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  1. #1
    CC Grandmaster Garvinator's Avatar
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    Blitz chess, mating potential

    Thought I might throw this situation up for some further rule and general discussion.

    5 minutes each, blitz chess rules.

    Player A has King and pawn
    Player B has King and Bishop

    Player A runs out of time, player B claims flag fall.

    Result?

    What is your decision?

  2. #2
    Illuminati Bill Gletsos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ggrayggray
    Thought I might throw this situation up for some further rule and general discussion.

    5 minutes each, blitz chess rules.

    Player A has King and pawn
    Player B has King and Bishop

    Player A runs out of time, player B claims flag fall.

    Result?

    What is your decision?
    According to the current rules it is a win for player B.
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  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Garrett's Avatar
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    my decision is not to play blitz.

  4. #4
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    Current result : Player B wins.

    My Decision : If it's 5 min blitz I personally believe that should be "draw and rematch" players keeping the same coloured pieces in the rematch. Assuming that Player A can actually queen that pawn.

  5. #5
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    The term "mating potential" in the thread title is an interesting one because there was an old rule called "mating potential" that applied to winning on time in blitz. This is how it used to go:

    In order to win, a player must have 'mating potential'. This is defined as adequate forces eventually to produce a position legally, possibly by helpmate, where an opponent having the move cannot avoid being checkmated in one move. Thus two knights and king against a lone king is insufficient, but a rook and king against a knight and king is sufficient.
    This was, in my view, a very bad rule and I am glad that it died; I recall writing a submission suggesting that it be axed on the following grounds:

    (i) while intended to eliminate wins on time of the sort that some people felt were silly, it did not actually eliminate all of them, just many, while leaving other equally dubious wins on time as wins
    (ii) in some positions it can be very challenging to determine quickly whether 'mating potential' exists.

    On the old 'mating potential' rule, KB v KP when the KP side's flag falls was a draw in blitz, but KN v KP was not a draw if the pawn was a rook's pawn that had yet to reach the seventh rank. This is an example of why the rule was so arbitrary.

    The current situation is the same for all time controls - if your flag falls and it is mathematically possible for you to be mated following some series of legal moves from that position (however stupid or deliberately self-destructive) then you have lost.

    Hence you will often see some blitz players quickly eliminate all opposing material to ensure themselves a draw before going for mate, if very short of time.

  6. #6
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    The term "mating potential" in the thread title is an interesting one because there was an old rule called "mating potential" that applied to winning on time in blitz. This is how it used to go:

    In order to win, a player must have 'mating potential'. This is defined as adequate forces eventually to produce a position legally, possibly by helpmate, where an opponent having the move cannot avoid being checkmated in one move. Thus two knights and king against a lone king is insufficient, but a rook and king against a knight and king is sufficient.
    It seemed ingenious at the time, preventing such silly wins as KNN v K, KN v KR, K minor v K minor. you're probably right that it was somewhat arbitrary and unworkable in practice.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
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  7. #7
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    It seemed ingenious at the time, preventing such silly wins as KNN v K, KN v KR, K minor v K minor. you're probably right that it was somewhat arbitrary and unworkable in practice.
    The simplest way to deal with KNN v K is to invoke the disrepute rule if people persist in playing on for wins on time in it. Ditto K minor v K minor.

    As for KN v KR, if the player with the rook offers a draw and the player with the N rejects it to try to win on time, I would tell them they have to accept the draw or the disrepute rule will be applied. That way, if someone is playing for a win with KR v KN and their flag falls and they lose, that is their fault for not accepting a draw before time was up.

  8. #8
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    The simplest way to deal with KNN v K is to invoke the disrepute rule if people persist in playing on for wins on time in it. Ditto K minor v K minor.
    But if that temporary rule was somewhat arbitrary, how much more so is deciding when to apply disrepute? What about KP v K when it's a book draw that beginners should know, e.g. K blockading a RP? Why is K minor v K minor a case of disrepute but KP v KQRPPP, say?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    As for KN v KR, if the player with the rook offers a draw and the player with the N rejects it to try to win on time, I would tell them they have to accept the draw or the disrepute rule will be applied.
    This could be helpful when I'm directing club tournaments, if it's acceptable to apply the disrepute rule in a position that

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham
    That way, if someone is playing for a win with KR v KN and their flag falls and they lose, that is their fault for not accepting a draw before time was up.
    That happened to an opponent in a blitz tourney accompanying the Dubai 1986 Olympiad. I had offered a draw after losing the P I had for the exchange, and he played on and his flag fell, so the arbiter declared me the winner.
    “The history of the 20th century is full of examples of countries that set out to redistribute wealth and ended up redistributing poverty.”
    “There’s no point blaming the tragedies of socialism on the flaws or corruption of particular leaders. Any system which allows some people to exercise unbridled power over others is an open invitation to abuse, whether that system is called slavery or socialism or something else.”—Thomas Sowell

  9. #9
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono
    But if that temporary rule was somewhat arbitrary, how much more so is deciding when to apply disrepute?
    The old rule was objectively defined but arbitrary in consequences. Disrepute is very subjective but if that subjectivity is used well, then it should be a lot less "arbitrary".

    What about KP v K when it's a book draw that beginners should know, e.g. K blockading a RP? Why is K minor v K minor a case of disrepute but KP v KQRPPP, say?
    I don't know if any arbiters would consider these to be disrepute or not. In the latter case if the attacker has a massive material advantage but has left themselves too short of time to eliminate their opponent's last pawn (eg by not making it a high enough priority), then losing on time is an occupational hazard. The issue specifically with stuff like KB v KN is that the player can be left to make an indefinite number of moves with no further progress towards removing the opponent's potential ability to mate, so you can lose on time in them almost irrespective of your time management skills.

    In the case of KP v K when it's a RP book draw it is usually easy to force the draw very quickly.

  10. #10
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    I don't see anything relating to "disrepute" about it. Winning on time is part of blitz and there are several points about the rules which enhance the time element relative to longer formats. A fair few games are decided by people attempting to win on time, and succeeding, in positions they could never win on the board either because they don't have the technique or because their position is otherwise dead lost.

    If an arbiter wants for philosophical reasons to prevent time wins in trivial draws they would be better off contriving to declare a draw under some other rule, or introducing a tournament condition permitting them to declare a draw.

    In any case, disreputable behaviour is a fundamental part of blitz so I don't see the point of proscribing one manifestation of it while rewarding many others.

  11. #11
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    I don't see anything relating to "disrepute" about it. Winning on time is part of blitz and there are several points about the rules which enhance the time element relative to longer formats. A fair few games are decided by people attempting to win on time, and succeeding, in positions they could never win on the board either because they don't have the technique or because their position is otherwise dead lost.

    If an arbiter wants for philosophical reasons to prevent time wins in trivial draws they would be better off contriving to declare a draw under some other rule, or introducing a tournament condition permitting them to declare a draw.

    In any case, disreputable behaviour is a fundamental part of blitz so I don't see the point of proscribing one manifestation of it while rewarding many others.
    Moreover. if the current rules about flag fall permit a player to win on time with KN v KR, for example, how can it be said that the game is being brought into disrepute? Either player is entitled to play on and try to win under the rules.

    I doubt if there is any other rule under which the arbiter could end the game.

    In similar vein, I jokingly suggested some years ago that in normal length games, the arbiter should be able to declare the game won on TKO where a player was continuing to play on in a hopeless position, especially if all the other games had finished, but, as the rules now stand, the Arbiter cannot to anything about it.

    To put it briefly, you can't be said to be bringing the game into disrepute if you are playing within the rules - the rules are ipso facto reputable.

    DJ
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  12. #12
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Rout
    In any case, disreputable behaviour is a fundamental part of blitz so I don't see the point of proscribing one manifestation of it while rewarding many others.


    IIRC, the view among some IAs that the disrepute rule could be invoked in some positions arose after a game in which Anand was playing on with KNN v K. I don't recall the time limit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Denis_Jessop
    Moreover. if the current rules about flag fall permit a player to win on time with KN v KR, for example, how can it be said that the game is being brought into disrepute? Either player is entitled to play on and try to win under the rules.
    I don't think this argument works. If it did work, then one could say that everything covered by the disrepute rule and not appearing elsewhere was something a player was entitled to do to try to win within the rules, and hence the disrepute rule would not cover anything. It must be there for some reason.

    Of course, another tack to take is to say that blitz wins on time in these positions aren't really "silly" at all. If a player loses on time in a totally won position then they've probably spent too much of their time on finding particularly good moves, which isn't entirely the idea. If the players get to a drawn ending and one has more time than the other and hence is able to win on time, is it so unjust if that one wins?

    So if the arbiter thinks that wins on time in "silly" positions bring the game into disrepute, they can use their discretion to stop them. If they don't, they can let nature take its course. Either way there is no problem - except the lack of uniformity between different arbiters - and no need to find alternatives to the "mating potential" rule.

  13. #13
    CC Grandmaster Denis_Jessop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Bonham


    <snip>



    I don't think this argument works. If it did work, then one could say that everything covered by the disrepute rule and not appearing elsewhere was something a player was entitled to do to try to win within the rules, and hence the disrepute rule would not cover anything. It must be there for some reason.

    Of course, another tack to take is to say that blitz wins on time in these positions aren't really "silly" at all. If a player loses on time in a totally won position then they've probably spent too much of their time on finding particularly good moves, which isn't entirely the idea. If the players get to a drawn ending and one has more time than the other and hence is able to win on time, is it so unjust if that one wins?

    So if the arbiter thinks that wins on time in "silly" positions bring the game into disrepute, they can use their discretion to stop them. If they don't, they can let nature take its course. Either way there is no problem - except the lack of uniformity between different arbiters - and no need to find alternatives to the "mating potential" rule.
    I think the clue to my argument is in the location of the "disrepute" rule. It is the first law in Article 12 that is headed "The conduct of the players". In other words it is directed at conduct bringing the game into disrepute generally such as Geurt's "stinking player" or fighting or the like. Note that there are later provisions of Art 12 relating to specific instances of improper conduct such as the mobile phone rule and not distracting one''s opponent. I can't see how playing the game within the laws provided for it can ever be said to bring the game into disrepute as that would be an admission that the law in question permitted disreputable play which is an untenable argument in my view. Moreover handling breaches of the rules is specifically dealt with either in the relevant rule or, generally, in Art 13.

    I think it possible that there may be a distinction to be drawn between doing something that is specifically, or by implication, permitted by a relevant rule and doing something that is not specifically prohibited by that rule. Depending on the facts of the case, the latter may amount to bringing the game into disrepute but the former would not.

    DJ
    ...I don't want to go among mad people Alice remarked, "Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: we're all mad here. I am mad. You're mad." "How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat ,"or you wouldn't have come here."

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