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  1. #1
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    ‘Mirroring’ in team matches

    There was a discussion in the shout box, but this could easily get lost.

    The issue is: team A is so much stronger than team B that even the bottom board of A is far higher rated than the top player of B, but the lower-rated team tries to even the odds by mirroring the play of the opposing team member of the same colour. It would be an issue even if A2 >> B1, A4 >> B3. That is (for A white on odd boards), B2 waits for A1 to make his first move, then mirrors it, and so on. Meanwhile, B1 waits for A2's first reply as Black. So it really matches A1 and A2 together. The result should be that the total score for those two boards should be 1 each: if A1 wins then so will B2 and vice versa, and if A1 draws then so will B2.

    This has been written about for decades. A long time ago, I read how it could be thwarted by stalling by A1, so B2 would also need to stall. Then A1 would play at the necessary very fast pace, which B2 would have trouble emulating. Once B2 is on his own, his low strength would be augmented by time pressure so he would collapse, while A1 is strong enough to win even while playing blitz.

    There are other examples when the mirrored players are unaware of each other, but these are not usually tournaments but some sort of exhibition or wager.

    Kevin Bonham pointed out:

    Mirroring is a breach of 12.3a "During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard." It is using another game as a source of information.

    Such a rule has been around for a long time, so any arbiter who knew his job should have punished any team mirroring. So it is a clear case of blatantly unsporting behaviour being forbidden by the rules, as it should be.
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 20-10-2019 at 08:42 AM.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Kevin Bonham pointed out:

    Mirroring is a breach of 12.3a "During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard." It is using another game as a source of information.
    Not really sure that that sticks.

    In the case of notes, advice - it is illegal to even look at / hear them, whether otherwise "making use of" them or not. So looking at them constitutes using them.
    However with other games, there is nothing wrong with looking at other games. It is commonplace.
    I don't think you can really argue that it's ok to look at another board if you don't copy the moves, unless you are also going to argue that it's ok to look at your notes if you don't follow them.
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Twin or triplet games in the same round of a tournament

    But what about what Geller talks about when discussing this famous victory, Efim Geller vs Oscar Panno, Interzonal, Göteborg SWE, rd 14, 7 Sep 1955, and the mirrored games from that round, Boris Spassky vs Herman Pilnik and Paul Keres vs Miguel Najdorf. The Argentines were smarting after Keres destroyed Panno in r12 with a novelty against the Najdorf that bound Black hand and foot, and came up with a new ingenious idea. As it happened, the three leading Argentines faced three strong Soviets in r14:

    Several times in my career situations have occurred which are known by the name of ‘twin games’. This was the case when in the 19th USSR Championship two games were played, between Geller–Flohr and Petrosian–Smyslov, which up to a certain point were identical. In one of the rounds of the 1956 USSR-Yugoslavia match the games Geller–Karaklajic and Averbakh–Ivkov coincided, and at the international tournament in Budapest in 1973 the same happened in Geller–Karpov and Hort–Hecht. Finally, the present game had similtaneously two ‘twin brothers’: Keres–Najdorf and Spassky–Pilnik—a unique instance in the history of chess! Subsequently it received the name of the “Argentinian tragedy”. In twin games it is in principle more advantageous to occupy the second position, since it is possible to introduce corrections using the experience of one’s neighbour. Unfortunately, it has never worked out that way: it has always been me who has had to commit himself first. Sometimes this was provoked by an urge to solve the problems of the position myself, sometimes because I learned of the existence of the ‘twins’ later than my colleagues. At times I had to pay for my ‘haste’ (against Flohr and Karaklajic), whereas my neighbours, Petrosian and Averbakh, achieved more. In the present game, on the other hand, priority was rewarded by a quicker win than in the other games. [Geller, The Application of Chess Theory, Tr. Kenneth Neat, Pergamon, pp. 40–42 1984, a great book]

    The young Fischer found the right way to handle it in a crucial last round game against Gligorić at the Portoroz interzonal, 1958.
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 20-10-2019 at 10:30 AM.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  4. #4
    CC Grandmaster ER's Avatar
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    I have read that many past and present top players were and are able to memorise whole games
    as well as modern theoretical lines, variations, novelties up to the 20th plus moves. (*)
    Now in a team event, where opening lines as black and white have been pre-decided amongst players of team A
    how can a mirroring rule can be implemented, in case the opposition players of team B follow their own similar
    theoretical knowledge?
    Mirroring takes two to tango! who do you force to take back a "copied" move and play an original one,
    or who to you punish in case they refuse to do so? The one who executes the move in question or the one who responds to it? (maybe both?)
    (*) I have also read that in some openings we have tabiya lines where the actual game starts well into the middle game.
    There are top players who know them and they can prove their knowledge to any administrator who tries to implement mirroring breaches!
    What happens in cases like these?
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    But what about what Geller talks about when discussing this famous victory, Efim Geller vs Oscar Panno, Interzonal, Göteborg SWE, rd 14, 7 Sep 1955, and the mirrored games from that round, Boris Spassky vs Herman Pilnik and Paul Keres vs Miguel Najdorf. The Argentines were smarting after Keres destroyed Panno in r12 with a novelty against the Najdorf that bound Black hand and foot, and came up with a new ingenious idea. As it happened, the three leading Argentines faced three strong Soviets in r14:

    Several times in my career situations have occurred which are known by the name of ‘twin games’. This was the case when in the 19th USSR Championship two games were played, between Geller–Flohr and Petrosian–Smyslov, which up to a certain point were identical. In one of the rounds of the 1956 USSR-Yugoslavia match the games Geller–Karaklajic and Averbakh–Ivkov coincided, and at the international tournament in Budapest in 1973 the same happened in Geller–Karpov and Hort–Hecht. Finally, the present game had similtaneously two ‘twin brothers’: Keres–Najdorf and Spassky–Pilnik—a unique instance in the history of chess! Subsequently it received the name of the “Argentinian tragedy”. In twin games it is in principle more advantageous to occupy the second position, since it is possible to introduce corrections using the experience of one’s neighbour. Unfortunately, it has never worked out that way: it has always been me who has had to commit himself first. Sometimes this was provoked by an urge to solve the problems of the position myself, sometimes because I learned of the existence of the ‘twins’ later than my colleagues. At times I had to pay for my ‘haste’ (against Flohr and Karaklajic), whereas my neighbours, Petrosian and Averbakh, achieved more. In the present game, on the other hand, priority was rewarded by a quicker win than in the other games. [Geller, The Application of Chess Theory, Tr. Kenneth Neat, Pergamon, pp. 40–42 1984, a great book]

    The young Fischer found the right way to handle it in a crucial last round game against Gligorić at the Portoroz interzonal, 1958.
    I think Team matches are different from other instances where there are 2 games with identical positions arising on the board. ''Motivation'' to collaborate could be different...
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  6. #6
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    Playing the same moves as one's neighbour is hard to prove as collusion or notes without someone basically confessing to it since the whole point of opening theory is to remember other games and lines and attempt to play them in competitive games.
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  7. #7
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by road runner View Post
    Not really sure that that sticks.

    In the case of notes, advice - it is illegal to even look at / hear them, whether otherwise "making use of" them or not. So looking at them constitutes using them.
    However with other games, there is nothing wrong with looking at other games. It is commonplace.
    I don't think you can really argue that it's ok to look at another board if you don't copy the moves, unless you are also going to argue that it's ok to look at your notes if you don't follow them.
    It's not illegal for a player to merely hear unsolicited advice that a player had no opportunity to avoid hearing - the offence is by the advice-giver. The player may break the rules if they "make use of" that advice, but if it's a move that they could have seen and played anyway then that becomes difficult to prove.

    It's true that the rule is generally interpreted - beyond what it literally says - as a total ban on reading chess books or notes and that a player does not have the excuse of "oh I was reading about rook and bishop endgames while there were only knights and pawns on the board" or "yes I was looking for ideas on what to do in my position but the only idea in the book looked bad so I didn't make use of it". Whereas a player looking at another game is not generally assumed to be looking for ideas to copy. However looking for ideas to copy when watching other games is rare and players have many legitimate reasons for watching how other games are going (especially in team tournaments.)
    Last edited by Kevin Bonham; 20-10-2019 at 11:24 AM.

  8. #8
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ER View Post
    Mirroring takes two to tango! who do you force to take back a "copied" move and play an original one,
    or who to you punish in case they refuse to do so? The one who executes the move in question or the one who responds to it? (maybe both?)
    (*) I have also read that in some openings we have tabiya lines where the actual game starts well into the middle game.
    There are top players who know them and they can prove their knowledge to any administrator who tries to implement mirroring breaches!
    What happens in cases like these?
    In the team example the mirroring consists of both players from one team persistently copying what the other team have done. This will be obvious to an arbiter watching many moves of it, because the mirroring team will be never playing any original moves ahead of their opponents, and always playing moves the other team has made after the other team has made them, typically soon after. There will probably also be body language giveaways, because the cheating team won't be properly focused on analysing their own games and will be much more concerned with keeping an eye on whatever board they are waiting on. An arbiter who becomes suspicious could always just take the same action as in the Isle of Man tournament (isolate the two boards) without penalising anyone specific.

    The situation with individual tournaments like Isle of Man is very different. It is extremely difficult to prove one player is deliberately copying another game unless you see one player who is obviously lagging repeatedly observing the other board and copying it, and because of topical lines and so on it's indeed very possible you could get the same position to move 20+ on two adjacent boards without any intentional copying - even when out of the book the players could well pick the same ideas for many moves. In this case Yu Yangyi, who was the lagging player in the sequence, was aware of it and trying not to look at the other game according to the Chessbase account. As the Chessbase report notes " There was no suspicion of cheating or deliberate disruption, but it seemed like the right thing to do given the circumstances."

  9. #9
    CC Grandmaster Desmond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    It's not illegal for a player to merely hear unsolicited advice that a player had no opportunity to avoid hearing - the offence is by the advice-giver. The player may break the rules if they "make use of" that advice, but if it's a move that they could have seen and played anyway then that becomes difficult to prove.
    Yes particularly if the advice was not wanted, it is hard to "unhear" it. I had a situation once where I made a move, and stood up to walk around. Someone told me, "I thought you were going to play [xyz tactic]". It turned out that xyz was still possible the next move. Then you have to decide if you should not play it on the basis that you hadn't seen it, but then again maybe you would have the second time around.

    It's true that the rule is generally interpreted - beyond what it literally says - as a total ban on reading chess books or notes and that a player does not have the excuse of "oh I was reading about rook and bishop endgames while there were only knights and pawns on the board" or "yes I was looking for ideas on what to do in my position but the only idea in the book looked bad so I didn't make use of it". Whereas a player looking at another game is not generally assumed to be looking for ideas to copy. However looking for ideas to copy when watching other games is rare and players have many legitimate reasons for watching how other games are going (especially in team tournaments.)
    To be honest I'm not sure how rare it is for low level players to look at similar positions of top boards and to try to incorporate their ideas. i reckon not all that rare.
    So what's your excuse? To run like the devil's chasing you.

    See you in another life, brotha.

  10. #10
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    Relying on arguments that something is unsporting or disreputable is always going to be a bit fuzzy; nobody was punished, or even made to replay a game, for underarm bowling or hiding the opponent's Queen in a blitz finish. In any case it can only be applied after the fact. During the games the arbiter can't direct a player to move at a particular point in time, or not play a particular legal move.

    While the situation with the Grand Swiss is different, the remedy is the same, namely the arbiter moving one game to a different room. Although traditionally players are allowed to observe other games they don't have the right to demand such access.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster ER's Avatar
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    Thank you all for the additional info/clarification/suggestions. I am only asking questions to learn about situations like the thread's topic.
    If I pose any practical examples such as tabiyas, and/or in depth lengthy analysis of certain openings, that's based on things I have read or heard about!
    In other words bloody time to go and do one of these arbiter seminars. I will manage to do so one day!
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  12. #12
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ER View Post
    Thank you all for the additional info/clarification/suggestions. I am only asking questions to learn about situations like the thread's topic.
    If I pose any practical examples such as tabiyas, and/or in depth lengthy analysis of certain openings, that's based on things I have read or heard about!
    In other words bloody time to go and do one of these arbiter seminars. I will manage to do so one day!
    I'm not sure this situation would actually even be covered in an arbiter seminar. I wasn't able to find any discussion of any precedents in which action was taken. I did see some discussion on the English Chess Forum about whether or not this rule could be applied against a player who attempted to play two rated games at the same time (the conclusion being: not really and that should be prevented by other means.)

  13. #13
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    How to prevent it

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham View Post
    I'm not sure this situation would actually even be covered in an arbiter seminar. I wasn't able to find any discussion of any precedents in which action was taken. I did see some discussion on the English Chess Forum about whether or not this rule could be applied against a player who attempted to play two rated games at the same time (the conclusion being: not really and that should be prevented by other means.)
    As arbiter, once discovering that, I would pause the games and move the affected boards as far as possible to the opposite corners of the playing venue.

  14. #14
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    And in case of Shirov.Karjakin - rather obvious that they were not a ''team''
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    CC Grandmaster Adamski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    But what about what Geller talks about when discussing this famous victory, Efim Geller vs Oscar Panno, Interzonal, Göteborg SWE, rd 14, 7 Sep 1955, and the mirrored games from that round, Boris Spassky vs Herman Pilnik and Paul Keres vs Miguel Najdorf. The Argentines were smarting after Keres destroyed Panno in r12 with a novelty against the Najdorf that bound Black hand and foot, and came up with a new ingenious idea. As it happened, the three leading Argentines faced three strong Soviets in r14:... Finally, the present game had similtaneously two ‘twin brothers’: Keres–Najdorf and Spassky–Pilnik—a unique instance in the history of chess! Subsequently it received the name of the “Argentinian tragedy”. In twin games it is in principle more advantageous to occupy the second position, since it is possible to introduce corrections using the experience of one’s neighbour. Unfortunately, it has never worked out that way: it has always been me who has had to commit himself first. Sometimes this was provoked by an urge to solve the problems of the position myself, sometimes because I learned of the existence of the ‘twins’ later than my colleagues. At times I had to pay for my ‘haste’ (against Flohr and Karaklajic), whereas my neighbours, Petrosian and Averbakh, achieved more. In the present game, on the other hand, priority was rewarded by a quicker win than in the other games. [Geller, The Application of Chess Theory, Tr. Kenneth Neat, Pergamon, pp. 40–42 1984, a great book]
    I own this Geller book and agree it is a great book. A games collection of 100 games organised by openings and all games played and thoroughly annotated by Geller. Interesting that he played several Sicilian games with Fischer with wins and losses. See games 95-99.
    Last edited by Adamski; 22-10-2019 at 11:06 PM.
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