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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Incorrectly agreeing you've been mated is not the same as resigning

    Gijssen wrong again (in my view) in his latest column:

    Question Hi, Geurt. I recently played in a Quickplay tournament where the most bizarre situation occurred. I was a bishop and a pawn up in a won position with ten seconds left, when my opponent declared checkmate by Re1+ as his flag fell. It was indeed check and believing that my opponent had swindled me and delivered checkmate, I shook my opponent’s hand. As I only had ten seconds left, I had calculated that my king had no escape square and that it must indeed be checkmate.

    However, I had overlooked that I could retreat my bishop to block the check, which my opponent genuinely missed too. By this time my flag had fallen as well; however, as it was a digital clock, it was clear my opponent's flag had fallen first.

    A spectator then indicated to the arbiter that I could have played Bf1 to block the check; however, the arbiter took the view that because I shook my opponent's hand, and he had played Re1+ before his flag fell and declared checkmate, my opponent was awarded the win. I assume that my opponent made contact with e1 before his flag fell in order for the arbiter to make the decision that he did.

    What is your view on this situation? I find it most intriguing that my opponent had a lost position, his flag had fallen first, and yet he wins the game. I must add that my opponent thought it was checkmate and in no way was he trying to trick me (we both just missed Bf1 in time trouble). Would I be correct in assuming that my opponent was only awarded the win because he said "Checkmate!" and he would have lost if he hadn’t? Many thanks in advance, Garry Forbes (United Kingdom)
    Gijssen's response begins:

    Answer One thing is very clear: you resigned before you were aware that your opponent had overstepped the time limit.
    ... and his whole answer from there on is wrong (IMO) because this is not clear in the least bit. The player, falsely believing he has been checkmated, is congratulating his opponent on what he believes to have been a legitimate win by that method.

    If he believes he has been checkmated then he cannot possibly be resigning because checkmate immediately ends the game and thus precludes the possibility of resignation.

    I would declare this game (bearing in mind it is a rapidplay) drawn. There was no mate and both flags fell before there was any time claim. The order of the flagfalls is irrelevant. The incorrect agreement of both players that there was a mate is irrelevant.

    A case could even be made for declaring it a loss by the player who falsely declared checkmate on the grounds that this distracted the opponent in a situation in which the opponent may have otherwise noticed it wasn't mate.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 19-11-2009 at 11:07 PM.

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    A case could even be made for declaring it a loss by the player who falsely declared checkmate on the grounds that this distracted the opponent in a situation in which the opponent may have otherwise noticed it wasn't mate.
    When I was reading the situation and Gijssen's response, this is the direction I was thinking, but instead of declaring the same lost, the non-offending player would receive some time compensation for the distraction and the game continues.

    In my opinion, it is on the balance of probabilities that the player 'resigned' because the opponent claimed 'checkmate' and so was distracted from the other factors involved.

    This type of action would certainly not 'reward' the player who falsely claimed checkmate.

  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Garvinator
    When I was reading the situation and Gijssen's response, this is the direction I was thinking, but instead of declaring the same lost, the non-offending player would receive some time compensation for the distraction and the game continues.
    That's an option too and perhaps a better one than either of mine. At this point the non-offending player, having been alerted to the fact that he is not mated by the penalty applied to his opponent for distraction via an incorrect mate claim, will presumably notice that his opponent's flag is down and claim a win on time.

    This sort of situation (A claims mate, B initially agrees it's mate, both of them are wrong) comes up regularly in interschools that I referee. If you tell the players that if they agree it's mate then that's it, then the more overbearing children will intimidate more timid opponents with spurious checkmate claims which the latter may then accept.

    So what I normally apply in interschools is:

    * Players are told if in any doubt to have mate claims checked. I explicitly tell them not to assume it is mate just because the opponent says it is.
    * If it is found that a game was wrongly agreed to be mate then the game continues unless either the clock or the board has been reset making continuing the game impossible.
    * Players are told that if they reset board or clock without checking the mate and the mate turns out to have been false, then the mate may stand or the game may be called a draw, depending on who was to blame for the resetting.

  4. #4
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    Ive never claimed mate. I just make my move and hit the clock and wait for my opponent to offer his hand.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    That's an option too and perhaps a better one than either of mine. At this point the non-offending player, having been alerted to the fact that he is not mated by the penalty applied to his opponent for distraction via an incorrect mate claim, will presumably notice that his opponent's flag is down and claim a win on time.

    This sort of situation (A claims mate, B initially agrees it's mate, both of them are wrong) comes up regularly in interschools that I referee. If you tell the players that if they agree it's mate then that's it, then the more overbearing children will intimidate more timid opponents with spurious checkmate claims which the latter may then accept.

    So what I normally apply in interschools is:

    * Players are told if in any doubt to have mate claims checked. I explicitly tell them not to assume it is mate just because the opponent says it is.
    * If it is found that a game was wrongly agreed to be mate then the game continues unless either the clock or the board has been reset making continuing the game impossible.
    * Players are told that if they reset board or clock without checking the mate and the mate turns out to have been false, then the mate may stand or the game may be called a draw, depending on who was to blame for the resetting.

  5. #5
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Out our club the view is usually taken that by shaking the opponent's hand, you are agreeing to concede the game. I don't necessarily agree with this but the view is taken that at that point the result is final and subsequent claims of illegal moves, loss on time and unseen defenses to mating threats are moot.

    This can probably be interpreted as a local variation on 8.7

    At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

    Since we generally do not sign score sheets the handshake is taken as the crossing of the Rubicon, even at "normal" time controls. However, there are a number of problems.

    Firstly, the handshake often takes place before the result has been written on the score sheet so the two players may genuinely disagree about the result of the game.

    Secondly gamesmanship is given a greater opportunity since a so-minded player may make a checking move, claim mate and stick out his hand hoping to embarrass his opponent into a ill-considered "agreement."

    Finally, there is no physical evidence that a handshake takes place. A signature on a score sheet is at least a permanent record that the player agreed to the game (although it's not perfect since tampering can obviously occur after signing).

    Anyway, so getting back to the case from post #1 perhaps there local rule of a handshake somehow fixing the result in the same way as the signing of the score sheet from Law 8.7 is more widespread than just my local.

    In rapidplay of course there are no score sheets involved so then perhaps the shaking of hands might taken as the equivalent role of fixing the result in concrete (the first two problems I mention earlier notwithstanding) but you still need some point of no return from which point the result is final. I can't see a justification from the rules that says shaking hands should be that point, it is may be an understanding which is out there.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    Obviously the player has not resigned, assuming his account of the circumstances to be accurate (and why would you resign a game which you thought was already over)?

    By a "Quickplay" tournament I presume the questioner means a Rapidplay tournament as described in the Laws. I can see a case that a handshake is a gesture of concession equivalent to signing the scoresheet in a recorded game, so if a player had merely decided he was checkmated and made such a gesture the ruling may be reasonable.

    However that outcome was procured illegally, by announcing a checkmate that wasn't. Gijssen appears to consider this to be OK because Black distracted and misled his opponent by using a chess term. If instead Black had pointed to the door, said "Look!" and White's flag had fallen while he was looking would that have also been acceptable? I don't think so, even if Black genuinely thought he had seen Elvis enter the room.

    I think the correct procedure would either be for the game to be restarted with extra time given to White, or Black to be defaulted. The complication with the first is that White has had the opportunity during the delay to see Bf1, though it can be argued that that's Black's own fault. Alternatively a false claim of a checkmate could be treated the same as a false claim of a draw.

    Certainly Gijssen's ruling seems to give the green light for the disreputable to rescue poor positions with bogus checkmate claims.

  7. #7
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    As a footnote it's amusing to consider that one of Gijssen's amusing recent decalarations was that a checkmate doesn't end the game if you don't call it. Perhaps these two cases can all be codified in one hit by changing Law 1.2 to read "The objective of each player is to claim to have checkmated the opponent's King."

  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronD
    Ive never claimed mate. I just make my move and hit the clock and wait for my opponent to offer his hand.
    I usually just play the mate and if the opponent doesn't immediately see it is mate I stop the clocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Out our club the view is usually taken that by shaking the opponent's hand, you are agreeing to concede the game. I don't necessarily agree with this but the view is taken that at that point the result is final and subsequent claims of illegal moves, loss on time and unseen defenses to mating threats are moot.
    There have been a number of handshake incidents I can remember that were messy.

    One player had a pet gamesmanship attempt in which, in a lost position, he would hold out his hand without saying anything, then as the opponent shook it, say "Draw?" and try to claim that the draw agreement was binding. I know he tried this at least twice without success in either instance. If it had been tried in an event I refereed I would have referred it for disciplinary action.

    Former Tasmanian champion the late Bob Atkinson was twice involved in incidents (over a decade apart) in which an opponent, believing Atkinson had forced mate while himself precariously short of time, held out their hand to resign without saying anything, and a handshake occurred and then it was realised that the mate was not forced after all. I witnessed one of these and it was a very messy incident with lots of spectator interference and extensive argument before the arbiters dealt with it. The Laws booklet available at the time had an explicit FIDE ruling that a handshake alone did not indicate resignation and there was no other indication; both games ended up being ruled or agreed drawn.

  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    As a footnote it's amusing to consider that one of Gijssen's amusing recent decalarations was that a checkmate doesn't end the game if you don't call it. Perhaps these two cases can all be codified in one hit by changing Law 1.2 to read "The objective of each player is to claim to have checkmated the opponent's King."
    Hurt Haysen makes so many bizarre interpretations these days that he should certainly not be the final word on the Laws.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
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  10. #10
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rincewind
    Out our club the view is usually taken that by shaking the opponent's hand, you are agreeing to concede the game. I don't necessarily agree with this but the view is taken that at that point the result is final and subsequent claims of illegal moves, loss on time and unseen defenses to mating threats are moot.

    This can probably be interpreted as a local variation on 8.7

    At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

    Since we generally do not sign score sheets the handshake is taken as the crossing of the Rubicon, even at "normal" time controls. However, there are a number of problems.

    Firstly, the handshake often takes place before the result has been written on the score sheet so the two players may genuinely disagree about the result of the game.

    Secondly gamesmanship is given a greater opportunity since a so-minded player may make a checking move, claim mate and stick out his hand hoping to embarrass his opponent into a ill-considered "agreement."

    Finally, there is no physical evidence that a handshake takes place. A signature on a score sheet is at least a permanent record that the player agreed to the game (although it's not perfect since tampering can obviously occur after signing).

    Anyway, so getting back to the case from post #1 perhaps there local rule of a handshake somehow fixing the result in the same way as the signing of the score sheet from Law 8.7 is more widespread than just my local.

    In rapidplay of course there are no score sheets involved so then perhaps the shaking of hands might taken as the equivalent role of fixing the result in concrete (the first two problems I mention earlier notwithstanding) but you still need some point of no return from which point the result is final. I can't see a justification from the rules that says shaking hands should be that point, it is may be an understanding which is out there.
    It is well established that merely shaking hands is not a declaration of resignation. This has its origin in a FIDE interpretation of 1971 in the days when official FIDE interpretations were given.

    DJ
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  11. #11
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    I had quite an embarressing moment where I played a move that destroyed my opponents position. I pushed the clock and he made a large movement with his hand which I assumed was him offering his hand so I extended my hand a swell...turned out he was just capturing a pawn on my side of the board and not resigning at all. I looked like a right arrogant bastard.
    And still, no one has satisfactorily proven, that it isn't opposite day.

  12. #12
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    Ive had a game once where I was up a queen in an easily7 winning pawn endgame, my opponent offered his hand, i shook, then he went to the arbiter demanding a draw.

  13. #13
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CameronD
    Ive had a game once where I was up a queen in an easily7 winning pawn endgame, my opponent offered his hand, i shook, then he went to the arbiter demanding a draw.
    This sort of rubbish (I mentioned that I know someone who tried this trick too) should be stamped out with serious penalties IMO. Repeat offenders should be expelled from tournaments.

  14. #14
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    This sort of rubbish (I mentioned that I know someone who tried this trick too) should be stamped out with serious penalties IMO. Repeat offenders should be expelled from tournaments.
    This is the danger with accepting a handshake as evidence of anything. It isn't always a bit of tricky behaviour. We had an incident at Canberra CC a few years ago involving two of the most respected players in the club where they shook hands, one believing the other had resigned and the other believing a draw had been agreed.

    DJ
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

  15. #15
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Naturally someone wrote in:

    But it is not clear to me that Mr. Forbes resigned. He shook his opponent's hand, but is that the same as resigning? He had no intention to resign – he believed that he had been mated and that the game was already over. And his opponent believed the same thing, and did not believe that he was accepting Mr. Forbes's resignation. The two of them believed that the handshake was taking place after the game, and neither one of them thought that Mr. Forbes was resigning a game in progress. How then does this handshake become a resignation?

    If a handshake near the end of a game must be taken as a resignation, why must we say that Mr. Forbes was the one who was resigning? Wouldn't it be equally true to say that his opponent was resigning because his flag had fallen? Of course we know that it wasn't the opponent's intention to resign, but it wasn't Mr. Forbes' intention either.

    Why wouldn't it be more correct to say that the handshake had no effect, and that Mr. Forbes' opponent simply lost the game on time? Sincerely, Peter Kimball (USA)
    Response:

    Answer From Mr. Forbes's letter the following paragraph is essential to understand that he really resigned:

    "It was indeed check and believing that my opponent had swindled me and delivered checkmate, I shook my opponent's hand. As I only had ten seconds left, I had calculated that my king had no escape square and that it must indeed be checkmate."

    It is even possible that Mr. Forbes said something to congratulate his opponent. To me this case is clear, but I understand your remarks. Shaking hands is not considered a resignation of the game. I mentioned before that the way a player resigns is not clearly written in the Laws of Chess. An arbiter and the players are absolutely sure that a player resigns when there is written evidence.
    (etc)

    Lame!

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