Wednesday, September 2, 2009

so that's what they really do at the FIDE congress

From this month's Chesscafe column, An Arbiter's Notebook.


Hi Geurt, I did a post on my blog about a question you addressed in your July 2009 column:
“A game begins with a reversed white king and white queen and play continues 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 d6 3.Kh5, when Black responds 3...g6 mate.”

We’ve had a little back-and-forth on it and it would be interesting to get your feedback on the arguments presented thus far. There are discussions of quite a few aspects of the situation.

Leon Shernoff (USA)


I am quite happy that the two persons who posted responses on your website share my opinion. As I wrote before, I am not happy with the situation that result of the game 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 d6 3.Kh5 g6# stands. I will discuss it during the next FIDE congress. Article 4.3 deals with touched pieces and it begins with the following sentence:
Except as provided in Article 4.2, if the player having the move deliberately touches on the chessboard:
Essential is the word “deliberately.” In my opinion, White had in mind to play the queen to h5 and not the king. I will keep you informed.

Oh Ilya, I missed you


Anonymous said...

I think white should continue with Kg7+!

CRR said...

I must disagree. Kg7+(?) leaves the king en prise to Black's queen's bishop.

Mark Howitt said...

You've just got to love chessplayers... or hate them...

Honestly things like this... it makes me thing EITHER I should keep playing chess because of its craziness OR that most chess players are just too ANAL.

Funny post though.

Anonymous said...

The first anonymous poster brings up a good point - if the White K could move like a Q once, it can do so again. So this isn't checkmate; White can just reply Kd1. In fact it's going to be very difficult for Black to mate the White K at any point, because of its extraordinary mobility.

brennanprice said...

A prominent United States TD, I forget whom, has told the story of a kid who played as white:

1.e4 e5
2.Bc4 Nf6

Kid pointed to the rule that said a checkmating move ends the game and claimed a win to the TD, who promptly denied the claim and correctly gave Black his choice of 3.Q(any) (touch move) or 3.Bxf7 (touch capture).

Regardless of the letter of the language in the rulebook, this was the only proper way to handle the situation. And the only proper way to handle the situation Guert describes is to annul the game and restart from the correct initial position.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, please keep us informed regularly, as this may seriously impact my opening repertoire. I often open with 3 Kh5, but now I may have to play more conservatively with 3 Kf3 should that have been refuted.

However, I believe that 3 Kh5 is quite resilient and we haven't seen the end of this potent king maneuver.

Bill Brock said...

Geurt does not like chess: he was one of the voices of unreason on the KN vs. KN blitz fiasco.


Jim Eade said...

Once a queen, always a queen.

Arne said...

I am surprised nobody so far mentioned the fact that in regular chess, anything that's on d1 in the starting position is supposed to be a queen. I remember losing a white rook from my chess set when I was a kid. I simply replaced it with a checkers stone, but of course this piece didn't follow the rules of checkers! It was just a rook that looked different. By this rationale, even what has the looks of a king is in chess-reality actually a queen as long as it starts on d1 or d8.

Elizabeth Vicary said...

Geurt doesn’t like chess? Is that really a possible position to take?

Anonymous said...

"A prominent United States TD, I forget whom, has told the story of a kid who played as white:

1.e4 e5
2.Bc4 Nf6

Kid pointed to the rule that said a checkmating move ends the game and claimed a win to the TD ..."

Kid is going to get a chess-clock-shaped dent in his skull someday real soon if he doesn't wise up quick.

Rick Massimo

Leon Akpalu said...


A friend of mine who saw this on my blog pointed out that (like Brennan Price's example), if your opponent is late and you have White, you can "incorrectly set up the starting position" with a rook at f2 and a bishop at a2, and play 1.Bxf7#.

No one was there to notice that the original position was incorrect, and checkmate ends the game, so doesn't the result stand via the same logic as the example from Geurt's column?

@Bill: You confuse me -- Geurt takes the common sense that such a result should *not* stand. Surely that puts him on the side of people who actually want to play the game?

Leon Akpalu said...

That last should have said "Geurt takes the common sense *position* that ...."

Bill Brock said...

I did say I was cranky, didn't I?

I'm whining about a completely different class of position. Mate-in-one positions excepted, KN vs. KN, KB vs. KB (opposite colors), & KB vs KN should be automatic draws.

FIDE and GG hold otherwise.

Is the game "chess" or "chess clock"?

ATH2044 said...

Hey Bill,
K+B vs. K+B (SAME COLORS), should be automatic draws.
K+B vs. K+B (OPPOSITE COLORS) is possible to lose by either side.
(For example: White Kb3, Bd2
Black Ka1, Bd3; Black plays 1... Bb1; White replies 2. Bc3#.)
Whether this should be the criterion/threshold for automatic draws is open for debate. However, K vs. K is covered by the "insufficient material" rule, because it's physically impossible to set up (or legally play to) a mating position, which should also include K+B vs. K+B SAME COLORS. Every other instance you mention (K+N vs. K+N, K+N vs. K+B, & K+B vs. K+B OPPOSITE COLORS) is possible to lose with sufficiently (in)correct play. A delay clock should eliminate any problems.
The USCF has an "insufficient losing chances" rule which covers a few specific positions that I know of, but should realistically include this group as well. I have no idea what FIDE is up to or whether their rule will make sense.
The game involving an illegal move but ending in what appears to be checkmate took place in fewer than four moves by each side. I think the rule is that you have to go back & start over from the correct position if that occurs, but someone has to notice it (before four moves each have been made) & complain. In blitz games with no delay it's not uncommon to have a house rule, "Illegal Moves lose." which would clearly invalidate the checkmate of the white king on h5, because he'd have lost already by simply making such a move. I guess none of this really matters because these positions never happen in actual chess games.