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  1. #1
    CC Candidate Master Lighty's Avatar
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    Playing in a tournament when arbitering

    It was brought up in a committee meeting that an arbiter is (possibly) not able to play in a tournament where he is an arbiter. I remember reading something relating to this on this forum, but for the life of me I can't find where it is now. Could someone please enlighten me on this?

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    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighty View Post
    It was brought up in a committee meeting that an arbiter is (possibly) not able to play in a tournament where he is an arbiter. I remember reading something relating to this on this forum, but for the life of me I can't find where it is now. Could someone please enlighten me on this?
    An arbiter in a tournament cannot play in the same tournament.

    The regulation that mentions this specifically is:
    FIDE Title Regulations article 1.17
    "No arbiter may play in a title tournament even just as a filler."

    I think it was minuted by the Arbiters Commission that it is totally irregular for an arbiter to also play in the same tournament.
    If this occurred, all player norms, arbiter norms etc. are invalid.

    The Arbiters Manual would mention it somewhere and multiple instructions on what arbiters need to do leave no doubt that is is impossible for an arbiter to play in the same tournament.

    An arbiter cannot have absolute objectivity during activity as an arbiter when he/she is also a player in the tournament. Decisions as an arbiter would affect the arbiter's own outcome (eg. pairings or standings) as a player.

  3. #3
    CC Candidate Master Lighty's Avatar
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    That mentions a title tournament, sure. What about regular tournaments? "No arbiter may play in a title tournament even just as a filler." does seem to suggest no, but is there anything specific?

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    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighty View Post
    That mentions a title tournament, sure. What about regular tournaments? "No arbiter may play in a title tournament even just as a filler." does seem to suggest no, but is there anything specific?
    The more important the event, the more it should be avoided. As Keong has pointed out, in norm events, an arbiter playing in the event will invalidate norms for all. But if you are talking about club events ie no norms, just a standard club event, it is still best avoided, but not always possible.

  5. #5
    CC International Master Kerry Stead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    An arbiter cannot have absolute objectivity during activity as an arbiter when he/she is also a player in the tournament. Decisions as an arbiter would affect the arbiter's own outcome (eg. pairings or standings) as a player.
    Really? With the vast majority of tournaments run with computer pairing programs, how is your objectivity compromised if you are a player in an event when doing pairings? You press the pairings button & the pairings are done ...

    There's nothing in the rules about arbiters playing because in 'regular' events it is allowed. Yes, in 'serious' events it is most definitely not allowed, such as any events where norms are possible for players. Such an event can also not be used for an arbiter norm by anyone.

    The main consideration here is that you set up alternate arbiters & an appeals committee before the tournament starts, so that the objectivity problem can be overcome - ie: if there is a dispute about your own game, you get someone else to make a ruling about it.
    It could also complicate issues with postponed games or byes, but again as long as you have procedures set up before the event, you should be fine.

    I was a player/arbiter recently at MCC in the Bob Brooking Round Robins, although as 6-player round robins, there was perhaps less to do arbiter-wise than for a Swiss event. The thing I did make sure I did was to have an alternative arbiter for the division I was playing in, so that any disputes could be resolved without a conflict of interest. Having said that, the total number of disputes during the event was 0, so no problem. The main issue was sorting out when to play games for players who could not make the regular playing session.

    Also bear in mind the 'Stojic factor' ... I know Dusan wasn't an arbiter/player, but as an organiser/player at the Australian Championships he had a shocker ... and in the event I played in I scored a fantastic 0.5/5 ... so consider yourself warned!

  6. #6
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    I have been a playing arbiter in most events I have arbited, but they are just ACF-rated non-FIDE-rated tournaments. I try to avoid doing it in our major state title events. When we have a playing arbiter we always have two reserve arbiters, one in case the arbiter is in an incident and the other in case the arbiter is in an incident against the reserve arbiter. In a small chess scene we just can't afford having non-playing arbiters because the prize pool needs every player it can get.
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  7. #7
    CC International Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighty View Post
    That mentions a title tournament, sure. What about regular tournaments? "No arbiter may play in a title tournament even just as a filler." does seem to suggest no, but is there anything specific?
    FIDE Rated events must follow the FIDE Rating Regulations. No mention of arbiters not being able to play in the event.

    Events where players may be seeking FIDE titles or FIDE title norms must also follow the FIDE Title Regulations. These require that the arbiter does not play in the event.

    I would suggest that the main issues with an arbiter playing in an event are what happens if there is a dispute at another board while the arbiter is playing and what happens if there is a dispute in the arbiter's own game. As long as you have reasonable contingencies (such as an appeals committee, alternate/assistant arbiters and/or general agreement that the arbiter's clock is stopped while disputes are dealt with) there should not be a problem with an arbiter playing in a local club event. However, in any events with significant prize-money, significant prestige or just a large number of participants then, to avoid problems, I would suggest that the arbiter not play in the event.
    Last edited by Ian CCC; 02-02-2014 at 07:25 AM.

  8. #8
    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Stead View Post
    Really? With the vast majority of tournaments run with computer pairing programs, how is your objectivity compromised if you are a player in an event when doing pairings? You press the pairings button & the pairings are done ...

    There's nothing in the rules about arbiters playing because in 'regular' events it is allowed. Yes, in 'serious' events it is most definitely not allowed, such as any events where norms are possible for players. Such an event can also not be used for an arbiter norm by anyone.
    I was making a reference to making decisions (involving disputes) where an arbiter's absolute objectivity is compromised. Such decisions tend to affect the outcome of a game, and this means the results are now affected. Computer pairings are based on results. An arbiter decision will somehow indirectly affect all players in a tournament.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Stead View Post
    The main consideration here is that you set up alternate arbiters & an appeals committee before the tournament starts, so that the objectivity problem can be overcome - ie: if there is a dispute about your own game, you get someone else to make a ruling about it.
    It could also complicate issues with postponed games or byes, but again as long as you have procedures set up before the event, you should be fine.
    In most cases when it is not the Chief Arbiter this is not a problem, however, it is a problem if it is the CA's own game. The other arbiter is in no position to rule on the CA's game.

    Postponed games are another issue, but all players are required to play at the scheduled time for each round (even in a round robin) or default. It is a common misconception that players in a round robin can play at a convenient time. They actually need to play at the scheduled time that all other players in a particular round play in. Not a different day or different time since eg. a game played on a different time/day would be played under different conditions to the other games.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Stead View Post
    I was a player/arbiter recently at MCC in the Bob Brooking Round Robins, although as 6-player round robins, there was perhaps less to do arbiter-wise than for a Swiss event. The thing I did make sure I did was to have an alternative arbiter for the division I was playing in, so that any disputes could be resolved without a conflict of interest. Having said that, the total number of disputes during the event was 0, so no problem. The main issue was sorting out when to play games for players who could not make the regular playing session.
    Any dispute, even without a conflict of interest issue, is a problem. Thankfully, we're in a low dispute region of the world.

    Also need to reiterate that with a small chess community, such "arbiter cannot play" issues are a problem. Imagine a club with just 12 players. Enforcing this effectively makes it a club of 10 players plus 1 bye. That's why nationally rated (non FIDE rated) events usually have an arbiter who is also a player.

    Generally, if a tournament is FIDE rated, don't let any arbiter play in it. There may not be player norms available, but the NAs also lose their FA norms.

  9. #9
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lighty View Post
    That mentions a title tournament, sure. What about regular tournaments? "No arbiter may play in a title tournament even just as a filler." does seem to suggest no, but is there anything specific?
    The regulation Keong quoted only applies to FIDE Title tournaments (norm events).
    No such restriction exists in the FIDE rating regulations.
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  10. #10
    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian CCC View Post
    FIDE Rated events must follow the FIDE Rating Regulations. No mention of arbiters not being able to play in the event.

    Events where players may be seeking FIDE titles or FIDE title norms must also follow the FIDE Title Regulations. These require that the arbiter does not play in the event.

    I would suggest that the main issues with an arbiter playing in an event are what happens if there is a dispute at another board while the arbiter is playing and what happens if there is a dispute in the arbiter's own game. As long as you have reasonable contingencies (such as an appeals committee, alternate/assistant arbiters and/or general agreement that the arbiter's clock is stopped while disputes are dealt with) there should not be a problem with an arbiter playing in a local club event. However, in any events with significant prize-money, significant prestige or just a large number of participants then, to avoid problems, I would suggest that the arbiter not play in the event.
    The "arbiter cannot play" rule had been explained to me as an interpretation of the Laws of Chess article13.2 and 13.3.
    The Arbiters Manual 2013 interprets article13.2 as "the arbiter must be present and control the games".
    The arbiter is obviously present when playing, but surely not controlling the games and incapable of implementing article13.3.
    The Arbiters Manual also has a section on "The role of the Arbiters and their duties". Looking at that, it is quite impossible for an arbiter to also be a player in the tournament.

    There is also the problem of people getting confused as to the capacity an arbiter is acting in if also a player. For example, is the arbiter observing a game as an arbiter or player? Is the arbiter whose game has concluded now a spectator (see article12.5)?
    The Laws do not cover situations where people are multi-tasking!! Not very practical in this part of the world where everyone is doing double duty.

  11. #11
    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gletsos View Post
    The regulation Keong quoted only applies to FIDE Title tournaments (norm events).
    No such restriction exists in the FIDE rating regulations.
    Yes, FIDE rating is still possible if an arbiter is also a player.
    Thankfully too! Otherwise we would have lots of problems in NZL.
    Hard enough to get people to become arbiters, let alone ask them to give up their playing careers.

  12. #12
    CC International Master Kerry Stead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    In most cases when it is not the Chief Arbiter this is not a problem, however, it is a problem if it is the CA's own game. The other arbiter is in no position to rule on the CA's game..
    Why is the other arbiter somehow conflicted about making a decision in the chief arbiter's game?? I can only imagine this being the case if the deputy arbiter is not confident in their knowledge of the rules or something like that ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Postponed games are another issue, but all players are required to play at the scheduled time for each round (even in a round robin) or default. It is a common misconception that players in a round robin can play at a convenient time. They actually need to play at the scheduled time that all other players in a particular round play in. Not a different day or different time since eg. a game played on a different time/day would be played under different conditions to the other games..
    This is all well & good for professional level tournaments, but when talking about club events, not everyone has the same priorities - things come up in people's lives, circumstances are not always perfect ... and in this case we're talking about something in a club-level event with non-professional players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Any dispute, even without a conflict of interest issue, is a problem. Thankfully, we're in a low dispute region of the world..
    Why is this a negative thing? Isn't that the job of the arbiter - to solve problems, or better still find ways to avoid problems happening in the first place ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Also need to reiterate that with a small chess community, such "arbiter cannot play" issues are a problem. Imagine a club with just 12 players. Enforcing this effectively makes it a club of 10 players plus 1 bye. That's why nationally rated (non FIDE rated) events usually have an arbiter who is also a player.
    Generally, if a tournament is FIDE rated, don't let any arbiter play in it. There may not be player norms available, but the NAs also lose their FA norms.
    Again, I don't see why it is such a problem ...
    FIDE Ratings now go down to 1000, so clearly FIDE are targeting their rules at more than just the chess professionals ... so maybe its not always about norms (for players, arbiters or officials) & maybe its just about getting people to play chess ... if that means someone has to take on multiple roles, then so be it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    The "arbiter cannot play" rule had been explained to me as an interpretation of the Laws of Chess article13.2 and 13.3.
    The Arbiters Manual 2013 interprets article13.2 as "the arbiter must be present and control the games".
    The arbiter is obviously present when playing, but surely not controlling the games and incapable of implementing article13.3.
    The Arbiters Manual also has a section on "The role of the Arbiters and their duties". Looking at that, it is quite impossible for an arbiter to also be a player in the tournament.

    There is also the problem of people getting confused as to the capacity an arbiter is acting in if also a player. For example, is the arbiter observing a game as an arbiter or player? Is the arbiter whose game has concluded now a spectator (see article12.5)?
    The Laws do not cover situations where people are multi-tasking!! Not very practical in this part of the world where everyone is doing double duty.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Yes, FIDE rating is still possible if an arbiter is also a player.
    Thankfully too! Otherwise we would have lots of problems in NZL.
    Hard enough to get people to become arbiters, let alone ask them to give up their playing careers.
    Sorry Keong, you've lost me. Are you saying that any event in which the arbiter is a player is breaking the FIDE Laws of Chess, but that an event where the arbiter is a player can still be FIDE rated? How does that work?

  14. #14
    CC FIDE Master Keong Ang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian CCC View Post
    Sorry Keong, you've lost me. Are you saying that any event in which the arbiter is a player is breaking the FIDE Laws of Chess, but that an event where the arbiter is a player can still be FIDE rated? How does that work?
    Apologies for being contradictory.

    FIDE rules and regulations, with the exception of Title regulations, do not specifically mention that arbiters are not allowed to play in tournaments.
    Whole problem is that the Arbiters Commission is of the view that arbiters in tournaments are definately prohibited from being players (at a minimum doing so is considered highly irregular). I can't find the specific minutes from quite a while back, but this was the decision. The reasoning behind this view is basically as said previously. At least this was how it was explained to me when protesting about practical implications in NZL.

    The legality of FIDE enforcement is questionable, but there have been instances where arbiters were stripped of their license for being players as well. As usual with how things work in practise, it all depends on whether you got caught. I don't know if an exception report was eventually created to identify all tournaments where the FIDE IDs of the arbiters matched that any of the players.

    FIDE rated tournaments that are not player norm level tournaments can still be affected. A player becomes FM when FIDE rating hits 2300. Such a tournament is now in trouble because Title regulations are now applicable. If there was an arbiter who also was a player, that tournament may be invalid and a FM title is denied. Admittedly a rare instance in this part of the world.

    In NZL, to be on the safe side, arbiters in FIDE rated tournaments are prohibited from being players in the same tournaments.
    I assume it is obvious to everyone why this causes practical problems. The solution is don't FIDE rate a tournament if it is so difficult.

  15. #15
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Apologies for being contradictory.

    FIDE rules and regulations, with the exception of Title regulations, do not specifically mention that arbiters are not allowed to play in tournaments.
    Correct.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    Whole problem is that the Arbiters Commission is of the view that arbiters in tournaments are definately prohibited from being players (at a minimum doing so is considered highly irregular). I can't find the specific minutes from quite a while back, but this was the decision. The reasoning behind this view is basically as said previously. At least this was how it was explained to me when protesting about practical implications in NZL.
    However the FIDE Arbiters Commission is not in charge of the FIDE Laws of Chess or the FIDE Tournament Regulations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    The legality of FIDE enforcement is questionable, but there have been instances where arbiters were stripped of their license for being players as well.
    Can you please cite an actual case where this happened and the event was not a FIDE Title tournament.
    There is no mention in the Arbiter Commission meeting minutes from recent FIDE Congresses of any arbiter being stripped of their licence for being a player in the tournament.
    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    As usual with how things work in practise, it all depends on whether you got caught. I don't know if an exception report was eventually created to identify all tournaments where the FIDE IDs of the arbiters matched that any of the players.
    For non title tournaments no restriction is mentioned in the FIDE rating regulations,.
    In fact no such restriction is mentioned in the whole of section B.06 Regulations for the Titles of Arbiters of the FIDE Handbook.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    FIDE rated tournaments that are not player norm level tournaments can still be affected. A player becomes FM when FIDE rating hits 2300. Such a tournament is now in trouble because Title regulations are now applicable. If there was an arbiter who also was a player, that tournament may be invalid and a FM title is denied. Admittedly a rare instance in this part of the world.
    What a load of rubbish.
    Just because a player obtains a rating of 2300 in a FIDE rated tournament that does not make it a FIDE title event.

    Quote Originally Posted by Keong Ang View Post
    In NZL, to be on the safe side, arbiters in FIDE rated tournaments are prohibited from being players in the same tournaments.
    I assume it is obvious to everyone why this causes practical problems. The solution is don't FIDE rate a tournament if it is so difficult.
    If FIDE want arbiters of FIDE rated events not to be players in the same event then FIDE should explicitly specify it in the FIDE Rating Regulations.

    FIDE don't, so they clearly at this stage their is no problem with an arbiter being a player for FIDE rated non title tournaments.
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