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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Inaudible mutterings

    I had two minor incidents with this issue in the recent Aus Open.

    Several players either offer draws or say "adjust" (or "j'adoube") so inaudibly that any opponent whose hearing isn't perfect (which mine isn't really, although I'm a lot less deaf than quite a few older players) may not hear it at all. Sometimes I get an inaudible mutter which turns out to be a draw offer and have to ask "did you just offer a draw?" for clarification. In one game, my opponent reached out and adjusted one of my pawns. I hadn't heard a thing so I attempted to enforce touchtake but he claimed he had said "adjust" and I'm happy to take his word for it - it just must have been far too quiet for me to hear.

    I understand players wanting to offer draws quietly so as to not disturb other players etc but it is really a total joke when the opponent cannot hear the offer let alone the surrounding players or potential witnesses. Any suggestions for arbiting solutions to prevent this problem?

    Disclosure: I myself once offered a draw so quietly that my opponent failed to hear it (I later won that game), but I had an excuse - I was so sick with some nasty flu that I could not raise my voice above a whisper.
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  2. #2
    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I had two minor incidents with this issue in the recent Aus Open.

    Several players either offer draws or say "adjust" (or "j'adoube") so inaudibly that any opponent whose hearing isn't perfect (which mine isn't really, although I'm a lot less deaf than quite a few older players) may not hear it at all. Sometimes I get an inaudible mutter which turns out to be a draw offer and have to ask "did you just offer a draw?" for clarification. In one game, my opponent reached out and adjusted one of my pawns. I hadn't heard a thing so I attempted to enforce touchtake but he claimed he had said "adjust" and I'm happy to take his word for it - it just must have been far too quiet for me to hear.

    I understand players wanting to offer draws quietly so as to not disturb other players etc but it is really a total joke when the opponent cannot hear the offer let alone the surrounding players or potential witnesses. Any suggestions for arbiting solutions to prevent this problem?

    Disclosure: I myself once offered a draw so quietly that my opponent failed to hear it (I later won that game), but I had an excuse - I was so sick with some nasty flu that I could not raise my voice above a whisper.
    Time to get the ears tested perhaps? Maybe a little wax in the ears? People loose hearing at certain frequencies - I saw a drummer who had a specific loss at 6000Hz, we presumed the frequency of his symbols which were close to his ear. In all sincerity, kids have much more acute hearing and may genuinely believe their comments were audible. Ladies have better hearing at higher frequencies.
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  3. #3
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    If I was a player I would check for eye contact. Normally when people communicate with someone they also look towards them. So if you see you opponent gazing longingly into your eyes .....
    As for touch move maybe a pattern of behavior needs to be observed. If your opponent has been capturing your pieces by moving his piece to the square first, then touching one of your pieces first indicates an adjust rather than a capture. Of course asking to speak louder after the first such misunderstanding also helps.
    On a related matter, Milan Grcic indulges in gamesmanship quite often by musing aloud that the position is drawish. When specifically asked however he denies actually asking for a draw, counting on the opponent playing safe/lazy moves in the expectation that a draw will soon be agreed when he knows full that it won't. I at least have made it clear to him that if he says any phrase including the word draw when I am playing him he runs the risk of me stopping the clocks and recording 0.5-0.5 on the result sheet (depending on the position of course).

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    I had two minor incidents with this issue in the recent Aus Open.

    Several players either offer draws or say "adjust" so inaudibly that any opponent whose hearing isn't perfect (which mine isn't really, although I'm a lot less deaf than quite a few older players) may not hear it at all. Sometimes I get an inaudible mutter which turns out to be a draw offer and have to ask "did you just offer a draw?" for clarification.
    I understand players wanting to offer draws quietly so as to not disturb other players etc but it is really a total joke when the opponent cannot hear the offer let alone the surrounding players or potential witnesses. Any suggestions for arbiting solutions to prevent this problem?

    Disclosure: I myself once offered a draw so quietly that my opponent failed to hear it (I later won that game), but I had an excuse - I was so sick with some nasty flu that I could not raise my voice above a whisper.
    hi KB
    I would have thought the Arbiters job under 9.1 was easy (see coloured sentence below) >
    9.1. A player can propose a draw after making a move on the
    chessboard. He must do so before stopping his own clock and
    starting his opponent's clock. An offer at any other time
    during play is still valid, but Article 12.5 must be
    considered. No conditions can be attached to the offer. In
    both cases the offer cannot be withdrawn and remains valid
    until the opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, rejects it
    by making a move, or the game is concluded in some other way.

    The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his
    scoresheet with the symbol (=).



    starter

  5. #5
    CC Grandmaster arosar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his scoresheet with the symbol (=).
    A practice that is strictly enforced in NZ.

    AR

  6. #6
    CC International Master Cat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaun
    If I was a player I would check for eye contact. Normally when people communicate with someone they also look towards them. So if you see you opponent gazing longingly into your eyes .....
    As for touch move maybe a pattern of behavior needs to be observed. If your opponent has been capturing your pieces by moving his piece to the square first, then touching one of your pieces first indicates an adjust rather than a capture. Of course asking to speak louder after the first such misunderstanding also helps.
    Teenagers, particularly boys, are poor at developing eye contact - often shy away.
    Power comes from the barrel of a gun.

  7. #7
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arosar
    A practice that is strictly enforced in NZ.
    As it should be. The following is an extract of Guert's 5th column with Chess Cafe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geurt Gijssen
    For several reasons, it is good that the offer of a draw must be recorded on the scoresheet. When a player has offered a draw there is now a proof of this offer. Making draw offers also are part of the history of the game and history should be recorded. But more and more I am starting to like Canadian Jonathan Berry's proposal to make an offer much clearer. He suggested that each of the players have a card; on this card would be written "0.5" and the player would show this card to his opponent when he offers a draw. In the Women's Candidates Tournament (Groningen 1997) Galliamova offered Peng a draw, but Peng did not react; the game was continued and Peng lost. When Galliamova asked her opponent why she did not accept her draw offer, Peng replied that she did not know that Galliamova had offered a draw. I remember the same thing happened in the game Korchnoi-Tal, Brussels 1988. Tal offered a draw and Korchnoi did not react. Tal repeated his offer several times and each time louder. Finally Korchnoi heard it and accepted.
    The full article which also mentions an aussie GM can be viewed here.
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  8. #8
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    I like this idea of the "I offer a draw" card. It removes the inconsistency between players being allowed to offer a draw but not being allowed to speak to the opponent. It also removes the dilemma of when to offer another draw in an obviously dead position - rather than shuffling around you can just leave your Draw card out. And as described, it eliminates the question of players not hearing, and diputes about whether draws were offered.

    Shaun's eye contact point is a good one but I think some players deliberately (and wisely) avoid eye contact to avoid giving hints about whether they think they are losing or just think the position is drawn.

    I note that the Laws of Chess do not stipulate the form in which a draw should be offered so I presume it could be trialled somewhere?

    Perhaps a "Do not bother offering any more draws" card might be useful too.

  9. #9
    CC resident nutcase Trent Parker's Avatar
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    Generally when i'm playing a game i sometimes do not hear the opponent say draw or anything else because i am concertrating on the position or not paying attention..... If i think my opponent has said something i almost always say "pardon?" Even if it may be a j'adoube case....

    I always say j'adoube softly but not in whisper so even if my opponent does not hear me properly then they can ask me what i said.

    I agree that draw offers should be made reasonably audibly but as to not disturb those around that board too much.....

    There was an incident in the NSW minor where a person touched pieces. According to the opponent he didnt say I adjust or J'adoube but the other said he did say adjust......

    Now another thing..... In the minor there was a guy who would mutter (silently) under his breath when playing the game.....this was occasionally annoying......What would the ruling on that be???????
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  10. #10
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David_Richards
    In all sincerity, kids have much more acute hearing and may genuinely believe their comments were audible.
    Yep. Both offenders were under 20, one by several years. Past offenders have also generally been early 20s or younger.

    Quote Originally Posted by starter
    The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his
    scoresheet with the symbol (=).
    Yes. The pickup on this, especially among juniors, has been slow. I was impressed to observe J. Escribano demonstrating correct form.

    A similar idea to the draw card is the "I want a draw" switch which a player can switch on or off; as soon as both players switch it on a light comes on and the game is drawn. I think that such things would lead to less interesting chess as some games continue in positions where both players want a draw but are too afraid to ask.

    Incidentally the draw etiquette at Mt B especially from some of the juniors was abysmal - players offering draws while behind on material against opponents outrating them by hundreds of points, for instance.
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  11. #11
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    Incidentally the draw etiquette at Mt B especially from some of the juniors was abysmal - players offering draws while behind on material against opponents outrating them by hundreds of points, for instance.
    I feel this can be more easily forgiven of juniors and says more about their teachers than it does the junior. When seniors do it then it is more reprehensible.
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  12. #12
    CC International Master JGB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Cox
    I feel this can be more easily forgiven of juniors and says more about their teachers than it does the junior. When seniors do it then it is more reprehensible.
    Its normal for kids, most have no idea that the simple draw offer is an insult to the opponent is such circumstances. They only get one draw offer anyway and after the game you should simple ask the junior 'What were you thinking, offering me a draw? Do you know that is impolite when completely losing?' or your own variation thereof.

  13. #13
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    In the August Weekender in Sydney this year, I observed Bolens offer Zong-Yuan Zhao a draw. When Zong-Yuan didn't put the "=" sign on the scoresheet, he pointed out that this was required. Bolens is not widely known as a stickler for the laws of chess. I suspect he just wanted some excuse to show a bit of gamesmanship.
    Last edited by Lucena; 12-01-2005 at 08:28 PM.

  14. #14
    Reader in Slood Dynamics Rincewind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JGB
    Its normal for kids, most have no idea that the simple draw offer is an insult to the opponent is such circumstances. They only get one draw offer anyway and after the game you should simple ask the junior 'What were you thinking, offering me a draw? Do you know that is impolite when completely losing?' or your own variation thereof.
    Yes, most young player probably don't realise that and have not been told. However, what do you mean by "They only get one draw offer anyway"?
    So einfach wie möglich, aber nicht einfacher - Albert Einstein

  15. #15
    CC resident nutcase Trent Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham

    Incidentally the draw etiquette at Mt B especially from some of the juniors was abysmal - players offering draws while behind on material against opponents outrating them by hundreds of points, for instance.
    I think with a lot of the (very)young players today they tend to offer a draw when they are clearly losing.

    I mean even at the ralph seberry memorial tournament a junior asked me If I wanted a draw when i had won her queen for a rook.... though she outrated me by 400 points... a couple of moves later i had her mated

    I was actually quite surprised at the draw offer. (hmmm have i left too many clues?)....
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