2003 Clarendon Open

Antonne Tulloch's Appeal

Attn: The Secretary of the Jamaica Chess  Federation, Robert Wheeler 

Please find attached in pgn format my game with  Daren Wisdom at the Clarendon Open on October 5, 2003. 

On move 50 I having the move with less than two  minutes on my clock claimed a draw on the basis  that it was impossible for White to win by normal  means. Peter Myers the Tournament Director and arbiter made a ruling that there was no draw and I  was to play on. Again on move 60 with I  claimed a draw again on the same basis with  approx. 20 seconds on my clock in the final time  control. This was again denied by the arbiter and I was told to play on. 

I am hereby appealing his decision as I know that  under the rules of the JCF on move 50 it is impossible for White to win by normal means, as  well as his decision on move 60, in both  positions my understanding of the rule and how it  was applied in the recent National  Championships Black has a valid draw claim.  I informed Mr. Myers that I planned to appeal his  decision and he informed me that I should send  my appeal to the Secretary of the Federation.

Pete Myers' Response

Hello Fellow Council Members and other interests,

This email serves to alert the JCF to the fact that a number of our players seem to be unsure about how to interpret the rule in relation to Quick play Finishes, as found in Article 10 of the Laws of Chess. This became very evident at the end of the Clarendon Chess Open.

Mr. Bertram Scott, Mr. Antonne Tulloch, Mr. Russell Porter and Ms. Deborah Richards for example. I point them out because these individuals are very important to chess development in Jamaica and hence it is very important that this rule be clarified, not just to them but to the entire membership of the Federation.

As the Arbiter of the Clarendon Open, the rule was pretty clear to me until I started hearing questions and interpretations of what it means to “win by normal means,” and the setting up of Appeals Committees, etc. Now that I have taken another look at the rule, and some of the discussions that have taken place internationally on the subject, I am now even more certain that I made the right decisions. I admit however that I did make one error. This error was that I failed to inform Mr. Tulloch that based on the FIDE Rule, the decision of the Arbiter with respect to Quick play finishes is final. This is the only decision of the Arbiter in the Laws of Chess which is final and hence cannot be appealed.

I think this rule needs serious discussion and the results of the discussion posted on the JCF website and other websites. Please note that I have sent Mr. Bertram Scott this email because he is one of the main individuals who believes that I am wrong and wanted to set up an Appeals Committee. To all who do not have the Laws of Chess they are available on the FIDE website at www.fide.com in the Handbook under the INFO section. Later.

Peter Myers, Vice President Jamaica Chess Federation

Mark Bowen's Letter

Myers is often right but perhaps he needs to put more PR and Politics into practice and let the masses understand the reason for his decisions. Of course the masses need to show respect for one of the few people willing to develop the game and actually be willing to listen and learn.
I found the Holness comments very interesting, especially the comments about "stronger players". I don't think the role of a TD is to make the stronger player win.  I feel Laws are there to level the playing field and that if such a thing as a "stronger player" exists objectively then he/she must be able to prove it by playing strong chess within a consistent framework.

I am aware that my view is probably in the minority on this issue. Shane and Rowe have earned greater respect through their recent actions, which have spoken louder than words, and they are "stronger players" for it. There is more to Life than Chess, and more to chess than winning, more important than being always right is being always able to respect each other.

peace. mjbb.

Jamaican Ambassadors Chess Academy (Bertram Scott)


You made a decision as the TD, not as an "Arbiter". The term "Arbiter" suggest the attainment of the specified qualification pursuant to an exam, and if my info serves me well, NM Robert Wheeler is reportedly the only FIDE qualified "Arbiter" in Jamaica.

Nevertheless, you made a decision under the pressure of the moment as the TD, and right or wrong we all have to live with it and move on to the next event.

It sure would have helped to convince us of your rightness if you had mingled the essence of Article 10 with the intricacies of the facts instead of just saying that you were right, without more. Educate us, if you will.

For what it's worth, the 2003 Clarendon Open was a great event, a lot of fun, and hats off to the newly formed Clarendon Chess Association and all those who worked to make the Open such a success. Including yourself, of course.

Keep up the good work Pete, and you might want to consider sitting the Arbiter's exam. Jamaica sure needs more qualified "Arbiter".


NM Shane Matthews' Letter
Gents and Dougnik :)

The rule is quite clear as far as I'm concerned. Consider the following scenario;

Player 1 is claiming a draw with less than 2 min on his clock. Whether he is winning or actually drawing is irrelevant.

An arbiter will then use his discretion in determining the outcome, based on his initial assessment of the position at the time of the claim. He may;

1) Request the game to continue, to see if the first player is actually trying to win by NORMAL means (not just trying to clock his opponent). Player 1 should try to make the best move, knowing confidently he now CANNOT LOSE ON TIME (unless it was obvious that there is still a lot of play in the position, i.e. UNCLEAR). When the flag falls, The Arbiter will then resort to either of the two following options.

2) Give the claiming opponent additional time to prove a draw. Even if he is winning, his initial claim for draw still stands. The claiming opponent must make moves to demonstrate his claim, otherwise the Arbiter can award a win to the first opponent.

3) Stop the game immediately, and have the first ("clocking") player prove a forceful continuation. A panel of "strong" players or the use of a computer program to help analyse and conclude is also practiced.

Hope this info helps, and could be referred to for further discussion.

I might add too, that I enjoyed the CCO, but was somewhat disappointed at the turnout. The organizing committee needs to meet to discuss the Ja. Open. Could we meet at the May Fair, say Wed 8th or Thur 9th @ 6pm (promise to be there this time).

Vying for another infamous Best Sporstman Award,


Ian Wilkinson's Letter (JCF President)

This rule really needs some discussion. I remember that my first encounter with it was in the 2003 New Year's Open where, with less than two minutes left to finish the game, I claimed a draw in my first round clash against NM Holness (in a drawn position). VP Myers (who was also the TD !!!!) ruled that we should play on. Holness had about 5 minutes left at the time. I ended up losing on time.
More recently in the 2003 national championships, Eton Chin, playing against Alain Morais claimed a draw in reliance on the same provision as he had less than two minutes left. The TD (John Tobisch) told him to play on and deferred his decision as the rule allowed. Chin refused to make another move (as he was entitled to do) and after his time expired he again made the claim for a draw and the TD, after consulting Fritz 8 and the experienced Bob Wheeler, ruled that the position was a draw. Chin was, therefore, successful.

We need to clarify this position/rule as I can foresee more claims being made in the future especially with the short time controls we are employing in the Open tournaments. Bob, we should convene a meeting of the rules committee as soon as possible to consider that rule among others, the arbiter's exams etc... More time.

Ian Wilkinson President, JCF

Mark Holness responding to Warren Elliott's Comments


Article 10: Quickplay Finish

10.1  A 'quickplay finish' is the last phase of a game, when all the remaining moves must be made in a limited time.

10.2  If the player, having the move, has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw  before his flag falls. He shall stop the clocks and summon the arbiter.
a. If the arbiter agrees the opponent is making no effort to win the game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means, then he shall declare the  game drawn. Otherwise he shall postpone his decision or reject the claim.

b. If the arbiter postpones his decision, the opponent may be awarded two extra  minutes thinking time and the game shall continue in the presence of an arbiter, if possible. The arbiter shall declare the final result after a flag has fallen.

c. If the arbiter has rejected the claim, the opponent shall be awarded two extra minutes  thinking time.

d. The decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to 10.2 a, b, c.


Hi guys,

1."Its good that we're finally trying to make sense of some of these rules. After reviewing the postions I've come to the conclusion that Peter's point (as arbiter) has some validity to it, it's just that unfortunately it was the wrong decision... "

<<NOPE, PETER WAS RIGHT, except... he should have given Daren 2 extra minutes!!!

2. "When FIDE made this ruling it was because of those people who continued to push in a theoretically drawn position trying to 'clock' their opponent. FIDE thought this was unfair given the fact that the time control is final!

<<THE  KEY here ( See the rules) is not whether the game was drawn in theory but if Daren was trying to win by Normal means.  From what I hear, Daren was eating pawns like crazy, and not just making useless moves. That qualifies as trying to win by normal means.

<<Secondly, FIDE didnt make the rules because of those people who were trying to clock their opponent. FIDE Made the ruling   to give those "other people who used up all their Time" a chance. FIDE doesnt really want to give them a  chance but fide is being lenient because FIDE knows there are  a lot of countries like Jamaica who are still playing with outdated chess  Clocks with no Time increments.

<< So fide said ok.. We are going to make a rule to Compensate for the fact that people are still using outdated clocks.

<< Its what you call a COMPROMISE.

Daren  would say, " hey... this  isnt fair !! Why should i be punished  for being a good time manager?
But Tulloch would say..... " Hey this isnt fair !!  Why Should I be punished because  the JCF isnt using Clocks with time increments... which they are supposed to!!

<< Hence the compromise. When  everybody starts using  Clocks with time increments then this rule will be made redundant.

3. However after the new time controls (where each player gets time increments after each move) the '2 minute rule' is now vanquished. Why? Because you now get time to prove your draw! This is somewhat similar to the rule which says with 5 minutes remaining in sudden death you dont have to score... (this rule is also now vanquished with the new time control - you must score now at all times. Why? Because you get the time to score!)

<<< In Sudden Death  Quick play finish the claiming person doesnt get time to prove his draw. In point of fact, it is his opponent who gets time to prove ( NOT THE WIN!!)....but simply  to prove that he  is TRYING TO WIN BY NORMAL MEANS and not just making useless moves.

Daren should have gotten two additional minutes.  Yes... Daren.

4. You see the point is - as long as the position is drawn and there is limited time on the clock (2 minutes) you are entitled to a draw! What the arbiter could do is let it play on a little if he thinks one person has realistic chances to win.

<<< Nope.... It doesnt say anywhere in article 10 that a player is entitled to  a draw if the position is drawn.  The only way he is entitled to a draw ( and its in the rules just look) is if his Opponent is not trying to win by normal means or if it is impossible  to win by Normal means.  Although losing the position was clearly rich enough to enable Daren to make Progress and try to win by normal means.

<< Let us be clear. To try and win a game  by normal means  means making progress having useful moves even if you are defending. That is why when I played Bertram  even though there were many pawns on the board I could not penetrate, win material, check his king or make any kind of progress.  Daren's game  was much different. Even though  he was losing he could win material, (and he did) and make progress.  Daren must not be punished  because his opponent is out of time. Daren must only be punished  if it is impossible to  win or he isnt making any progress(trying to wionby normal means). Why? because it says so in the rules.

<< Just think for a moment  what could happen if a Player was automatically entitled to a draw if the position was  drawn with 2 minutes remaining. This would mean that all a player had to do was to achieve a drawn position against NM Shane Matthews after  the first time control then just let his clock run down to two minutes, call the arbiter, and claim the draw after running it on Fritz 8.

5. But if I'm hearing correctly, Tulloch was up a piece and the position wasn't unclear! I dont know folks but I've seen harder positions get the draw claim...

<< Yes Warren u are absolutely correct. This rule has been broken so many times by the JCF, that it actually seemed that Peter was wrong because he went against the trend and actually decided to follow the rules!

6. That's my 2 cents!

<< Its good to have your input and  your E-mail almost convinced  me, so I read the rules again. And you know what? Peter followed the rule to the letter, Except that Daren should have been awarded two extra minutes, to prove he was trying to win by normal means.

<< FINALLY!!  ..... It is important not to confuse "Clocking an Opponent"  with "Not Winning a Game by Normal means"   These are in fact two seaprate elements which are only sometimes related.

It is in fact possible to "Clock an opponent" and try to win by normal means at the same time. Because of this FIDE could not  make the rules based upon "Clocking" but instead had to make the rules based on the KEY FACTOR, which is WINNING BY NORMAL MEANS.  In doing this FIDE addresses the "Cause" which is inability to win by normal means and not the "Symptom" which is clocking.

When FIDE does it like this you can "clock" an opponent all you want but you had better make progress while clocking i.e  Try to win by normal means eg. winning material, improve position attack the opponents king etc. etc.

Remember FIDE is not trying to punish the other guy who used his time correctlly. Its a time game an "Time is material". FIDE is just giving the guy who used up his time a "Chance" which is why he can only claim a draw and not a win.

In laymans terms , FIDE is saying:

"Look you used up all your time and you really deserve to lose since you both started out with equal time."

But.. we realize that if u had the proper clocks... you would use time increments  so  we will make a deal with you.  For the sake of ethics..... if your opponent really can't win the game we will give you a draw even though you dont deserve it.

What??? Thats not enough? Ok get this... Even if your opponent CAN Win... but he isn't making any progress we will still give you the draw... although u dont deserve it. Now go ask your federation to  get some clocks with time increments!!"

Regards, Mark Holness

P.S. Ian, I respectfully do not think there is much more room for discusion.  Article 10, pretty much says it all and says it clearly too. All one has to do is just read it very carefully.

Mark Holness VP, JCF

Malaku Lorne's Letter

Well, I wasn't there but from what i heard and have read Myers did in fact make an incorrect decision. Everyone agrees that Tulloch was winning when he made the first draw claim. How can you tell the man that because his opponent has mating material he can't claim a draw, where have you ever heard such nonnsense? Geez, with best play there's no way white can win such a postition, the decision shouldn't be made based on whether or not mate is possible by the person losing, it should be done based on what would happen with best play.

Pete Myers' Reponse to Bertram Scott's JACA story

Hello Again Bertram,
I note with great interest that in addition to  querying my decision with respect to the Quickplay  Finish result between Tulloch and Wisdom, on your  website you have termed my decision to allow  Shane to play Rowe "controversial." Your main point being that I undid a default after the score sheets were signed and turned in.
I fully understand the issue surrounding the  Quickplay Finish because I believe that both sides have good reason to hold to their position. This is why I have asked the JCF to discuss this matter and issue an official position.
With respect to the decision surrounding the  Shane/Rowe game I am less understanding.
I draw your attention to Article 6.7 of the Laws of  Chess, which states the following:
"Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise."

My interpretation of this Article is that the  signing and turning in of the scoresheets is not  final. The arbiter still has the option to decide that the game is not lost by the player arriving  late. The circumstances at the time, especialy considering Shane's willingness to play Rowe, I felt warranted the allowance of the game to proceed. I was of the impression that everyone had moved on  from this particular matter. Some might argue  that by responding to your article I am actually  turning it into controversy. However, the fact  that it is on the website means that there is a permanent record and hence it demands a response, which of course I am always willing to oblige. 
I look forward to your usual surreptitious response.
Please add this email to those already on your  website.
Peter Myers
2003 Clarendon Open