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  1. #1
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    Stalemate for the Arbiter!

    Today during the MCC Allegro, we had to face the following dispute:

    A game played at one of the lower boards ended with opponents shaking hands. Both players said nothing. One was thinking that his king got stalemated so its a draw. His opponent was thinking that Black was resigning as he was queen down. Then both rush to enter the result....Only then the dispute gets started.

    Part 2.
    The arbiter is called to sort things out. The arbiter asks the players to set up the final position to see if there was stalemate or not. The players can not agree on the final position one says it was stalemate, other players says that the position set up is not correct.

    Question: What was the correct course of action for the arbiter to take?
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  2. #2
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    Use the 'Daylight Savings' clause to wind time back an hour and see the final position.
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  3. #3
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    To get a result, it sounds like substantial investigation will be required using all available sources/witnesses and interviewing the players (this is a good reason to use results slips, as the players have to actually write the result down and sign it).

    It sounds like there is some agreement that in the final position, one player had a substantial material advantage and there was fairly reduced material for at least one player (because stalemates rarely happen with both players having a lot of material on the board), but to work out if a stalemate actually happened, asking the players to reconstruct the last few moves might help. If the stalemate claim can be backed up with a few moves to show how it was reached, that lends credence to that claim.

    Or, since it's an allegro event, presumably with minimal time between rounds to work out these things, the two players appear to have agreed a draw since they stopped the game and shook hands without confirming something else as the result of the game, and someone has learnt a valuable lesson about confirming results before setting up boards.
    Last edited by Craig_Hall; 02-04-2018 at 09:59 AM. Reason: corrected grammatical error
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_Hall View Post
    To get a result, it sounds like substantial investigation will be required using all available sources/witnesses and interviewing the players (this is a good reason to use results slips, as the players have to actually write the result down and sign it).

    It sounds like there is some agreement that in the final position, one player had a substantial material advantage and there was fairly reduced material for at least one player (because stalemates rarely happen with both players having a lot of material on the board), but to work out if a stalemate actually happened, asking the players to reconstruct the last few moves might help. If the stalemate claim can be backed up with a few moves to show how it was reached, that lends credence to that claim.

    Or, since it's an allegro event, presumably with minimal time between rounds to work out these things, the two players appear to have agreed a draw since they stopped the game and shaken hands without confirming something else as the result of the game, and someone has learnt a valuable lesson about confirming results before setting up boards.
    the investigation was carried out...but resulted in no outcome...as there were no witnesses and players had difficulty reconstructing the moves. Re the result decided ...I believe it was finally judged as a win by one of the sides.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    the investigation was carried out...but resulted in no outcome...as there were no witnesses and players had difficulty reconstructing the moves. Re the result decided ...I believe it was finally judged as a win by one of the sides.
    Without proof of a stalemate, and agreement that someone was up a queen, that's certainly a reasonable option.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig_Hall View Post
    Without proof of a stalemate, and agreement that someone was up a queen, that's certainly a reasonable option.
    If there was time, replaying the game might also have been a good solution. But if a decision needs to be made quickly, then awarding the game to the player with the extra queen is the most logical solution.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick Byrom View Post
    If there was time, replaying the game might also have been a good solution. But if a decision needs to be made quickly, then awarding the game to the player with the extra queen is the most logical solution.
    I've never heard of game in dispute being replayed. I think in this particular instance, given that there was no proof of stalemate and white was a lot of material up (a queen i think) the arbiter was correct to make a reasonable assumption that White thought black was resigning
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  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    What skill level were the players? At anything above, say, 1000 level, a stalemate on the board even at guillotine time controls in a lopsided endgame is pretty rare. At weak junior level it is much more common, but it is also not that unusual for the weaker player to think it is stalemate when it wasn't.

    I agree with the above comments - if there is no evidence of stalemate beyond one player's say-so then best to assume it was a win. Typically a stalemate in such a position will provoke a reaction that is obvious to others in the room.

  9. #9
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    The Laws of Chess assume an arbiter has some information to which they can be applied, which isn't the case here. Given that it's not an important game, as evidenced by there being no arbiters or spectators, and that information is so sparse then it may be reasonable to apply an intuitive solution, for instance if Black was an inexperienced player he might fail to recognise that he had a legal move so his claim is less plausible.

    However on a more legalistic basis and if it mattered I'd be uncomfortable about awarding a whole point to a player who hasn't won under any framework and whose likelihood of winning is speculative, if reasonable, since it relies on the position not being stalemate and then adjudicating it purely by material count. I'd probably like to grill the players a bit more, for instance asking White what legal move Black had and asking Black why he didn't, which might jog someone's memory as to what the position really was (we assume neither player is lying).

    Failing that I can see several options.

    * Replay the game (maybe at a quicker time limit).

    * Cancel the game and give each player half a point (in effect two half-point byes).

    * If Black was right it's a draw by stalemate. If White was right it's play on, and the players made a series of illegal moves in clearing the board, leaving an empty board which is also a draw.

    * Black has conceded a half-point in asserting that it's stalemate, so give White a half-point and split the other half-point, so 0.75-0.25.

    In principle a claim that the game has ended (by claiming stalemate, or checkmate, or flag fall) should fail if it can't be substantiated, so we might rely on that principle. However it could be argued that in this case the availability of playing on is a bit of an illusion since the alternative solution also ends the game.

    Probably the best solution is to write it off as it's already happened, without acknowledging it as a precedent, then implement an alternative reporting mechanism in future.

  10. #10
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    * Black has conceded a half-point in asserting that it's stalemate, so give White a half-point and split the other half-point, so 0.75-0.25.
    According to Article 10.2 this is not permitted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Article 10.2
    The total score of any game can never exceed the maximum score normally given for that game. Scores given to an individual player must be those normally associated with the game, for example a score of ¾ - ¼ is not allowed.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Gletsos View Post
    According to Article 10.2 this is not permitted.
    That's true. I was just listing the candidate moves.

  12. #12
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    Re players: one of them is around 1500 - other one around 1000.
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  13. #13
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Incidentally a reason for the nature of the wording of 10.2 is that there was a major controversy about a case in a (non-FIDE-rated) British junior championships where there was a dispute about an alleged illegal move and the decision was taken to try to keep both sides happy by scoring the game as 1-1/2.

    Posting a link to the background to that so I can find it more easily if I need to: http://www.watfordchessclub.org/inde...article?id=118

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    Re players: one of them is around 1500 - other one around 1000.
    Which one claimed he was stalemated? Its relevant.

    Also, usually someone in an allegro who is stalemated in a position would say "stalemate". Because he didn't I would award it as a win for the other player.

    I think the decision in the British junior was silly.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FM_Bill View Post
    Which one claimed he was stalemated? Its relevant.

    Also, usually someone in an allegro who is stalemated in a position would say "stalemate". Because he didn't I would award it as a win for the other player.

    I think the decision in the British junior was silly.
    During the game - no none claimed anything
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