Local modifications to FIDE rules

General discussions about grading.
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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:17 pm

Neither refusing to sign the scoresheets nor failing to write the moves down has a specified penalty in the laws, and although the arbiter has the option of some very strict penalties, it would be rare for any of the really strict ones to be applied.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:40 pm

Chris Wardle wrote:
Mike Gunn wrote:I hope everybody is strictly conforming with Article 8.7 of the FIDE Laws which starts "At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game ...". In 15 years of playing evening league chess I haven't seen this done once, so presumably none of these games should have been graded ...
But imagine you're controlling a tournament and a player tries to claim a victory by default on the grounds that their opponent didn't sign both scoresheets. If you're willing to send that player away disappointed, but you're willing to uphold the claim of a win by default from someone whose opponent wasn't recording when they had more than 5 minutes left, then you're applying a double standard, however sensible a double standard it may seem. As soon as you selectively apply one law (signing scoresheets), players can start asking you to selectively apply other laws (scoring when over 5 minutes) - and you can no longer defend yourself by holding up the laws as the supreme authority (or saying that "the game must be the same everywhere", or it would be a "slippery slope", which amount to the same argument).
I'm afraid that's not true Chris. There is no prescribed penalty in the laws for failing to sign the scoresheet, so the arbiter is free to apply one of the various penalties open to him under the laws. Although that could be a loss, it's much more likely to be a warning (aka a word to the wise).

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by E Michael White » Tue Oct 26, 2010 3:07 pm

IM Jack Rudd wrote:Neither refusing to sign the scoresheets nor failing to write the moves down has a specified penalty in the laws
The English chief arbiter told me once that pressing the clock, other than as allowed by the rules, counts as improper clock handling; it doesnt have to be just clock bashing. He gave the example of making a move quickly and the piece falling over so that it could not be determined which square the piece was destined for. If the player presses the clock before replacing the piece that is improper clock handling which has to be penalised as stated in the rules. The point is that improper clock handling has to be acted upon by the arbiter with at least a warning as specified in the rules.

If a player does not record his previous move(s) and presses the clock then that must be improper clock handling also and so requires at least a warning every time with more than 2 or 3 occurances resulting in the loss of the game.

If an arbiter sees a player as white with more than 5 minutes left whose score sheet shows white's last moves with white pieces as Bh1, Qe1 and Nd5 without subsequent capture recorded and the arbiter observes that the board does not have a WQ, white squared WB or WN he should conclude that white has made at least 3 moves without recording and default him/her.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Alex Holowczak » Tue Oct 26, 2010 4:47 pm

E Michael White wrote:If an arbiter sees a player as white with more than 5 minutes left whose score sheet shows white's last moves with white pieces as Bh1, Qe1 and Nd5 without subsequent capture recorded and the arbiter observes that the board does not have a WQ, white squared WB or WN he should conclude that white has made at least 3 moves without recording and default him/her.
Again, is there a prescribed penalty for not writing the moves down? It may well just be a warning + request to bring the scoresheet up to date.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Mike Gunn » Tue Oct 26, 2010 5:03 pm

The key thing that distinguishes loss by mobile phone from all the other minor (or major) infringements of the Laws of Chess is that there is a large body of chess players who think it is a bad law and should not be enforced in all circumstances (e.g. in a junior tournament, evening league chess, all non FIDE rated games/ whatever). I orginally subscribed to the view that it should be strictly applied (as it is a FIDE law) but over the last few years I have changed my mind because of my experience as a player, captain and appeal committee person. It just isn't worth the aggro and general bad feeling it causes between players.

Of course, as somebody pointed out above, what we should do is get together and propose to FIDE that the penalty is dscretionary but meanwhile I prefer the slightly confusing (and arguably non FIDE compliant) situation of differing local rules to everybody losing when their phone goes off.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Oct 27, 2010 1:57 am

Jack and Alex - 13.4 states that "The arbiter can apply one or more of the following penalties..." so if the league conductor were to clearly state that in certain situations he would exercise his right not to apply any of the penalties, it would have the same effect as a rule change. That thought had crossed my mind before. Isn't that effectively what a lot of competitions do with the mobile phone rule? Rather than state that possession of a ringing phone is not a breach of the rules, which would contradict FIDE, they specify that the penalty to be applied for that breach will be something less drastic than the loss of the game?
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:16 am

Chris Wardle wrote:Jack and Alex - 13.4 states that "The arbiter can apply one or more of the following penalties..." so if the league conductor were to clearly state that in certain situations he would exercise his right not to apply any of the penalties, it would have the same effect as a rule change. That thought had crossed my mind before. Isn't that effectively what a lot of competitions do with the mobile phone rule? Rather than state that possession of a ringing phone is not a breach of the rules, which would contradict FIDE, they specify that the penalty to be applied for that breach will be something less drastic than the loss of the game?
Hi Chris. The difference between the scenarios you give is that for a mobile phone which emits a sound the penalty is prescriptive (i.e. the game is lost) whilst for most other offences the penalty is discretionary (for the arbiter to choose from a list defined in law 13.4). So whilst it's ok to specify a penalty for the latter in local rules and stay within the laws, any failure to apply the former is a breach.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by E Michael White » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:03 am

Just to add to what Sean says there is a third category of laws where a penalty must be given but the exact penalty is not specified. For example laws 6.7c, 6.12d and 12.7 specify that one of the penalties ( which may be warning or reminder ) in 13.4 must be imposed, so the option to give no penalty in those cases does not exist.

Rule 13.4 is a list of available penalties and does not give the arbiter the right to impose no penalty if a penalty is required by another rule.
Mike Gunn wrote:........there is a large body of chess players who think it is a bad law and should not be enforced in all circumstances (e.g. in a junior tournament, evening league chess, all non FIDE rated games/ whatever).
I dont agree with you about this as I think one set of rules is preferable so players can move from League to League or play in a local FIDE rated event and know they play the same rules. However if a majority of players want variations for League chess a better approach IMO is for the ECF to produce a list of modifications to be used for League Chess and for Leagues to be able to elect to play this additional set. Producing a list and giving it effect would probably take a year or two and would require the ECF council to approve it.
Last edited by E Michael White on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:17 am

Sean Hewitt wrote:Hi Chris. The difference between the scenarios you give is that for a mobile phone which emits a sound the penalty is prescriptive (i.e. the game is lost) whilst for most other offences the penalty is discretionary (for the arbiter to choose from a list defined in law 13.4). So whilst it's ok to specify a penalty for the latter in local rules and stay within the laws, any failure to apply the former is a breach.
Even in the mobile phone situation, I think the laws can interpreted to allow the arbiter some discretion:

Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game...

The exception proves the rule - the arbiter may allow a player to have a mobile phone switched on in the playing venue - and if the device is allowed to be switched on, then you can't blame the player if it bleeps (maybe you can blame the player for not leaving it in silent mode, but you can't blame the player if it vibrates). Otherwise what is the point of allowing it? You can't allow a phone to be switched on only on the condition that it does not receive any incoming communications for the duration of the game. For that reason I believe "any such device" refers to any device that has been left on in the playing venue without the permission of the arbiter, not simply "any device". So I suppose the arbiter could announce before the tournament that any devices brought into the venue shall be considered permitted devices.
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E Michael White
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by E Michael White » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:20 am

The playing venue is different from the playing area.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:30 am

Yes, but the difference is not relevant because the mobile phone law doesn't make any reference to the playing area.
E Michael White wrote:Rule 13.4 is a list of available penalties and does not give the arbiter the right to impose no penalty if a penalty is required by another rule.
It depends whether you interpret the words "shall be punished in accordance with 13.4" to mean that the arbiter shall apply the entirety of Article 13.4 to the situation including the word "can" - the arbiter can apply one of the following penalties - or whether the arbiter must select a punishment from the menu. I lean towards the former - you can be in accordance with a law, you can't be in accordance with a list.
E Michael White wrote:However if a majority of players want variations for League chess a better approach IMO is for the ECF to produce a list of modifications to be used for League Chess and for Leagues to be able to elect to play this additional set. Producing a list and giving it effect would probably take a year or two and would require the ECF council to approve it.
There used to be a document along those lines, if I'm not mistaken - it set out which modifications were permitted, rather than prescribing an additional set of rules to be taken as a whole, all or nothing. Would that flexibility not be a desirable thing?
Last edited by Chris Goodall on Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Sean Hewitt

Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Sean Hewitt » Wed Oct 27, 2010 10:49 am

Chris Wardle wrote:Even in the mobile phone situation, I think the laws can interpreted to allow the arbiter some discretion:

Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game...

The exception proves the rule - the arbiter may allow a player to have a mobile phone switched on in the playing venue - and if the device is allowed to be switched on, then you can't blame the player if it bleeps (maybe you can blame the player for not leaving it in silent mode, but you can't blame the player if it vibrates). Otherwise what is the point of allowing it? You can't allow a phone to be switched on only on the condition that it does not receive any incoming communications for the duration of the game. For that reason I believe "any such device" refers to any device that has been left on in the playing venue without the permission of the arbiter, not simply "any device". So I suppose the arbiter could announce before the tournament that any devices brought into the venue shall be considered permitted devices.
Chris, I'm afraid that your interpretation is not correct and does not stand up to scrutiny.
FIDE Laws 12.3.b wrote:Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off.
This means two things. A player can bring a mobile phone into the playing venue without permission of the arbiter if it is completely switched off. If the player requires it to remain switched on in any way then you need the arbiter's permission to do so.

It would be perfectly reasonable in my opinion for an evening league to automatically give such permission within its rules.
FIDE Laws 12.3.b wrote:If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game.
This is unequivocal. If any other interpretation were intended such as you suggest, the law would say so, but it doesn't.

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by E Michael White » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:02 am

Chris Wardle wrote:It depends whether you interpret the words "shall be punished in accordance with 13.4" to mean that the arbiter shall apply the entirety of Article 13.4 to the situation including the word "can" - the arbiter can apply one of the following penalties ......
Well now you are down to the meaning of English words; the word can means has the power to or the ability to perform an action and the word may implies choice or possibility that the action could take place.

In order specify an arbiter option to apply no penalty for clarity you would need to use the word may. Some players may disagree and think the words are interchangeable. If I remember correctly the USCF rules or another country's local version used to make this clearer by referring to the available options in 13.4. Strangely arbiters for whom English is not their first language seem more aware of the difference between can and may

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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Chris Goodall » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:37 am

Sean: It sounds like we agree that the arbiter can allow devices to be switched on in the playing venue.

I agree that "the player shall lose the game" is unequivocal, but what does "any such device" refer to? If it means a device that has been brought into the playing venue without the permission of the arbiter, then fair enough. If it means a device that has been brought into the playing area and, with the arbiter's permission, left switched on, then what's the point of having that provision in the rules at all? If a phone is switched on but forbidden to make a sound or vibrate, it might as well be switched off.

Michael: Can implies power and ability, yes - the issue is, does it imply obligation? I've never heard it used that way. If I wanted to specifically remove the arbiter's option to apply no penalty, I would use must.
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Re: Local modifications to FIDE rules

Post by Ian Thompson » Wed Oct 27, 2010 11:59 am

Chris Wardle wrote:I agree that "the player shall lose the game" is unequivocal, but what does "any such device" refer to? If it means a device that has been brought into the playing venue without the permission of the arbiter, then fair enough. If it means a device that has been brought into the playing area and, with the arbiter's permission, left switched on, then what's the point of having that provision in the rules at all? If a phone is switched on but forbidden to make a sound or vibrate, it might as well be switched off.
Not necessarily. I can switch the ringing and vibration off on my phone, but it will still flash a light when a message is received. I don't know if it flashes for calls or not - I've never looked.

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