Full Version: Two questions from a junior tournament today
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The games are rapidplay games.

Question 1

White is very short of time, and has Q+R v R with a few pawns each. Black (8 years old) thinks that white's flag has fallen and picks up the clock to show the gaggle of intense adults that unfortunately gather round the last few games to finish at these kinds of events (the adults are the "board stewards" and team managers from various County teams - de facto controllers for the event - who support a qualified arbiter who's overall in charge).

One adult (unconnected to either team) is of the opinion that the flag was up until the clock was picked up, and that it was picking up the clock that knocked the flag down. The arbiter didn't see the incident. By this point white's team manager is insisting that black's team should be docked a point for "a technical rules infringement". Black's board steward is present and is the strongest player there, but was watching another game and didn't see the incident; black's team manager had popped out of the playing hall a few minutes earlier to avoid adding yet another body to the gaggle of intense adults.

What should the arbiter do?

Question 2

Black has played a move that looks like checkmate. The players are in the process of agreeing that it's checkmate when a passing board steward points out that both kings are in check (but doesn't realise that one of the kings is in "checkmate"). White has already said that they think it is checkmate, but the results slip hasn't yet been filled in. The clock was paused by black on delivering the "checkmate".

On checking the scoresheets, it transpires that white, in playing Ke2-f1 on the previous move, put black's king in discovered check. Ke2-f1 had been replied to by Rh1 "checkmate".

What should the arbiter do?
Question 1 is a bit of a stinker. My opinion is as follows:
- Black may well have won quite legitimately, but has compromised the crucial evidence;
- Black has committed an infringement in picking up the clock;
- if the flag was indeed still up when Black picked up the clock, it is possible that White might have claimed a draw before flag-fall - a Q up, it is likely the draw would have been given;
- deducting a point is an excessive penalty for picking up a clock.
So my inclination would be to declare the game drawn - it can be argued that's as much as (or even more than) either player deserves.

I think Question 2 is a bit more straightforward:
- the players were "in the process" of agreeing a result, but hadn't actually agreed it, so the game was still in progress;
- the scoresheets show clearly that an illegal move was played.
So the game is restored to the point immediately before the illegal move Rh1; Black has touched the R, so if a move of the R can end the check Black must play it.
Interesting. On the day, the arbiter's take on question 1 was that picking up the clock and "making the flag fall" was equivalent to playing an illegal move when your opponent has <5 minutes left and restarting your opponent's clock. White was awarded an extra 2 minutes, then checkmated black easily.

For question 2, your suggestion was exactly what happened. One of the other board stewards / managers was busy telling white "did you already agree it was checkmate - if you did the game is over" but the managers of the two players involved went with just going back to the point where the illegal move was made. 3 moves later, black won with a genuine checkmate.

For question 2, would the situation be different if white had stopped the clocks to show that they agreed that it was checkmate?

Which leads to hypothetical question 3, which I have seen happen in the past. It is stalemate but the players both agree that it is checkmate. My understanding is that if it's not stalemate, then agreeing that it's checkmate when it's not is equivalent to the loser resigning. However I would think that stalemate must end the game, making it impossible for a player to resign after the stalemate has happened? At what point is a controller no longer able to say that the result is actually a draw? I am imagining a scenario where the players may go off to hand in a results slip before resetting the pieces, but might also reset the pieces before filling in the results slip.