Saturday 11 April 2015

2015 US Championship - So gets forfeited, internet goes crazy

In the 9th round of the 2015 US Championship GM Wesley So was forfeited to referring to notes during his game. He had been warned about doing this previously in the event, but after doing it for a third time, was defaulted by tournament arbiter Tony Rich.
Based on the reporting of the facts, IA Tony Rich not only handled the situation correctly, but made the correct decision. So himself appears to admit he broke the rules in a statement made after the game, although his argument that he did not know it was against the rules is strange, given he had been warned twice no to do it.
Of course such a big decision produced a big reaction on various chess forums. Hardly surprisingly a lot of the reaction was predicated on forum commentators having absolutely no idea  about the Laws of Chess, although this did not stop them weighing in. A smaller group accepted that So had done something wrong, but argued against the severity of the penalty.
Based on my previous experience on the FIDE Rules Commission such reactions are common. A lot of players make little effort to learn *all* the rules of chess, arguing that is why we have arbiters. Then when an arbiter makes a decision consistent with the Laws of Chess they either complain about the arbiter, or complain they were unaware of the rule. I guess it is human nature to try and have it both ways, but it does make the job of the arbiter difficult.
For now So is down as having lost the game, although apparently he has lodged an appeal. The weird thing is that he is not appealing against the loss, just about whether such a game is to be rated (he does not want to be). More bad news for So in this case. It is the FIDE Qualifications Commission who rules on these cases, not local organisers, so this appeal is pointless (in more ways than one).


Anonymous said...

Perhaps less known, but there was another victim of this rule at about the same time during Aeroflot tournament in Moscow. Pavel S. Dvalishvili was writing moves on the score sheet before making them. He was warned once and later again and the game was given to his opponent (T. Petrosan). The irony is that this was strongly advocated by Botvinnik but made illegal by FIDE in 2005 (I think).

Anonymous said...

Saw this caption, claiming that Kasparov was "taking notes" against Korchnoi (1983). Looks like he was just recording moves.

Garry Kasparov, the young Soviet No. 2 (L), takes notes as his opponent, Russian exile Victor Korchnoi, makes a move during the World Chess Championship semi-final in London on Nov. 25, 1983.