Thursday 5 July 2018

You be the arbiter

The diagrammed position occurred during an interschool event today. It was Black's move but he only had 10 seconds on the clock. As a result he did not spot the check on the a file and decided to play 1. ... Qh8+ White replied 2.b8=Q+ and Black followed with 2... Qxb8+ At this moment I assumed White was going to capture the Queen, but instead tipped his king over in resignation. The questions is: What was the result of the game? (And yes, I was the arbiter)

(** The diagram has been updated as the initial position was in error. The queen was on e5 (instead of d4) as the previous moves were Qe5+ Ka8 **)


Anonymous said...

Win for Black (?)

Graham Clayton said...

Win for Black - he made a legal move, and White resigned instead of making a move.

Mark said...

I'm not an arbiter, but I'd adjudicate the game as a draw:

1) The participants were probably not experienced tournament chess players;
2) Given the above, I'd guess White mistakenly thought it was checkmate and tipped the king over because they thought that's what you do when you lose (e.g. House Rules/Movies);
3) There is only one legal move for White, so a draw is forced);
4) After Black misses the win, a draw is the fairest result;
5) In a formal club tournament, the most likely result would be 1/2 - 1/2.

Certainly the players ought to know the rules, but if you rule in Black's favour you are rewarding Black for missing the winning move and penalising White merely for not knowing the rules intimately. I assume one of the goals of the tournament is to promote chess, and you hurt that goal by gifting Black the win.

Scott Stringer said...

White resigned before playing the drawing move. Black wins.

Anonymous said...

I believe this is a draw. Law 5.2.2 applies - "The game is drawn when a position has arisen in which neither player can checkmate the opponent’s king with any series of legal moves. ... This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the position was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7." Black's only legal move is 2...Kxb8. Thus White "resigned" a game that was already finished so it has no effect.

Anonymous said...

What about the reversed situation? What do the laws of chess say?
i.e. Black moves and offers white a draw. White accepts the draw. But what if the only move white could make was to deliver checkmate? Should the result be a draw or a win for white?

Anonymous said...

What ruling did you make Shaun?

Shaun Press said...

Firstly, I'm glad to see so many comments.Secondly, it was played between two inexperienced players, and the game had swung back and forth for a while.

I declared the game a draw, for reasons that one poster has already mentioned.
Article 5 in the FIDE Laws of Chess deal with "The Completion of the Game". Under 5.2.2, if neither player can checkmate the opponent with any series of legal moves, then the game is immediately drawn (assuming the final move was legal). This was the situation after Black's second move, as the only legal move for White was 3.Kxb8 which in no way could lead to checkmate being available for either player. Anything that happens after Black's second move is irrelevant (including resignations) as there is no longer a game in progress.

If you are planning to sit the FIDE arbiters exam at some point, be on the lookout for questions like this, as it is a favourite of some lecturers I know.