Sunday, March 15, 2009

FIDE Laws changes!

1. The first item is a new one. Article 6.11.b:
If during a game it is found that the setting of either or both clocks was incorrect, either player or the arbiter shall stop the clocks immediately. The arbiter shall install the correct setting and adjust the times and move counter. He shall use his best judgement when determining the correct settings. With analogue clocks, there were never problems with the settings. With digital clocks, many incidents occur because of a wrong setting; for
instance, the increment was not installed.
2. If a player completes in the same game for the third time an illegal move, the game will be declared lost for this player. In Dresden the following sentence was added: 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.
3. As you know, there have been tournaments in which it was forbidden to offer a draw without the consent of the arbiter. In my opinion this rule was not stipulated in the actual Laws of Chess. In Dresden it was decided to make it legal:
9.1a. The rules of a competition may specify that players cannot agree to a draw in less than a specified number of moves or at all, without the consent of the arbiter.
9.1b. If the rules of a competition allow a draw agreement the following apply:
(1) A player wishing to offer a draw shall do so after having made a move on the chessboard and before stopping his clock and starting the opponent’s clock. An offer at any other time during play is still valid, but Article 12.6 must be considered. No conditions can be attached to the offer. In both cases the offer cannot be withdrawn and remains valid until the opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, rejects it by touching a piece
with the intention of moving or capturing it, or the game is concluded in some other way.
(2) The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his scoresheet with a symbol. (See Appendix C13)
(3) A claim of a draw under Article 9.2, 9.3 or 10.2 shall be considered to be an offer of a draw.
As a matter of fact, Article 9.1.b is the original version of Article 9.1, only Article 9.1.a is new. Each tournament committee has to announce in advance how it will apply Article 9.1. As you can construe, there are several possibilities:
It is possible to decide that proposals of a draw may not be made before a certain number of moves, for example 30, 40 or 50 moves or even totally forbidden, unless the arbiter agrees. This is mention in Article 9.1.a. But a tournament committee can also decide to keep the old rule, that a draw offer is possible at any moment during the game. See Article 9.1.b.
4. The last sentence of Article 9.2 has been changed. This change
probably ends the discussion regarding the temporary or permanent change of the right for castling. The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by a
repetition of moves)
a. is about to appear, if he first writes his move on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or
b. has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move. Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same. Positions are not the same if a pawn that could have been captured en passant can no longer be captured in this manner. When a king or a rook is forced to move, it will lose its castling rights, if any, only after it is
5. In Article 9.4 there was a small, but important change. The new text is:
If the player touches a piece as in Article 4.3 without having claimed the draw, he loses the right to claim, as in Article 9.2 or 9.3, on that move.

The old text was:
If the player makes a move without having claimed the draw he loses the right to claim, as in Article 9.2 or 9.3, on that move.
6. Article 9.5 has two changes:
If a player claims a draw as in Article 9.2 or 9.3, he may stop both clocks. (See Article 6.13.b). He is not allowed to withdraw his claim.
a. If the claim is found to be correct the game is immediately drawn.
b. If the claim is found to be incorrect, the arbiter shall add three minutes to the opponent’s thinking time. Then the game shall continue. If the claim was based on an intended move, this move must be made as according to Article 4. In the first sentence it was written, that a player must stop the clocks if he wishes to claim a draw. The new version is that he may stop the clocks.
More important is the change in Article 9.5.b. In the old version time was deducted from the player who made an incorrect claim. Now, in case of a wrong draw claim, the only penalty is that the opponent receives three minutes extra.
7. The well known Article 12.3.b (mobiles!) was modified and Article 12.3.c was added.
a. During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes,
sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard.
b. Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.
c. Smoking is permitted only in the section of the venue designated by the arbiter. Notice that the old number of this Article was 12.2 and that no changes were made in Article 12.3.a. Some remarks regarding 12.3b:
1. A player may have a mobile in the playing area, but it must be
completely switched off.
2. Any sound has as consequence that the player involved loses the game.
3. The result ½-0 or 0-½ is possible.
Article 12.3.c is “new” in the Laws of Chess. Curiously, it was previously only mentioned in the Rating Regulations.
8. An interesting item was added to Article 12.6:
It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area. This likely applies to MP3 players and IPods, but perhaps even crying babies can be banned from the playing hall with this addition.
9. It is strange that the Laws of Chess made no mention that a player can appeal a decision of an arbiter. In only two cases was it mentioned that appeals were not possible. Article 12.10 is therefore a logical addition: In the case of Article 10.2.d or Appendix D a player may not appeal against the decision of the arbiter. Otherwise a player may appeal against any decision of the arbiter, unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise.
I only question why the rules of a competition should allow for appeals to be impossible.
10. The definitions of Rapid and Blitz games are now more precise. In both types of chess the players are not obliged to record the moves. The main change in Rapid and Blitz games is the difference in the Laws of Chess between adequate and inadequate supervision:

A3 Where there is adequate supervision of play, (for example one
arbiter for at most three games) the Competition Rules shall apply.
A4 Where supervision is inadequate the Competition Rules shall apply, except where they are overridden by the following Laws of Rapidplay:
a. Once each player has completed three moves, no claim can be made regarding incorrect piece placement, orientation of the chessboard or clock setting. In the case of reverse king and queen placement castling with this king is not allowed.
b. The arbiter shall make a ruling according to Article 4 (The act of moving the pieces), only if requested to do so by one or both players.
c. An illegal move is completed once the opponent’s clock has been started. The opponent is then entitled to claim that the player completed an illegal move before the claimant has made his move. Only after such a claim, the arbiter shall make a ruling. However, if both Kings are in check or the promotion of a pawn is not completed, the arbiter shall intervene, if possible.
d.1. The flag is considered to have fallen when a player has made a valid claim to that effect. The arbiter shall refrain from signalling a flag fall, but he may do so if both flags have fallen.
2. To claim a win on time, the claimant must stop both clocks and notify the arbiter. For the claim to be successful the claimant’s flag must remain up and his opponent’s flag down after the clocks have been stopped.
3. If both flags have fallen as described in (1) and (2), the arbiter shall declare the game drawn.
B2 Where there is adequate supervision of play, (one arbiter for one game) the Competition Rules and Article A2 (no obligation to write the moves – GG) shall apply.
B3 Where supervision is inadequate the following shall apply:
a. Play shall be governed by the Rapidplay Laws as in Appendix A except where they are overridden by the following Laws of Blitz.
b. Article A4.c does not apply.
c. An illegal move is completed once the opponent’s clock has been started. The opponent is entitled to claim a win before he has made his own move. However, if the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves, then the claimant is entitled to claim a draw before he has made his own move. Once the opponent has made his own move, an illegal move cannot be corrected unless mutually agreed without intervention of an arbiter. The most significant change here is that the “normal” Laws of Chess shall be applied in Rapid and Blitz chess in case of adequate supervision. If the supervision is inadequate, the “old” rules with very few changes are still
valid. At the next Presidential Board meeting, it will be decided whether the Rules of Chess960 (Fischer Random Chess) will be added as an Appendix to the Laws of Chess. There is a petition signed by many chessplayers (i. e., Anand, Kramnik and Kosteniuk) to include these rules.

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