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This week you are the arbiter

Last week’s question was: ‘Is it reasonable to award the title of World Champion after a knock-out tournament?’ The readership is of (almost) one mind on this issue: 88% say ‘no’. To be a real World Champion you must win a match. I hope FIDE is paying attention.

Poll-KO-Match

We move on from the World Championship to a blitz game at Jacob’s house-warming on Saturday night.

IMG_0491

In the position above, White was almost out of time (2 or 3 seconds) and stopped the clock, claiming a draw. It was a five-minute game, with no increment. There was a discussion. It was a friendly beer-and-pizza event, so Black sportingly agreed a draw.

But what’s your view? How would you have reacted if you were the arbiter? Is a claim of a draw reasonable here in a blitz game? Would you have awarded the draw, or instead asked the players to play on, which would almost immediately lead to White losing on time?

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  1. Thomas
    May 9th, 2016 at 11:48 | #1

    I do not even understand the question.
    Why should it be possible to claim a draw here?
    I do not have the slightest idea.
    If you don’t like losing on time – play without clocks.
    Or play faster.
    Especially do not play blitz.

  2. Cowe
    May 9th, 2016 at 11:48 | #2

    No way to grant a draw here. I mean, is it really the last bottle !?

  3. Neil Sullivan
    May 9th, 2016 at 12:25 | #3

    As a young player, I had this exact situation arise in a blitz trmt. against an IM. He pushed the pieces to the middle of the board and declared a draw by triple repetition. I thought at the time it was absurd to even try without witnesses or a score sheet. However, the TD, also the club owner, sided with the IM over the snotty-nosed kid. I thought it was unfair then and still do.

  4. Peter
    May 9th, 2016 at 12:45 | #4

    This is exactly why I wont play without increment anymore. Just 2 sec increment and there would be a chance to end this like a real chess game and not like some (childish) clock hacking game. Seems to depend on personal taste though. Looks like there are still people around that enjoy clock hacking more than playing a game of chess.

  5. May 9th, 2016 at 12:46 | #5

    Absolutely not a draw. If you don’t want to lose on time in a won position, play with an increment.

  6. Thomas
    May 9th, 2016 at 13:19 | #6

    Complaining about running out of time when playing blitz is like complaining about getting wet while swimming.

  7. Remco G
    May 9th, 2016 at 13:37 | #7

    You can’t just say “I claim a draw” without saying _based on what rule_ you do. It seems white simply didn’t want to lose on time, so he should have spent less of it. Losing on time happens in blitz.

    That said, any draw claim is also automatically a draw offer, so if the opponent agreed, an agreed draw it is.

  8. Cowe
    May 9th, 2016 at 14:06 | #8

    > That said, any draw claim is also automatically a draw offer, so if the opponent agreed, an agreed > draw it is.

    Not quite in the common case, since one claims a draw to the arbiter, and offer a draw to the opponent. We had an OTB clock incident where a player lost on time but claimed the clock didn’t work properly, which is not easy to disprove. That player bullied a draw offer to his opponent, but the arbiter cut that short, saying that the game was already lost.

    Back on topic, I have a feeling that the whole point of this entry is to shame someone 🙂

  9. Johnnyboy
    May 9th, 2016 at 14:38 | #9

    er this has been the easiest poll ever. play on. can’t see how anyone can make a reasoned argument for a draw with 2 pawns and a rook left for black. white has obviously provided the beer and pizza and it was a gentleman’s agreement

  10. Jim Stone
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:19 | #10

    It’s fine to sportingly “agree” a draw in the lost position.
    But “claiming a draw” is not correct!

    I agree with everyone else to bring on the increments and lets see if White can win it or if Black would win on time = better solution.

  11. Hedgehog
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:31 | #11

    Playing on is obvious for me. I think there were enough curiosities in chess history(and I’m not talking amateur level) of the side being down material in such positions ending up winning to justify it. And adding the time factor Black must have been in a really good mood to agree on a draw.

  12. James
    May 9th, 2016 at 15:38 | #12

    Play on. Losing on time in won positions is your own fault for bad time management.

  13. May 9th, 2016 at 16:21 | #13

    As most readers – I do not see any rule connected to the “draw rule” based on the “I am losing on time and I am winning – what should I do? Is there any escape route?”.

    Play on. If you lost the game – do not blame anyone other then YOURSELF. It is your task to manage the time properly. And if you do not want to lose on time – play with an increment. If this solution still does not work to you – do not play blitzes.

    Anyway if I were an arbiter at this “P&B” (pizza and beer) event – I would ask if Black agrees on a draw. If now – play on until there is a reasonable explanation (based on the rule or common sense) you wnat to claim a draw.

    BTW. If there would be any kind of fortresses – we can discuss if it is a draw or not. However this position does not belong to ANY group of positions they deserve a “peaceuful finish”. At least I do not see any rule (excluding ‘playing on time’ without the effort to win) to this situation (and position).

  14. Jacob Aagaard
    May 9th, 2016 at 16:26 | #14

    The arbiter was 6 years old and wisely not asked to take a stand 🙂

  15. Jacob Aagaard
    May 9th, 2016 at 16:29 | #15

    I stand corrected. Rebecca did indeed declare that White should “play on!”.

  16. Thomas
    May 9th, 2016 at 17:27 | #16

    Did Rebecca ever think of replacing Stewart Reuben and/or Geurt Gijssen ?

  17. Douwe
    May 9th, 2016 at 17:56 | #17

    At a housewarming it all depends on the beerbribe! (Or lemonadebribe for that matter)

  18. Kassy
    May 9th, 2016 at 18:35 | #18

    In USCF(understand not the rules you would have played under) in a non-increment/delay game one could declare insufficient losing chances if a C player(1400-1600) would draw a master.

    Having seen a lot of C players play rook endings, this is totally lose-able.

    Never mind that I don’t think(don’t quote me, not a TD or arbiter) that those rules don’t apply in blitz. And most assuredly don’t normally apply in blitz for fun in my club. Losses happen all the time up a queen, rook, and 4 pawns, etc because of the clock.

  19. Remco G
    May 9th, 2016 at 19:43 | #19

    @Cowe: if you claim a draw to the arbiter, then the opponent is allowed to accept the draw offer regardless of what the arbiter does. The claim is automatically an offer too.

    Say it’s a draw claim on the 50 move rule or threefold repetition and the arbiter has to start the procedure to decide whether the claim is correct (by playing out all the moves on a second board, often), it is often smart for the arbiter to point out to the opponent that this is the case.

  20. John Upper
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:13 | #20

    Play on.
    This is why 5+0 is an exciting and stupid time control.

    If you don’t want blitz to devolve into whack-a-mole, play 3+2.

  21. Jasper
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:16 | #21

    And this is why we play with increments nowadays 🙂

    More serious, claiming a draw as white here will probably be awarded in a long-play game. You can let them play on, and even declare a draw after white’s flag falls (probably after 5 moves max) claiming black isn’t trying to win. In any case white should obviously claim much sooner than with a few secs to go.

    However, in blitz you should just play on (unless white is the host, and you want to avoid getting kicked out 😉 )

  22. Soviet School
    May 9th, 2016 at 20:39 | #22

    This is why I do not like increments, with increment this game is over as an easy white win.
    Without increment there is still the excitement over whose meta strategy Time vs Position will be rewarded. In this sort of position it is quite exciting if white can mate black before white’s time runs out.

    Where I see increments have a role is in stopping situations like players playing on and on damaging the clock in dead drawn opposite bishop endings or Rook v Rook when say one player has a 30 to 25 sec advantage, though there can’t an arbiter call it a draw? What happens in official tournaments with no increment? Not everyone has electronic clocks.

  23. Jacob Aagaard
    May 9th, 2016 at 21:12 | #23

    @Jasper
    How would you know Black is not trying to win after a sample of five moves?

  24. Hilmi M
    May 9th, 2016 at 22:01 | #24

    White is clearly winning, so i think no need to argue that draw agreement by white is O.K.

  25. Jacob Aagaard
    May 10th, 2016 at 07:45 | #25

    But to claim it? If you are winning, can you really claim a draw? This is the question.

  26. Thomas
    May 10th, 2016 at 10:46 | #26

    I’ll try it in my next tournament. Win a pawn on move 10 and claim a draw.

  27. Thomas
    May 10th, 2016 at 10:49 | #27

    A question to John:
    Can black claim a draw in the King’s Gambit / Bishop’s Gambit after white’s move 3. Bc4 ?

  28. Ray
    May 10th, 2016 at 10:53 | #28

    @ Hilmi M

    White is clearly NOT winning, since he only has a few seconds left and thus will lose on time. The clock is an integral part of the game, especially when you’re playing blitz.

  29. Hilmi M
    May 10th, 2016 at 13:22 | #29

    @ Ray
    If material is equal (i even mean the game) i should keep the game go on.
    yes if a player is winning and it is a game with no-increment he can claim a draw to arbiter.
    and arbiter should decide if black is playing for a win or just to draw (and this should be for only really even games, not a clearly lost game for black)

    But Ray, may be i am wrong. as you wrote this is a blitz game:( Then, i should watch argument here. i didnot see that was a blitz game.

  30. Cowe
    May 10th, 2016 at 13:35 | #30

    This is not ‘Nam, there are rules 🙂 e.g. Fide rules §9, 10.2 & Appendix B. Blitz
    in short : a player can claim a draw if she has less than 2mn on her clock, opponent makes no effort to win etc, but this doesn’t apply to blitz. Same for draw claim and draw offer (§9.1.c, app. B).
    Now, on Playchess or such sites, who hasn’t lost on time with extra Queen and Rooks ? but go figure, there’s no button for “automatically claim draw when having a better position but not enough time to win”.

  31. Ray
    May 10th, 2016 at 15:14 | #31

    @ Hilmi M

    Indeed it was a blitz game, so there is really no argument for claiming a draw.

  32. Dennis M
    May 10th, 2016 at 19:28 | #32

    Of course it’s not a draw. White had to spend the time to get the position, and if he had played as quickly as Black had he might have had a worse position on the board. He isn’t entitled to just claim a draw as a magic insurance policy. This is just one small step above cheating.

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