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An unusual incident - Alastair White - 04-05-2015

At the Euro Seniors in Greece.

Yesterday I was watching Douglas McKerracher's game as it approached the time control. His opponent moved his queen and accidentally knocked over his passed pawn on d4. He then picked it up and placed it on d5, one square nearer queening. Neither player noticed the error.

I informed the arbiters who did not appear to believe me at first but after I demonstrated what had happened on a spare board, they went to investigate. After a cursory examination of the scoresheets they fobbed me off again until after the time control had been reached then stopped the clocks and reconstructed the game which proved I was correct. The pawn was repaced on d4 and the game continued from the position reached at the time control.

It may not have affected the outcome but I am interested to know what should have happened. Should the arbiters have intervened at all? Should the game revert to the position where the error was made? How should it have been rectified? Can anyone advise?


Re: An unusual incident - Alex McFarlane - 04-05-2015

Firstly, you did exactly the right thing in not interfering in the game but informing the arbiters.

From your description I am not sure what the arbiters were doing. I can understand them being loathe to verify your story until after a time scramble. You do not say if both players were short of time at that point.
They may have had to balance the possibility of you being wrong with the effect that an interruption would have on the players.
Having said that, I would have hoped that a look at the scoresheets would have proved what you said and that they would have intervened.

When an irregularity is discovered then they should go back to the position before that. What they do with the clocks could be decided by the timetable of the tournament. They may give both players extra time of they may not. The formula for adjusting the clocks proportionally to the time used no longer applies automatically.

Simply replacing the pawn and continuing the game is unacceptable as alternative moves could have been played.


Re: An unusual incident - Matthew Turner - 25-09-2015

I am a bit confused as what the definition of an illegal move is. Douglas's opponent has effectively played two moves at once, which I know isn't allowed Smile Does that then mean that Douglas could have stopped the clocks and claimed the game?

On the ECForum we have Roger de Coverly quoting the FIDE rules

"A4 (b) would appear to cover it.

An illegal move is completed once the player has pressed his clock. If the arbiter observes this he shall declare the game lost by the player, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the arbiter does not intervene, the opponent is entitled to claim a win, provided the opponent has not made his next move. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves. If the opponent does not claim and the arbiter does not intervene, the illegal move shall stand and the game shall continue. Once the opponent has made his next move, an illegal move cannot be corrected unless this is agreed by the players without intervention of the arbiter."

Does that mean that the game should continue with the pawn on d5 unless the players decide otherwise?