2014 Dubai Open

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Chris Rice
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2014 Dubai Open

Post by Chris Rice » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:41 am

It’s the last round today of this incredibly strong tournament which has attracted 148 players from 39 countries, including 38 GMs, in a field that averages 2214 Elo. After eight rounds the young French GM Romain Edouard is in the sole lead, with 7/8. Gawain Jones is one point back on 6/8 and if wins today could get a prize. However, rather than a boring tournament report I thought I would share one or two anecdotes with you.

Round 1 - Under the General Chat section there is a thread entitled ‘Great Name for a Chess Player’ which initially referred to Anuar Ismagambetov, a Grandmaster from Kazakhstan. Now I was sitting next to Mr Ismagebetov who was playing some low rated numpty (who was still rated 5 Elo higher than me dammit) so on paper a complete mismatch (which is an annoying feature of the Dubai tournament as with this top half against bottom half pairing system I often get someone rated around 2500 in the first couple of rounds. This year it was Swedish GM Pontus Carlsson, a really great guy as I found out afterwards in a very pleasant post-mortem).

Anyway, I digress, in my game we played a few moves and then I noticed on the adjoining board that Mr Low Rated Numpty had his mobile next to the board. Before I could register my disbelief it went off as an SMS came through. It was a point frozen in time, spectators and players all stared at that board waiting for something to happen. Nothing seemed to happen. I stared straight at Mr Ismagambetov with the kind of non-verbal communication that would translate even into Kazakh “well aren’t you going to do anything then”. Mr Ismagambetov stared back at me with the kind of non-verbal communication that even an English person could understand as if to say something straight out of Rocky 4 "I will break him. I cannot be defeated, I defeat all man. If he dies, he dies." Ie that he had no intention of claiming a win this way. Meanwhile an arbiter walked by with a broad smile but clearly pretending not to look at the players as if he didn’t notice anything was amiss.

Well frankly I was stunned. Then I was more stunned, as Mr Low Rated Numpty, emboldened by his lucky escape, picks up the phone and starts texting a reply. Unbelievable I thought but decided to return to my game to receive my customary round 1 battering.

Round 7 – Its 5.30pm and I’m due to play a Lebanese player who we shall call Mr Even Lower Rated Numpty who hasn’t yet shown up (its 30 minutes default time). The arbiter calls "Start!" and I press the clock and as I’m White, play my first move. As there is no-one there to respond I casually look to my left at the next board where the White player is present and the Black player isn’t. The White player plays his move (1 d4) and then presses the clock. The inner pedant in me thinks this is not the correct sequence but what the hell we’re only talking about a couple of seconds difference so I tell myself to just deal with it internally and move on. I manage to do this and start staring around the room for a minute or so and then glance left again to note to my amazement that the d-pawn is back on its start square and the player slowly plays 1 e4.

My inner pedant starts going ape and I stare the guy down. He notices and simply shrugs his shoulders to indicate that he’s just changed his mind and decided to play something else. What the hell I thought, forget it and I’ll just get on with my game as my opponent has turned up and we started playing.

We fast forward to about 6.40pm, my opponent has made a mistake and I’m going to win at least an exchange with a great forcing move. However, in this tournament and at this particular time of the night there is a 10-15 minute prayer break. The routine is to stop the clocks and the people that want to go and pray do so while everyone else gathers outside and usually full scale chatting ensues till the praying is over. However, my opponent faced with a really difficult position decided he didn’t want to leave the board and continued analysing with the clock stopped. I found this really annoying as he basically got a free 10-15 minute think about the position and on the resumption was able to lose the exchange in a way that gave him decent compensation and he even achieved a winning position only to blunder later. I could have fetched the arbiter I suppose but I have no idea of what the rules would be on something like this and just decided to accept it. Fortunately for me at least it was a happy ending!

Round 9 – not yet started but I’m playing an Iranian WFM. This will be the fourth woman player I have played in this tournament after beating a Jordanian WFM and losing to an Egyptian WGM and an Azeri WFM previously. In addition while I was playing Round 8 I had a chat with Fiona Steil-Antoni who you may recall is the PR Campaign manager for Azmai’s Back to Europe campaign in the ECU elections. Fiona is currently playing in the neighbouring Emirate, Sharjah, in a women’s international event and she’s doing pretty well on 6/8. It is so surprising that women’s chess is thriving in the Middle East as after 40 years on the British circuit it was always a rarity to play a female player let alone play four in one tournament!

Nick Burrows
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Nick Burrows » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:08 am

Two nice games from Gawain:

Round 7 -





Round 8 -


Barry Sandercock
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Barry Sandercock » Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:51 pm

Gawain Jones is a pawn up at the moment in today's game and with his great endgame technique, will probably win.

Barry Sandercock
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Barry Sandercock » Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:30 pm

Very interesting R&P ending. Maybe a draw now.

NickFaulks
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by NickFaulks » Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:31 pm

Probably a silly question, but does anyone know how a prayer break fits into the Laws of Chess?
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PeterTurland
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by PeterTurland » Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:38 pm

NickFaulks wrote:Probably a silly question, but does anyone know how a prayer break fits into the Laws of Chess?
Probably the best place to start is, with the realisation that, chess is about logic and religion is about emotion.

Stewart Reuben
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Stewart Reuben » Wed Apr 16, 2014 12:34 am

Nick >Probably a silly question, but does anyone know how a prayer break fits into the Laws of Chess?<

Is your alternate name Rip van? This has been the practice in Dubai for many years. It is announced in the tournament regulations in advance. I presume this happens in other Muslim countries, it certainly did in The Gambia when play was on Friday, although the players left the building while their clocks ran to say their prayers instead of everybody adjourning.

Two Dubai teenagers played in the LLoyds Bank Masters one year. They asked me in which direction Mecca was and had their prayer mats with them. They didn't leave the playing venue - although that rule did not yet exist. Allowing a player to stay behind in the playing area was unwise. But he could have analysed in his head anyway.

It seems that some of the players were inexperienced and some of the arbiters didn't follow the letter of the laws perfectly. So what's new? One of the glories of chess is that people of widely different type can play together.

This prayer break could be specifically mentioned in the FIDE Tournament Regulations. Do you want it there? They are being amended this year.

Chris Rice
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Chris Rice » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:54 am

Should a prayer break be in the Laws of Chess? Not sure, seems to be not really forming part of the game if the clocks have stopped. If you did put them in should other breaks such as the fire alarm going off etc be included? That happened to me once in a Chatham v Maidstone match and as I struggled to get back in the building after the fire alarm had stopped my opponent had already restarted my clock. I let him know my feelings on the matter.

Probably best to leave the interpretation of what should happen during a prayer break to the discretion of the organiser/arbiter who probably will have dealt with the challenges that they bring many times over.

In the case I described above an announcement over the tannoy that everyone should leave the playing area would have been fine. I spoke to one of the officials yesterday and he said if I had of told him he would have made sure my opponent left the playing area. They normally leave but sometimes when they've got difficult positions need to be told.

Richard Bates
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Richard Bates » Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:44 am


LawrenceCooper
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by LawrenceCooper » Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:07 am

Sadly there's no footage of the flooded venue at the 2011 Big Slick tournament that caused games to be re-located to outside the club, my hotel and a few dry spots inside. :oops:

Paul Dargan
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Paul Dargan » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:24 pm

Yep prayer breaks, no round on Friday and double rounds on Saturday ... brings back memories ... Chris, what was this year's souveneir for the players? I still have a selection of glass Burj Khalifa's, etc.

Paul

NickFaulks
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Apr 17, 2014 1:37 am

Stewart Reuben wrote:
This prayer break could be specifically mentioned in the FIDE Tournament Regulations. Do you want it there? They are being amended this year.
Yes, I most definitely do. I cannot imagine how you will word this.
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:38 pm

Draft Competition Rules to come into effect 1 July 2015.
The invitation should be as comprehensive as possible, stating clearly the expected conditions and giving all details which may be of use to the player. The following should be included in the invitation letter and/or brochure which should also be posted on the FIDE website:
13.3. 1. The dates and site of the competition.
2. The hotel(s) where the players are to stay (including e-mail, fax and telephone numbers)
3. The competition schedule: dates, times of play and places of: arrival, the opening ceremony, drawing of lots, play, special events, the closing ceremony, departure.

Add in
4. If play needs to be interrupted regularly for religious ceremonies, the details must be made clear.

{Of course it is already there under special events. But this makes it more specific.}

NickFaulks
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Apr 25, 2014 1:10 pm

That's not really my point. I don't see how a pre-arranged break in play without sealing of moves can be in accordance with the Laws of Chess or natural justice. The regulations covering adjournments are there for a reason.

That's without even considering Anti-Cheating.
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Stewart Reuben
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Re: 2014 Dubai Open

Post by Stewart Reuben » Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:20 pm

But Dubai has been organised for a number of years and you are the first person to comment adversely as far as I know. Sealing a move would not prevent people discussing the game. It is all to do with the degree of supervision during the scheduled break. Provided the players know in advance what the conditions are, I don't see the reason for so much alarm. Nor do I see their participation, in full knowledge of the facts, being against natural justice.

What I see is a valuable tournament and I would not wish the world to lose it.

Comments, about this particular point, by Chris and Paul and anybody else who have played there would be useful.

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