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firegoat7
03-03-2004, 05:18 PM
Ian Rogers wrote in his column on the 8/2/04:
However a seventh round loss to a little-known Norwegian (see below) dashed Speck's hopes and, on a score of 3/7, Speck then walked out of the tournament. The chief arbiter Stewart Reuben refuted suggestions that Speck's withdrawal had been due to illness: "Speck was sick - sick of chess and could no longer score an IM [result]." was Reuben's diplomatic description of Speck's decision.

I want to know if this actual claim is correct because I put it to Mr Rogers that he is just engaging in cheap psychological banter

jase
03-03-2004, 08:29 PM
Only Nick will ever know the answer to that.

As an arbiter it looked like he bailed after a disappointing loss. But Nick is quite a straight-up, tell-it-as-I-see-it kind of guy, so if he says he was ill, then I think that's how it was.

My information is that Nick had intended to withdraw the previous round, but felt compelled to play on, for both the possibility of a norm and also because it was his last tournament before flying home.

Ian is a great columnist because he is not a master of politically correct conservatism. He got a great quote from Stewart and ran with it.

I'd bet a schooner of St.Arnou that Ian didn't go to the trouble of seeking a response to Stewart's assessment from Nick.

Sensationalist journalism? Frequently. "Psychological banter"? Please.

firegoat7
03-03-2004, 09:09 PM
Why would it matter what Reuben claims. My understanding is he was not the chief arbiter. Did Speck actually even speak with Reuben?

PHAT
03-03-2004, 10:42 PM
Only Nick will ever know the answer to that.

As an arbiter it looked like he bailed after a disappointing loss. But Nick is quite a straight-up, tell-it-as-I-see-it kind of guy, so if he says he was ill, then I think that's how it was.



Hmmm. I do not know Speck personally, so I will take your word for it. However, I also recall some very odd behaviour by him in the previous Australian C/S. Ther was the "spending" of 80 minutes on a move and then move with a minute on the clock - game #2 [?] and the 7 [?] move draw to lose the match. Now Ian Rogers quoting lines like, "Speck was sick - sick of chess..."

At some point, one's behaviour starts to take on the apperance of character.

Bill Gletsos
03-03-2004, 11:03 PM
As an arbiter it looked like he bailed after a disappointing loss. But Nick is quite a straight-up, tell-it-as-I-see-it kind of guy, so if he says he was ill, then I think that's how it was.
He may be a "straight-up, tell-it-as-I-see-it kind of guy" however based on his article about the Asutralian Championship play-off in the Nov/Dec 2003 issue of Australia Chess which is full of veiled innuendo he seems anything but that.

Ian_Rogers
03-03-2004, 11:46 PM
Of course Speck approached the main organiser and arbiter (Reuben) before he withdrew from the Gibraltar tournament. There was also an Australian arbiter in Gibraltar who tried to talk Speck out of his decision, to no avail.
I used the Reuben quote because it an accurate desciption of why Speck withdrew from the Gibraltar tournament. Of course Speck had other reasons for his decision - saving on hotel bills, getting back early for the new school year - but they were peripheral to the fact that he could no longer score an IM norm.
I don't understand how accurately explaining why Speck withdrew from the Gibraltar tournament could be interpreted as 'cheap psychological banter' at all.
Ian

chesslover
04-03-2004, 09:14 PM
I used the Reuben quote because it an accurate desciption of why Speck withdrew from the Gibraltar tournament. Of course Speck had other reasons for his decision - saving on hotel bills, getting back early for the new school year - but they were peripheral to the fact that he could no longer score an IM norm.
I don't understand how accurately explaining why Speck withdrew from the Gibraltar tournament could be interpreted as 'cheap psychological banter' at all.
Ian

Yes I always read your article on the Sun Herald, and thought that what you reported was fair. Although sometimes I wish like peter parr's columns, there are more news on the local scene, thanks for keeping us informed on chess issues. Also I guess you are writing for the average reader not a chess person

Alan Shore
04-03-2004, 10:45 PM
I don't know why you're making such a big deal about it.. if a player wants to withdraw from a tournament he should be able to do so at his own discretion, provided he informs the tournament directors of his intentions. So leave the guy alone, sheesh.

chesslover
04-03-2004, 11:08 PM
I don't know why you're making such a big deal about it.. if a player wants to withdraw from a tournament he should be able to do so at his own discretion, provided he informs the tournament directors of his intentions. So leave the guy alone, sheesh.

but that means it is okay for a player who is losing in a weekender, or a club tournament to quit just because he is playing badly

Alan Shore
04-03-2004, 11:25 PM
Yeah that's right.. so what?

Kevin Bonham
04-03-2004, 11:26 PM
I don't know why you're making such a big deal about it.. if a player wants to withdraw from a tournament he should be able to do so at his own discretion, provided he informs the tournament directors of his intentions. So leave the guy alone, sheesh.

I disagree totally. A player who withdraws without a legitimate reason on a regular basis should receive a lengthy ban. (Have you seen my TCA "three strikes" policy on unauthorised and unnotified withdrawals that I posted a while back? Harsh - hell yeah. Effective - hell yeah. :D :hand: )

Withdrawals create numerous fairness-based problems to those left in the field. In a round robin, those who beat the withdrawer have their effort wasted if the withdrawer plays less than half the scheduled games, while those who fail to beat the withdrawer are penalised compared to those who do not play them if the withdrawer plays more than half.

In swisses, tiebreaks for prizes are often done on methods like "sum of opponents scores". If a player withdraws you cannot accurately estimate what they would have scored, and players who've played that player may be unfairly disadvantaged (or advantaged) as a result.

Withdrawals also rort the rating system by protecting a player from losing more ratings points when playing badly (often in club events, a player who scratches from a round robin sometimes won't have those results rated at all for practical reasons - extremely unfair on the player who scored an upset win over them). Finally withdrawals of the "why must I lose to this idiot?" type are extremely disrespectful to the opponent. And withdrawing when you can't reach <insert goal here> is disrespectful to the player who loyally supports the tournament even though they are not strong enough to reach <insert goal here> themselves.

The monster swiss kind of event Speck was playing in may be one of those where a withdrawal would be relatively benign, I don't know if any prizes or tiebreaks would have been affected by him pulling out. However, generally, I really can't see why the practice of withdrawing due to poor results should be tolerated and can't think of any high-profile sport that allows players to pull out for such pathetic reasons as a lot of chess players do.

NB In the above I withhold judgement on why Nick Speck withdrew and whether it was (IMO) legit, obviously I don't know all the facts. I'm just aiming to address the general issue of whether players should be allowed to withdraw with the kinds of feeble excuses that they do.

Alan Shore
04-03-2004, 11:31 PM
Ah I see Kevin.. wasn't aware it had such adverse effects on the draw. Still, perhaps allowances in the swiss perfect program could be made for withdrawls, since there are legit ones.

chesslover
04-03-2004, 11:43 PM
Ah I see Kevin.. wasn't aware it had such adverse effects on the draw. Still, perhaps allowances in the swiss perfect program could be made for withdrawls, since there are legit ones.

sure there may be legit withdrawels, but they should be the exceptions rather than the rule. If you quit because you are not doing welll in the tourney, it is like taking the bat and walking home because you got out cheaply. not the done thing at all

Kevin Bonham
05-03-2004, 02:06 AM
Ah I see Kevin.. wasn't aware it had such adverse effects on the draw. Still, perhaps allowances in the swiss perfect program could be made for withdrawls, since there are legit ones.

There are - my point is it's OK to put up with the inconvenience caused by a withdrawal when it's a legit withdrawal, but no reason to encourage such a practice to be more common. Probably poor performance is the commonest reason players quit weekenders, with illness and dissent over arbiter's decisions not as common. I don't favour harsh action towards people who withdraw over arbiter's decisions unless their case is completely without merit.

There are no adverse effects on the draw itself in a Swiss, except that you may cause a bye (equally you may remove one) provided the withdrawal is known before pairings are done. The adverse effects are on the fairness of any tiebreakers you use to decide prizes

firegoat7
07-03-2004, 11:23 PM
I think Kb's post should be another thread, however I completely disagree with the idea to ban players for unofficial withdrawals. surely we want to encourage people to play chess, not prevent them from playing. I would actually just prefer to see withdrawals lose rating points as a penalty.

Tony Ayris withdrew from a South Australian tournament once because his friend suicided. SACA, with all the commen sense of a goldfish at the time, banned him from chess for a year. Instead of argueing the point Tony just did not play for a while.

Anyway back to the point of the post. Did Rogers ask Speck for his opinion before he printed the story? Secondly is Reuben a reliable source, one unconfirmed rumor is that Reuben was drunk at the time of the withdrawal, Is this true?
Cheers FG7

ursogr8
08-03-2004, 08:38 AM
I think Kb's post should be another thread, however I completely disagree with the idea to ban players for unofficial withdrawals. surely we want to encourage people to play chess, not prevent them from playing. I would actually just prefer to see withdrawals lose rating points as a penalty.

Cheers FG7

hi fg7

To be honest I have no idea of the difference between an official w/d and an unofficial w/d. I guess some-one will enlighten me.

The withdrawals that cause the most inconvenience are unannounced absences. For example if a player in a 7-round weekly SWISS appears for weeks 1,2,3 but not for week 4 then his round 4 opponent, and the DOP for week 4, are inconvenienced. The inconvenience may be minor if another casual player can be found to make up the pairing; or it may move from inconvenience to big disappointment if money has been spent on transport only to miss out on chess for the evening.
Unannounced withdrawals are therefore not to be encouraged nor overlooked. Usually a word in the culprits ear, or re-issue of our guidelines for chess politeness is enough. But if pain persists then we would ban.
We do want to encourage people to play chess, but within the context of politeness.

starter

Kevin Bonham
08-03-2004, 11:23 PM
I think Kb's post should be another thread, however I completely disagree with the idea to ban players for unofficial withdrawals. surely we want to encourage people to play chess, not prevent them from playing.

Yes and no. The hardcore withdrawers (the ones who'll do it over and over even knowing there's a penalty) are a tiny minority who do a fair bit to discourage others with their actions. The less severe cases (the ones who do it if they know they can get away with it) are probably encouraged to play more chess, not less, by the stick approach.

I should explain exactly how the TCA ban on unofficial/unnotified withdrawals works, for those who didn't see it on some other thread.

Generally we expect a player who withdraws to both notify the arbiter and have an acceptable reason. Sometimes there are good reasons why a player can't notify the arbiter and these are not discovered til later; if so, we let it go. If after checking it out fully we don't think there was a remotely valid excuse (either for withdrawing or for not notifying) then -

First offence - warning
Second offence - player is required to add a deposit to entry fees for 2 years, refunded on completion of each event
Third offence - substantial ban

We go easy on the juniors.

Since we started this policy no one has got to second offence, and some players who used to sometimes unauthorisedly withdraw have stopped it. One guy got a warning for first offence after withdrawing in protest at having to play "too many weak juniors" then was an unnotified and unauthorised withdrawer from a second event after losing to one of the "weak juniors" he was whining about. However that wasn't a TCA event, so he's still on strike one in the unlikely case that he ever dares show himself again.


I would actually just prefer to see withdrawals lose rating points as a penalty.

Probably statistically justified in a lot of cases actually (it's hard to tell, because by withdrawing the player destroys the evidence of how badly they would otherwise have played), but some withdrawers withdraw when they're actually playing OK, eg the sort who like to pick stupid arguments with the DOPs all the time.

I'd be willing to consider it as an additional penalty - but it would have to be national then.


Tony Ayris withdrew from a South Australian tournament once because his friend suicided. SACA, with all the commen sense of a goldfish at the time, banned him from chess for a year. Instead of argueing the point Tony just did not play for a while.

If your description of events is correct (you will understand why I can never take this for granted with you) then this does indeed sound heavy-handed beyond belief. Can't imagine any arbiter not accepting that as a valid excuse, even a failure to notify the withdrawal seems acceptable in those conditions.


Secondly is Reuben a reliable source, one unconfirmed rumor is that Reuben was drunk at the time of the withdrawal, Is this true?

Did you ask Reuben for his opinion before you published that claim (even as a rumour) on this BB? :owned:

Bill Gletsos
08-03-2004, 11:29 PM
The NSWCA does not tolerate unapproved withdrawls.

The emphasis on unapproved.

If the Arbiter believes the player has a valid reason for withdrawing then thats ok, however if he does not accept the players excuse, then the NSWCA will normally send a letter to the player warning them that such behaviour is unacceptable.

For repeat offenders the player will be asked to show cause why they should not be banned or why they should not have to pay a bond.

Kevin Bonham
08-03-2004, 11:36 PM
To be honest I have no idea of the difference between an official w/d and an unofficial w/d. I guess some-one will enlighten me.

Withdrawals are sometimes classed as "authorised" and "unauthorised".

"Authorised" means the organisers consider that the player withdrew for an acceptable reason.

"Unauthorised" means that the organisers don't consider this - either they don't know the reason and think the player should have told them, or they don't think the reason was acceptable.

Some examples I've personally come across -

Authorised: Illness, on-standby work call-up, dissent with controversial arbiting decision, (for long weekly tournaments) unable to complete tournament due to unexpected commitments.

Unauthorised: Wanted to get home faster, annoyed at being given bye, annoyed at having to play too many juniors, poor performance, annoyed at having to play player from own club, annoyed at being required to record the moves.


The withdrawals that cause the most inconvenience are unannounced absences.

Yes. And nearly all of these turn out to be unauthorised once the reason is known.

By the way, the policy I mentioned in the above post is for TCA events only. For club events here each club is free to decide its own standards. My club allows players to drop out of its round robins at any time without penalty, at present. If they play half their games or more, the remainder are forfeited, otherwise all games they've played are scrubbed.

Bill Gletsos
08-03-2004, 11:37 PM
I would actually just prefer to see withdrawals lose rating points as a penalty.
I'm not sure their is any statistical reason why they should lose points.

Often it appears players withdraw after losing a number of games and they because they feel they no longer are in contention for a prize.

Now having lost these games it generally means the player if he had continued would have gotten an easier opponent than in previous rounds.
It is therefore likely that a player who withdraws after round 4 of a 7 round tournament although losing ratings points for his below par performance would have actually recovered some of those points if he had played the last 3 rounds.

Garvinator
09-03-2004, 05:14 AM
i think fg7 is saying that the player believed he/she was playing poorly and was going to lose the rest of their games. So they should be still penalised the same amount of rating points just like they had lost their games otb.

If they were in playing in a tournament to try and get a norm and they withdrew when the norm was out of reach, then i think fg7 is saying that they should have the rest of their tournament results recorded as losses and rated as such.

I think fg7 would also be saying that this applies only to unaccepted withdrawals.

I hope I have not stolen your thunder fg7 ;)

Kevin Bonham
09-03-2004, 04:35 PM
Now having lost these games it generally means the player if he had continued would have gotten an easier opponent than in previous rounds. It is therefore likely that a player who withdraws after round 4 of a 7 round tournament although losing ratings points for his below par performance would have actually recovered some of those points if he had played the last 3 rounds.

Unless these players are also performing below their rating then the player's net expectation if performing at his rating is zero if he continues to perform at his rating, and worse than zero if he continues to perform worse. It's likely the player would keep gaining ratings points but possible they would lose again and lose a truckload. I know that when I'm out of contention in an event my play usually gets significantly worse.

Kevin Bonham
09-03-2004, 04:40 PM
If they were in playing in a tournament to try and get a norm and they withdrew when the norm was out of reach, then i think fg7 is saying that they should have the rest of their tournament results recorded as losses and rated as such.

He didn't say that explicitly so I don't know if he thinks that or not. I'd hope he would agree that in terms of an accurate rating system such a penalty is way too harsh. If there was such a penalty it should be only a fraction of the points available - because there is no reason to believe the player would have
lost all the remaining games.

firegoat7
10-03-2004, 10:22 PM
KB wrote:
Did you ask Reuben for his opinion before you published that claim (even as a rumour) on this BB? Nope and why should I. I reported it as a rumor. Secondly I am printing on a public bulletin board on the internet, not a syndicated newspaper where I am getting paid for the report.



In regards to a rating penalty. What would you prefer as a player Bonham to be banned for a year under your authoritarian order or lose rating points? I know which I would prefer.

In regards to this penalty on ratings, gg wisely IMO pointed out that games would be treated as losses. I think that something like a ghost pairing should take place. You pair the round as if they were playing,deduct the points and do another pairing. This should provide enough incentive for players not to withdraw.

I understand that statistically it may not be correct, but I am sure that in reality not turning up for a game would still be a loss on time. Who cares if the game was not physically played.

By the way this sort of idea does exist in sports like soccer. After a certain number of red cards, the game is forfeited with an automatic scoreline, regardless of percentage problems.

cheers FG7

Bill Gletsos
10-03-2004, 10:52 PM
In regards to this penalty on ratings, gg wisely IMO pointed out that games would be treated as losses. I think that something like a ghost pairing should take place. You pair the round as if they were playing,deduct the points and do another pairing. This should provide enough incentive for players not to withdraw.

I understand that statistically it may not be correct, but I am sure that in reality not turning up for a game would still be a loss on time. Who cares if the game was not physically played.
Its long been a practice in all chess rating systems that I am aware of that unplayed games do not count for rating purposes.
As for treating games by players who withdraw as losses, this could lead to a serious underrating of a player, maybe to the point of almost like a forced case of sandbagging. Its not a good idea.
In any case there is no statisical validity in rating unplayed games.


By the way this sort of idea does exist in sports like soccer. After a certain number of red cards, the game is forfeited with an automatic scoreline, regardless of percentage problems.
Yes but there is no rating system per se in soccer.

Kevin Bonham
11-03-2004, 01:15 AM
KB wrote: Nope and why should I. I reported it as a rumor.

So I can say whatever I like about you to whoever I like provided I preface it as "I have heard an unconfirmed rumour that ..."? Try getting that little trick past a defamation jury sometime. It's called special meaning - you may as well not even bother including the words "unconfirmed rumour" for all the difference it makes.


Secondly I am printing on a public bulletin board on the internet, not a syndicated newspaper where I am getting paid for the report.

Partly relevant in that you expect a paid journalist to earn their $$$ with reliable information but no excuse for besmirching someone's reputation in any public place. Unless Reuben likes people to think he gets drunk at chess tournaments. :eek:


In regards to a rating penalty. What would you prefer as a player Bonham to be banned for a year under your authoritarian order or lose rating points? I know which I would prefer.

Hmmm, funny kind of justice this is - the offender gets to choose which penalty they'd prefer? :lol: :lol: :lol:

The only argument for docking people ratings points for UWDs would be if it enabled the rating system to better predict their performance. If this happened to serve as a deterrent at the same time, well hey, that's a nice bonus, but I'm not in favour of distorting the system detrimentally over it.


I understand that statistically it may not be correct, but I am sure that in reality not turning up for a game would still be a loss on time.

Competent tournament organisers score no-shows of whatever kind explicitly as +:- or -:+ instead of 1:0 or 0:1 so that these games are then not rated.

Matthew raised an interesting personal case about the minimum requirements for a game to be rated, can't remember the details now.