US Champ R9: Forfeit?!

by Alejandro Ramirez
4/11/2015 – A shocking development in the US Chess Championship. Wesley So, one of the top players in the world, was forfeited in his game against Akobian by the tournament's Chief Arbiter, Tony Rich. The reason? Note taking! He had been warned several times not to do so but ignored the warnings. In the Women's, Krush finally caught up to Nemcova. As to the controversy, what do you think?

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The 2015 U.S. Championship is an elite national championship event, featuring 12 of the strongest chess players in America. Over the course of eleven rounds, these competitors will battle for $175,000 in prize money, qualification into the World Championship cycle, and the coveted title of 2015 U.S. Champion.

U.S. Chess Championship - Round Nine

Table White Rating Black Rating
Result
1 GM Kamsky, Gata 2683 GM Troff, Kayden W 2532
½-½
2 GM So, Wesley 2788 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2622
0-1
3 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2633 GM Holt, Conrad 2530
1-0
4 GM Shankland, Samuel L 2661 GM Onischuk, Alexander 2665
½-½
5 GM Sevian, Samuel 2531 GM Robson, Ray 2656
½-½
6 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 2798 GM Gareev, Timur 2604
½-½

So, Wesley 0-1 Akobian, Varuzhan
An absolutely shocking development in the tournament. Wesley So, one of the pre-tournament favorites, has definitely had a rough going in his first U.S. Championship. However nothing prepared him or the audience for what happened.

Wesley So is a player that sometimes gives himself encouraging words or reminders by writing them down on his scoresheet. He had done this twice during this U.S. Championship and in both occasions the chief arbiter, Tony Rich, had warned him that this was against the FIDE rules of chess.

In today's round So wrote something on another piece of paper, not his scoresheet, but that arose suspicion from Akobian as this is again against FIDE rules. The arbiter decided to forfeit So, and the full point was given to Akobian. You can see our shocked reactions in the commentary room in the following video, starting at around minute 37. The arbiter, Tony Rich, explains his stance at minute 46:

The shortest decisive game in the history of this tournament

At being informed by Chief Arbiter Tony Rich, Wesley So pockets the source of controversy

Wesley So has appealed the decision of Tony Rich

Do you think the forfeiture was warranted? Send us your feedback!

Update:

Wesley So has posted the following on his Facebook fan page

It is reported that Tony Rich consulted Franc Guadalupe, Zonal President and one of the most experienced arbiters in the country, before reaching the decision of forfeiting So. With the decision appealed it will be up to the committee to determine if the ruling stands or if there will be some sort of solution reached for the game before the tournament is over. The appeals committee of this tournament is comprised of IM Rusudan Goletiani, GM Varuzhan Akobian and GM Benjamin Finegold. Since Varuzhan cannot be expected to make an unbiased decision, the decision will fall on the other two members. In case of a tie a third neutral party will be called in.

We will keep you updated with the decision of the committee as well as the reactions from grandmasters and players around the World.

Kamsky, Gata ½-½ Troff, Kayden

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.10"] [Round "9"] [White "Kamsky, Gata"] [Black "Troff, Kayden W"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A48"] [WhiteElo "2683"] [BlackElo "2532"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "82"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. c3 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. Be2 c5 8. O-O b6 9. Bh2 Bb7 10. a4 a6 11. Qb3 {Kamsky has a lot of experience here, and he's played this exact move before. He delays the development of the b1 knight in case he wants to play c4-Nc3.} Qc7 12. Rd1 Rac8 13. Na3 Qc6 {A new move by Troff. This immobilizes the f3 knight and unpins the d pawn..} 14. Nc4 Qd5 15. Ra3 {This move looks really weird, but it is necessary to keep the queen defended.} (15. Ncd2 Qxb3 16. Nxb3 {and White really can't hope for much.}) 15... Qc6 {The queen no longer makes sense on d5, but the rook doesn't exactly inspire confidence on a3.} 16. Ncd2 Qc7 {Kayden backtracks with the queen, which looks strange considering he played Qc6-d5 before, but it probably isn't so bad.} (16... Ne4 {is a possible alternative, as in general simplification helps Black due to his lack of space.}) 17. c4 {Probably not a bad move, but I don't think it was necessary to rush with it.} (17. Bf1 {I like this small improving move, seeing what Black is up to next move. For example, if} Qb8 18. c4 {becomes a lot nicer.} cxd4 19. exd4 e5 {runs into} 20. c5 $1 bxc5 21. dxe5 {with serious problems for Black.}) 17... cxd4 18. exd4 e5 (18... a5 {is another approach, as the weak b5 square is hard to take advantage of.}) 19. a5 {Kamsky tries to loosen Troff's structure.} exd4 20. axb6 $6 (20. Qb4 $1 {was more accurate, applying pressure on d6.}) 20... Qc6 $2 (20... Qc5 {looks simple and strong, taking away the b4 square.}) 21. Qa4 $6 {Kamsky wants to prepare b4, but I think the more direct Qb4 was a little cleaner.} (21. Qb4 { Once again, simple and good.} Rfe8 22. Bf1 d5 {looks okay for Black, but White has} 23. c5 $1 Nxc5 24. Nxd4 {and I think White is slightly better due to the nice blockade and b6 pawn.}) 21... Qxb6 22. b4 Rfe8 23. Bf1 Nb8 $5 {An interesting idea, trying to reroute the knight to c6 in order to defend and attack.} 24. Qa5 Qxa5 25. Rxa5 Ne4 26. Nxe4 Bxe4 {Black's strong bishops help to compensate for his weak pawns.} 27. Bxd6 Red8 28. Bc5 $6 {This move is very awkward.} (28. c5 Nc6 29. Rxa6 Nxb4 30. Ra3 {looks about equal.}) 28... Bc2 $1 29. Rd2 d3 {Now Black wins an exchange.} 30. Ra3 Bb2 31. Ra2 Bc3 32. Rdxc2 dxc2 33. Rxc2 Bf6 {Black won an exchange, but if White can mobilize the queenside he'll hardly be worse.} 34. Be2 $6 {Preventing Rd1, but this move is slow.} ( 34. Be3 {was the move I prefered during the game, with the idea that on} Rd1 35. g3 Rb1 {White has} 36. Nd2 $1 (36. Bd2 Nc6 {is more dangerous.}) 36... Rxb4 37. Ne4 Be5 38. Ra2 {and Black will have a hard time converting his exchange.}) 34... Nc6 $2 {This throws away his chances.} (34... a5 $1 {and White's bishop is very poorly placed. Na6 is the threat, and for example if} 35. Bb6 (35. Ra2 Nd7 36. Rxa5 Nxc5 37. bxc5 Ra8 {and Black should be winning once c5 is won.}) 35... axb4 $1 36. Bxd8 b3 $1 37. Rd2 b2 {White has to take on b2.}) 35. Ra2 Bc3 36. Ra4 $1 {Kamsky defends accurately, and now I think it is very close to a draw.} Re8 37. Bf1 Re4 38. Bd3 Re6 39. Bf1 Nb8 40. Be3 Re4 41. Bd3 Rexc4 { Kayden sacs the exchange back, with a dead drawn position. Gata had some slight pressure, but it was defused well.} 1/2-1/2

Naroditsky, Daniel 1-0 Holt, Conrad
Holt's favourite way of handling 1.e4 is his pet Winawer variation in the French, which leads to crazy sharp positions. Today's game against Naroditsky followed two of Holt's games into a deep theoretical line. Black's exchange sacrifice was not sufficient this time to stop the initiative, and White won an exchange. Despite missing a brilliant tactical win in time trouble, Naroditsky's position was good enough to slowly torture Black in an endgame. Holt made it easy for his opponent by putting the king on the wrong side of the board, and Naroditsky took a very important moral victory.

Shankland, Daniel ½-½ Onischuk, Alexander
Following a long game between Aronian and Grischuk from 2012, Onischuk uncorked a novelty late into the game. It was more than sufficient to equalize and Shankland simplified into a draw before anything bad happened.

Shankland was unable to breach Onischuk's defenses

Sevian, Sam ½-½ Robson, Ray

[Event "U.S. Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.10"] [Round "9"] [White "Sevian, Samuel"] [Black "Robson, Ray"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B81"] [WhiteElo "2531"] [BlackElo "2656"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "104"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 6. g4 {You don't see many Keres Attacks these days.} h6 7. h3 Nc6 8. f4 $6 {Very unusual and risky looking.} (8. Be3 {is the main move.}) 8... Qc7 $6 {Robson decides to let Sam off with a warning.} (8... d5 9. e5 Nd7 10. Be3 Bc5 {looks like an amazing french for Black.}) 9. Be3 a6 {Now it looks like a normal position for an h3 Najdorf.} 10. Bg2 Be7 11. Qf3 {Less natural than Qe2, but in some positions Qg3 is a nice option to have.} Nxd4 12. Bxd4 e5 13. Be3 exf4 14. Bxf4 Be6 {A typical transformation of the position. The pawn on d6 is a major weakness for Black, but there is compensation based on queenside play and the silly-looking bishop on g2.} 15. O-O-O Rc8 16. Qg3 O-O 17. Kb1 (17. Bxd6 Bxd6 18. Qxd6 Qa5 19. a3 {looks playable for White, but Black will have compensation after} Rxc3 $1 20. bxc3 Rc8 {with scary play against the king.}) 17... Rfd8 18. Rhe1 b5 19. Rd2 Bf8 $6 {Ray allows a strong idea for White.} (19... Bc4 $1 {was best, as pointed out by Hikaru at a glance. The idea is that now after Nd5 you can easily take with the knight and there is no bad bishop on e6.}) 20. Nd5 $1 Bxd5 21. exd5 {Black should be suffering a little here, and a lot more if White every gets things started on the kingside.} Re8 22. Rf1 $6 {I don't like giving up the file so easily.} (22. Qf2 {looks more pleasant for White.}) 22... Ne4 23. Bxe4 Rxe4 {Black has good counterplay now, as despite the sad-looking f8 bishop White's pieces are awkward.} 24. Rdf2 Rce8 25. Bd2 f6 $6 {The bishop on f8 weeps. This move might be okay, but it looks unnecessary.} (25... R8e7 { looks playable to me, followed by going after d5.}) 26. Qd3 $6 (26. h4 { Attack! I'm sure Sam was scared off by something, but this looks very promising.}) 26... Qc5 (26... Qc4 $1 27. Qxc4 Rxc4 {and the d5 pawn won't be so easy to hold onto.}) 27. Rf4 Re2 28. a3 R8e5 29. Rd4 {This looks awkward, but it isn't so easy for Black to crack.} Rg2 30. Bb4 Qc7 31. Re4 Rg3 $1 {It is key Black doesn't give up the e-rook, or else the weak light squares will be telling.} 32. Qxg3 Rxe4 33. Re1 Qc4 34. Rd1 Re5 (34... Re2 35. Qd3 Qxd3 36. Rxd3 Rf2 {followed by f5 should give Black sufficient counterplay.}) 35. Qf3 Be7 (35... Re2 $1) 36. b3 Qe4 37. Qxe4 Rxe4 {This ending is also about equal. The bishop on e7 is ugly, but it is hard to take advantage of it.} 38. Rd3 (38. Re1 {I'd trade the rooks, but after} Rxe1+ 39. Bxe1 g6 {and f5 a draw is still a likely result.}) 38... Kf7 39. Rc3 Rd4 40. Rc6 Rxd5 41. Rxa6 {Adventurous.} h5 42. a4 bxa4 43. bxa4 hxg4 44. hxg4 {This look double-edged, but Black's kingside should cancel out the a-pawn.} g5 45. Rc6 f5 46. gxf5 Rxf5 47. Rc4 { Sam correctly guards against the g-pawn advance. Both sides keep playing, but it is clear the position will be simplified soon enough.} Ke6 48. Re4+ Kd7 49. c4 Bf6 50. Kc2 Rf2+ 51. Bd2 Be5 52. Kd3 Bf4 {and the players decide to call it a day. A very solid game from both players, with Sam missing only one or two chances for an edge.} 1/2-1/2

Nakamura, Hikaru ½-½ Gareev, Timur
A dubious pawn sacrifice from Nakamura, who obtained some compensation for it but no real hope for an advantage. The position was not easy for Black to make progress in, but he was definitely not worse. Gareev decided to take a second pawn, allowing Nakamura a repetition. The draw seemed like a fair result, but Nakamura admitted it would simply have been unpleasant had Gareev decided to play on.

Gareev was a fraction late to the game, not an immediate forfeiture by U.S. Championship rules

Tomorrow there will be a huge match-up in the Open section as the two leaders, Nakamura and Robson, will face each other in the potentially deciding game of the tournament.

The former Uzbek player notices something wrong... in the back Tony Rich starts talking to Wesley So

Daniel King analyses the game Nakamura vs Gareev

Pairings for Round Ten

Table White Rating Black Rating
1 GM Troff, Kayden W 2532 GM Gareev, Timur 2604
2 GM Robson, Ray 2656 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 2798
3 GM Onischuk, Alexander 2665 GM Sevian, Samuel 2531
4 GM Holt, Conrad 2530 GM Shankland, Samuel L 2661
5 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 2622 GM Naroditsky, Daniel 2633
6 GM Kamsky, Gata 2683 GM So, Wesley 2788

Standings

Replay Round Nine Games

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U.S. Women's Championship - Round Nine

Table White Score Rating Black Score Rating
Result
1 WGM Foisor, Sabina 4.0 2235 WCM Virkud, Apurva 3.0 2132
1-0
2 WIM Ni, Viktorija 4.5 2188 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 6.5 2279
½-½
3 IM Paikidze, Nazi 5.0 2333 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 2.0 2180
1-0
4 GM Krush, Irina 6.0 2477 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 4.5 2322
1-0
5 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 5.0 2311 FM Melekhina, Alisa 2.0 2235
½-½
6 WGM Sharevich, Anna 4.0 2267 WIM Wang, Annie 1.5 1901
½-½

Foisor, Sabina 1-0 Virkud, Apurva
Foisor simply squashed Virkud. Black had no counterplay at any point of the game and her king position was way too weak to think she had a playable position.

Ni, Viktorija ½-½ Nemcova, Katerina
A typical English position in which White went on the queenside and Black went on the kingside. Neither side was able to prove any real superiority and the draw seemed like a fair result.

Nemcova finishes with two strong pairings in the last rounds: Paikidze and Krush

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.10"] [Round "9"] [White "Ni, Viktorija"] [Black "Nemcova, Katerina"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "A28"] [WhiteElo "2188"] [BlackElo "2279"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "90"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. a3 {A tricky sideline, discouraging the natural Bb4.} g6 {Black finds another way to develop her bishop.} 5. d3 Bg7 6. Bg5 {Slightly unusual. If I had to guess, Viktoria wanted to discourage d5. I wouldn't trust my guesses, however.} (6. g3 {is more typical.}) 6... h6 7. Bxf6 Bxf6 8. g3 O-O 9. Bg2 Bg7 10. O-O d6 {We've reached a typical English position now.} 11. Rb1 a5 $6 {This move looks like the wrong approach. While it is common to play this to discourage b4, White is prepared to play it anyway, and so it effectively loses a tempo. Also, while the open a-file seems to be Black's, given White's extra space on that wing it is nearly impossible to keep in the long term.} 12. b4 {Amusingly, we've now directly transposed into a variation of the English.} axb4 13. axb4 Be6 14. Nd5 $6 {I'm not positive the knight wants to be there.} (14. b5 Ne7 15. Qc2 {followed by Nd2 looks like a logical course of action, taking a firm control of the light squares.}) 14... Qd7 $6 (14... Ne7 {takes better advantage of White's move order.} 15. Nxe7+ Qxe7 16. Nd2 c6 {and now after} 17. b5 d5 {Black is maybe even a little better. }) 15. Nd2 Ra2 $6 {Once again, not the right approach. Black can almost never hold this file.} (15... f5 {looks typical, getting some counterplay going on the kingside.}) 16. b5 Nd8 17. Nb3 $6 {The knight looks very strange here to me.} (17. Nc3 $1 {is what I like, since the knight no longer belongs on d5.} Ra3 18. Qc1 {and the rook gets shooed away.}) 17... c6 18. Nb4 {Another funny square, but I understand Viktoria wanting to hit the c6 square.} (18. Nc3) 18... Ra8 19. bxc6 bxc6 20. Qd2 (20. Qc2 {I prefer the queen here, controlling the queenside better and allowing for Nd2 if required}) 20... Bh3 $6 {It is almost paradoxical, but I don't think the bishop exchange favors Black here.} ( 20... h5 $5 {threatening h4 is an interesting try.}) (20... f5 {would be a standard move.}) 21. Rfd1 $2 {This move is hard to understand, and gives Black a much needed tempo.} (21. Bxh3 Qxh3 {The queen is out of play on h3, and now after} 22. c5 d5 23. Ra1 {White will be able to create play against the c6 pawn. I'm not certain Vika is better here, but I like her position more than I did before.}) 21... Bxg2 22. Kxg2 f5 $6 {Logical, but not the most useful move. } (22... Ne6 $1 {fixing her knight and discouraging c5 looks great for Black.}) 23. c5 {The correct approach. Note how with a bishop on g2 this move makes far less sense.} d5 24. d4 e4 25. f4 $1 {Without this move, White is actually much worse. It is key to prevent Black from playing Ne6-f4.} exf3+ {I was surprised by this move during the game, but after glancing at it more closely it makes sense. The d4 pawn is a much more attackable weakness now.} 26. exf3 f4 {I'm not sure putting the pawns on dark squares is the way to go.} (26... Ne6 {I like a little better.}) 27. g4 Ne6 28. Re1 Ra3 $6 {Another mistimed rook infiltration by Nemcova. This forces Vika to do what she wants to do anyway.} ( 28... Rfb8 29. Nc2 h5 {looks dangerous for White, as h3 allows Qe7-h4.}) 29. Nc2 Raa8 $6 (29... Ra4 {keeping an eye on d4 looks slightly better.}) 30. Qd3 Qf7 31. Re2 {The position looks balanced again.} h5 32. h3 $6 (32. gxh5 gxh5 33. Kh1 {followed by Rg1 looks very reasonable for White.}) 32... hxg4 33. hxg4 Rae8 34. Rbe1 Bf6 $6 (34... Qf6 {threatening Qh4 looks a lot more accurate.}) 35. Nb4 Nd8 {Now I slightly prefer White.} 36. Rxe8 $6 {I don't see any reason to liquidate.} (36. Na5 {piling on the pressure forces Black to play more accurately.} Bh4 $1 {is the key move, and now after} 37. Rxe8 Rxe8 38. Re2 { maybe White can play a bit, but realistically this should be drawn as well, for instance after} Re3 $1 39. Rxe3 fxe3 40. Qxe3 Qc7 {with Qg3 coming.}) 36... Rxe8 37. Rxe8+ Qxe8 38. Qd2 {Now it is a dead draw.} Ne6 39. Na5 Nxd4 40. Naxc6 {This looks exciting, but White's king is too exposed to do anything.} Nxc6 41. Qxd5+ Kg7 42. Nxc6 Qe2+ {A perp is forced now.} 43. Kg1 Qe1+ 44. Kg2 Qe2+ 45. Kg1 Qe1+ {A game with no blunders but quite a few small inaccuracies. Nemcova probably wishes she did a little more with her position.} 1/2-1/2

Paikidze, Nazi 1-0 Yu, Jennifer
Another incredibly one sided game. Yu decided to take a pawn on g3, which was a very risky decision. Her follow-up was nearly senseless as with every move Paikidze built a huge initiative while Black did nothing. It is not surprising that soon afterwards all of Yu's pieces were hanging and that was basically the end of the game.

Another easy game for Nazi Paikidze, who is now third

Krush, Irina 1-0 Abrahamyan, Tatev
An incredibly important result as now Krush is able to catch the leader, Nemcova, with two decisive games left in the tournament.

[Event "U.S. Womens Championship 2015"] [Site "Saint Louis"] [Date "2015.04.10"] [Round "9"] [White "Krush, Irina"] [Black "Abrahamyan, Tatev"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "E32"] [WhiteElo "2477"] [BlackElo "2322"] [Annotator "Josh Friedel"] [PlyCount "79"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [EventCountry "USA"] [SourceDate "2015.02.07"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. Nf3 {Irina usually plays the main line with a3, but Nf3 is a very common sideline.} c5 6. dxc5 Na6 7. g3 Nxc5 8. Bg2 b6 {Black finishes her development in the most natural way.} (8... Nce4 { is the main alternative.}) 9. O-O Bb7 10. Nb5 {This is considered White's only hope to play for advantage.} Be4 11. Qd1 a6 $5 {It looks strange to provoke the knight on d6, but the idea is very concrete.} 12. Nd6 Bc6 13. Bg5 $5 {A rare move, played just once by GM Fridman. The idea is to give up ideas of controling d6 in order to harass Black with the pin.} Nce4 {The most human move.} (13... h6 $2 {was played by Fridman's opponent, but this loses to} 14. Bxf6 Qxf6 15. a3 {and the bishop on b4 is embarassed.}) (13... Na4 {is what the computer likes, and now it wants} 14. Nxf7 $5 Rxf7 15. Ne5 Bxg2 16. Nxf7 Kxf7 17. Kxg2 b5 {wiith a strange position.}) 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Ne5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Ra7 {The only way to guard d7.} 17. Bxf6 gxf6 {Forced.} 18. Nd3 Be7 { White's advantage is nothing serious, but I slightly prefer her position due to Black's drafty king.} 19. e4 Rc7 20. Qb3 {I can't quite call this mistake, but this looks like a strange square for the queen.} (20. b3 b5 21. cxb5 axb5 22. Nf4 {looks normal to me, with the idea of Qf3-Nh5.}) 20... Qb8 21. a4 { Irina stops b5, but Tatev simply improves her pieces. Note how the queen on b3 looks strange.} Rfc8 22. Rac1 Rc6 $1 {Tatev slowly builds on the queenside. Now Qc7 is a move White has to contend with.} 23. Rfd1 Qc7 {Tatev plays simply. } (23... Qb7 {looks more clever, making White think about f5 moves, and trying to provoke f3 from White.}) 24. Nf4 Rxc4 (24... d6 {The computer likes this move, but after} 25. Nh5 Rxc4 26. Qe3 {I'd be very uncomfortable.}) 25. Rxd7 { Clearly best.} (25. Rxc4 Qxc4 26. Qxc4 Rxc4 27. Rxd7 Kf8 {and only Black can be better.}) 25... Qxd7 {Also the correct decision.} (25... Rxc1 $2 26. Rxc7 R1xc7 27. Qxb6 {looks awful for Black, as there are dangers on both the kingside and queenside.}) 26. Rxc4 Rxc4 27. Qxc4 {The position is roughly equal, but with Black's king still open White has the easier position to play.} b5 28. axb5 axb5 (28... Qxb5 $6 29. Qxb5 axb5 30. Kf3 {would be unwise for Black, due to White's better king and pawn structure.}) 29. Qd3 Qc6 {Both sides are playing accurate chess.} 30. f3 {This move opens the king a little, but otherwise f5 was a threat.} (30. Qf3 {looks reasonable, but after} Qc5 31. Nh5 Qe5 {Black should be safe.}) 30... b4 31. Kh3 Qc1 {Tatev goes after the b-pawn, allowing Irina to go after her king. This should be fine objectively, but she has to be precise.} (31... Qc5 32. Qd7 Kg7 {and keeping everything secure draws more simply.}) 32. Qd7 Bf8 33. Qd8 Qxb2 34. Nh5 {Both sides have played a high quality game thus far, but Tatev's next move throws away half a point.} b3 $2 (34... Qc1 $1 {Holds the draw, since after} 35. f4 (35. Nxf6+ Kg7 36. Nd7 {Black has} Qh6+ 37. Kg2 Qd2+ {with a perpetual.}) 35... Qc5 36. Nxf6+ Kg7 37. e5 {looks scary, but after} b3 38. Ne8+ Kg8 39. Qg5+ Kh8 40. Nf6 Bg7 { White can't make any threats.}) (34... h6 {also holds the draw by covering the g5 square.}) 35. Nxf6+ Kg7 36. Nd7 {Now Black has no way to defend against White's threats.} Qa3 (36... Bd6 37. Qg5+ Kh8 38. Nf6 {wins.}) 37. Qg5+ Kh8 38. Qe5+ $1 {The key move.} Kg8 (38... Bg7 39. Qb8+ Bf8 40. Nxf8 Kg7 41. Nd7 { easily wins, with Qe5 coming next and similar mating threats.}) 39. Nf6+ Kh8 40. Qh5 {A very well played game by both players until the blunder with 34... b3. Playing with an open king requires extreme caution until the end, and one slip was enough to cost Tatev her half point.} 1-0

Goletiani, Rusudan ½-½ Melekhina, Alisa
Goletiani was definitely outplayed by Melekhina. Black obtained a powerful passed pawn on c3 that gave her a strong initiative as White was never able to do anything active without letting that pawn queen. In the final position Melekhina bizarrely allowed a three fold repetition, though she had a winning blow.

A big missed opportunity for Alisa Melekhina

Sharevich, Anna ½-½ Wang, Annie
An up and down game. Wang had the better of the opening and it seemed as if she was handily outplaying Sharevich, but she was unable to finish off her opponent and may even have been lucky to draw at the end.

Pairings for Round Ten

Table White Rating Black Rating
1 WCM Virkud, Apurva 2132 WIM Wang, Annie 1901
2 FM Melekhina, Alisa 2235 WGM Sharevich, Anna 2267
3 WGM Abrahamyan, Tatev 2322 IM Goletiani, Rusudan 2311
4 WFM Yu, Jennifer R 2180 GM Krush, Irina 2477
5 WGM Nemcova, Katerina 2279 IM Paikidze, Nazi 2333
6 WGM Foisor, Sabina 2235 WIM Ni, Viktorija 2188

Standings

Replay Round Nine Games

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Commentary provided for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis by Josh Friedel:

Joshua Friedel

Josh was born in 1986 in New Hampshire, USA and is currently living in Wisconsin. He obtained his international master title in 2005 and his grandmaster in 2008. He has participated in six US Championships, including a tie for fourth in 2008. Major Open tournament victories include: the 2003 Eastern Open, 2005 Berkeley Masters, 2008 National Open, 2009 Edmonton International, 2009 North American Open, 2010 Saint Louis Open, 2010 American Open, 2013 Chicago Open.

Josh will be annotating the games for the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Photos by Lennart Ootes

Links

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Topics US Champ, USA

Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez has been playing tournament chess since 1998. His accomplishments include qualifying for the 2004 and 2013 World Cups as well as playing for Costa Rica in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Olympiads. He currently has a rating of 2583 and is author of a number of popular and critically acclaimed ChessBase-DVDs.
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johncorley581 johncorley581 4/13/2015 12:10
@ Mindhunterr ; yes, he does have serious problems...very unfortunate ones. Your conclusion at someone having serious problems for writing that is the voice of an ignoramus.

@ anonymous point#4 - is there a difference between writing on your scoresheet and writing on a piece of paper? YES. You know why? One is an official document of the game. You know what else?? Even FIDE put them as separate rules. So this silliness about him being warned is axiomatically false. Tony Rich is changing his story to make it seem like he was clear the whole time. AKOBIAN IS NOT A HERO. He took advantage of his insider knowledge, being a member of the St. Louis decision committee, and thus knows So risks forfeiture against him specifically.

All this did was win fans for So and lose fans for Tony Rich, Akobian and Ben Finegold. At least Yasser and Kasparaov, much wiser players understand the poor decision by the arbiter. Since RULES ARE RULES....what is the official RULE for the appropriate punishment. Should So be banned from the tournament for life?

Tony Rich constantly looks up FIDE rules because he doesn't really know them that well....check his other tournaments.
DeOudHagenaar DeOudHagenaar 4/12/2015 06:50
I suppose we are talking about Article 12 of the FIDE rules over here, which says amongst other things:
- “… During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard…” and “…The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.”
I fail to see how mr. So violated those rules in his game against mr. Akobian. I understood he did not use his scoreheet to take ‘personal notes’ but used another piece of paper.
The intention of the FIDE rules is to guarantee fair play. Using some paper for analysing a position or recalling opening moves is clearly unfair and therefore forbidden. But mr. So’s note taking had another nature. I do not think the FIDE rules are ment to forbid this. An arbiter should apply rules according hat they were ment for in the first place. So, in my opinion mr. Rich, was wrong.
The preface of the FIDE-rules says this: “… Too detailed a rule might deprive the arbiter of his freedom of judgement and thus prevent him from finding the solution to a problem dictated by fairness, logic and special factors. …”
I do very much agree with this; but of course it only turns out right if an arbiter in charge is competent and does understand that the rules are not there for the sake of keeping them. As said before, they are there in chess to guarantee fair competition. By his decision mr. Rich reached the opposite. He disturbed the US championship.
Victor Victor 4/12/2015 12:07
I would like to give Wesley the benefit of the doubt that his intentions were pure. Unfortunately, others may be able to take advantage of using tactical/analytical notes disguised as inspirational words or reminders to gain an unfair competitive edge. For that reason alone, it would seem appropriate to forfeit any player who engages in such a practice - especially if warned previously.
ulyssesganesh ulyssesganesh 4/12/2015 09:06
there are better ways to motivate oneself! chess geniuses are often eccentrics .....remember bobby.... so has just settled in the U.S. he should regroup himself! he will!!
samvils samvils 4/12/2015 09:05
new chess rule, when your opponent drools he will be forfeited.
genem genem 4/12/2015 06:43
In the USA, among the governing Delegates to the USCF are a surprising number who want it to be legal to - (1) write a candidate move, (2) erase the candidate, (3) write another candidate - on as many of your turns as you like. In the 2000's they even got their way for a year or two, before the rule was made somewhat more strict (exact rule wording is available only by purchasing a book from publish McKay; boo).
Too many people who get paid to train kids in chess boast that they train kids to write the candidate moves on their scoresheet. These trainers attempt to use the fact that many youngsters have been so trained as an argument for allowing this form of note taking.
~~
The scoresheet is only for what has already happened in the game, never for things that might or might not happen.
To respond to {Kenneth Calitri 4/11/2015 02:17}: It is legal to write down the actual clock time after a move is completed, because the clock time actually happened in the game. It is legal (and should be required) to write down Draw Offered on your scoresheet, if it actually happened as part of the game. Also, it is naive to think that nobody could design a note system that would seem innocuous but which actually encodes things like calculated variations (child's play for magicians, as just one example). We must never put the arbiter in the impossible position of having to rule on what writings are vs are not acceptable during the game, beyond things that have actually already happened in the game. Also, an excellent related point was made by {birdgeo 4/11/2015 05:49}.
~~
To respond to {Rinzou Wilkerson 4/11/2015 03:08}: Yes, annotating moves is note taking and is illegal. Appending '?' or '!' to a move is annotating.
~~
To respond to {solskytz 4/11/2015 02:24}: I basically agree with your very important point. Arbiter made a mistake in judgment and discretion: On the second infraction, the arbiter should have penalized W.So a few minutes off his clock, instead of merely issuing a second warning. Third offense penalty could have been a 30 minute deduction, and so on increasing.
~~
So's Facebook self-defense that he - "did not know it was against the rules" - creates a direct and strange contradiction among the claimed facts. In essense So is claiming he was not warned earlier or earlier in the tournament. I trust the claim that he was warned.
~~
Reading so many posts that blame the arbiter, I must conclude that many people do not know the meaning of the word 'warning'. It does not mean 'request'.
ff2017 ff2017 4/12/2015 03:15
Not that I am saying this is what Wesley was doing, but what about cheating by encoding hidden messages within your notes? The key is that if you don't globally enforce the rules then other people seeing a loophole can try to take advantage.

I'm not cryptographer and probably worse than mediocre chess player, but if I could get notes into the game, I could imagine trying to encode 15 lines of the Two Knights Defense into into something as simple as "Need to pick up milk" .
Wastrel Wastrel 4/12/2015 02:13
Chess is played entirely in the mind and on the board. The rules prohibiting notes of any kind express that principle. I don't like Wesley's excuse that he didn't know the rule; I find it very hard to believe. I think he might have learned a lesson from this. It cost him a few thousand bucks, too -- assuming he might have won or drawn the game.
By the way, the photo published elsewhere of Nakamura looking around to see what was happening as Wesley was being read the riot act is a good candid shot.
oputu oputu 4/12/2015 01:20
Thanks to one 'Rich' guy, the chess world would never know what happens after 6.dxc5
Boris Reykjavik Boris Reykjavik 4/12/2015 12:17
Absurd judgement about cheat notes and disgraceful, very harsh penalty.

eja616 eja616 4/11/2015 10:41
Speaking of distractions, forfeiting the game has caused way more distractions to all the players, commentators, and everyone involved in the tournament than writing notes like Wesley did will ever do. And for what - just to make a point that it is against the rules? How about quietly penalizing Wesley on the chess clock or getting him fined and allowing the game to continue? That would be much less distraction wouldn't it?
taffy28 taffy28 4/11/2015 09:16
So he was writing notes - who really cares?? Why is this action so serious that it should warrant a forfeit? OK rules are rules blah blah blah, but how does this affect the game? What is the rationale behind this rule? He is not using notes, he is writing them. The two things are completely different.
GM_SRP GM_SRP 4/11/2015 08:50
If he is a friend of him and trained with him, he will not complain it. He will let that game continue, if he really wants to play as he said in the interview; whatever the outcome.
Let's face the truth, complaining it to arbiter, means getting an easy 1 point. He badly need that 1 point or else he will be getting the 2nd place after the 9th round ranking next to Daniel. :)
Unfortunate on Wesley's part, he didn't expect that nice tactics.

...maybe it's just a part of a plan. - Ed Sheeran
charlesthegreat charlesthegreat 4/11/2015 08:38
So unfortunate for So. Silly rules like that is why I quit tournament chess a long time ago.
Wish him a quick recovery from this.
Savvy Savvy 4/11/2015 08:28
Chess - The sport of gentlemen! If everyone were gentlemen then this rule of notetaking, not about the game itself, would be ridiculous to say the least but everyone is clearly not (not pointing a finger at So specifically) and therefore it needs to stand and be enforced...

- It is the players responsibility to know the rules
- It is the players responsibility to abide by the rules
- It is the players responsibility to ASK about anything that is unclear to them in the rules, especially after having been warned twice before in the same tournament and apparantly previously as well...

For example: A simple thing for So to have done would have been to write the note before the game, shown the arbiter and ask if it were ok to have this note beside him during the game. It is not always, and nor should it be, easier/better to ask forgiveness after the fact..

That said, perhaps the punishment is still too harsh but I cannot blame the arbiter for enforcing the rules - that is what they are there for! I too think it is slightly petty for Akobian to report this, in my view minor thing, but I cant blame him either for wanting his opponent to stop an irritating and ruleforbidden action.

Nor do I think it is a sad day for chess that the rules are enforced - it is a good day for chess! Rules should stand and afterwards be discussed and improved. Even and especially against strong players! That makes it more appealing to partake since all is fair to everyone and more appealing to sponsors because of the organisation behind.
anonimous anonimous 4/11/2015 08:10
The facts:

1. So broke the rule about taking notes during the game, and possibly the one about disturbing his opponent - though the latter rule is very unclear since everything could possibly be disturbing your opponent, the violation of the former rule is clear-cut. Notice that one rule in the FIDE Handbook of chess prohibits you for using the scoresheet for anything but moves, game-related data, and time on the clock, while another rule explicitly mentions the prohibition of taking notes, regardless of whether they are taken on the scoresheet or somewhere else.
2. The arbiter issued So two warnings, and made it clear that a third violation of the rule would result in him forfaiting the game. Moreover, teammates and coaches at Webster (e.g. Robson) have warned So for years that this behaviour is prohibit by the rules.
3. After taking notes on his scoresheet on his two previous games in this Champ, against Akobian he used a different piece of paper. This is still against the rule of taking notes, which he also broke in the previous two occasions - 3rd time breaking a rule results in a forfait, as the arbiter warned him about that. Akobian called the arbiter and he forfaited So.

These are the facts, and they seem perfectly consequential to me. There are rules, which the arbiter need to enforce. Obviously the TD has some discretionality, and in this case he warned So twice before forfaiting him... does the cops ever let you go twice on a traffic violation before giving you a ticket?

Other points:
4. So's idea of using another sheet of paper rather than his scoresheet makes him look like a smartass who was looking for an easy-way-out to cheat the rule, like in the cookie jar example that someone before me mentioned.
5. Blaming Akobian is just ridicolous, the guy just made sure that rules were enforced... he would be an accessory if he had noticed and didn't say anything. Moreover, it is not even clear if he knew that So had already had two warnings, so he may have thought that the TD would have just made So stop.
6. "So was taking notes about personal encouragement and they were not helping him" IRRELEVANT. The rule prohibits to take notes, full stop. Even if it was your grocery list, it is still against the rules. Moreover, it appears like So was taking notes like "Use your time" "Sit during the full game" and so on, which are definitely MORE than personal encouragement, and can be of real help during a game, because they help him enforcing personal discipline. I won't get into the fact that this could be a mnemonic code to remember variations, because I am sure this is not the case for So, but allowing him to write this stuff down would create a very dangerous precedent... as someone mentioned before me, picture everyone in the World Open taking notes... how would you deal with that?!
oputu oputu 4/11/2015 07:46
I have often wondered why chess moves and anything for thar matter is hand recorded in a completely computerised society. The only time I get to see my own handwriting is at a chessboard since I type all my documents. Plus the board even records it. C'Mon.
Plus these rules are not set in gold. I have watched Kramnik and Topalov play without a handshake when those are rules. Why doesn't the arbiter not try to enforce that and probably lose his job in the name of upholding the rules.
I watched Alexander Grischuck play Salem Saleh over 50 moves in a drawn position. Salem refused to play anymore and Grischuck refused a draw. By some strange miracle Salem was convinced to may and the game was eventually drawn under the supervision on a standing arbiter. Very important in that matter was that the arbiters found a way of solving a chess problem without causing a scene or drama which clearly this arbiter in this matter failed to do
Maturner Maturner 4/11/2015 07:45
The arbiter made a mistake by issuing an ultimatum after the second infraction leaving himself no flexibility for the 3rd infraction and thus bringing about a forfeit that nobody wanted to see.
Tom Zap Tom Zap 4/11/2015 07:40
According to this article, it would appear that So has family problems that might have contributed to this episode. Link here: http://www.startribune.com/local/299426421.html
Martin Cohen Martin Cohen 4/11/2015 07:24
It's a very tough call to find the best solution for situations like these - of course, the rules and laws of chess must be respected. A few years back, Ivanchuk was about to be severely punished for refusing to give his urine sample for drug testing. He had just lost a game to Gata Kamsky and was clearly in a bad mood. His refusal could have resulted in being barred from professional chess for two years. The whole chess community stood up in Ivanchuk's defence: there was clearly no correlation between his "crime" (refusing to give a urine sample) and the punishment (being barred for 2 years). Everybody understood that Ivanchuk was not in the right frame of mind after his loss to go pee in a little cup and give it to the organizers. So he was eventually forgiven.

In this case, there is also an obvious human aspect to the situation. In spite of the warnings, it somehow did not dawn on Wesley So that he could not make any notes whatsoever, not even on a separate piece of paper. It is also important to note that the nature of his notes were very innocent. Tony Rich was fully entitled to his decision, but was that really the best way to go? In the interest of the harmony of the tournament, there were other options available that would have been less drastic. Rules are there for a reason, but a great arbiter will know when to enforce them and when to look at the greater picture and maintain a certain flexibility. His decision to forfeit created a huge upheaval that ultimately does not serve the chess world. If there would even be one iota of foul play suspected on Wesley's end, the situation would look different. In this case, there is a sense of rigidity that in my own personal opinion leaves a bitter aftertaste.
Grimmell73 Grimmell73 4/11/2015 06:56
It seems clear that the notes Wesley So wrote were in fact designed to improve his performance. Had he written a grocery list it would be one thing. He said he was writing notes to remind himself to manage time better and double-triple check himself. This appears to be exactly the kind of behavior that the rule bans. I'm always unsettled when I hear people arguing that they disagree with the rule, therefore the rule is wrong. When we play a game that has rules, if we disagree with those rules WE are wrong. Without the rules there is no game. Akobian followed the rules, So did not. Repeatedly. He earned the forfeit.

When Nigel Short lost a game on forfeit because his cell phone powered itself down and made a chime (when the ringing of a cell phone led to a forfeit), he never complained that this behavior really wasn't against the rule; "my phone didn't ring, it powered down." Never said that. Game not replayed. Took his loss with good spirit.

Had it been Akobian who lost on this rule, would we even be having this discussion? Do the rules apply to all chess players, or only those rated under 2700?
LetsReason LetsReason 4/11/2015 06:39
There seems to be two (maybe three) key elements to this controversy: 1. Did So deserve to be forfeited? To this I say, yes. The simple and black-n-white fact that what he was doing was pointed out clearly would get him forfeited and he continued to do it. Fine...you lose. 2. Does the rule (or interpretation of the intent of the rule) go too far? To that, I say no. I've played many scholastic tournaments where my young opponent would use a device to record their moves or note the move down before moving (only to erase it an do something else just before touching the piece) and these things were distracting. I don't want to have to think about whether my opponent may or may not be cheating. I do not think it is too much to ask that everyone play under the same rules and conditions and by making them clear cut, it helps bring everyone to a level playing field.

I think everything was handled appropriately.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 4/11/2015 06:07
If So was warned on multiple previous occasions, yet in his apology he couldn't think of a better excuse than "I didn't know", then the forfeit will probably stand. His apology is more of an insult to the intelligence than an apology.

The main argument for the other side is that it's a small infraction, but this claim ignores its persistent nature. Yes, it is a small infraction the first time. The 4th time it's not. Even the first time it's not small, as the opponent is distracted from his own game, trying to read notes across the table, and convince himself that they're harmless.

The other big argument I'm reading here are variations on "The forfeit was wrong because I personally like Wesley So." Until one of these arguments is written by someone named Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, they won't have any merit.

The only thing that might have saved So on the appeal would have been evidence that the notes were really harmless. That might have helped. But, since So pocketed the evidence, he pocketed his only defense. The infraction was genuine, and multiple warnings were given before it was assessed, therefore it must stand.
Jason Rihel Jason Rihel 4/11/2015 05:56
So far people have seemed to neglect two other components of the motivation behind the rule.

The first is, formally, even an innocuous looking note could be coded analysis. I doubt this is the case here, but it certainly is possible. Even a simple mnemonic code would be a violation of the spirit of the rule to prevent analysis or helpful notes.

The second is that note taking is distracting to the opponent. Your opponent might not be able to see what you are writing, and your opponent might rightfully worry that you are writing notes.

Finally, let's face it, two warnings at the top US event? That is more than enough, and to claim that Wesley thought the warning only meant "On his scoresheet" sounds like a child dumping cookies out of a cookie jar, claiming, "You said not to put my hand IN the cookie jar!"

birdgeo birdgeo 4/11/2015 05:49
Picture this: World open, thousands of players, ALL taking notes ... get it?
drew4gr drew4gr 4/11/2015 05:46
The problem I have with So's "note taking" or "words of encouragement" to himself is that of association. I don't claim to know why he writes things but chess is largely based on memory especially in the openings. Anyone who know about memory techniques knows about association. Why would you be writing notes of encouragement at move six?
GM_SRP GM_SRP 4/11/2015 05:37
I want to hear Wesley So's side also. They should have interviewed him also, just to be fair.
fons fons 4/11/2015 05:26
There is nothing to discuss about the decision; rules are the rules.

What amazes me is how Wesley So could be so stupid after being warned about this beforehand several times, I thought he would be smarter than this. Even his coaches warned him about it years ago. I suspect it is a form of superstition, but still. His pretense of not understanding the rule properly is also pretty laughable, in his defense he is still young and going through family problems.

(The rule itself may seem overly strict, but you have to draw the line somewhere. For example if you allow players to bring in or write all sorts of notes, arbiters would have to check to see if it is not analysis and this would quickly become unmanageable on a practical level.)
Bob Tausworthe Bob Tausworthe 4/11/2015 05:20
This is not an isolated incident. So's coaches at Webster and his teammates Swaziland and Robson are on record that they have warned him FOR YEARS that taking notes of any kind was illegal. He knew what he was doing. Also though Akobian is getting vilified it was Shackland in game one who originally reported him to the arbiter. All the players are frustrated by So's flouting of the rules. Ivanchuck posted he is happy something has finally been done.

And this is not a friendly game of chess. This is a international level tournament with money and position on the line. If you don't think other professional sports have strict and impersonal adherence to the rules you have never seen a pro golfer penalized for having an extra ball or other equipment violation.

And the arbiter did not act arrogantly or unilaterally. He consulted with FIDE officials among others before giving him the forfeiture warning. So the severity of the warning was sanctioned by the highest level of play.

So himself is only appealing the loss of points not the forfeiture. He knows he blew it
GM_SRP GM_SRP 4/11/2015 05:17
Everyone involve in this issue So, Akobian, and Rich, has their own rights and motives: appealing, complaining, and the difficult part, deciding the forfeiture.

Since it has been raised to Appeals Committee, let them investigate and decide, and make destructive specuations. Whatever their decision is, it is final. Just make a lesson out of it - for each parties: players and arbiter.

At the end of the day, we are one chess family.
gmwdim gmwdim 4/11/2015 05:05
In this case the rule is very clear, and he received two previous warnings. The forfeit is justified and there's no basis for the appeal.
birdgeo birdgeo 4/11/2015 04:56
I agree, Igor Freiberger, the law must serve justice. But opposing the rule in over-the-board competition is probably not the best way to do it - again, after warnings from arbiter and others, why didn't Wesley get the rulebook, take it to the arbiter and make a case? He did nothing except ignore the warnings it seems. His behavior really does defy logic.
birdgeo birdgeo 4/11/2015 04:47
Understandably, some think that what Wesley did was not such a big deal. Maybe, maybe not. But the way to oppose unjustified or ambiguous rules is also spelled out in the rulebook. I'm betting that the process does not involve simply opposing the rule in over-the-board competition! But Wesley doesn't oppose the rule by his own words: "... I'm sorry I did not know it was against the rules." So he was warned by the arbiter twice, other players, and it seems other top players are annoyed by his behavior too. His claim of ignorance tests his credibility a great deal. Some important questions arise: 1) Why is this world top player ignorant of the rules in the first place? 2) Especially after being warned by arbiter and players in this very tournament, why didn't he check the rulebook? Better yet, 3) Why didn't he check with the arbiter before the round for clarification? What disturbs me is that these questions just about answer themselves: Important tournament, warnings, defiance. His forfeit was certainly justified under the rules. I urge those who complain to actually do something to get the rules changed.
vdpandit vdpandit 4/11/2015 04:13
I look at it as arbiter's ego problem. "Even after my warning not to do certain thing. you continue to do it. I take it as my insult and hence I am bound to teach you a lesson"- this is what seemed to be at the back of arbiter's mind. Arbiter's decision may be legal (because So's opponent, it is reported, had complained to the arbiter against So) but not human. The rules should be enforced not in letter but in spirit. We should remember the rule in question is not the rule of the game but a tournament rule. And I am sure the US chess lovers would want a worthy player to win the Championship.
Ivan Wijetunge Ivan Wijetunge 4/11/2015 03:15
http://www.startribune.com/local/299426421.html?page=1&c=y
johnmk johnmk 4/11/2015 02:52
People's reactions are much more surprising than the forfeit. Since he was warned and since he's an adult, he should understand not to do it. this is the US Championship after all so there have to be some rules that are respected by players. I always thought the rules about disqualifying owners of ringing cell phones was harsh, but there do have to be rules. Touch piece move piece for example. Everyone can grasp that, so this is just a similar rule that players must be aware of.
ashperov ashperov 4/11/2015 02:43
This is just a mockery of the game of chess. I can understand if he has opening prep up his sleeve but a few inspirational words? What if it was written on his shirt? a bracelet? Its a mockery. The opponent is an asshole. But most people are. The arbiter is suppose to be level minded.
But hey refs in the English premier league are just as pathetic.
ex0 ex0 4/11/2015 02:37
To the people saying he should be able to write notes.. ok what about this situation; Wesley writes 'notes', but what if those notes are analysis or moves to remind him? Isn't that an unfair advantage? To have 'notes' of ANY kind can be taken as 'analysis'. Because what if he had some kind of shorthand 'code' to remind him of certain lines/analysis? Like some kind of mnemonic memory technique or a variation of it in 'noteform'?

Can't this be taken as being distracting or annoying for the other player who ISN'T taking notes himself? It can even be considered as an 'outside aid', 'unfair advantage' or even cheating if you want to take it to the logical extreme.

Wes deservedly got what was coming for him. Hopefully for his own sake, he takes away something positive from this tournament(and last few months/year.. it would seem like a lot has happened not just in his chess career, but also his personal life)
solskytz solskytz 4/11/2015 02:31
Solution for the game - advice for the appeals committee:

Have them play the game again. Let So start with 5 minutes less than his opponent.
solskytz solskytz 4/11/2015 02:24
As the offense is quite ridiculous and pretty harmless - I don't say "ignore it" as nobody should be allowed to disregard the rules to that extent - but continue with the gradient approach.

The guy was warned twice? So the third time, deduct 5 minutes from his time, with a further warning.

Time after that, deduct 15.

Then deduct 45 minutes.

Then make him play the whole game (Wesley seems to do this at the opening stage) with just 25 minutes on his clock

Then with 5...

At some point he will get it :-)