Friday, November 21, 2008


There are some rules in which when you say it matters as much as what.

Touch-move: A claim that your opponent touched one piece but moved another must be made before you make another move (10J). In fact, it must be made “before deliberately touching a pieces” (i.e., touching a piece with the evident intention of moving it). Claiming after the game that your opponent violated the touch-move rule is a waste of time. The most you’re going to get, even if the TD believes you, is a warning to your opponent on the order of “You didn’t do anything wrong and I’ll be watching to make sure you don’t do it again.” Which won’t do you much good.

Winning on time: A surprising number of players do not understand this, perhaps because of the cancer growth of sudden death. In order to claim a win on time in a non-sudden death time control, a player must have a “reasonably complete” scoresheet, defined as one that has “no more than three missing or incomplete move pairs,” at the time the flag is called (13C7). Moves filled in after the flag fall do not count (13C3). It’s worth noting that you can’t get around this by waiting to call the flag until after you’ve filled in your scoresheet, since the opponent may “call his own flag” by pointing out to a TD (or spectator) that his flag is down and your scoresheet is incomplete.

Possibly a clearer way to explain the “reasonably complete” rule is this: the TD must be able to play through the game – without you standing there telling him what you scribble means – and reach a position that’s within three moves of what’s on the board, without any illegible or impossible moves earlier in the game.

The "FIDE time forfeit procedure" is another matter. If this is announced, a TD will watch all games in time pressure, count the moves, and forfeit a player who exceeds the time limit. This is used in many round-robin events, but USCF rules require that if it is used for any games, it must be used for all games without exception. For obvious reasons, very few people try to use it in large Swisses.

Draw? The “correct” way to offer a draw is to make your move, offer the draw, and press your clock. What happens if you don’t do it that way?

1) If you offer a draw while your opponent is thinking, he may accept the draw, decline the draw, make a move (which amounts to declining), or complain to the TD that you are distracting him. This is just bad manners.

2) If you offer a draw before making your move, your opponent may a) accept, b) decline, or c) ask to see your move before deciding. The offer cannot be withdrawn, period (14B3). Making an offer this way is unlikely to annoy the opponent, but it’s, well, dumb. If only because he could also say nothing and wait for you to either make a move or lose on time.

No comments: