Thursday 16 March 2017

A plea for neat handwriting

Over the weekend I was the Chief Arbiter for the 2017 ACT Chess Championships. Apart from seeing that the tournament was played fairly and in the right spirit (it was btw), I did have a couple of other duties. I decided to run a canteen at the tournament, and so a lot of my time was spent making coffee and toasted cheese and ham sandwiches. But when I wasn't doing that, I was entering games.
As the tournament only had 30 players, and there were 4 DGT boards in operation, it wasn't that hard a task. If I could, I also got at least 1 player to read the moves out, which makes game entry so much faster. And it all went well until the final round.
I don't know whether the players were tired, or I was, but there was a distinct drop in quality in the final round. I can remember as a child constantly being criticised for the neatness of my handwriting, but clearly things have not improved since then. And before you assume I'm just targeting the younger players, players older than myself had equally bad handwriting. Weirdly, there seemed to be games where queens moved from d1 to b2, and this was confirmed by both scoresheets! At various points one player would miss a move (and white moves would end up in the black column), but no worries, a few moves later they would miss a second move. I'm pretty sure almost every final round game had some sort of issue, so if you do look at the game file, don't assume that what looks like a blunder really happened (although in at least one case it did).
Nonetheless, I am not blameless in this regard. At Gibraltar I twice wrote the wrong result on my own scoresheet, annoyingly in games that I had actually won. It took an eagle eyed neighbour to spot this, otherwise I may well have been subject to the same complaints I am making now.

No comments: