The case of the falling queen

by Sagar Shah
6/21/2016 – Imagine you are playing an important blitz tiebreak game, and an Armageddon no less. Your team's progress depends on it. You have a winning position and plenty of time. You move your queen to capture a pawn. You press the clock, but while you are doing so the queen falls over. Are you allowed to replace it – on your opponent's time? Here, from an Indian chess league, is a forensic analysis of the situation and the rules involved.

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Piece drop incident at MCL 2016

By Sagar Shah

A few days ago at the MCL 2016 we had a piece drop incident in a blitz game. Abhijeet Gupta who was completely winning the game, dropped his queen and pressed the clock. Sethuraman, his opponent, was alert and claimed a win. While Gupta accepted the defeat graciously, things started to heat up when people on the social media began to attack Sethuraman. ACP President Emil Sutovsky wrote about the incident, which led Sethu to write a long post in his defence. We bring you the events in the order that they transpired along with some very interesting blitz videos.

In an eliminator of the Maharashtra Chess League 2016, Pune TruMasters took on Mumbai Movers. The winner would qualify to play the semi-finals, while the loser would be ousted from the tournament. The normal match of six boards ended in a draw of 3-3. The winner was to be decided by an Armageddon. Each team had to send one gladiator to fight it out while the crowd would enjoy the spectacle to the fullest.

Mumbai Movers sent in GM Abhijeet Gupta while Pune TruMasters went ahead with S.P. Sethuraman. Abhijeet won the toss and decided to go with the white pieces. This meant that he had five minutes as compared to Sethuraman's four but a draw meant that Black goes through.

The game was tense with the hopes and expectations of the entire team being
on the shoulders of these two individuals, GMs Abhijeet Gupta and S.P. Sethuraman

Abhijeet Gupta played some flawless chess and had Asian Champion Sethuraman on the backfoot right from the start. This is how the game went.

[Event "Maharashtra Chess League"] [Site "Pune"] [Date "2016.06.14"] [Round "7.7"] [White "Gupta, Abhijeet"] [Black "Sethuraman, S.P."] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E46"] [WhiteElo "2583"] [BlackElo "2541"] [Annotator "Mumbai Movers - Pune TruMasters"] [PlyCount "91"] [EventDate "2016.06.11"] [EventType "team-k.o. (rapid)"] [EventRounds "5"] [EventCountry "IND"] [WhiteClock "0:01:23"] [BlackClock "0:00:42"] {Armageddon Tiebreak} 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Nge2 Re8 6. a3 Bf8 7. Ng3 d5 8. Be2 b6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. O-O Bb7 11. b4 Nbd7 12. Bb2 g6 13. Qb3 c6 14. Bf3 Bd6 15. b5 Bxg3 16. hxg3 Nf8 17. bxc6 Bxc6 18. Rfc1 Qd7 19. a4 Rac8 20. Nb5 Ne6 21. Ba3 Bxb5 22. Qxb5 Ng5 23. Be2 Qf5 24. Bd3 Nfe4 25. Rf1 Qe6 26. Rac1 Nd6 27. Bxd6 Qxd6 28. a5 Ne6 29. Qa6 Rc7 30. Bb5 Rb8 31. Be2 Kf8 32. Rfd1 Ke7 33. Qb5 Rbc8 34. Rb1 bxa5 35. Qxa5 Kf8 36. Bf3 Rd8 37. Rb5 Ng5 38. Bxd5 a6 39. Rb2 h6 40. e4 Kg7 41. Rb6 Qe7 42. Rc6 Rxc6 43. Bxc6 Qf6 44. e5 Qe7 45. d5 Rc8 46. Qxa6 {[#] This is where the incident occurs: Abhijeet is completely winning, and has just moved his queen from a5 to a6, capturing a pawn. What happened then is described in the rest of this article.} 0-1

Did Sethuraman resign? No, the result shows 0-1. Did Abhijeet Gupta lose on time? Definitely not! At the end of the game White had one minute 23 seconds as compared to Black's 42 seconds. So if someone was better on time it was White. So what was the reason that led to Abhijeet's loss?

Look carefully, Abhijeet has just made his move 46.Qxa6. and the white queen is not steady ...

... and just as he has pressed the clock, the queen has fallen

In blitz if you drop a piece on the board and press the clock, which means that you didn't set it back again in your own time, then it is a loss. This rule is not applied in every tournament. However, it was applicable in the Maharashtra Chess League 2016. Sethuraman claimed that the piece had fallen and was awarded the full point.

This video was recorded in HD on my Samsung Note 5. It shows all the events taking place right from the start until the end in great clarity. The piece drop incident occurs at 6 minutes 35 seconds. The video starts ten seconds earlier.

If you want to do some forensics on the incident you can set the replay speed to a quarter

Sethuraman had claimed the win according to the rules that had been discussed before the start of the event in the players' meeting. Abhijeet Gupta showed some high class temperament by taking the defeat graciously. So there were no real controversies. Things started to heat up when the ACP President Emil Sutovsky, whose posts are followed by thousands of players all over the world, wrote about the incident. This is what Emil had to say:

Let us talk about an important problem – and in the age of ever-decreasing time controls it becomes more important than ever. Have a look at this rather heart-breaking video. Playoff stage of the Indian Team Championship has reached the Armageddon game between the leaders of the teams, grandmasters Abhijeet Gupta and Sethuraman SP. GM Gupta is in full control from the very beginning, he controls both his emotions and the situation on the board. GM Sethuraman is visibly nervous, shaking the table and pressing clocks too strongly on several occasions. That doesn't seem to help, as Gupta is firmly on his way to a decisive win. Suddenly, on 6:35, something unexpected happens... Sethuraman rightfully claims a win and awarded one. Gupta takes it classy, but his team is out.

Now, don't blame Sethuraman for bad sportsmanship – he was absolutely in his right, claiming a win, but I see a very important problem here. Series of minor fouls – and I am talking not about this particular game, but in general (and not only blitz!) – remain unpunished. Shaking the table, banging the clock, placing the pieces between the squares, covering the 25% of the board by your head and body... all these are rarely noticed by the arbiter. There are players who are extremely nervous throughout an entire game, and playing them is very uncomfortable.

There are players, who start misbehaving only being short of time, but this is a poor excuse. A player who behaves like that doesn't even get a warning, although his opponent is seriously irritated. I know what I'm talking about – being easily irritated by an opponent, I also seem to forget regularly about proper manners, once entering a time-trouble phase... As it is now, one can do almost anything, as long as it is not specifically restricted – and arbiters would never do anything.

Whereas you can lose the game for some really minor sin. Something has to be done here.

Sutovsky's post drew a lot of comments from the chess community all over the world. You can read them over here. By this point Sethuraman, tired of people blaming him, decided to write on Facebook as well. This is what he had to say (we have embedded videos, wherever Sethuraman has given the link):

After some comments and post about my Armageddon game against Abhijeet Gupta, few days back at MCL knockouts, I wanted to clarify a few things. It was not my intention to win a game the way it happened. It hurts to see some people commenting on my lack of sportsmanship. I simply don't understand. I just followed the rule what it is meant to be and I can cite many examples from the elite level like Nakamura who claimed a win against Topalov in the recent blitz 2016 at Paris for promotion of pawn to e1.

So was he wrong too in following the rule? Then why to make illegal claims. It's simply the way they are. The same day in the same tournament Srinath Narayanan claimed a win in the similar way agaisnt Adhiban Baskaran:

In a blitz type of game a player should move the pieces correctly without dropping them down. That is the basic discipline. Every second is crucial in this type of game. Some times even one second decides the game, since it's an Armageddon. Secondly, the intention of the player cannot be seen by the opponent when he is playing with full concentration and tension. Sometimes some players intentionally drop the pieces to confuse the opponents. That is why the rules play an important role to decide. For example, look at the chaos which happened in an Armageddon game between Kramnik and Aronian:

Players are not responsible for any such happenings or decisions. My opponent Abhijeet Gupta played well and was calm and composed and I felt sorry for him. Players can only claim. Arbiters should take a decision by considering each and every factor. I see some comments from Mr Emil Sutovsky that I was nervous, shaking the table and pressing clocks too strong on several occasions. If you closely look at the video, I pressed the clock maybe slightly hard but felt it was normal like in any blitz tournament. Look at the above video of World Champion Kramnik for instance and there are several other blitz videos from great players where you can compare how strong it was. And I was also not shaking the table in any instance, if at all it was distracting my opponent, he would have complained. People generally get nervous if you look at any blitz video even from elite tournaments and you cannot simply control human emotions. Some people are good at it, while some are not. None of them thinks to irritate his opponent by doing such things and I am never such a person. It is Fide who should be making perfect rules in this regard and the player is not responsible for claiming his rights."

You can read Sethuraman's entire post here and also the numerous comments that it attracted. One of the most important was by his opponent - Abhijeet Gupta. This is what Abhijeet has to say:

I feel that nobody should blame Sethuraman for claiming here. He was within his rights to do it. All we should focus is how to change or rectify this rule. Another thing I would like to say is Sethuraman is a pure gentleman and people should stop judging him for such a small incident. As he said earlier it is FIDE whose job is to make the perfect rules not player's responsibility whether to claim it or not.

From the above discussion, we can conclude two things:

  1. Sethuraman was not wrong in claiming a win because he did so by the rules.
  2. FIDE as well as the tournament organizers should be more careful when it comes to laying down such rules. It can affect the outcome of an entire event.

Let us know what your opinion is by writing in the feedback section below.

Addendum: Here is what Professor H. Anantharaman, an experienced arbiter, wrote to me today.

I read GM Sutovsky's report, while in Spain, later Sethuraman's reply and your report in Rule is a rule and we have to go by it. Sportsmanship is different from adhering to the rules. Sethuraman did the same.

The same incident happened in World Mind Games in Beijing 2008, where I was in the Pairings Committee. Following the rule, India was declared the winner of the Mixed Pair Blitz event initially. After the Indian team drew with Equador in the finals, Sasikiran played with GM Matamoros in the Armageddon. Matamoros's piece fell down; he pressed the clock and then adjusted the piece back to its position. Sasikiran was declared the winner by the arbiter. Anyhow, the Equador team protested against the decision and maybe because of some misinterpretation, a replay of the Armageddon was ordered by the Appeals Committee, which Sasikiran lost. If you search the web, you may even get the video of the incident. I had one but seems missing from my collection.

Source ChessBase India

Previous reports on the Maharashtra Chess League 2016, Pune, on ChessBase India

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Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant and would like to become the first CA+GM of India. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder of the ChessBase India website.
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MJFitch MJFitch 6/24/2016 04:44
If the piece falls during the process of clicking the clock, he should have to restart his clock, place the piece on the square it feel from, and after standing the piece up, click his clock. This should be common sense. What a stupid rule.
Mrw123 Mrw123 6/24/2016 03:43
The only way of solving this type of situation is playing this Armageddon games on computers .. each player sits in front os a desktop previously prepared by the organization to te tournament and play the game in a virtual board. No more problems, no more emotion.
It is crazy, but ...
kassy kassy 6/23/2016 07:42
To quote myself:

The correctness of the claim in the Nakamura-Topalov game seems to rest on whether B3 or B4 from the FIDE rulebook was being followed.
If B3, then Nakamura touching his rook to move it negated any illegal move claim,
If B4, then he could claim the illegal move until he 'made' his move, and that is defined as placing the piece on the new square and releasing it.
It appears there was an arbiter for every board and so B3 would apply and therefore the claim was incorrect.
bobbyh64 bobbyh64 6/23/2016 09:33
In the Nakamura-Topalov video, Nakamura made the claim after touching his rook. Isn't there the touch move rule? If so, wouldn't that negate his claim and he'd be forced to move the rook?
wlk1977 wlk1977 6/22/2016 10:12
Such a rule does not exist in the official rules of chess:
There is only 7.4
If a player displaces one or more pieces, he shall re-establish the correct position in his own time. If necessary, either the player or his opponent shall stop the chessclock and ask for the arbiter’s assistance. The arbiter may penalise the player who displaced the pieces.

After the claim the arbiter had several options according to:

Options available to the arbiter concerning penalties:
increasing the remaining time of the opponent
reducing the remaining time of the offending player
increasing the points scored in the game by the opponent to the maximum available for that game
reducing the points scored in the game by the offending person
declaring the game to be lost by the offending player (the arbiter shall also decide the opponent’s score)
a fine announced in advance
expulsion from the competition.

He immediately chose d option, which is clearly exaggerated and also in a conflict with the Article 12: The role of the Arbiter 2.2 The arbiter shall ensure fair play and act in the best interest of the competition.

Conclusion is that it was arbiter`s foul.
vikas2200 vikas2200 6/22/2016 10:03
There are views and counter-views for almost all the rules. Lets say stalemate in Queen against lone king is a draw. is it logical? Piece fall shall be categorised as blunder. Piece was fallen because the player move faster to save the time. so, it's trade-off.
jhoravi jhoravi 6/22/2016 06:49
Easy! Just use a big Tablet as the chessboard and let the players interact the touchscreen. No need of separate Chessclock! No more falling queens! No mouse slips!
Zdrak Zdrak 6/22/2016 06:39
I remember the good old times when an illegal move was penalized by adding +2 minutes to the opponent....
XChess1971 XChess1971 6/22/2016 04:10
@ oputu Since when physics is involved? Is this a joke? You know it's blitz. So you need to make sure you comply with the rules. Period! You press the clock you lose!
GregEs GregEs 6/22/2016 04:00
This is a very rare case.
Had the toppled piece been far from the clock, this issue between Gupta-Sethuranam won't arise.
Say if the capture was Qxd6 or a capture on h-pawn which cause the falling piece, then GM Gupta would notice the piece and adjust it before his arm reached the chess clock.

p.s. Did someone notice a bug in the Discuss section of Chessbase? If I press the arrow keys to edit my comment, the chessboard above is shown, a move is made, the page scrolls up on the posted game on this page. Irritating little bug.
TheUsualSuspect TheUsualSuspect 6/22/2016 03:31
Rules are rules, but it kind of shows how blitz is not proper chess - it's skittles. Something to be played at the chess club between proper games. 6/22/2016 01:49
Like other commenters I agree with Psamant! This is not chess. Having said that, penalties are not football yet they still decide drawn games - I don't like that either but it happens. It's a matter of convention and some serious thinking has to be done on these formats. For example, Karpov should have clearly won his first Wch Match v Kasparov - after 27 (!!!) games he was FIVE points ahead!!! (but he needed 6!) We don't want such incidents either. Difficult decision. By the way, interesting points were raised with regards to opponents being irritating (often it is an unconscious by-product of nervousness - in a recent game that went over 5 hours, my opponent kept fiddling with his captured pieces, rotating them noisily ON the table while I was trying to think - while I've also seen players doing such things on purpose), and then there are things like hitting the clock too hard in a Classical game, pushing your pieces half-way etc. The debate continues...
footloose4 footloose4 6/22/2016 01:42
here is a recent video,

at 14:12, Kramnik played Qxa4 and dropped his queen and pressed the clock, but Aronian didn't claim a win or consider it. These things happen and there's no need to be a bad sport like Sethuraman.

Also, I agree with abdekker that at the most you would add time to someone's clock. It shouldn't be a complete loss of a game.

In fact, the rules of the game should be adjusted so that no sudden "accident" would immediately cost you the game. You have to deliberately, and with obvious intent, violate some rule to suffer than consequence.
Marblerevealer Marblerevealer 6/22/2016 01:35
What should GM Gupta have done, to not lose the game? Looks to me the queen was still falling when he pressed the clock, and that he didn´t see it - predict it was going to fall - was his mistake?
NMcrazyim5 NMcrazyim5 6/22/2016 01:32
This is just petty
airman airman 6/21/2016 11:19
We all know the rule is so that someone will not take advantage and knock a piece over to win a game .... unfortunately for the rule committee .. .someone did.
airman airman 6/21/2016 11:16
In addition to my last comment ... it seems that "since it is just a rules thing". Maybe some work should go into figuring out how to induce knocking over of pieces as a strategy in such games. Just sad for chess.
airman airman 6/21/2016 11:14
It was by the letter of the rules ... so I guess the result if fair. BUT, A measure of a man is not by the rules but by the actions of the man. Sethuraman knows he was lost and used this to claim a , in my opinion, unethical.
To say that Sethuraman should not be blamed because it is available by the rules in this case is a cop out.
He can claim it and it should be awarded, But that is as far as it goes. He should be shamed for such use of the "rules".
Character is hard to come by these days. So he sold a little bit of character to win a game. And that is a shame in his life.
oputu oputu 6/21/2016 10:58
One writer pointed out that blitz games should be restricted to a computer screen where illegal moves, wrong promotion, banging of clock, piece dropping etc would never occur....hmmmmm. We forget that many GM classical games arrive at blitz mode around move 31........and hence the phrase 'time control' and 'time scramble'
gmwdim gmwdim 6/21/2016 09:23
I agree with getting rid of armageddon games. It barely saves any time compared to simply playing pairs of tiebreak blitz games (preferably with a 2 or 3 second increment) until one player wins, and armageddon games almost always end controversially.
ChessPlease ChessPlease 6/21/2016 09:02
In the Srinath vs Adhiban game, black played ...Be4 before white had a chance to hit his clock after Rxh4. Surely this is against the rules as well?
M_Ali M_Ali 6/21/2016 08:33
It is very unsportsmanlike. Black player had worse position and worse clock . If you watch the video you get the feeling that the black player's only hope was his opponent would commit a momentarily mistake and fell down a piece on the board and he was waiting for that. The stress induced by the black player effected his opponent and contributed to this.
footloose4 footloose4 6/21/2016 08:24
They just should ban armageddon games. That's not chess. Stick to games with increments. At least 2 sec per move. I think it would make a strong statement if a strong player reached an armageddon game and just refused to play it on principle, because it's rubbish.
genem genem 6/21/2016 07:48
It's just Blitz. Aside from the money aspect for the sponsor and players, who else cares?
Adding a 2 second Delay would not solve the problem for any move that is made after the Delay period.
If clean Blitz play is important, play on computer screens where there are no physical pieces that can fall over, and no clocks to press.
CecilDeVere CecilDeVere 6/21/2016 07:32
The organizers who create the Armegeddon Blitz scenarios are the worst. even in Blitz, there should always be some increment, to prevent the game from degenerating into a battle of "Clock Punching Monkeys". Blitz chess does the game of Chess a disservice.

It is bizarre that Blitz tournaments are still contested with physical chessboards and chess sets. the DGT boards are nice, but the players might as well play with computers and a Mouse. No problems about toppling of the pieces, the computer interface is performing the role of an objective arbiter. No touch move issue, the computer would not deem Topalov's move complete unless Topalov had selected the piece to promote to. Illegal moves would be prevented from occurring.

"There are some talented teams and personalities giving fantastic live coverage of chess but in their desperation to liven up the action I think they are becoming a real threat to chess (the thinking game). I see them actually hoping tournaments end up in tie-breaks so they can feed off the frenetic action of armageddon play-offs."
CecilDeVere CecilDeVere 6/21/2016 07:21
A small increment will make scant difference. Blitz players are used to executing their moves very quickly, and then hitting the clock as quickly as possible. Gupta's hand was already heading to the clock as the Queen started to topple, and he frankly did not have quick enough reflexes to change the motion of his hand hitting the clock.

FIDE has many rules which are poorly thought out, or simply absurd. This is one of them.

Blitz players probably play more than 100 casual Blitz games (where innocently toppled pieces are righted, without penalty or comment, as a matter of course). for every "serious" Blitz game played under the FIDE rules.

If Sethuraman exhibited a lack of good sportsmanship--and he clearly did--then he ought to pay the price for grubbing an unearned victory. His opponents ought to be sure to throw the FIDE book at after game. As Sutovsky noted ["Series of minor fouls – and I am talking not about this particular game, but in general (and not only blitz!) – remain unpunished. Shaking the table, banging the clock, placing the pieces between the squares, covering the 25% of the board by your head and body... all these are rarely noticed by the arbiter. There are players who are extremely nervous throughout an entire game, and playing them is very uncomfortable."] he might be called on any number of minor infractions, if his opponents are churlish and wishing to gain an advantage by any means possible.
kassy kassy 6/21/2016 07:17
The correctness of the claim in the Nakamura-Topalov game seems to rest on whether B3 or B4 from the FIDE rulebook was being followed.
If B3, then Nakamura touching his rook to move it negated any illegal move claim,
If B4, then he could claim the illegal move until he 'made' his move, and that is defined as placing the piece on the new square and releasing it.
It appears there was an arbiter for every board and so B3 would apply and therefore the claim was incorrect.
Kpawn Kpawn 6/21/2016 07:17
I agree with psamant that blitz is not chess. Chess is a thinking game, the trend to shorter time controls in turning chess into a farce. Nakamura recently said something like "it's blitz, you don't think" before winning the tournament. There are some talented teams and personalities giving fantastic live coverage of chess but in their desperation to liven up the action I think they are becoming a real threat to chess (the thinking game). I see them actually hoping tournaments end up in tie-breaks so they can feed off the frenetic action of armageddon play-offs. I see them using their media position of power to promote shorter and shorter time controls. As far as I'm concerned let blitz, bullet and rapid split off and stop misappropriating the name of chess which should be reserved for the thinking game. Despite the internet chess renaissance that appears to be taking place the 'real game' is actually in great peril as promoters lured by dreams of profit cater to the vast masses of viewers with short attention spans. If mindless excitement is all it takes then go for checkers. Even though it has been solved if you reduce the time limit to five minutes a game there will be plenty of winners and losers and checkers pieces don't fall over. Chessbase take note, your bread and butter is under threat. It's time to nip it in the bud.
Martas Martas 6/21/2016 04:36
For any rule you can find a situation which doesn't fit. In this case it would make sense to add some time to Sethuraman, when incident like this happens with both players having one second on the clock, the one who would be perfectly right with complain might fail to stop the clock in time which makes his claim failing (happened to me once).
It might make sense to have rules giving more power to arbiters (decide whether to add time or finish the game with some result), but then you find more players being angry because of some decision of the arbiter.
In the end you have to take things like this same way as Gupta did - take it easy, it was only a game deciding between 2 equally good teams and one of them was happier.
oputu oputu 6/21/2016 04:30
@ Mr TambourineMan: he probably need to claim the win on behalf of his team, yes. Now just like Akobian, he has to live with the media consequences for the rest of his life.
Mr TambourineMan Mr TambourineMan 6/21/2016 04:19
In a team match, as this was , I can see that Sethuraman perhaps felt compelled , on the team's behalf to claim a win. Something he might never done in an individual competition . I think all of you judging Sethuraman for unsportsmanlike behavior could take that into account.
ewenardus ewenardus 6/21/2016 04:07
I think this is a case where the spirit of the rule should have been applied by the arbiter (of course, easier said than done!). I think the idea behind the dropping piece rule is to avoid confusion, meybe even deliberately generated confusion, in a time scramble. In this case, it's quite clear that the piece dropping was a sheer accident, and I had to watch the video in slow motion to check if the piece had fallen before he touched the clock or not. But anyway, blaming Sethu is not called for either.
TMMM TMMM 6/21/2016 03:53
I think most of these cases could be prevented by having a small increment, like in Leuven and Paris, and then only giving small penalties for players knocking over pieces. Even a two-second increment is enough to make sure players are not throwing around pieces.
oputu oputu 6/21/2016 03:38
@ Konfuzius007: You are very observant my friend. I saw that as well. I do not believe Nakamura had the right to a claim as he had already initiated his own move, whether it was completed or not. I believe that is the same reason why neither Aronian nor Kramnik could make claims in that game because they were practically initiating their own moves before the other person finished (typical of time scrambles). More so, any attempt to make a claim in that circumstance means you actually have to reach to stop the clock which is less automatic than making your own 'planned' move in a blitz game.
Anyway, regarding this incident, and the rule in particular, and the quality of the abiter. The rule is IMO set to prevent players from knocking pieces down and confusing an opponent. I watched the piece stand straight when Abhijeet Gupta placed it. If the momentum (potential energy in this case) of the queen causes her majesty to fall afterwards, why should he be penalized under this rule. It is clearly different from dropping a piece or knocking down a piece. And lets be frank, when in a losing position in a bullet game, the best hope is the clock to your rescue or as in this case, a claim which is what the other GM (I dont care about his name) was 'waiting' for (look at him watch the clock and you will know). looking closely at the video, Abhijeet Gupta had placed the piece and it only dropped on his way to pressing the clock. He is not responsible for the laws of physics, and should not expect a standing piece to fall in a split second. Once again i reiterate, the abiter on his part did a poor job of applying this rule.
Finally, as an aside, it should be noted that chess is a gentlemanly sport. One must be very careful of claims even if it is a right. While I would never claim a win like this in an embarrassingly lost position, one must be ready for the media consequences when one does. It shows a lack or honor or respect for ones opponent and the game.
PS: Try claiming such a win against Carlsen whose pieces drops all the time during time scrambles and you will definitely be voted as the world's most hated person in chess!!
Claude Birtz Claude Birtz 6/21/2016 02:56
What about FIDE rules B. 3.?

The Competition Rules shall apply if
one arbiter supervises one game and
each game is recorded by the arbiter or his assistant and, if possible, by electronic means.

Both clearly apply, the board and clock are connected by wire, the arbiter stands next to the board as the player just has to look up for his claim.

The rule states "shall", not "could" apply.

Unless the official rules of the tournament clearly state that B.3 does not apply, I think the arbiter was simply wrong to award the win.

And of course, if Sethuraman ever asks for conditions in a tournament, I hope organizers will tell him they don't want that kind of player...
snosko snosko 6/21/2016 02:24
I agree with psamant: that is not chess. Time controls are getting reduced for the sake entertainment. MVL playing Carlsen the final was a disgrace
We see in the Grand Tour last events Paris (Inmopar) and Leuven. It was great to see Kasparov playing blitz against top 3 US players but that is
I play a league were time limit is limited to 90min+30s no adittional time increment. The round starts at 4:00pm All the games have finished by 8:30 with time pressure. I miss the 2 hours / 40 moves controls + 60 minutes control
Konfuzius007 Konfuzius007 6/21/2016 02:15
Very interesting article! Thanks a lot! One question left: Nakamura touched hs rook and started his own new move. Didn't he lose the right to claim an illegal move by this action? Can anybody help and answer? Thanks!
KevinC KevinC 6/21/2016 01:02
Rules are rules. Would it have been any better losing had he made an illegal move, like moving a piece while in check? No. It is critical to know the rules, all of them, and if you don't, you always risk one of them biting you in the butt.
snosko snosko 6/21/2016 11:35
Adding time: Stop the game leaving time to think even more. Then, adding time the digital clock takes another 30 seconds.
fightingchess fightingchess 6/21/2016 10:11
and this is why increments matter in chess. armageddon should be something like 4/2 vs 3/2.