Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What is A Draw Offer?: Learning The Hard Way

At the National Chess Congress they have a few sections for lower rated players that have no cash prizes, just trophies. Many kids play in these sections, but because they're not scholastic tournaments there will also be low rated adults in the sections. (Note: I may gripe about losing to 10 year olds, but at least their ratings are 4 digits. I'm not sure if I could cope with having a rating under 1000 and playing and losing to children with such ratings.) The other thing about these sections not being scholastic, is the neurotic chess parent can hover near by, thus making the tournament director's job much harder. I think my favorite scene in "Searching for Bobby Fischer" is when the tournament director locks all the crazed parents in the cage. My tournament director fantasy is to be able to do that to crazed mothers and fathers when they get in my face.

As I was walking out of the tournament room after my fifth round loss there was a big argument going on between the father of a little girl in the Under 1000 section, the opponent of the girl, players sitting at adjoining boards, other spectators and the poor tournament director. And people wonder why spectators are not allowed near the players at the national scholastic championships. As much as I did not like losing another game, I much preferred being able to leave the room to mark up another zero, then have to make a ruling on what was happening in the Under 1000 section.

The last thing I heard the father say was something to the affect of, "You're grown men taking advantage of a little girl." I asked the director later what that was all about. The girl was crushing her opponent and had mate in a few moves. The opponent was shaking his head and muttering. The girl thought he was resigning and reached out to shake his hand. He interpreted the extended hand as a draw offer, and promptly accepted. That was not her intention, but that's how it came across. I guess the other players seated at the adjoining boards felt that was what happened. The father felt the opponent was taking advantage of her youth and inexperience by claiming a draw in a hopeless position. However the director did rule that it was a draw offer. Not having heard what the witnesses had to say or what the player herself said, I can't really say whether or not the ruling was right or not.

Fortunately her tie breaks we better so she did come in first any way. It would have sucked to have not won the section because of that error. It also would have sucked if there had been money and she ended out with less because she was in a tie for first instead of clear first. (BTW the under 1600 section was won by a 7 year old who got $3,000.) Hopefully she learned not to offer or accept a handshake without hearing "I resign" from the opponent.

I've had more then one kid ask me what my intent was if I stopped the clock, said "Good game", and extended my hand. My adult opponents accept my resignation in that manner. The kids want to see a tipped king, or hear "I resign." Though recently a tipped king was not enough for one of my young opponents. He still asked me what I meant. I know he knew what a tipped king meant, but I think he just wanted to make sure that it wasn't a big j'adoube that was disguising a stealth draw offer. That's not my style, but I'm sure the kid must have been burned once with what he thought was a resignation, but actually was a stealth draw offer. It's better to be safe then sorry.

19 comments:

gorckat said...

Oh, jeez, that is so wrong! I can't believe I'll have to prep my daughter for this sort of thing.

likesforests said...

What a wonderful way to score 1/2 point and encourage young people to play and appreciate chess.

Glenn Wilson said...

He interpreted the extended hand as a draw offer, and promptly accepted.

The facts sound to me like nobody resigned and no one offered a draw so the game should just continue.

But, of course, I have to agree with: Not having heard what the witnesses had to say or what the player herself said, I can't really say whether or not the ruling was right or not.

I've had more then one kid ask me what my intent was if I stopped the clock, said "Good game", and extended my hand. My adult opponents accept my resignation in that manner.

That will elicit the question "You resign?" or similar from me. When I resign* I tip my King or state "I resign."

* - At least that is what I think I do in the rare event when I lose a game. :-) I just checked and I have not had a loss in my last eighteen tournament games (mostly beating up on lower rated players). link
Hmmm...That loss was in 2002....maybe I should play more often?

gorckat said...

Hmmm...That loss was in 2002....maybe I should play more often?

No! You should start charging enormous coaching rates justifying it with your 5 years without a tournament loss :P

Liquid Egg Product said...

It's amazing what competition does to people. Both parties need to be clear about their intentions. I use the following steps to resign:

1. Grab a Bishop and spear it into the floor.

2. Yell, "I can't believe I lost to this patzer!"

3. Tell the opponent to post the 1-0 result him/herself.

@Glenn: If you want to hit 2200? Yeah, you may want to consider playing a little more. ;)

BlunderProne said...

You know, if kids are goign to play in adult tournaments they have to expect and respect the rules. All too often I see the arogance of a youth trumped up by the self entitlement bestowed upon them by the helicopter parents sighing heavily because i WON'T resign as I take them down my tenacious path to swindle the draw.

My dad played chess and got me going years ago when MUCH fewer kids were in the "sport". He always told me " These guys play for blood (ratings). Are you ready? Be prepared to have yoru face rubbed inte h mud a few times, but this will toughen you up." He never came to my rescue. I got my own officila USCF rule book and understood it. I knew what i could and could not do.

These kids today... I tell you.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of Maintaining a page with Chess Blogger information, that way if we play on FICS etc. or visit a Blogger's city we can meet up
[if we want to :) ]


The first step is to decide what to include:


Blog Name:
Real name: (optional)
Blogger Country:
Blogger City:


Handles :

FICS
ICC
CTS
what else?


Rating : (optional)

National:
FIDE:
FICS:
ICC:

Please email response to : iwijetunge[at]yahoo[dot]com


Getting to 2000

Wahrheit said...

I think I may have to look up the crosstable on the USCF and publish this guy's name in BIG BOLD letters. But a good lesson for the girl--muttering and headshaking isn't allowed in a tournament game, so instead of thinking it's a resignation just say "Stop that, please."

Somewhere in the distant past I read about a master game where one player put out his hand and said, "You played very well"; he thought he was offering a draw and his opponent thought he was resigning! Clarity on this point is very important, no doubt. Now, off to brand a Scarlett Letter...

Anonymous said...

Your chess blog is one of the best ones around.

Polly said...

Glenn: This type of situation arises more then one might think. Players have to make their intentions very clear, and opponents need to understand what the player means by certain actions or statements.

LEP: You score extra style points if the bishop makes a hole in the table or carpet when you spear it.

Blunder: No matter what type of tournament it is, children need to be prepared for this type of crap. I've seen kids pull that type of nonsense in scholastic tournaments too. It's not simply adults that might take advantage of a less experienced opponent. As a coach who has also worked as a TD both locally and nationally, I've seen almost everything. I tell my players what is expected out of them, and what they need to watch for.

Wahr: I tell me students to stick up for their rights, whether it's telling an opponent to stop being annoying, or to challenge a ruling that they feel is just wrong. TDs do make mistakes. Often kids get intimidated by adults. Respect is important, but one can defend themself without being disrespectful.

Anonymous said...

I don't play in chess tournaments anymore, but from what I read generally, it seems that chess tournament directors are on the average more stupid then those in other typical sporting contests.

I recall reading the "arbiter" column in chesscafe, a case where a TD awarded a win to a player who, in front of witnesses, changed the board position while his opponent was in the bathroom. The opponent didn't notice the manipulation, so the TD ruled against him when he lost.

If stuff like this is legitimate tournament chess, I'll prefer my web and/or park playing, thank you.

Chessaholic said...

Seems like I need to play in more tournaments, I am missing out on all the fun drama...

Glenn Wilson said...

Actually I think I have only gone fourteen games in a row without a loss. One of the tournaments in my "18 game streak" is listed twice on the USCF site. I had not noticed that before this post prompted me to look back for my last loss. Without that tourney it is 14 in a row w/o a loss. (And the 14 in a row is not a big deal -- these were almost all against players rated below me).

I know I have played in tournaments that never got rated including my best ever result. Really.

Oh well. I wonder how often that happens (tournaments rated twice)?

@LEP: Actually, I'm thinking of making 2400 my target rating and playing even less...or I could show up at HCC and play you 400 times in a row. :-)

Polly said...

Anon: That's an interesting case that you bring up. I'm not so sure it's arbiter stupidity or having go by the rules in place. Not having read the column in question, but basing my comments on what you said, this is my take.

Spectators are not allowed to interfere in a game, even if something grossly unfair is occurring. That would be considered giving unauthorized help.

If the player did not complain until the game was over, he has lost his right to appeal. Once a player resigns, or gets mated the game is done.

Now if he complained before the game was done then he can use the spectators who observed what happened as witnesses. In that case the arbitor should penalize the opponent. If it were my decision I'd forfeit the cheat, and toss him from the tournament.

In regards to your comments about chess tournament directors being dumber then their counterparts in other sports, I think you're comparing apples to oranges. Officials in other sports take classes, they train in the field, and work their way up through the ranks. Even little league and youth soccer officials have more formal training then the average TD. Chess TDs read the rule book, take the test and start at the lowest level. The higher level TDs have worked their way up by working with more experienced TDs, and working on larger events. Tournaments tend to be their classroom. Maybe chess needs TD classes, but a lot of what happens on the floor at a chess tournament can't be simulated in a classroom. Though the test to move up to next level sure tries!

Anonymous said...

Polly, with all due respect, you are off base here.

You say "Spectators are not allowed to interfere in a game, even if something grossly unfair is occurring. That would be considered giving unauthorized help.

If the player did not complain until the game was over, he has lost his right to appeal. Once a player resigns, or gets mated the game is done."

So you seem to be agreeing that if the victim didn't notice the manipulation in time, tough luck on him?! That is totally unjust.

You seem to be saying that it is OK for someone to claim a victory after tampering with the pieces under some circumstances- I can't believe that any reasonable person out there would agree with you on that.

Liquid Egg Product said...

Glenn: OK, we'll play 400 straight times. HCC had better have a lot of spare Bishops.

Steve in TN said...

Hey, guys... I was going to add my little bit of condemnation to the guy, but in looking up his MSA data it appears as if he is still a kid (in High School) himself! His tourney results are almost all scholastic.

This wasn't a grown man (though at my age anything under 35 isn't really a grown man) taking advantage of a kid... It was kid on kid violence.

Wahrheit said...

Steve--your point is valid, but I looked up the guy too and found he was a HS player, still call ed out here with a proverbial "Scarlet Letter" over at my blog...because this kind of thing needs a little public exposure and shame. For all I know he's a fine gentleman most of the time and will grow up to be President, but only if it's clear there are negative consequences to this kind of bad behavior.

Polly said...

Anon: I stand corrected on part of your follow up. The spectator may point this out to the arbiter out of earshot of the players. It would be up to the arbiter to intervene at that point. I do agree that the arbiter should not have let the result stand.

If the player didn't notice it during the game he may be SOL based on the following:

Article 5.1: a: The game is won by the player who has checkmated his
opponent’s king with a legal move. This immediately ends the game,
provided that the move producing the checkmate position was a legal
move.
b. The game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns.
This immediately ends the game.
Article 7.4a: If during a game it is found that an illegal move has been
made, the position immediately before the irregularity shall be
reinstated.
Article 8.7: At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both
scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this
result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

The last line does give the aggrieved player hope. I'm curious which month's Arbiter Notebook this situation was mentioned. I was trying to find it in the archives, but I didn't have any luck. Most of the situations where a player wanted recourse after the game was completed had to do with illegal moves that were unnoticed during the game. Illegal moves such as leaving a king in check, or moving a piece incorrectly.