Problem with digital clock

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Robert Stokes
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Problem with digital clock

Post by Robert Stokes » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:55 am

There was an incident in the Lincolnshire league yesterday evening about which I would like advice. I was the captain of the visiting side. I should point out that I'm only graded 107, play on bottom board 4, and I'm only captain because I'm the one willing to organise our team. We were using DGT 2010 digital clocks.

Board 1 was playing on a table next to a wall and their clock was facing the wall, something which I'm sure we will try to avoid in future. Those of us on the other boards had finished and were watching the game. Near the end, my board 2 player who was the only one in a position to see because he was near the wall, pointed out that the clock was faulty. When the home team player pressed the button his clock stopped and our player's one started. However, when our player pressed the button, sometimes his own clock continued running and the opponent's one did not.

Our player only just won despite having this fault with the clock. He was very short of time and could easily have lost due to the fault. After the game finished the home captain told my board 2 player that he should not have intervened and it was up to the player to notice the fault. In fairness he didn't make a big issue of the matter and accepted the result. We then gathered around the clock, now facing into the room, and tried it together. Sometimes, but not every time, what I have described above occurred again so there is no denying that the clock was faulty.

Is it really the player's responsibility to notice a clock fault? Surely we can't be expected to check it after every press. In the absence of an arbiter, I understand that both captains jointly act in that capacity. Am I correct? However, we were both standing behind the clock, perhaps not a very sensible situation, and so could not see that the clock was faulty. I was therefore grateful that my player intervened.

Thank you in advance for your help.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by David Sedgwick » Wed Mar 01, 2017 12:27 pm

From what you say, both captains were watching the game, but were not in a position to see the clock.

I feel that the correct course of action would have been for your Board 2 player to inform the captains of the apparent problem, rather than to alert the players. It would then have been for the captains to decide what action to take, if any.

The problem could have arisen because of incorrect clock handling by your Board 1 player. It's clear from the post game testing that that was not the case here, but that might not be true on another occasion.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 01, 2017 1:03 pm

David Sedgwick wrote: The problem could have arisen because of incorrect clock handling by your Board 1 player.
The Candidates at Kazan demonstrated that with some models of DGT, it is possible with rough handling to disconnect the battery causing the clock to switch off momentarily. Is there a known problem, often seen with traditional clocks, of the rocker arm not having the usual effect? Perhaps as David suggests, the rocker arm wasn't being completely depressed.

If you want to retain the convention of the clock being on Black's right hand side, it may be necessary to be a little creative with the room layout. At the former 4NCL venue at the Grand in Birmingham, where the tables were arranged like this

Code: Select all

wwwwww
t  t   t   t
t  t   t   t
it was normal to arrange the boards so that 1 and 3 were on the same table with 2 and 4 on the next one. This enabled all the clocks to be placed on Black's right and also facing the aisle.

As far as the extent to which captains act as arbiters, or third parties can intervene, that is sometimes left to local rules or rulings. I don't think captains should ever attempt observation of the game following a contested Appendix G (unable to win ...) claim, rather the procedure for "no arbiter present" should be followed.

I did see an example recently where perhaps due to unfamiliarity with the digital clock, or perhaps how they had been programmed, that a player had won on time, as indicated by the clock and the scoresheets showing moves still to be played before 40, but neither player seemed aware of this. It was however a team match with an arbiter present and arbiters are allowed to observe potential losses on time, so one of the team members alerted an arbiter.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:43 pm

Robert Stokes wrote: After the game finished the home captain told my board 2 player that he should not have intervened and it was up to the player to notice the fault. In fairness he didn't make a big issue of the matter and accepted the result.

I would have viewed such a comment as rather discourteous: if a captain has a complaint about a member of the opposing team, surely the complaint should be mde to the opposing captain and not the team member directly? Also, in the sitation where a team has supplied faulty equipment it seems rather churlish to complain about the manner in which this was raised - a much lesser fault in my view!

Mike Gunn
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Mike Gunn » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:25 pm

As Roger says, placing the clock on black's right is just a convention. The laws say the arbiter decides where the clock goes and in a club match it would be better to place the clocks in positions such that they would be visible to both captains.

Brian Towers
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Brian Towers » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:44 pm

The complaint of the home captain centres round 12.7 "If someone observes an irregularity, he may inform only the arbiter."

I would suggest that faulty equipment, which may have been deliberately deployed for all the home team knows, is more than just an "irregularity". I would emphasise that if such a situation arose where there was an arbiter present then 12.7 should be strictly observed. The main reason being (apart from that being the law) that it is the arbiter's responsibility to use his or her knowledge, judgement and experience to decide what happens next which might start with some pertinent questions as to how the situation arose.

In this case with no arbiter present I think the away player's reaction is reasonable. It also sounds as if the situation still wasn't handled satisfactorily. The clock should have been replaced with a correctly set clock immediately. An arbiter would have been able to make an impartial judgement as to whether or not to give the away player extra time in compensation and if so how much. Whether or not the two captains would be able to agree on such matters is another matter.

The away captain should also have submitted a report to the league. Are the home team in the habit of deploying this faulty clock facing the wall or was it an unfortunate one-off accident? Will the clock be replaced or reused in the next match? Airing the matter with the league secretary would help clear up such matters and help to alert other teams.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:02 pm

There was an (amusing for those watching, less amusing for those playing) incident in a recent match (I won't name it) where one player claimed a win on time, then said "Oops, no, sorry, the flag hasn't fallen". I've never seen that happen before.

The response of the player that was distracted was to immediately claim an extra two minutes, which was awarded. That player who now had an extra two minutes (and more time than the other player whose flag was now hanging) was then winning (and had enough time to mate), but managed to get into a drawn position with extra material (R+N vs R) and the position was eventually agreed drawn when the rooks were forced off. A bit of a shambles all round, but then time trouble does funny things to people.

[Luckily the match situation had already been resolved in favour of one of the teams, so this wasn't critical.]

I have to try really hard not to laugh sometimes when things like that happen. I suspect that would count as distracting the players... :?

Nick Grey
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:57 pm

Chris, this game was with an analogue clock.
Also both match captains and I were present and watching. All the other games had finished.
The two minutes was correct. The rooks were not forced off.
There was good explanation about all afterwards including reminder for the correct way to claim under the 2 minute rule.

What I was unaware of is both players wanted the analogue clock so if we had switched it to my board (the only one without a digital) I would not have to break the rule that I would never agree to play a quickplay finish with an analogue clock after an incident at the end of last season.

Not that I thought I would have an issue because of my opponent and also agreeing that her son has grown up on digitals, and his opponent thought it nice that he was going to get a digital clock even though we were one short.

But on original, Yes players have to notice whether it is digital or analogue. Sometimes battery, some times wind-up, sometimes the button sticks. But also refer to your match rules/and-or guidance for captains.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:25 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:I've never seen that happen before.
On digital clocks with an intermediate time control, players can be confused by whether or not the extra time has been added. The move number on their scoresheet won't tell them.

In a way it's taking notes, but legally. You record the clock times both at the time control and when the flag fall display comes up and the extra time is added.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 01, 2017 10:38 pm

"The rooks were not forced off."

They were about to be I think, I think white R was on f4, Kg4, Ne4 and the black rook arrived on the f-file protected by the king.

It was certainly a weird game!

Nick Grey
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Nick Grey » Wed Mar 01, 2017 11:06 pm

Yes it was weird. They were about to except the flag had fallen.

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Joey Stewart
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Joey Stewart » Thu Mar 02, 2017 11:57 am

It tends to be the see saw arm inside the clock falling out of line which causes this to happen (ever seen a wind up clock where both sides are running at the same time? That is what is going on there too).

In a match situation I would have thought that the league would have some sort of stipulation that clubs are required to provide correctly working clocks and an appropriate forfeit for those non compliant.
I would be especially careful to check my digital clocks, as they are often treated with suspicion to rival that of the spanish inquisition.
Lose one queen and it is a disaster, Lose 1000 queens and it is just a statistic.

Alistair Campbell
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Alistair Campbell » Thu Mar 02, 2017 1:14 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:On digital clocks with an intermediate time control, players can be confused by whether or not the extra time has been added. The move number on their scoresheet won't tell them.

In a way it's taking notes, but legally. You record the clock times both at the time control and when the flag fall display comes up and the extra time is added.
Indeed. I witnessed such an unfortunate/amusing incident last night. White was queen for knight up, but black had a pawn on the seventh. With both players apparently having less than 5 minutes left, they started blitzing - in desperation W gave up Q for [edit]P, leaving him with K+3 v K+N. White managed to queen a pawn leaving him K+Q v K+N as his time ran out. Only it didn't, as the clock added on another 20* minutes each. White was so surprised he promptly walked into a fork.

This raises a question - in lieu of an arbiter, could the captain have advised both players that they must maintain an up to date scoresheet (and in effect advise his player to slow down, take his time, and work out the win)?

And if so, how would that conversation have gone?

* I assume it was 20 minutes - we have one clock that earlier in the season gave both players an extra 20 hours, but that's a different story.
Last edited by Alistair Campbell on Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Brian Towers
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Brian Towers » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:15 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote:Indeed. I witnessed such an unfortunate/amusing incident last night. White was queen for knight up, but black had a pawn on the seventh. With both players apparently having less than 5 minutes left, they started blitzing - in desperation W gave up Q for N, leaving him with K+3 v K+N. White managed to queen a pawn leaving him K+Q v K+N as his time ran out. Only it didn't, as the clock added on another 20* minutes each. White was so surprised he promptly walked into a fork.

This raises a question - in lieu of an arbiter, could the captain have advised both players that they must maintain an up to date scoresheet (and in effect advise his player to slow down, take his time, and work out the win)?

And if so, how would that conversation have gone?
Assuming play was with two time periods then 8.5 applies
FIDE Laws of Chess 8.5 a. wrote:If neither player keeps score under Article 8.4, the arbiter or an assistant should try to be present and keep score. In this case, immediately after a flag has fallen the arbiter shall stop the chessclock. Then both players shall update their scoresheets, using the arbiter ’s or the opponent’s scoresheet.
If the captain, in lieu of an arbiter, had been recording the moves then he would have been within his rights to stop the clocks, proffer his scoresheet and request that both players update theirs.

If he hasn't been recording the moves then I don't think that he can arbitrarily instruct either of the players to start recording again.

In that case you have to decide whether or not you are playing to the letter of the law. In that case 8.5c applies.
FIDE Laws of Chess 8.5 c. wrote:If no complete scoresheet is available, the players must reconstruct the game on a second chessboard under the control of the arbiter or an assistant. He shall first record the actual game position, clock times, whose clock was running and the number of moves made/completed, if this information is available, before reconstruction takes place.
If you are playing seriously enough to have two time periods (but why are you not then avoiding these problems by using increments) then you should be playing seriously enough to obey 8.5c even in more normal situations.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Problem with digital clock

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 02, 2017 3:36 pm

Brian Towers wrote: If you are playing seriously enough to have two time periods (but why are you not then avoiding these problems by using increments) then you should be playing seriously enough to obey 8.5c even in more normal situations.
I would rather suspect the first time control is irrelevant in this case. Both players probably reached move 40 or whatever with time in hand and a complete record. Play then continues. With analogue clocks in the UK, the time is then reset to show the period remaining for the rest of the game. There can be no doubt as to whether score needs to be kept. With digital clocks and the way they are usually programmed on the other hand, the clock will show an incorrect time remaining until one side reaches zero. It was when the clock reached under five minutes, but with fifteen or twenty still to be added, that the players ceased scoring. That would be immediately obvious with analogue clocks but no so obvious with digitals. I had a recent opponent cease scoring in one of my games shortly after the intermediate time control. Perhaps I should have objected, but it transpired he had overlooked that additional time was about to be added.

Leagues vary with local interpretations as to how much or how little "with no arbiter present", the captains or other players may intervene.

I've come to the reluctant conclusion that if arbiters are unwilling to allow clocks to be programmed to act on the number of times they have been pressed, that it's best not to have an intermediate time control for games of under a nominal four hours.

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