Rules query - starting clock without moving

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J T Melsom
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Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:35 pm

The player with the white pieces is present at the board at the start of a match and his opponent is late. Is he allowed to start his opponents clock without making an initial move and then make the move once the opponent has arrived? I understand that the rationale advanced for this practice is to preclude any communication of the opening move to the absent player.

Angus French
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Angus French » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:50 pm

Have you checked the Laws of Chess on this point?

J T Melsom
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Thu Apr 02, 2015 6:59 pm

I hadn't checked, partly I confess through laziness and also because from the account I received White was convinced he was following practice in his home country. My understanding was that the move should be made at the outset, but I wondered if I had missed something.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:37 pm

J T Melsom wrote: My understanding was that the move should be made at the outset, but I wondered if I had missed something.
I think 6.6 is unambiguous

http://www.fide.com/fide/handbook.html? ... ew=article
6.6
At the time determined for the start of the game White’s clock is started.
The point being that the clock is only stopped and Black's clock started when a move is played.

You argue that 6.7 (b) gives a little leeway
If the rules of a competition specify that the default time is not zero and if neither player is present initially, White shall lose all the time that elapses until he arrives, unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.
I can recall a suggestion that if Black isn't present at the start of the game, that White is entitled to parallel the adjournment process, namely to write his proposed move down and put it in an envelope. That's not in the Laws of Chess, but could conceivably have been in a competition rule somewhere.

The USCF has all sorts of strange rules, but then you would have to if there was a possibility that neither board, set or clock were present at the official start of the game.

J T Melsom
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Thu Apr 02, 2015 10:01 pm

Roger, thank you , contrary to what my original post and reply to Angus suggested, it wasn't an ignorance of the Laws but a suspicion that a player might have been applying a local rule. I'm going to maintain my stance of not identifying the players, but its been a busy year for odd disputes and queries.

I think we can all think of situations where if we expected our opponent to be late we might wish to play a different opening, but that's not what the laws permit.

Nick Grey
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:05 am

Some leagues may have local - last two sentences:

15 Every game shall be played with a chess clock. If the club is unable to supply sufficient clocks for a match, the match captain shall notify the opposition so that they may provide the balance necessary. The time limits for play are set out in Rule 16. Any player exceeding a time limit shall lose the game in accordance with the ECF laws of chess. Clocks shall be started concurrently with the match commencement. If not started by 7.30 pm they shall be set as if play had started at 7.30 pm with the lost time counting against the home team’s playing time. The player of the white pieces has the option on his first move, in the absence of his stipulated opponent, of starting black’s clock without playing a move. Black on arrival can immediately restart white’s clock.

Will have to put my posts - Thames Valley League Secretary - only aware of one player saying that he took the option. Years ago when this last came up at a meeting.

I must admit I was unaware of the compulsory loss of time from starting late. Most teams home & away help each other to set up & play as soon as they can.

J T Melsom
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:36 am

Nick

By coincidence the rule about reckoning the time on the clock of the home side cropped up in a match the other day, as we do that in Bucks. I introduced the rule when one club was notoriously late at starting matches. However, I made the mistake of confusing it with the idea that in the absence of both players, the home side player should be penalised even where that player is black, which is wrong.

As for this not moving idea, leagues tend to adopt ideas from one another. Perhaps we should all sense check the local provisions against the latest Laws of Chess.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:42 am

Nick Grey wrote: I must admit I was unaware of the compulsory loss of time from starting late. Most teams home & away help each other to set up & play as soon as they can.
I believe it was the Thames Valley league of twenty or more years ago where an away team would turn up with their own clocks to make sure the match started at 7.30 pm if even there were no clocks, sets or boards set up, let alone home players.

It's perhaps more normal for a home team to start clocks on the dot. In practice with homes and aways alternating, you remember the clubs or teams for special treatment who don't take a relaxed attitude towards travel delays.

J T Melsom
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:52 am

When the rule was introduced in Bucks , matches nominally scheduled to start at 19:30 could in one extreme example not start until 19:50, and there were other clubs which were not terribly prompt starters often because the room was used by somebody else first. What has actually happened is that there is now no real attempt made to start at 19:30 and the 19:40 latest starting time has become the default.

Nick Grey
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Nick Grey » Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:14 am

Back to OP.
The rationale was not to communicate - though penalties on that are in the Laws.

Anyway I appreciate the post,& the responses. Good night.

Ian Thompson
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Ian Thompson » Fri Apr 03, 2015 2:55 am

J T Melsom wrote:I hadn't checked, partly I confess through laziness and also because from the account I received White was convinced he was following practice in his home country. My understanding was that the move should be made at the outset, but I wondered if I had missed something.
The player may well be right in stating that he was doing what was normal in his own country. I've seen a foreign player do this in an English tournament and make a similar statement when the arbiter saw what he'd done. It didn't do him any good though. The arbiter reset Black's clock to the starting time and added all the elapsed time on to White's clock, telling White he had to make a move before stopping his clock again.

Andy Stoker
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Andy Stoker » Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:52 am

.... of course ... if white had to make a move, then black could be lurking outside, peering through the window, see that white had played 1.e4 and quickly learn the theory before he came in.

Brian Towers
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by Brian Towers » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:32 am

Ian Thompson wrote:I've seen a foreign player do this in an English tournament and make a similar statement when the arbiter saw what he'd done. It didn't do him any good though. The arbiter reset Black's clock to the starting time and added all the elapsed time on to White's clock, telling White he had to make a move before stopping his clock again.
Interesting.

I was in the position of the white player a few years ago and when I tried to make the move on the board the arbiter told me I must not make the move on the board. Instead I must write the move down on the scoresheet and then press the clock. I must not change the move written. When my opponent arrives at the board I should make the move on the board as if it were a simul. Any quibbles from the opponent to be referred to the arbiter. I should add that this was an away league match.

I was bemused at the time but reading the above shenanigans it makes a lot of sense. A much better example of the arbiter applying the common sense that the rules stipulate than that of the English arbiter above.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

David Williams
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by David Williams » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:36 pm

The logic behind this is not the worry that your opponent could take five minutes to read up all the theory on 1.e4. It's that you don't know who your opponent is in a team game. If you normally open 1.e4, but a particular opponent always does well against you in his pet variation, you might want to open 1.d4 against him, but only against him.

J T Melsom
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Re: Rules query - starting clock without moving

Post by J T Melsom » Fri Apr 03, 2015 12:45 pm

David - that's just wrong. The team lists should already have been exchanged, so you know who is turning up, unless there is provision for late replacement of players.

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