tell you!).

Whatever method a player relies upon the sole responsibility rests with the player himself. If he falls one move short thinking he had made the time control he still loses on time and if he makes an extra move believing he was one short for any reason, then that move stands.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu May 20, 2010 4:00 pm

John Foley wrote:Last night in a Surrey individual championship match an incident occurred which raises an issue about reliance on one's opponent for record keeping in time control.

The first time control had apparently been safely reached and Player A was in a superior position:

Player A (with 7 seconds remaining): "Do you agree that we have reached time control?"

Player B (checking his faulty scoresheet): "No, there is stil one move to play."

Player A then instantly plays a random move which loses material, rendering his position losing.

A subsequent checking of the scoresheets, assisted by the arbiter, reveals that the correct number of moves had in fact been played before reaching time control. Player B then sportingly agreed to a draw.

What would the situation be if B had not agreed a draw? Would A have been obliged to continue on from with the erroneous move? A's erroneous move was played because of reliance upon B's mistaken statement of belief. The Laws of Chess do not seem to cover this situation.
Player B has done nothing wrong. The answer he gave may have been incorrect, but there is nothing to suggest he deliberately misled his opponent. The game continues with the move Player A played. It's entirely Player A's responsibility to decide whether or not to rely on the accuracy of his own scoresheet and whether or not to play another move in case it's wrong.

John Foley
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by John Foley » Thu May 20, 2010 4:07 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote:Why wasn't the arbiter writing down the moves? He should have been writing down the moves in a time scramble. He would then have answered A's question by instructing him to carry on until the flag falls.
It wasn't a time scramble. Player A was thrown into confusion when he received the negative reply from his opponent.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Ian Thompson » Thu May 20, 2010 4:08 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:Some players ... ask their opponent (who has no obligation to tell, by the way) ...
but might have grounds for a claim against the player for disturbing him, particularly if he is also short of time.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu May 20, 2010 4:17 pm

John Foley wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Why wasn't the arbiter writing down the moves? He should have been writing down the moves in a time scramble. He would then have answered A's question by instructing him to carry on until the flag falls.
It wasn't a time scramble. Player A was thrown into confusion when he received the negative reply from his opponent.
Fair enough then. Player A's fault entirely.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu May 20, 2010 4:25 pm

John Foley wrote:Player A (with 7 seconds remaining): "Do you agree that we have reached time control?"

Player B (checking his faulty scoresheet): "No, there is stil one move to play."

Didn't Bill Hartston describe this in one of his books possibly as a piece of Yugoslav theory? The idea is that you fill in 24 moves in the space for 25 and make sure that your time troubled opponent can clearly see your score sheet which is of course one move short at the line across the page.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by David Sedgwick » Thu May 20, 2010 4:36 pm

Sean Hewitt wrote:The laws of chess are clear I think that the onus is on Player A to know how many moves he had made. Some players keep score regardless of time, some make ticks on their scoresheet, some make extra moves to be sure, some ask their opponent (who has no obligation to tell, by the way) and some ask the arbiter (who definitely won't tell you!).

Whatever method a player relies upon the sole responsibility rests with the player himself. If he falls one move short thinking he had made the time control he still loses on time and if he makes an extra move believing he was one short for any reason, then that move stands.
I agree competely. It's common practice for a player who thinks that the time control has been reached to ask his opponent whether the latter also thinks so. However, this is not something governed by the Laws in any way. Only in the event of wilful deception by the opponent, along the lines just mentioned by Roger de Coverly, might there be any grounds for redress.

John Foley wrote:
Alex Holowczak wrote:Why wasn't the arbiter writing down the moves? He should have been writing down the moves in a time scramble. He would then have answered A's question by instructing him to carry on until the flag falls.
It wasn't a time scramble. Player A was thrown into confusion when he received the negative reply from his opponent.
I know nothing about the incident except what I've read on this thread. However, I should like to point out that games in the Surrey Individual Tournaments don't normally have an arbiter present. My guess is that the Individual Tournaments Secretary happened to be there, probably because he was playing a game himself, and came over to help when he realised that there was a problem.

Angus French
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Angus French » Wed May 26, 2010 9:23 pm

John Foley wrote: Player A (with 7 seconds remaining): "Do you agree that we have reached time control?"

Player B (checking his faulty scoresheet): "No, there is stil one move to play."

Player A then instantly plays a random move which loses material, rendering his position losing.
So, within the space of 7 seconds, player A was able to ask his or her question, wait for a reply, hear the reply, digest the reply and respond?
John Foley wrote: Player B then sportingly agreed to a draw.
Is "sportingly" the right adverb?

John Foley
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by John Foley » Wed May 26, 2010 11:33 pm

From the tone of the discussion so far, the more appropriate adverb would be "stupidly".

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Rob Thompson
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Rob Thompson » Thu May 27, 2010 12:57 am

I think sportingly is probably correct. He had no need to offer the draw, and it was perfectly within his rights to play on and win. However, he recognised that he was a) losing before the time control and b) the time control had actually been reached. By offering a draw he felt that he got nearer to the "fair" result. Whether that's the "right" result legally is a totally different matter
True glory lies in doing what deserves to be written; in writing what deserves to be read.

Richard Bates
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Richard Bates » Thu May 27, 2010 5:03 am

Every so often you get a story of players 'sportingly' offering draws in defiance of the the correct result of the game being a win for them under the laws. With arbiters apparently having no problem in acquiescing in this. Is this something which is technically 'at the arbiter's discretion'? What would be the outcome, for example, of a draw being offered post a mobile phone incident?

Angus French
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Re: Can we rely upon our opponent for recording moves?

Post by Angus French » Thu May 27, 2010 6:48 am

John Foley wrote:From the tone of the discussion so far, the more appropriate adverb would be "stupidly".
Oh, I wasn't thinking that but something to the effect of "very very generously".

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