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Flag fall as last piece is taken - Printable Version

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Flag fall as last piece is taken - HLang - 16-05-2012

Scenario: Rapidplay game. Black takes white's queen with the move ...Qxd1 then, before pressing her clock, points out that her own flag has fallen. In the position after ...Qxd1, white has a bare king.

My understanding is that a flag has fallen when it has been observed to have fallen. So:

Is it a draw because, in the position on the board at the time the flag fall was observed, white has a bare king?

Or is it a win on time for black because white didn't successfully complete the move that produced the bare king by pressing her clock with her flag still up (even though the move had been made before the flagfall was pointed out)?

And would it make a difference if someone had been watching and could say with certainty whether the flag fell before or after ...Qxd1 was played?

(The only other time something a bit like this has come up, the move played was checkmate, which immediately ends the game unless the flag was observed to have fallen first. This is a bit more difficult for me to get my head around, as the move played was "special" but not something that immediately ends the game.)

Edit: Under 9 schools league game. We decided on the spot that it was a draw without any discussion, but then I started thinking a bit more about it in the evening.


Re: Flag fall as last piece is taken - Andrew McHarg - 16-05-2012

Why did the player point out that their own flag had fallen anyway? Such goods sportsmanship deserves to be rewarded with the draw imo, whether technically accurate or not.

Anyway, I aint an arbiter, so can't answer on the technicalities. Big Grin


Re: Flag fall as last piece is taken - Donald Wilson - 16-05-2012

Heather,

It's a draw. The rule is ambiguous, mainly because the person who wrote it (in English) was not a native speaker of English - what it is trying to say is that the flag fell the instant before one of the players or the arbiter said it was down, in other words that there is no measurable time lapse between the flag falling and the comment that it is down.

So in the case you quote, the flag, in the eyes of the law, did not fall until after the white queen had been taken. It may, in reality, have fallen long before that, but until somebody comments on the fact (which is the meaning of "observed" in this context) it is considered not to have fallen.

In a rapidplay game, no evidence from spectators can be considered where flagfall is concerned - even the arbiter is not allowed to comment until one of the players has pointed out that the flag is down, and even then the arbiter cannot say when the flag fell, only that it is down and what the consequence of that is.


Re: Flag fall as last piece is taken - HLang - 18-05-2012

Donald: Thanks for this. Excellent to know we made the right decision - and that I was also correct to say to the other team's parent helper that it was up to the players to point out a flagfall in a rapidplay game (which is why we weren't watching).

Andrew: The player in question is a lovely, scrupulously honest, child for whom fairness and the correct result is more important than winning.

It also made me recall this game, with an interesting final position where black has lost on move 40 despite being a pawn up in an ending:

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1014192">http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1014192</a><!-- m -->

Apparently black successfully made the time control on move 40 and pressed his clock with the flag still up. When Mickey was thinking about his own 41st move, the guy got up to go for a walk, bumped the table and black's flag fell before Mickey had replied.


Re: Flag fall as last piece is taken - Andy McCulloch - 18-05-2012

Excuse me for being dim here. If the player pressed the clock with the flag still up, how does it falling before his opponent's next move make him lose? Which bit of the Laws do I not understand?

His move was surely completed when he pressed the clock, the fact that an accidental knock caused the flag to fall is irrelevant?


Re: Flag fall as last piece is taken - Andrew McHarg - 18-05-2012

This is one of the main reasons I like to see digital clocks used, particularly in such short time controls! It's just so much easier to manage the last 5 minutes of your time. Big Grin