Monday, 8 February 2016

Outsmarting yourself in blitz

I spent today helping run the 2016 ACT Junior Blitz Championship (won by Albert Winkleman) and was pleased by both the quality of play, and the behaviour of the players. No one cried during the 11 round event (always a good sign) and while a few players ended up less points than they should have (due to failing to report results), even they realised that it was something they should have been on top of.
The only new arbiting issue that I came across this year was application of the rule about when you can press your clock. One player was very short of time, and so was 'pre-moving', in that he had picked up the piece he planned to move before his opponent had completed theirs. (Oh don't be shocked. Blitz players do this all the time!)
Unfortunately for him, he had an opponent who either knew the rules too well, or maybe too little. With two seconds left on his clock, his opponent moved, and then he moved before his opponent pressed their clock. He then began to anticipate his next move, when much to his surprise, his opponent simply pushed the clock without moving. Stunned by this, he let his clock run down to zero (from not much more than zero). I was called over to adjudicate the finish of the game, and after asking the right questions, realised what had happened. He thought his opponent had pressed the clock without moving, while I explained his opponent had simply pressed the clock after his previous move (as he is entitles to do). He did accept this explanation with good grace, but I suspect he is now thinking of better ways to avoid losing on time.

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