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View Full Version : Flag fall - when is it a loss?



Jesper Norgaard
24-04-2010, 10:03 AM
In Geurt Gijssen's column in Chess Cafe of 21.st. of April 2010, the following question and answer appears:


Question In a tournament, a game ended with the following problem:

The rate of play was 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the remaining moves with an increment of 30 seconds from move one. I was called to arbitrate a dispute by a flagged player. It seemed that both players had played forty moves (according to their scoresheets), while the clock displayed thirty-nine moves for either player.

It is almost clear that they missed a clock press, so that they could ask for 30 seconds more if the game could be restarted. But one of the player's flag displayed, so after checking that the clock was functioning properly (it was), I declared the game lost on time by the flagged player. (I had no way of knowing when he played his fortieth move, before or after the flag fall, or if he would have flagged or not in case he had been awarded the missing 30 seconds.)

He wanted me to add the 30 seconds of increment for the fortieth move and restart the game, which I rejected, saying that he was responsible for pressing the clock after each move, which he failed to perform correctly. The reason may be a light pressing of the clock, though I couldn't make it happen myself. What is your impression of this event? Pierre Becker (France)




(Jesper:I show only the last paragraph of the answer)

If both clocks showed thirty-nine moves, then the last move was played and also completed by the player of the black pieces. In that case only the flag of the player of the white pieces could fall when he was thinking about his forty-first move. I assume that they made forty moves as both scoresheets indicated. The game should continue and the arbiter has to adjust the clocks. I am afraid that I have to inform you that your decision was wrong.

First I had to revise all the details of this in my mind, then I got to some far-ranging conclusions. I still feel confused about this, so I might have made a mistake, please comment if you believe so.

The whole scenario is centered around the DGT clock that will freeze when one player exceeds his time. This means that any time that is passing after the said flag fall will not be counted, whether it is 10 seconds or half an hour. Any extra clock presses will not add extra time of 30 seconds for each player. The clock is in effect, frozen. In this case there is a discrepancy between written moves on the two score sheets and the number of moves on the clock. This means that the players played and wrote one extra pair of moves on the score sheet than they pressed the clock. In effect, if it was noticed before a flag fall that moves on the clock were less than moves on the score sheet, an arbiter should be called to correct the move number and the time (adding x times 30 seconds for each player for each missing move).

In the actual situation we don't know if the missing clock press happened earlier in the game (say move 23) or it happened right at move 39 when both players played an extra move on the board and wrote them on the score sheet, but failed to press the clock both of them. What we know is that both had completed 39 clock presses and at that moment the flag fell. Since the flag fall only happened at that moment because the extra 30 seconds had not been added to the players clocks for the extra move, the only reasonable conclusion would be to correct the clock to add 30 seconds to each players clock, plus 30 minutes for each player because now 40 moves have been completed (as seen on the score sheet).

However, it occurs to me that this goes for any flag fall in a normal game with increment, irrespective if there is a bonus time (after 40 moves) or not: if there are less clock presses than moves on the score sheet, the flag fall is not really a flag fall, because there was too little time on the clock, so the clock times should be corrected instead, and the game continue.

Is this a correct interpretation?

Garvinator
24-04-2010, 01:41 PM
First I had to revise all the details of this in my mind, then I got to some far-ranging conclusions. I still feel confused about this, so I might have made a mistake, please comment if you believe so.

The whole scenario is centered around the DGT clock that will freeze when one player exceeds his time. This means that any time that is passing after the said flag fall will not be counted, whether it is 10 seconds or half an hour. Any extra clock presses will not add extra time of 30 seconds for each player. The clock is in effect, frozen. In this case there is a discrepancy between written moves on the two score sheets and the number of moves on the clock. This means that the players played and wrote one extra pair of moves on the score sheet than they pressed the clock. In effect, if it was noticed before a flag fall that moves on the clock were less than moves on the score sheet, an arbiter should be called to correct the move number and the time (adding x times 30 seconds for each player for each missing move).

In the actual situation we don't know if the missing clock press happened earlier in the game (say move 23) or it happened right at move 39 when both players played an extra move on the board and wrote them on the score sheet, but failed to press the clock both of them. What we know is that both had completed 39 clock presses and at that moment the flag fell. Since the flag fall only happened at that moment because the extra 30 seconds had not been added to the players clocks for the extra move, the only reasonable conclusion would be to correct the clock to add 30 seconds to each players clock, plus 30 minutes for each player because now 40 moves have been completed (as seen on the score sheet).

However, it occurs to me that this goes for any flag fall in a normal game with increment, irrespective if there is a bonus time (after 40 moves) or not: if there are less clock presses than moves on the score sheet, the flag fall is not really a flag fall, because there was too little time on the clock, so the clock times should be corrected instead, and the game continue.

Is this a correct interpretation?
The situation given is another good example of why it is not a good idea to use move counters for 40 move time controls. The other example is when the players believe they have made 40 moves, receive the extra 30 mins and then one of the players realises that their opponent has only made 39 mins and has used more than the allocated time for 40 moves. In that case the game would be lost.

In the case given, I agree with Guert. The players have made 40 moves and so are now in the second time period. The scoresheet is the official record of number of moves made, not the number of clock presses. The clocks should be corrected and the game continue.

Garrett
24-04-2010, 01:49 PM
I agree it's best to not use the move counters. They weren't used at Doeberl and the SIO.

When one of the clocks hit 0 they get the extra 30 mins and a little flag is displayed. If you have not made the 40 moves the opponent could claim the win on time. It was up to the players to know how many moves they had made.

cheers
Garrett.

Jesper Norgaard
25-04-2010, 07:41 AM
I agree it's best to not use the move counters. They weren't used at Doeberl and the SIO.

When one of the clocks hit 0 they get the extra 30 mins and a little flag is displayed. If you have not made the 40 moves the opponent could claim the win on time. It was up to the players to know how many moves they had made.

I am not quite sure what you mean by "not using the move counters". It is clear that it is the players that must know how many moves they have made (by way of the scoresheet). If they rely on the move counter of the clock, that is their problem and if they lose on time, because of that, that is their problem indeed. However, that the clock is allowed to show the move counter is clear based on article 6.14:

"Screens, monitors, or demonstration boards showing the current position on the chessboard, the moves and the number of moves made, and clocks which also show the number of moves, are allowed in the playing hall. However, the player may not make a claim relying solely on information shown in this manner."

Also the move counter and corresponding time (subtracting or adding increments accordingly) must be performed by the arbiter according to rule 6.10(b)

"If during a game it is found that the setting of either or both clocks was incorrect, either player or the arbiter shall stop the clocks immediately. The arbiter shall install the correct setting and adjust the times and move counter. He shall use his best judgement when determining the correct settings."

And 6.13:
"If an irregularity occurs and/or the pieces have to be restored to a previous position, the arbiter shall use his best judgement to determine the times to be shown on the clocks. He shall also, if necessary, adjust the clock’s move counter."

So the arbiter can't sustain he attitude to ignore the move counter of the clock. He must correct it when it is found to be wrong, as well as the time for each player. However there is no rule or indication what happens if the players made too many clock presses, but when correcting this would make one of the players lose on time.

To avoid this kind of situation it seems important to me that when increment is used in normal games, it should be obligatory that the clock shows the move counter so that at any time and as quickly as possible can be detected by either player that the move counter, and therefore the allotted time, is incorrect. That would be a new rule.

Also it is not defined in the rules whether it is desirable that the clock "freezes" after a flag fall, not adding to move counters or changing the time of either player. I think the laws should demand this, or state that if the clock has this functionality as optional, that should be used. I have only recently discovered that my Excalibur Game Time II clock *has* this functionality but it is *not* default, so in the future I will use that (put CLAIM ON from the settings).

Still my original question was very simple, and has not been answered yet: Should a flag fall stand or not when one or several increments have not been added to the clock because it was not handled correctly by the players?

My opinion is no in all cases, Geurt says no when it happened at move 40 when only 39 moves were pressed, but he doesn't comment on what should happen in other situations.