Tuesday 19 October 2021

Rules shouldn't always be rules

 As someone who helps write the Laws of Chess, I am always surprised when people ignore common sense interpretations. Two recent cases attracted my notice, both involving draws.

In the first, a player who had K+Q resigned against a player with a lone King. Ignoring the possible reasons for this, the question was what should the score of the game be. Under the strict reading of the Laws of Chess, the point should go to the player with the King. Under the 'analogous situations involving a loss on time' approach, it should be a draw, although the arbiter may wish to adjust the score (downwards) for the player with K+Q.

In the second case, an online event had a 'no draw offer' before move 40, complicated by the fact that the server still allowed players to agree to draws before move 40. As a result, breaking that rule resulted in a loss, as opposed to just being told to keep playing in OTB chess. In one game a player tried to claim a draw by repetition, contacting the arbiter, but the arbiter was slow in responding, and the game continued. When the arbiter noticed the message, he then forfeited the player, on the grounds that a repetition claim still counted as a draw offer!

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