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  1. #1
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    Flag fall vs. both kings are in check

    Rapid game:

    A Player stops the chessclock in order to seek the arbiter’s assistance. He claims both kings are in check but he doesn’t have time remaining on his own clock.

    Draw or flag fall?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontAcceptDraw View Post
    Rapid game:

    A Player stops the chessclock in order to seek the arbiter’s assistance. He claims both kings are in check but he doesn’t have time remaining on his own clock.

    Draw or flag fall?
    Quote Originally Posted by FIDE Laws of Chess
    6.4
    Immediately after a flag falls, the requirements of Article 6.3 a. must be checked.

    6.8
    A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.

    6.9
    Except where one of Articles 5.1.a, 5.1.b, 5.2.a, 5.2.b, 5.2.c applies, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by that player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

    A.4.d
    If the arbiter observes both kings are in check, or a pawn on the rank furthest from its starting position, he shall wait until the next move is completed. Then, if the illegal position is still on the board, he shall declare the game drawn.
    In rapidplay, the arbiter cannot rule on the claim immediately -- he has to wait for the next move to be completed before doing so. So I think the arbiter, having observed the flagfall, must rule on the flagfall.

    In standard, I think that given 6.4, the arbiter must rule on the flagfall, unless the game has ended by some other means. This is irrespective of whether the claim of illegal move/position occurred before or after the flagfall is observed.

    Not sure if 7.1 permits the arbiter to put time back on the flagfalled player's clock. My guess is that it doesn't.
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    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DontAcceptDraw View Post
    Rapid game:

    A Player stops the chessclock in order to seek the arbiter’s assistance. He claims both kings are in check but he doesn’t have time remaining on his own clock.

    Draw or flag fall?
    I would rule flag fall.

    A4.d:

    "If the arbiter observes both kings are in check, or a pawn on the rank furthest from its starting position, he shall wait until the next move is completed. Then, if the illegal position is still on the board, he shall declare the game drawn."

    At the time the arbiter arrives at the board, he only sees both kings are in check and a flag is down. If he waited for another move to be completed, and both kings were still in check after that move, then the game would be drawn by A4.d. But he cannot wait for another move because the claimant's flag has fallen, so 6.9 decides the result of the game (a win for the opponent, unless the opponent cannot win by any possible series of legal moves.)
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 14-11-2016 at 10:24 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    I would rule flag fall.

    A4.d:

    "If the arbiter observes both kings are in check, or a pawn on the rank furthest from its starting position, he shall wait until the next move is completed. Then, if the illegal position is still on the board, he shall declare the game drawn."

    At the time the arbiter arrives at the board, he only sees both kings are in check and a flag is down. If he waited for another move to be completed, and both kings were still in check after that move, then the game would be drawn by A4.d. But he cannot wait for another move because the claimant's flag has fallen, so 6.9 decides the result of the game (a win for the opponent, unless the opponent cannot win by any possible series of legal moves.)
    It is entirely clear to me now thanks to your answers. The arbiter must wait until the next move is completed.
    For that reason, the arbiter is the only one that can “claim” both kings are in check. A player can never claim that both kings are in check
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    What if the player, instead of claiming both Kings are in check, simply claims the opponent made an illegal move? (which he clearly did)
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    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_Hall View Post
    What if the player, instead of claiming both Kings are in check, simply claims the opponent made an illegal move? (which he clearly did)
    Provided that it is the player's move, I would accept the claim of a win (or draw depending on the position) by illegal move. This was much clearer in previous versions of the Laws in which the flag was not considered to have fallen until a player made a valid claim, so whoever claimed first in this situation would win. However it's still the case that a valid claim of illegal move was made before the arbiter observed the flagfall.

    Maybe if it is the player's move and the player stops the clock and says "both kings are in check" the arbiter should interpret this as a claim that the opponent's last move was illegal. I am not sure about this. Some juniors might not even realise that if both kings are in check, the opponent's last move must have been illegal. I think if a player wants to claim something while their flag is down they need to be very precise about what they are claiming.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 15-11-2016 at 08:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    Provided that it is the player's move, I would accept the claim of a win (or draw depending on the position) by illegal move. This was much clearer in previous versions of the Laws in which the flag was not considered to have fallen until a player made a valid claim, so whoever claimed first in this situation would win. However it's still the case that a valid claim of illegal move was made before the arbiter observed the flagfall.

    Maybe if it is the player's move and the player stops the clock and says "both kings are in check" the arbiter should interpret this as a claim that the opponent's last move was illegal. I am not sure about this. Some juniors might not even realise that if both kings are in check, the opponent's last move must have been illegal. I think if a player wants to claim something while their flag is down they need to be very precise about what they are claiming.
    In standard, doesn't the use of "immediately" in 6.4 give precedence to the flagfall, regardless of when it is observed? I read 6.4 as meaning that the flag is considered to have fallen first, which may be a change from previous versions of the rules. The arbiter arrives at the board, hears the claim of illegal move/both kings in check, but then observes that a flag has fallen. Before ruling on the claim of illegal move/both kings in check, he must immediately check the requirements 6.3a. Suppose the player whose flag has fallen has not met these requirements. 6.9 then comes into play: unless the game has ended by checkmate, resignation, stalemate, dead position or agreed draw, the arbiter should rule on the flagfall and declare the game lost or drawn as appropriate.

    One reason why I favour this interpretation is because I don't really like situations where the result of the game depends on the specific words that a player uses in describing the nature of the irregularity. Based on what Craig has said, a player who states that both kings are in check might not think that they would need to point out that the most recent move was illegal, since a reasonable arbiter would be able to deduce this.

    In rapidplay, A.4.c is also relevant. The player actually has to claim the flagfall in the correct manner: it is not enough for the arbiter to observe it. But again I don't think the order of the claims should matter. If the order did matter then there would be a shouting match about who initiated the claim.
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  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hardegen View Post
    In standard, doesn't the use of "immediately" in 6.4 give precedence to the flagfall, regardless of when it is observed? I read 6.4 as meaning that the flag is considered to have fallen first, which may be a change from previous versions of the rules. The arbiter arrives at the board, hears the claim of illegal move/both kings in check, but then observes that a flag has fallen. Before ruling on the claim of illegal move/both kings in check, he must immediately check the requirements 6.3a. Suppose the player whose flag has fallen has not met these requirements. 6.9 then comes into play: unless the game has ended by checkmate, resignation, stalemate, dead position or agreed draw, the arbiter should rule on the flagfall and declare the game lost or drawn as appropriate.
    6.4 is mainly a legacy of the days of analogue clocks in which a flag would fall mid-game, and then the arbiter would have to check whether the players had in fact reached the time control before manually adding time so the game would continue. Also applying it to the end of the game just means that the arbiter has to check whether the requirements have been met or not; it says nothing about the order of precedence between a claim (which was made before the arbiter noticed anything about a flag) and a flagfall.

    In the 2017 Laws this will be made clearer by the addition of "A.4.5 The arbiter can also call a flag fall, if he observes it". However the "must" in the current A4c will become "may". That will mean that if the player claims but forgets to stop the clock, and the arbiter can see the player still has time on their clock, then the claim is still valid.

    One reason why I favour this interpretation is because I don't really like situations where the result of the game depends on the specific words that a player uses in describing the nature of the irregularity. Based on what Craig has said, a player who states that both kings are in check might not think that they would need to point out that the most recent move was illegal, since a reasonable arbiter would be able to deduce this.
    I sympathise with this. On the other hand I think that if a player is being allowed to claim anything with their flag down then they are already very lucky, and as a result it is fair to only allow a claim if they are very clear about what they are claiming. There are other situations where intention to claim something is not enough and the claim has to be made in a very particular manner.

    In rapidplay, A.4.c is also relevant. The player actually has to claim the flagfall in the correct manner: it is not enough for the arbiter to observe it. But again I don't think the order of the claims should matter. If the order did matter then there would be a shouting match about who initiated the claim.
    The 2009 Laws for Rapid contained the words "The flag is considered to have fallen when a player has made a valid claim to that effect. The arbiter shall refrain from signalling a flag fall, but he may do so if both flags have fallen." These words were deliberately removed from the 2014 Laws, and there is now nothing in the Rapid laws that directly contradicts 6.8: "6.8
    A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect."

    What A4c does in the 2014 Laws is place limits on a valid claim of a win by flagfall. In a normal game a player might have their flag fall while they are in the process of claiming a win on time. The arbiter, if able to clearly establish that the opponent's flag fell first, can still uphold the claim. But in Rapid the player can only claim a win on time by a specified method.

    As for competing claims, the standard interpretation is that if the arbiter does not know which claim was made first and both claims are valid then what happened on the board trumps what happened on the clock.

    I wonder how common the situation is that a player claims both kings are in check (but not that their opponent has made an illegal move) after their flag has fallen. I don't think I have ever seen this situation.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 15-11-2016 at 05:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    Arbiters are supposed to call flagfall in Rapid as well if they observe it (according to the FIDE Arbiter's manual).

    An illegal move is completed when the clock is pressed (A4b), whereas flagfall is when it is observed by an Arbiter or claimed by a player, not when the flag actually fell (Art 6.8). For mine, that means that illegal moves occur before flagfall by definition, so I would resolve the illegal move consequences first if both claims were made and declare the game lost or drawn accordingly for Rapid, or resolve the time penalty for Standard.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    I wonder how common the situation is that a player claims both kings are in check (but not that their opponent has made an illegal move) after their flag has fallen. I don't think I have ever seen this situation
    Well here's a case from about 20 years ago. Classical standard tournament game so no increments. Each player has to make about 6 moves in 30 seconds in a wild position.
    Both players were in the top 20 ranked players in Australia.

    White's K is on g2. Black checks him down the long diagonal.

    White instantly plays Kg2-f2 (He could have played Kh2).

    This
    (a) is illegal, since he is now in check down the f-file by a Black rook.
    (b) discovers check by his R on g1 down to the Black king on g8.

    Neither player notices the g-file check.

    Black instantly checks again with his queen. White shuffles his K towards the Q-side. Sensing blood, Black pounds in another check. White moves. Black moves his queen again, announcing checkmate.

    And then Black immediately bangs his clock, probably keen to preserve the evidence that his flag had not fallen before the checkmate.

    White stared at the position for several seconds. His flag fell. Then he noticed the g-file check and said: "But your king is in check."

    Black said: "The game is over so you can't bring up illegal moves now. In fact it's doubly over because your flag has fallen."

    You are now called to the table to give your learned ruling.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by triplecheck View Post
    Well here's a case from about 20 years ago. Classical standard tournament game so no increments. Each player has to make about 6 moves in 30 seconds in a wild position.
    Both players were in the top 20 ranked players in Australia.

    White's K is on g2. Black checks him down the long diagonal.

    White instantly plays Kg2-f2 (He could have played Kh2).

    This
    (a) is illegal, since he is now in check down the f-file by a Black rook.
    (b) discovers check by his R on g1 down to the Black king on g8.

    Neither player notices the g-file check.

    Black instantly checks again with his queen. White shuffles his K towards the Q-side. Sensing blood, Black pounds in another check. White moves. Black moves his queen again, announcing checkmate.

    And then Black immediately bangs his clock, probably keen to preserve the evidence that his flag had not fallen before the checkmate.

    White stared at the position for several seconds. His flag fell. Then he noticed the g-file check and said: "But your king is in check."

    Black said: "The game is over so you can't bring up illegal moves now. In fact it's doubly over because your flag has fallen."

    You are now called to the table to give your learned ruling.
    Nice one!

    Black's claim that the game is over (on the board) is false. Checkmate only ends the game if the move delivering checkmate was legal, which it wasn't, as Black was in check.

    So the game was still going when White's flag fell. The next question is whether Black has won the game on time. I would rule - and I'd just invoke the Preface to the rules straight out here if asked what the basis for it was - that Black has not won the game on time as his final completed move was both illegal and also came with a false claim of checkmate. White shouldn't be considered, as a matter of basic fairness, to have lost on time just because these irregular and incorrect actions distracted him to the point of his remaining seconds running out (indeed his initial response was probably to assume he had indeed been mated.)

    I would wind the game back to the position where White played the illegal Kf2. It would be White to move and he has to move his king. And Black will be watched like a hawk for the rest of the game.

    Under the current Laws I have to add 2 minutes to each clock to penalise both players for illegal move (although there have been multiple illegal moves, the prevailing interpretation is to only apply it once for a chain of illegal moves arising as a single incident.) Under the 1997 Laws at the pre-time-control stage that doesn't seem to have necessarily applied but I might well do it anyway. White can also have a minute for Black's false checkmate claim.
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 30-01-2018 at 11:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post

    I would wind the game back to the position where White played the illegal Kf2. It would be White to move and he has to move his king.
    Essentially the same reasoning and decision applied then by the arbiter (Peter Parr), although I don't recall what was done with the clocks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    And Black will be watched like a hawk for the rest of the game.
    Unwarranted. Black has done nothing unethical and his "checkmate" was played in good faith.

    I don't remember word perfect what they said, so I've just extracted the relevant points made. That makes Black sound a little agressive. If I added the words "isn't that right?" at the end it would better reflect the tone.

    I didn't mention that Black's initial check was with the queen. So if White's Kf2 had not been illegal, then the play would go back to Black's Q-move, when touch move would compel him to make the really spectacular self-destruct ...Qg2+.

    So the thread title is 2 kings in check. This goes one better with a check and a checkmate. If I ever see a position with both kings in checkmate, I'll let you know.

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    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triplecheck View Post
    Unwarranted. Black has done nothing unethical and his "checkmate" was played in good faith.
    I'd be inclined to be cautious with any player who continued to claim checkmate while they were in check even after the fact that they were in check had been pointed out to them. While it could very well be in good faith and is probably just the usual ignorance of the Laws that is so common at even the highest level, I'd want to be sure. Of course, there's no substitute on a thing like this for being there in person and hearing the player's tones of voice, seeing their body language and so on.

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