IM Enrico Sevillano vs. Charles Lawton in what would end in disaster.
Photo by Larry Stendebach.
Charles Lawton entered the 2009 U.S. Championship as a hometown favorite and a veteran player. His wildcard selection seemed to be a logical choice and gave recognition to a player who had been the pride of St. Louis. Onlookers at the ICC were wondering why his game with Enrico Sevillano ended abruptly after 89.Rc7 (threatening 90.d6) and figured it had to do with a relay problem. The position was dead draw as everyone agreed. It became a rude shock when “1-0” was flashed on the official site. What happened?
According to reports on blogs, Lawton’s loss had to do with a issue of score-keeping during sudden death. For those who are not familiar with the game, Lawton had a clear advantage, was up an exchange and looked to score his first point. In fact, when the tide turned after Lawton sacrificed back the exchange, commentator Emil Sutovsky and Jennifer Shahade stated that Lawton had no losing chances and had “wrapped up” the half point. Then disaster struck.
An unofficial report from a live observer from chessgames.com stated:
The situation was Lawton had 6minutes to Enrico’s 5 minutes Lawton had missed some moves recording and the arbiter demanded he catch up his score sheet. he did. Then she said it wasn’t correct or legiable enough and he needed to redo it. He pointed out he had only a minute left on the clock now thanks to her and he had no time to redo it. She said it would take only 30 seconds to do and if he didn’t do it she’d forfeit him. He let his time run out.
Horrible and unreasonable. The arbiter in question was Carol Jarecki demanded the keeping of score during sudden death. One poster at chessgames.com cited two rulings.
For example, USCF Rule 15C reads as follows:
“15C. Scorekeeping in time pressure, sudden death time control. If EITHER [emphasis added] player has less than five minutes remaining in a sudden death time control, BOTH [emphasis added] players are excused from the obligation to keep score. A scoresheet is not required to win on time in a sudden death time control (13C).”
FIDE Rule 8.4 provides (in relevant part):
8.4 If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock at some stage in a period and does not have additional time of 30 seconds or more added with each move, then he is not obliged to meet the requirements of Article 8.1.”
The increment was five seconds. Jarecki reported that Lawton stopped recording prior to the five-minute mark and was required to update his scoresheet before playing another move. There was not information on whether Lawton signed the scoresheet, but letting his time run out was a natural reaction to what he felt was an unfair ruling.
Lawton, an electrical engineer, has had a long career in chess. Despite being the tournament’s lowest seed, he has brought St. Louis honor.
(Note: Jarecki clarified the time situation in her detailed statement in comment #10. There still remain questions about the dialogue that took place during the incident. Lawton did not release a statement.)
Official Site: http://www.saintlouischessclub.org/
The Chess Drum: https://www.thechessdrum.net/blog/2009/05/07/2009-us-championship-st-louis/
See Sevillano-Lawton here!