Saturday, 1 September 2012

Zero default - screwed over again

Earlier this year I travelled to Switzerland for a meeting of the FIDE Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission. One of the things we worked on was the rewording of the rule that deals with the default time, the so called "zero tolerance" rule. Given the supposed unpopularity of this rule, I suggested a wording that took out all mention of 0 time, and instead made it a requirement of the organisers to specify a time in advance.
It was presented at todays FIDE Rules and Tournament Regulations meeting, which is part of the 2012 FIDE Congress. Of course these meetings are open to the public, and the room was overflowing. As part of the process, it is also the case that anyone present in this meeting can vote on these proposals. So towards the end of the session the new wording was presented alongside the existing rule. This was a similar process to 4 years ago, when the rule was first introduced. And just like four years ago, it was the *public* attendees at the meeting who voted to retain the existing rule. And it was not just a close vote (as far as I can see), but one with a substantial majority.
So once again there will be a round of criticism directed at Rules and Tournament Regulations over this matter, and in a sense it is valid. Not because we support this rule (that honour goes to the people who turned up to the meeting), but because we failed to 'sell' the new rule better.
So for at least four years (and probably longer) the zero tolerance rule remains in effect, unless you *choose* to play in tournaments where the organisers do set a different default time. Just throwing that out there.


Garvin said...

Seems like a very strange voting process. Anyone can just turn up and vote, no matter whether they are aware of the history or reasons for why the changes are proposed.

I think this type of voting process does explain why the laws of chess seem disjointed.

Overall I am more in favour of zero default than not, but this voting process seems to achieve neither.

Btw, why was zero default mentioned at all in the original proposal, rather than just having a rule that organisers can choose any default time they like (perhaps could add a maximum time allowed).

Under this voting process, it would make the day voters have to actually come up with an amendment and propose a new motion, rather than just voting against the change as has just happened.

Anonymous said...

No UK tournament uses zero default. Any event that did would be met by a lack of entries if it was lucky and a campaign to boycott it, if it wasn't.

Kevin Bonham said...

I don't think the vote was truly "public" in the sense that anyone would get away with dragging in 30 random homies off the streets to stack it. Those voting, as well as the Commission members, were FIDE delegates, members of other Commissions, Executive Board members and so on. There may have been the odd chess journo, sundry hanger-on or stray player in the mix but not that many. And yes, the vote on this issue was surprisingly overwhelming. Some arbiters like it that players are forced to be there at the start of the round as it makes it easy to announce things.

A small concession was added yesterday in that now in zero-tolerance events, it will be possible for the arbiter to decide to defer the start of the game to cater for unexpected circumstances.