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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    James made this comment on the other forum:

    I wasn't the only opponent of his (while I was there) who was clearly affected by his antics; Bobby found it extremely difficult to even move when attempting to convert his advantage in time trouble, because Leonid was making moves before Bobby had even completed his.
    Something worth bringing up here to those who follow the rules technically is the made/completed distinction.

    A move is made when the hand is released on any pieces being moved or brought onto the board, and any pieces being captured (or given up in promotion) have been removed from the board - this all provided that the move is legal. It is illegal to start moving before the opponent's move is made even if there is only one legal move they can make.

    A move is completed when the clock is pressed following the making of a move, whether the move was legal or not (the only exception is that a legal move that ends the game does not need a clock press to be "completed"). It is legal to start moving after the opponent has made their move but before they have pressed their clock - with the proviso that they must still be allowed to press.

    Thus if "completed" in James' quote means the same thing as in the Laws there is no problem. If it means the same thing as "made" in the laws (and he's correct) there is a problem. But again, players need to learn to stop the clocks and get the arbiter!
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 04-12-2011 at 10:31 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    It is legal to start moving after the opponent has made their move but before they have pressed their clock - with the proviso that they must still be allowed to press.
    Does this mean, a player playing in such a manner, would not be able to claim an illegal move by their opponent, because an illegal move must be claimed after the opponent presses the clock but before the player touches a piece?

    .

  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian CCC
    Does this mean, a player playing in such a manner, would not be able to claim an illegal move by their opponent, because an illegal move must be claimed after the opponent presses the clock but before the player touches a piece?
    Good question - I'm not sure on part of this but on my reading:

    For normal games, or rapid with adequate supervision (1 arbiter/3 boards) or blitz with adequate supervision (1 arbiter/board) the arbiter imposes the illegal move penalty without requiring a claim so the answer is that it is irrelevant.

    For inadequately-supervised blitz and rapid the claimant can claim before they have made their move (A4c and B3c), which is different to before they have touched a piece, and overrides 4.7 (which only allows claims under Article 4 before a piece has been touched).

    It sounds to me like the following is possible - A plays an illegal move, removes hand, does not press clock. B picks up piece to make move in reply but doesn't release hand. At this point if A presses the clock, B can claim illegal move. But A can still retract the illegal move and play a different move, provided this is done before pressing the clock. In that case B isn't covered by touchmove because it was not in fact B's move at the point of picking up the piece.

    So if A doesn't do anything, B has the option of waiting to see if A presses the clock (allowing a win to be claimed) or just making a move in reply, taking hand off, "pressing" the clock and hoping A now responds by moving. But if B does the latter, A would have the option of claiming that the initial illegal move actually wasn't completed yet (since the clock had not been pressed) and therefore retracting it, forcing B to retract the reply. Or A could press the clock without moving, thus completing the illegal move B can no longer claim for, and now B has nothing to do except press the clock back or else lose on time.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 05-12-2011 at 12:19 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Good question - I'm not sure on part of this but on my reading:

    For normal games, or rapid with adequate supervision (1 arbiter/3 boards) or blitz with adequate supervision (1 arbiter/board) the arbiter imposes the illegal move penalty without requiring a claim so the answer is that it is irrelevant.

    For inadequately-supervised blitz and rapid the claimant can claim before they have made their move (A4c and B3c), which is different to before they have touched a piece, and overrides 4.7 (which only allows claims under Article 4 before a piece has been touched).

    It sounds to me like the following is possible - A plays an illegal move, removes hand, does not press clock. B picks up piece to make move in reply but doesn't release hand. At this point if A presses the clock, B can claim illegal move. But A can still retract the illegal move and play a different move, provided this is done before pressing the clock. In that case B isn't covered by touchmove because it was not in fact B's move at the point of picking up the piece.

    So if A doesn't do anything, B has the option of waiting to see if A presses the clock (allowing a win to be claimed) or just making a move in reply, taking hand off, "pressing" the clock and hoping A now responds by moving. But if B does the latter, A would have the option of claiming that the initial illegal move actually wasn't completed yet (since the clock had not been pressed) and therefore retracting it, forcing B to retract the reply. Or A could press the clock without moving, thus completing the illegal move B can no longer claim for, and now B has nothing to do except press the clock back or else lose on time.
    Kevin, thanks for 'clarifying the situation'.


    Probably not relevant to this particular thread, but:

    I was wondering why the rules, when using clocks, didn't require a player to wait until their opponent pressed the clock before commencing their move. I suppose the problem would then be similar to the bowler running out the batsman who is backing up in cricket. Player A could motion toward the clock, as if to press it, but not do so. Player B grabs a piece in anticipation of the clock press. Player A claims Player B is breaking the rules.

    .
    Last edited by Ian CCC; 05-12-2011 at 08:04 AM.

  5. #5
    CC International Master Jesper Norgaard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    It sounds to me like the following is possible - A plays an illegal move, removes hand, does not press clock. B picks up piece to make move in reply but doesn't release hand. At this point if A presses the clock, B can claim illegal move. But A can still retract the illegal move and play a different move, provided this is done before pressing the clock. In that case B isn't covered by touchmove because it was not in fact B's move at the point of picking up the piece.
    Agreed. But your next paragraph is getting fuzzy, both what you mean, and what is the correct interpretation of the laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    So if A doesn't do anything, B has the option of waiting to see if A presses the clock (allowing a win to be claimed) ...
    Agree, and B perhaps might discover that A's move is illegal, but doesn't want to retract his own half-made move because it would give a clue to A that his move was illegal. A funny contradiction is that while he is holding on to his piece without releasing it, he must claim the illegal move by stopping the clock (with the other hand?) so as to not release the piece, but if he does so with the other hand he is violating the rule that the clock and the pieces must be handled by the same hand. Ouch. I suppose he could return the piece to it's original square and release it there, and then stop the clock and call the arbiter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    ... or just making a move in reply, taking hand off, "pressing" the clock and hoping A now responds by moving.
    I assume you mean B. If he releases his move, he can no longer claim the illegal move of A, so that would not be beneficial. Since A's clock is running, B can't press the clock. B would be hoping A just presses the clock. How can A now respond by moving, when he already made an illegal move - do you mean retracting the illegal move and making another move?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    But if B does the latter, A would have the option of claiming that the initial illegal move actually wasn't completed yet (since the clock had not been pressed) and therefore retracting it, forcing B to retract the reply.
    Since A has not pressed the clock, he can always retract his illegal move, as you say, and will force B to retract the reply (unless legal and satisfactory even against A's new move, when he can just press the clock back).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Or A could press the clock without moving, thus completing the illegal move B can no longer claim for, and now B has nothing to do except press the clock back or else lose on time.
    Although B is entitled to start a move when A has released a legal move, he was in fact not entitled to move because A's move was illegal. Therefore B's move has not been "made" and B is still entitled to claim the illegal move of A. If B releases a piece after A presses the clock, he invalidates his right to claim the illegal move. If he releases a piece in A's time then the move is still not "made" by B because A's move was not made (legally). Therefore B can claim A's illegal move.

    I admit the arbiter must have a very quick eye, and be watching to determine this (contrary to the probability that he would not be watching since there is insufficient supervision). In practical terms our hair-splitting has probably little relevance because it will come down to players testimony and what the arbiter believes.
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  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesper Norgaard
    I assume you mean B. If he releases his move, he can no longer claim the illegal move of A, so that would not be beneficial.
    It may be that B had a move he considered to be very strong in response to the illegal move. For instance, the illegal move might also be a blunder, so in that case does B choose to respond and try to "cement" the blunder, or does B choose to wait and see if A presses the clock? In the latter case, A might lose by illegal move, but might instead realise the move was illegal and replace it with a move that is both legal and better.

    If the illegal move was strong (apart from being illegal) then of course B should just wait.

    Since A's clock is running, B can't press the clock.
    That is why I put "pressing" in quote marks - to indicate that what B is actually doing is touching the button on the clock in a way that will look like B is pressing it.

    How can A now respond by moving, when he already made an illegal move - do you mean retracting the illegal move and making another move?
    B has responded to A's illegal move by moving and appearing to press the clock. A can now make a legal move and press, and the game will continue with A's previous (illegal) move forever unrepaired. (Perhaps then B should press back and A should press again, since each has made one less move than they have successfully pressed for.)

    Although B is entitled to start a move when A has released a legal move, he was in fact not entitled to move because A's move was illegal. Therefore B's move has not been "made" and B is still entitled to claim the illegal move of A. If B releases a piece after A presses the clock, he invalidates his right to claim the illegal move. If he releases a piece in A's time then the move is still not "made" by B because A's move was not made (legally). Therefore B can claim A's illegal move.
    Good point, I agree, I was incorrect on this one in my post. So it seems then that there are even cases where a player who makes a move on their opponent's time can still claim illegal move after not just touching a piece but releasing their hand - at least on a very literal reading. I wonder if this is intended or a loophole. Given the usual FIDE Laws drafting issues I suspect the latter.

    In practical terms our hair-splitting has probably little relevance because it will come down to players testimony and what the arbiter believes.
    Agreed. But sometimes a miracle occurs and both players do tell the same story.

    (NB: if this discussion goes on for more than a few posts I'll split the thread and move some to Arbiters Corner as usual)
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 05-12-2011 at 08:53 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Although B is entitled to start a move when A has released a legal move, he was in fact not entitled to move because A's move was illegal. Therefore B's move has not been "made" and B is still entitled to claim the illegal move of A.
    So, let's give a scenario and see what happens:

    1. Player A has the move. Player A shifts a piece illegally, say a bishop, but doesn't press the clock, then
    2. Player B picks up a piece, say a rook, with the intention of moving.

    Isn't Player B breaking the laws. Because, as you have both agreed, Player A has not “made a move” and therefore Player B “does not have the move”. Shouldn't Player B's action in picking up his rook be regarded as distracting behaviour as Player A is still in the process of making a move.

    3. Now, quickly, Player A shifts the bishop to a square checking Player B's king, making a legal move. Player B still has his rook in his hand.

    Isn't Player B required now to make a move with the rook, if it is legal to do so?
    Last edited by Ian CCC; 05-12-2011 at 10:42 PM.

  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian CCC
    Isn't Player B breaking the laws. Because, as you have both agreed, Player A has not “made a move” and therefore Player B “does not have the move”. Shouldn't Player B's action in picking up his rook be regarded as distracting behaviour as Player A is still in the process of making a move.
    Player A should consider himself lucky to be "distracted" from a chain of events that most likely would have ended with the pressing of the clock and a loss by illegal move. I think there is an argument that technically B isn't entitled to touch a piece before A has rectified the illegal move, but in practice B might not even have noticed A's move was illegal (especially in blitz) so there seems little sense in trying to punish B for it.

    Isn't Player B required now to make a move with the rook, if it is legal to do so?
    I wouldn't enforce touchmove because B did not "have the move" when the piece was touched to pick it up, and furthermore touched the piece with an intention that related to a different position. At the point where it became the case that B "has the move", B is already holding that piece, and the Laws say nothing about that situation.

    Enforcing touchmove allows a player who has made an illegal move (but not pressed the clock) the ability to take advantage of the opponent's choice of touched piece in deciding which legal move to play instead. Perhaps that serves B right for touching before the clock was pressed, but since that is standard blitz behaviour I don't think B should suffer for it in that way.
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  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster ER's Avatar
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    Hold on mate, I think there are some posts by Keong missing from here!

    [mod response: no, Keong's two posts on the main thread were directly relevant to the main discussion - KB]
    Last edited by ER; 06-12-2011 at 05:56 AM.
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  10. #10
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    Thanks, Kevin, for providing eminently sensible answers to my questions.

    You have totally undermined the "illegal move gambit" as a strategy in blitz.

  11. #11
    CC Candidate Master flushfyre's Avatar
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    I was not able to follow all of the above scenarios. But to clarify, does this mean that in both a blitz game and a standard game, the second player may start to move his piece as soon as the first player releases the piece? Is it possible that the second player might even finish moving his piece too, so that before player 1 has even pressed his clock once, it's player 1's turn to move on the board again?

    If so, this is very odd and surprising to me.

  12. #12
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flushfyre
    I was not able to follow all of the above scenarios. But to clarify, does this mean that in both a blitz game and a standard game, the second player may start to move his piece as soon as the first player releases the piece? Is it possible that the second player might even finish moving his piece too, so that before player 1 has even pressed his clock once, it's player 1's turn to move on the board again?

    If so, this is very odd and surprising to me.
    Isn't this what happens when a player forgets to press the clock and one of the reasons the "move count" on digital clocks can't be relied on to reconstruct a position or establish a number of moves condition required as a part of a time control.
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  13. #13
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    The following sequence is perfectly legal in classical, rapid and blitz.
    Player A releases the piece. Player A has not yet pressed his clock.
    Now at the point that player A released his piece, it is entirely legal for Player B to touch one of his own pieces and start to move it.
    Player B can in fact release his own piece prior to Player A still having touched the clock.
    Now the critical point is even if Player B press's his clock prior to Player A having yet pressed his clock, Player A is entitled under Article 6.8 to always be allowed to press his clock. Therefore if Player B presses his clock before Player A has, Player A can still stop his own clock and start player B's and Player B would then have to restart Player A's.
    Note it is entirely illegal for Player B to not allow Player A to press his clock in the above sequence.

    This whole thing comes down to FIDE's use of the words "completed", "move has been made", touched a piece", etc in various areas of the rules.

    Thus the sequence of a move is:
    1) A player touches a piece. Lets keep this simple and assume he touches one of his own pieces. A piece is considered touched when a player deliberately touches a piece with the intention of moving it.
    2) The player then moves his piece to a square and releases the piece. The move is now considered to "have been made". Unless the move is illegal, the player can no longer retract or change his move.
    3) If the move in 2) immediately ended the game as described under any section of Articles 5.1 or 5.2 then stopping the clock is irrelevant.
    4) If the move did not end the game then the move is then considered to be complete when the player stops his clock. Note in Blitz it is not until this has occurred that a player can claim a win via illegal move.

    Now the issue of when an opponent is able to reply to a players move is covered by the last sentence of Article 1.1 which states: "A player is said to 'have the move', when his opponent's move has been made.

    Note the FIDE Rules commission deliberately changed Article 1.1 in the 2001 Laws to say "has been made". In the preceding rules (FIDE 1997) the wording was "has been completed".
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  14. #14
    CC Candidate Master flushfyre's Avatar
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    Now the issue of when an opponent is able to reply to a players move is covered by the last sentence of Article 1.1 which states: "A player is said to 'have the move', when his opponent's move has been made.
    Does this mean that Player A and Player B could both legally play out the whole game without having pressed the clock at all? And if so, what is the situation with clock-presses when both players have played, say, 40 moves? Can they just have a clock-pressing duel until all 40 clock presses have been used up?
    I assume if checkmate appears on the board, the game is ended regardless of the clock situation?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by flushfyre
    Does this mean that Player A and Player B could both legally play out the whole game without having pressed the clock at all? And if so, what is the situation with clock-presses when both players have played, say, 40 moves?
    Good questions! From my point of view, current rules do not create any trouble only in case Fischer time is not used and scoresheets are correctly and completely filled in. But consider the following scenario: 90' x 40 moves + 30"; 38 moves correctly completed (by pressing the clock) and a sequence of 3 forced moves to be played until reaching a complex position for white. Furthermore, white spent almost all the time, black didn't. Probably black will not press the clock during the forced sequence, and will press it only at the end of the sequence! If rules allow this behaviour (and it seems to me that it is allowed) I think we have a problem here, because white will not allowed to obtain more than half an hour for evaluating the complex position!

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