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.
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.
Peter Myers, Vice President Jamaica Chess
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.
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.
Jamaican Ambassadors Chess Academy
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
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
NM Shane Matthews'
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
Hope this info helps, and could be referred to for
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
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
Article 10: Quickplay Finish
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.
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
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.
decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to 10.2 a, b, c.
ELLIOTT'S COMMENTS AND MY
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
<<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!
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
<< So fide said ok.. We are going to make a rule
to Compensate for the fact that people are still using outdated
<< Its what you call a COMPROMISE.
Daren would say, " hey... this isnt
fair !! Why should i be punished for being a good time manager?
Tulloch would say..... " Hey this isnt fair !! Why Should I be punished
because the JCF isnt using Clocks with time increments... which they are
<< Hence the compromise. When everybody starts
using Clocks with time increments then this rule will be made
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
<<< 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
Daren should have gotten two additional minutes. Yes...
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
<< 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
6. That's my 2 cents!
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
"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
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,
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.
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
With respect to the decision surrounding
the Shane/Rowe game I am less understanding.
your attention to Article 6.7 of the Laws of Chess, which states the
"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
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
I look forward to your usual surreptitious
Please add this email to those already on
2003 Clarendon Open