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  1. #1
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Puzzles: FIDE imposes weird checkmates

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    Hint: White can checkmate Black instead!

    If you think like I do that these examples reveals that there is something wrong in the Laws of Chess that allows gamesmanship and silly games, then please contact your nearest congress man or local chess Politician - this can't be right!

    Unfortunately although FIDE accepts these games as legal games with illegal moves, the PGN recorder does not (nor do I) so here are the ending positions for your convenience:

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    FEN Viewer


    Comments, please?
    Last edited by Jesper Norgaard; 20-07-2009 at 11:21 AM.

  2. #2
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    Last position is not legal.
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  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    Last position is not legal.
    I think that's exactly the point. White has delivered checkmate by a legal move in an illegal position and therefore wins the game.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I think that's exactly the point. White has delivered checkmate by a legal move in an illegal position and therefore wins the game.
    But the final position is illegal, e.g. it cannot be archived by any sequence of legal moves. It cannot be counted as a checkmate.

    The first position (with with white king on h5) is legal.
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  5. #5
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    But the final position is illegal, e.g. it cannot be archived by any sequence of legal moves. It cannot be counted as a checkmate.

    The first position (with with white king on h5) is legal.
    I don't believe the laws state that for a checkmate to be legal it has to be achievable by a sequence of legal moves. The only requirement in this regard is that the move producing the checkmate (i.e. the last move) was legal. The second last move may have been illegal, in this example it probably was illegal as black probably left his king in check.

    I've heard the idea of an "illegal position" by other people too. However unless the rules are changed, it is not supported by the laws.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    But the final position is illegal, e.g. it cannot be archived by any sequence of legal moves.
    Indeed, but again, that seems to be the point. Checkmate with a legal move is checkmate under the FIDE Laws even if the position in which it occurs could not have been reached with any series of legal moves. Therefore, if an opponent plays an illegal move that allows you to mate them in one, and you really want to win the game above all else, you should play Qxf7# right away before they have time to save themselves by noticing that their move was illegal.

    I would not play Qxf7# myself in that position. I think it is unsporting to knowingly take advantage of an opposing illegal move in this manner in a normal or rapid game.

  7. #7
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    I just check FIDE laws of chess.

    "The objective of each player is to place the opponent’s king ‘under attack’ in such a way that the opponent has no legal move. The player who achieves this goal is said to have ‘checkmated’ the opponent’s king and to have won the game."

    "The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the checkmate position was a legal move."

    There is no explicit definition of "position".

    Which means:

    It can be argued (to death) that position means placement of pieces on board that be achieved by the series of legal moves (or not).
    Then it can argued (also to death) whether move that leads to an illegal position can be legal.
    It could also be argued (again to death) whether "checkmate position" must be a legal position.

    All in all it means:
    1. An arbiter will have to make a decision (in case of dispute) using whatever interpretation (s)he thinks is correct. Not a good idea.
    2. Proper wording has to be made by FIDE.
    3. Obviously conflicting rules (checkmate ends the game and irregularity clause) have to be reconciled one way or another.

    Questions:

    1. Suppose white made an illegal move, black responded, white responded, black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
    2. White made an illegal move (leading to a legal position), black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
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  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    It can be argued (to death) that position means placement of pieces on board that be achieved by the series of legal moves (or not).
    Then it can argued (also to death) whether move that leads to an illegal position can be legal.
    A move that creates an illegal position from a legal one can never be legal.

    However, in a position that is already illegal, it is possible to make a legal move while the position remains illegal.

    It could also be argued (again to death) whether "checkmate position" must be a legal position.
    It is clear that this is not required. Indeed FIDE had an opportunity to declare that all moves must be legal for a checkmate to be valid but decided not to do so. This is discussed on Jesper's recent thread in Arbiter's Corner here.

    Questions:

    1. Suppose white made an illegal move, black responded, white responded, black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
    2. White made an illegal move (leading to a legal position), black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
    I want both of these to be treated as checkmates for the reasons I stated on Jesper's thread - verifying the legality of games after a checkmate is a nuisance for the arbiter and it should be the players' responsibility to ensure their game remains legal and to stop it immediately if an illegal move is played.

  9. #9
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    It can be argued (to death) that position means placement of pieces on board that be achieved by the series of legal moves (or not).
    Then it can argued (also to death) whether move that leads to an illegal position can be legal.
    It could also be argued (again to death) whether "checkmate position" must be a legal position.
    I'm sure you could argue to you are blue in the face however as far as I am aware, the position terms just refers to the placement of the pieces and does not imply a legal sequence of moves from the starting "position".

    I note there is a definition of position (at least with respect to rule 9.2) given which goes...

    Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same.

    And I think the general convention is exactly this. The term "position" refers the sum of the location of all the pieces and all possible legal moves of the colour with the move.

    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    All in all it means:
    1. An arbiter will have to make a decision (in case of dispute) using whatever interpretation (s)he thinks is correct. Not a good idea.
    2. Proper wording has to be made by FIDE.
    3. Obviously conflicting rules (checkmate ends the game and irregularity clause) have to be reconciled one way or another.
    I would argue that an arbiter would just need to be conversant with the laws as they stand and the standard interpretation of them. Not all arbiters are of course.

    You can also argue until you are blue in the face about the wording of any set of rules. Adding a clause to define position as the location of the pieces on the board and all possible legal moves for the colour with the move might be nice but as that is already in 9.2 it would seem to be not patently required.

    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    Questions:

    1. Suppose white made an illegal move, black responded, white responded, black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
    2. White made an illegal move (leading to a legal position), black checkmated. How do you want the law of chess to treat the result?
    How you, I or anyone else would like the laws of chess to treat the result is a little beside the point. The current laws are definite. Legal move ending in checkmate is checkmate and thus ends the game. The problem with looking back 2, 3, 4 or any other number of moves and ensuring all legal moves presents arbiting problems and so while I believe Geurt has wanted to change this law there has been considerable resistance to change.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  10. #10
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I want both of these to be treated as checkmates for the reasons I stated on Jesper's thread - verifying the legality of games after a checkmate is a nuisance for the arbiter and it should be the players' responsibility to ensure their game remains legal and to stop it immediately if an illegal move is played.
    The second example is perhaps the best example why I believe this is a serious flaw in the FIDE rule making. If you make an illegal move in a Blitz game, you will (probably) lose the game. Fine, I never liked that rule too much, but at least there are some practical reasons for it. Blitz is Blitz.

    But in Rapid and Normal games if you make an illegal move, the worst that can happen after yourself or your opponent discovers the mistake is that you can be forced back to before the illegal move, and a time penalty. Not a big deal. If your opponent tries to play "double jeopardy" and snatch your Queen while you are still in check, it won't work because you simply claim that you started the whole sequence with an illegal move (leaving King in check) and the arbiter must roll back to that position.

    However, your opponent can not only inflict material damage to your position, he can outright checkmate you, as in the second example if he is smart enough to take advantage of the rules. It is simply maximum penalty for what otherwise is only severed with a slap on the fingers, the illegal move. Is that really good Laws of Chess? I think not.

  11. #11
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igor_Goldenberg
    But the final position is illegal, e.g. it cannot be archived by any sequence of legal moves. It cannot be counted as a checkmate.

    The first position (with with white king on h5) is legal.
    I love how you intuitively suppose without checking any laws that a game of chess should consist of a sequence of legal moves. I feel exactly the same. Although FIDE and Kevin are not ready to be so strict.

  12. #12
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I would not play Qxf7# myself in that position. I think it is unsporting to knowingly take advantage of an opposing illegal move in this manner in a normal or rapid game.
    I wish you would. If such a game became public and debated, I think FIDE would change its mind on these matters. In Denmark a famous lawyer knew all the Danish laws and then some (Glistrup) and told his clients that if they put their trust in him, he would arrange with tax dept. that they would have zero (0) tax, by making so heavy deductions in tax that nothing was left for the Danish government. This circus went on for years, with very happy clients. In the end he probably thought he could outsmart God and went on national TV to proclaim that anyone could get 0 tax if they wanted and signed up with him. The result was an earthshaking political victory in the following election, but also he was finally taken to court by the tax department and given prison time, although the courts also hinted at that the laws were not OK.

    The Danish tax laws were therefore changed to disallow the tax deduction circus. I think we should change the Laws of Chess to disallow unsporting checkmates like these.

  13. #13
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    How you, I or anyone else would like the laws of chess to treat the result is a little beside the point. The current laws are definite. Legal move ending in checkmate is checkmate and thus ends the game. The problem with looking back 2, 3, 4 or any other number of moves and ensuring all legal moves presents arbiting problems and so while I believe Geurt has wanted to change this law there has been considerable resistance to change.
    You say that ensuring that all moves from move 1 were legal moves when checking on a checkmate presents arbiting problems. In my opinion this is only a problem if you want the arbiter to check that for each checkmate. That is an immense job. I suppose that is why there was resistance to make a rule with all moves and start position correct and legal to "end the game immediately by checkmate".

    Instead I would suggest that this checking is not the arbiters responsibility, even though a checkmate is defined as only leading from legal start position and legal moves, but that any of the players can object to the checkmate by pointing out earlier illegalities. As the rules are now, the players can't object to illegal moves because the game already ended by the foul checkmate. The Devil will love this kind of legal loopholes
    Last edited by Jesper Norgaard; 20-07-2009 at 05:09 PM.

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    What if I, in a temporary brain fade, instead of opening with the English 1.c4 e5 2.Nc3, get the move order wrong and play 1.Nc3 e5 2.c4 My opponent does not notice and continues 2...Nf6.

    1. Is this position illegal?
    2. If I get checkmated 50 moves later shall we roll back the whole game if I realise later and want my time over again?
    3. If my opponent gets checkmated 50 moves later shall we roll back the whole game if he realises later and wants his time over again?
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind

    I note there is a definition of position (at least with respect to rule 9.2) given which goes...

    Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same.
    It's not a definition of the position, it's a definition of positions being the same.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    I would argue that an arbiter would just need to be conversant with the laws as they stand and the standard interpretation of them. Not all arbiters are of course.
    I doubt all the arbiters (even with IA title) would accept checkmate in example 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    How you, I or anyone else would like the laws of chess to treat the result is a little beside the point.
    To formulate the law you have to know what you want to achieve.
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