Sunday, May 27, 2012

FIDE Laws of Chess - Article 6

From Article 6, the FIDE Laws of Chess deal with 'competition chess'. This is for games played within competitions, where the final result contributes to something more than just personal pride. Having said that, even now the Laws try and avoid trying to define what form the competition takes, leaving that to the FIDE Tournament Regulations (the TR in RTRC).
The first change to Article 6 is a an new definition. We decided to define 'The chessclock' so as to make the following articles clearer. The proposed new 6.1 reads

‘Chessclock’ means a clock with two time displays, connected to each other in such a way that only one of them can run at one time. ‘Clock’ in the Laws of Chess, means one of the two time displays. Each time display has a ‘flag’. ‘Flag fall’ means the expiration of the allotted time for a player.

Following this we then removed an area of confusion in the previous rules that has always irked me. We propose to define 'press' or 'presses' as meaning pushing the button on your clock to start the opponents clock. We also propose the define 'stop' to mean halting both clocks (or the chessclock) to ask for the arbiters assistance.
Article 6.2 is essentially unchanged, apart from using the new terms mentioned. However taken together with Article 6.3, it does clear up an issue that is still debated. Article 6.2 requires players to complete the required number of moves before the end of the time control (ie 'flag fall). Article 6.3 then requires the Arbiter to check whether this has happened, immediately after on flag falls. Why is this important? Because it answers the question about whether arbiters should call flag fall. Under USCF rules the arbiter does not call flag fall, and I know a number of arbiters (including myself), who are uncomfortable in doing so.
As I have posted in a previous entry, if you follow 6.2 and 6.3, you are required to make a ruling concerning 6.2 the moment you notice a flag has fallen, or one player alerts you to this fact. However, at this point you are making no statement concerning the result of the game, but are merely checking whether the conditions of 6.2 have been met. If it turns out that they have not, then Article 6.9 applies. While this is a somewhat convoluted explanation, it does at least treat the issue of flag fall as a routine part of the game, in the same way that touch move or stalemate may needed to be ruled upon.
6.4 is unchanged, and simply states that the clock is to be placed by the arbiter. Of course there is still the persistent belief that the player with the Black pieces decides, and while this generally happens in practice, it is not correct. In a practical sense, an arbiter may wish to place the clocks all facing in the one direction to make observing them easier. The work around is either for the arbiter to not mind players moving clocks, or to simply allow the player with the Black pieces to decide which side of the table they wish to sit. (Barring left-handers from chess is probably a step too far!)
6.5 is also unchanged, and states that the clock of player of the White pieces is started first.

Now we get on to 6.6. This is the big ticket item, and the one that is probably the most controversial rule in recent years. As it currently stands, 6.6 requires the organiser to set a default time, and a player arriving after that time loses the game. It also states that this time shall be 0 minutes, if the organiser does not specify a time.
Now while the rule clearly states that it is an organisers right to set this time, FIDE (and RTRC) have come under a great deal of criticism for the implementation of this rule. While I'm not saying this criticism is unwarranted, we do have the absurd situation of the ECU using a 0 default time for their own championship, and yet somehow trying to shift the blame onto FIDE, despite the ECU being able to choose a non-zero time.
Having said that, I for one went to the meeting with a proposal to remove 0 and replace it with 30 minutes (or even 15 minutes). However in discussion we looked at a couple of different proposals. Now at this stage we haven't quite agreed on what we will present in Istanbul, but has come down to 2 choices.
The first is to keep it as is, with one small addition. The result shall be a loss, 'unless the arbiter decides otherwise'. While this is a small improvement, it will still be difficult to implement, as players will argue for conformity in arbiter rulings, and letting one player off means letting all players off.
The second proposal is one that I support and reads

The rules of a competition shall specify in advance a default time. Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the default time shall lose the game unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

This wording takes out any mention of a specific default time from the Laws of Chess, and puts the responsibility in the hands of the tournament organisers. Of course some tournament organisers will still insist on 0 (including FIDE), but it will only apply to their tournaments.

The various clauses in 6.7 are mainly unchanged, except under 6.7c we have added 'to press the clock before moving' as things you cannot do with the chessclock. Also in 6.7d, which deals with time adjustments for players who cannot press the clock (ie need an assistance), there is a proposal to exempt players with a disability from this requirement.
From Articles 6.8 to 6.12 we mainly fixed up the wording, with 'the chessclock' replacing 'clocks' wherever necessary. The only real addition was in 6.10b where fixing the clocks 'move-counter' is explicitly mentioned. This foreshadows an explicit recognition of the use of move-counters on clocks, as until now this has not clearly been stated in the relevant regulations.
Article 6.13 is to be taken out of the Laws, and instead moved into Article 7, which deals with other irregularities. This means that 6.14 becomes the new 6.13, but otherwise there is little change.

*** Small Update ***
The proposed change to article 6.6 is now the one listed above

1 comment:

Garvin said...

Article 7 :)