Local modifications to FIDE rules

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Chris Goodall
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Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:24 am

evening all! Chris Wardle here, Northumbria League Conductor. I have a question:
There seems to be growing support in Northumberland to introduce a rule that if your opponent is down to 5 minutes and has stopped recording the moves, you are not obliged to do so either. The voices speaking against this change are mostly just pointing to the FIDE laws. Those in favour feel that our rules should take precedence over any other rules including FIDE's, rightly point out several other examples of local rules, and have asked me to approach the ECF for their opinion.

Is there a guiding principle that a certain part of the FIDE laws are sacrosanct, and a certain other part open to modification? Presumably, the ECF would not wish to accept games played under a local version of the laws of chess that allowed pawns to move backwards.

Is it the responsibility of the local competitions to ensure that their laws do not conflict "too much" with FIDE, or of the local graders, or of the ECF?

(I'm aware that there was a discussion on here about an old document called something like "BCF guidelines for games played under its auspices" but the conclusion was that it no longer applied and there was no interest in renewing it.)

kind regards,
Chris
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 24, 2010 1:36 am

Chris Wardle wrote:There seems to be growing support in Northumberland to introduce a rule that if your opponent is down to 5 minutes and has stopped recording the moves, you are not obliged to do so either.
What would the logic behind this be?

I would say that it's a concession to be allowed to not record the moves (on 30 second increments you do so for the entire game). So you give a concession only to those with less than 5 minutes and no one else. If nothing else, a record of the moves is needed for 50 move and 3 fold claims.

Down south we've had major rows arising from people not recording their moves.

I don't suppose anyone would notice if you introduced such a rule for Northumberland. But players playing outside the local area should be warned that many arbiters and players would insist that a full record of the game be maintained.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Oct 24, 2010 2:09 am

The logic would be that
a) because one player ends up recording fewer moves in total than the other, that player spends less time over the course of the game recording moves and more time thinking, which gives an unfair advantage to the player who has mismanaged his or her clock time
b) there has never been a 50-move or threefold repetition claim in our league for as long as anyone can remember.

I want to resolve the question of whether games could still be graded if we adopted the rule - thanks for your opinion on that. The rule's actual merit is a secondary concern.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Sean Hewitt

Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:16 am

The variations on the mobile phone rule show that this is a dangerous path to go down and the ECF should say no. But I doubt that they will.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:31 am

Chris Wardle wrote:a) because one player ends up recording fewer moves in total than the other, that player spends less time over the course of the game recording moves and more time thinking, which gives an unfair advantage to the player who has mismanaged his or her clock time
Most of the rest of the country is thinking "so what". If it means that fewer games degenerate into clock thumping blitz, that's good not bad.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Sun Oct 24, 2010 12:20 pm

Seam: why do you think this would be a dangerous path to go down?

The variations on the mobile phone law are one of the examples that have been cited as evidence that local competitions have the right to disregard FIDE rules. Allowing the use of descriptive rather than algebraic notation is another good example.

Roger: I can see the attraction of the "so what" school of thought.
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:46 pm

Chris Wardle wrote: There seems to be growing support in Northumberland to introduce a rule that if your opponent is down to 5 minutes and has stopped recording the moves, you are not obliged to do so either. The voices speaking against this change are mostly just pointing to the FIDE laws.
This is, frankly, a stupid idea. You want to score your games. The advantages are that you can make claims based upon your scoresheet. If your league has quickplay finishes, you want more moves written down in case of a dispute. Given disputes happen due to a time shortage usually (e.g. Appendix D), then you want as many moves as you can written down! If you have an up to date scoresheet, you can get the Rules Committee (or suitable alternative) to make a decision. Otherwise, the decision will just be to replay the game, because they'd have no evidence at all to go on.

The rules are such that you should always record your games. An allowance is only made if you are short of time, but you can still record if you so desire. How do you define "Once you're opponent stops recording?" When he's down to less than 5 minutes? Your opponent can still carry on recording if he wants to, even until his flag falls.

If Northumbrian players are that aghast at the idea of writing moves on a scoresheet, make your league G/59. That way, they're not obliged to write the moves down at all!
Chris Wardle wrote:Is there a guiding principle that a certain part of the FIDE laws are sacrosanct, and a certain other part open to modification? Presumably, the ECF would not wish to accept games played under a local version of the laws of chess that allowed pawns to move backwards.
Yes, this is pretty much the situation.
Chris Wardle wrote:Is it the responsibility of the local competitions to ensure that their laws do not conflict "too much" with FIDE, or of the local graders, or of the ECF?
Local competitions. The ECF can't be expected spend tens of hours reading the rulebook of every single league in England...
Chris Wardle wrote:Those in favour feel that our rules should take precedence over any other rules including FIDE's, rightly point out several other examples of local rules, and have asked me to approach the ECF for their opinion.
Several other examples might well be vaguely sensible. This isn't.
Chris Wardle wrote:I want to resolve the question of whether games could still be graded if we adopted the rule - thanks for your opinion on that. The rule's actual merit is a secondary concern.
Will it get graded: Probably.

Your priorities are wrong. The actual merit of the rule should be the primary concern; it's that daft, and I can't see a single good reason why you do not need to record your game.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by E Michael White » Sun Oct 24, 2010 10:00 pm

If I remember correctly this is the rule in the USA and has been for a number of years. Perhaps we should ask Frederick Rhine who is a member of this forum to give his views, if he has time, to say whether he feels the USA version is preferable and any pros and cons as a result.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:00 am

E Michael White wrote:If I remember correctly this is the rule in the USA and has been for a number of years.
Rules in the USA are often particularly daft and this is one of them. I believe it's the case that you cannot claim a win on time on the first time control if you don't have a mostly complete score-sheet. So much so, that you can draw attention to your own flag-fall even where not enough moves have been made and not lose on time. The point being that if your opponent's score is incomplete then he's not allowed to claim a win.

I suppose there's a certain amount of bizarre symmetry. You allow players with more than 5 minutes to not record their moves but penalise them that they cannot win on time in the first session if they do so.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:02 am

I didn't want to get bogged down in a debate about whether this specific proposal was a good or bad idea. Alex, although you may not see a single good reason why you do not need to record your game, there are obviously certain people who do, including the USCF (thanks Michael for that tip-off - I've looked up the USCF rules online and that is indeed the case).

The proposal cannot be judged on its merits while its opponents in Northumberland dismiss it on the (maybe accurate) assumption that "it would stop our games from being graded by the ECF". Hence my priority is to clarify that point and thus move the debate forward, not to take sides.
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:15 am

Chris Wardle wrote:Hence my priority is to clarify that point and thus move the debate forward, not to take sides.
You haven't said whether your move rate is a straight G/x or n/y + z. It may make a small difference in that cessation of scoring in the n bit can be more of a problem than in the final z phase of the game.

As far as 50 move claims are concerned, it's evident that Keith A and players of a similar style haven't ventured to the North East.

As said before, the rest of the UK and the world ( with the possible exception of the US of A) will insist that players score with more than 5 minutes remaining. It's not really FIDE, more a question of inherited chess culture.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:31 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:You haven't said whether your move rate is a straight G/x or n/y + z. It may make a small difference in that cessation of scoring in the n bit can be more of a problem than in the final z phase of the game.
We play G/90, and yes, I agree that this change would be more problematic if we played with an intermediate time control.

I'd be interested to know how the USCF rule came about - obviously at some point someone decided that their inherited chess culture could be improved upon?
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

Sean Hewitt

Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Sean Hewitt » Mon Oct 25, 2010 7:02 am

Chris Wardle wrote:I didn't want to get bogged down in a debate about whether this specific proposal was a good or bad idea. Alex, although you may not see a single good reason why you do not need to record your game, there are obviously certain people who do, including the USCF (thanks Michael for that tip-off - I've looked up the USCF rules online and that is indeed the case).

The proposal cannot be judged on its merits while its opponents in Northumberland dismiss it on the (maybe accurate) assumption that "it would stop our games from being graded by the ECF". Hence my priority is to clarify that point and thus move the debate forward, not to take sides.
Going back to the original question, whilst I and others have given you our opinion none of these opionions matter a jot because only the Director of Home Chess (Adam Raoof) can give you a definitive answer. His contact details are on the ECF website and I suggest you email him. Do let us know how you get on though.

You asked why I think this is a slippery slope? Well, three reasons really. Firstly I believe that the game should be played to the same rules everywhere. It's a philosophical position and not all would agree, but they don't do away with offside just because they're playing football on Hackney Marshes! Secondly, and more importantly, where do you draw the line when tinkering with the laws? Mobile phones? Move scoring? Why not scrap en passant as it is a bit complicated? Or get rid of touch move? You see the dilemma. Thirdly, such changes can cause real confusion and disputes when a player who is used to playing the game correctly and in accordance with the laws plays someone who is used to a variant (such games occur all the time in local congresses for example).

FIDE make the laws and in my opinion we should stick to them. Where local discretion is desirable they should explicitly say so as they do on time controls or default times for example.

If you think a rule can be improved, suggest an amendment to the laws. That way, we can all benefit from the improvement. If you can't get the majority required to agree the change, perhaps it's not such an improvement after all.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Alex McFarlane » Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:57 am

Chris,

As neither player needs to record in the last 5 minutes all the person has to do is wait until he has less than 5 minutes on the clock and the game can continue perfectly legally in the way you suggest. Alternatively, and with the agreement of both players, the clock could be turned forward to 4min 59sec. Both these would be entirely legal and able to be graded.

The only reason for wanting to stop recording that I can see is that it allows the player to blitz his opponent. I don't think I would be very happy if, with 20 minutes left and thinking hard about my own position, I suddenly had to deal with the click, click, click (or thump, thump, thump) of clock presses on the adjacent board as a frantic time scramble developed.

I agree almost totally with Sean's last posting. Where I might disagree is with the mobile phone. For evening matches there may be justifiable reasons for having a phone on, but only in silent mode and only if both captains are aware.

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Chris Goodall
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:54 am

Thanks for the pointer Sean, I shall get in touch with Adam.
Sean Hewitt wrote:Secondly, and more importantly, where do you draw the line when tinkering with the laws? Mobile phones? Move scoring? Why not scrap en passant as it is a bit complicated? Or get rid of touch move? You see the dilemma.
I do see the dilemma - but it seems in most parts of the country we already do draw a line, one that includes the algebraic notation rule as well as the mobile phone rule, it's just that the position of that line isn't made explicit, and thus people are free to propose to scrap the en passant rule if they want (in a junior league run mostly by well-meaning non-chessplayers, for example?) because of the precedent set by the notation/phone rules.

Would it be a useful exercise to look at the FIDE laws with the intention of drawing a more explicit line?

I have no personal interest in getting the laws changed. This wasn't my idea. There may be others in Northumberland who wish to petition FIDE on the matter, which is their right.

Alex: I suggested at the league meeting that players be allowed to turn their clocks forward to 4m59 - not because I was personally for or against that idea I hasten to add, but as a compromise between the FIDE laws and the proposal herein discussed. No-one from either camp was in favour (no to devolution, it's either complete union or complete independence!)
Chris Goodall, formerly known as Chris Wardle. ECF Grader for the ancient kingdom of Bernicia (or Northumberland and Durham, if you prefer).
Newcastle is not in Scotland!

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