"Grace-Time" Controversy – the real story

7/8/2015 – "As you aware, in an unfortunate incident GM Koneru Humpy withdrew from the Commonwealth Chess Championship 2015," wrote A.K. Verma, Secretary of the Delhi Chess Association. "Too much has been written about this. As Organising Secretary of Championship it's my responsibility to clear the air." Attached was a document relating the DCA's stand and view on the issue.

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Grace-Time Controversy – the real story

Too much has been written about Koneru Humpy’s loss against Himanshu Sharma in the fourth round of the Commonwealth Chess Championship that ended in Delhi some days back.

The Delhi Chess Association has clearly been one of the best chess organisation in India, in here we have organised 13 International tournaments with record participation every time. In January this year, in the International festival we had 1000 participants in three categories.

To up the ante is the motto of this organisation. Please have a look at our next tournament in which the Grandmaster and even those who are below 1600 rated get to play high prize money tournaments.

The Delhi Chess Association does not feel good about the incident that happened. Our appeal to the chess world: please go through the entire as-it-happened detail before reaching your conclusions.

Round 1: Tania Sachdev lost on time.

Tania comes from Delhi. Like for Humpy, we have the highest regard for Tania. She knew “she had done a Carlsen” when the Arbiter said you have lost on time.

She put her point across: “but you announced like this: 90 minutes plus 30 seconds and 30 minutes of grace time”… In her candid admission in one of the previous reports, Tania mentioned she learnt it the hard way. The Arbiter could have been better but not to know the rules is also players’ fault. Period.

What exactly is meant by grace-time? We googled it and the top result is:

OK, "grace period" is the perfect term, but in India we call it "grace-time". We may not be perfect in English but we can make you understand. And we are very humble people generally so even if the same question is asked 100 times we reply with a smile. “It essential means the time you have got to be at the board from starting time of the round, otherwise it results in a forfeit”

In Tania’s mind there was no doubt so she did not ask the arbiter. This is where round one ended.

Round 4: Humpy lost on time.

Her reaction after she was declared lost: Ok, in that case I will withdraw from the tournament. If anyone does not believe what we are saying, we can get witnesses who saw this happen. Humpy cannot deny this herself. We have evidence she created a scene in that one minute. There were over 100 players still playing their games.

Humpy in her interview has talked about low-standards. What standard is she setting here? She was by far the biggest star in the tournament. By some margin. Does that imply you should talk loud in the hall, say in front of so many people “then I think no point playing here, I will withdraw”?

No Offense meant to anyone. Are Magnus Carlsen or Hou Yifan or Koneru Humpy bigger than the game of Chess? They did not make Chess – Chess made them what they are. No sport person is bigger than the game in any sport.

We do not know what happened to Humpy in that one moment. But… what happens when something goes terribly wrong? Unexpected, inexplicable? What happens when it really is no fault of yours according to you? What is the first reaction in a human mind?

We blame! We blame it on many things. Don’t we?

What happened in that one moment? The “grace-time“ became “additional time”. She mentioned it to us immediately. The arbiter said “Additional time”. Now obviously in her mind the story was suiting to her requirements.

Her letter to Appeals’ committee did not ask them to review anything. She just mentioned her points including the “additional time” story and said she was withdrawing from the tournament. The Arbiter did not say “Additional Time”, but grace time – Tania Sachdev will attest to this.

If you are withdrawing from the tournament who do you inform? The Appeals’ committee? And what did we do? We promptly called the appeals-committee members from everywhere except India to please address the issue. They sat, deliberated, with and without Humpy…. None of us were present there. The committee also reached the same conclusion that the result of the game cannot be changed.

What happened after that. We literally pleaded with Humpy to not leave the tournament, but she had made up her mind.

Ambiguous announcement in some minds? We agree. But please tell us what we could have done? Should we have gone to Humpy personally and informed her what happened to Tania?

We believe a lot of people knew what happened to Tania. Many Grandmasters also knew what happened to Tania, Humpy was unaware. Is not informing Humpy personally about the time control a mistake?

Mr. Srivatsan is an International arbiter of repute, we stand by him. Its always one moment when something goes wrong… Srivatsan said something that did not register in some minds. This is what the entire case is all about. Nothing more and nothing less.

Mr. Emil Sutovsky of the Association of Chess Professional did his work and his facebook post was copied on ChessBase as well. He asked what to do when an arbiter is wrong? Mr. Sutovsky: The arbiter was not wrong. He was only misunderstood. Besides Tania and Humpy there are 296 other players in the championship, why nothing happened to them?

Humpy in her interview said: “I was shocked to see the clock at 0:00. I asked my opponent about the additional 30 minutes and he was confused and said to find out with the arbiter. I went to the arbiter and they said that there was no additional time control. I questioned that the announcement was made that we would have 90 min + 30 sec from move 1 and 30 minutes. To my surprise, the arbiter said 30 minutes is grace time. I accepted the result and immediately signed the score sheet”.

Did it actually happen? No. She made an announcement right there and then that she is withdrawing from the event. Without giving anything or anyone a chance. Did she immediately sign the scoresheet? She signed it after a long argument.

In one of her other game in the event, she won in 41 moves. Yet it did not strike her to look for her clock? That did not raise any suspicion?

In Humpy's interview the following comment was mentioned by Ms. Chevannes

This announcement confused many people, including myself. I read in the invitation that the time control was without additional time, but suddenly the arbiter is mentioning an extra 30 minutes. However, he actually said “grace time” and by this, he meant that each player has 30 minutes to get to his/her board before being defaulted. This never affected Humpy until round four, as she won her first three rounds before move 40.

Many say that Humpy should have realised there was no additional time once she didn’t see the extra 30 minutes added on to the clock after move 40. However, I have played many a tournament where the time is only added on to both sides after the first time allotment reaches 0:00. – Sabrina Chevannes

As we have already posted the scoresheet when Humpy played 41 moves, this information was not precise and was done without checking the facts.

Things go wrong. What do we do if we are flag bearers of the game? We run away or we stay put to set it right? Humpy chose to leave the championship.

Humpy sent a letter to Indian media in which she mentioned:

“I also want everyone to know, I quit the tournament in protest of the wrong announcement (poor communication skills of the arbiter), irresponsible organization several times power cuts occurred in between the game, there is no live transmission until round 4. The tournament was done below the International standards. No one took the responsibility to make correct announcement due to which I lost and am mentally disturbed.”

No live transmission? Power-cuts? Who are we kidding here? Humpy is an Indian. Power-cuts happen across the world. There was never a power cut more than 30 seconds – the switchover time in the venue when power-cut happens. This is India, power-cuts happen here. Far less than before, but still do. And why she did not mention them till this incident?

And live transmission? It gets interrupted so many times across the world. We had a technical snag here. The machine got broken. We did not have resources to build it back in time. And, by the way, what live transmission has got to do with her time loss? She played all games in the event on DGT board… We are living in an age when people are demanding delay in live telecast…

This reasoning by her? We leave the readers to decide what was in her mind. All said and done, nobody wanted this incident to happen. As we mentioned earlier, things go wrong.

After her withdrawal, we referred the matter to Commonwealth Chess Association President who sent the matter to AICF and subsequently it has now gone to FIDE/Ethics Commission.

Humpy’s latest statement is:

"It`s painful to read such adverse and annoying statements by my own federation published in "The Hindu". But what I have done is for justice and for respect towards chess players in India. I believe change cannot be achieved without the difficult situations, struggle or the pain. I wish that in future no player should suffer facing such circumstances."

What justice and what respect is she referring to here? Would she have withdrawn if the matter had gone in her favour? Would she have complained if the arbiter ruled – “ok you are right, it was our mistake, please continue the game”?

The competition would still have been the same, the conditions as they were and the respect meted out to chess players in the country would not have changed one bit. It was that one moment…

And suddenly the ACP, the Arbiters’ commission, the FIDE ethics commission, All India Chess Federation, we in Delhi Association, Chessbase editorial team, the chess buffs across the world… Hundreds of people have suddenly found extra work. Opinions might be split but that one moment, when Humpy said she won’t play “if this is the case” has given us all so much work. Why? Because Humpy can do no wrong?


We regret the incident on the whole. The matter is now under FIDE’s jurisdiction and we will accept whatever they decide.

We just wanted to clear the air.

A.K. Verma
Secretary, Delhi Chess Association

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Slowrush Slowrush 7/13/2015 11:58
Clearly, all parties should share some of the blame: GM Koneru Humpy for not being fully aware of the time control and the arbiter for not using correct language to ensure that all players fully understand the rules of the tournament. The tournament organizer should also oversee proceedings to make sure that the standards are in keeping with internationally accepted rules, so they are also at fault in this incident. If GM Koneru behaved badly, she was at fault as she should be setting certain behavioral standards for other players, especially younger players. If, as in the arguments delivered by the DCA, they "... may not be perfect in English", then they should try to learn English that is understood by everyone. This is supposed to be the Commonwealth Chess Championship, open I would imagine to non-Indian players who may, and do speak, other varieties of English used in different parts of the world. How can they be expected to understand English that is used only in India? I think the organizers and arbiter must bear the brunt of any blame apportioned.

If GM Koneru is to be penalized in any way, then perhaps on her behavior. Does she not have the right to withdraw from a tournament? The ban called for by the AICF is totally ridiculous and counter-productive. At a time when chess should be used to cement the different spheres and genders of our societies, they are trying desperately to drive a wedge into the very heart of chess to divide the participants involved. If anything, the AICF and DCA should be banned from FIDE.
Basically, the arguments put forward by the AICF and DCA can be described as "pure unadulterated garbage". Other posts have demonstrated the failure of the diatribe submitted by these two federations and I will offer no further comment, but I offer that their mediocrity and poor attempts to cover their ineptitude and insufficiency seem to be surpassed only by their misogynist attitudes and discriminatory behavior towards women. And this is the issue that brings shame to the AICF and DCA. One wonders how they would have reacted if one of their top male GMs had behaved in identical fashion to GM Koneru. Also, have any Indian male GMs commented on the incident? I know not.

Outside of the rules, the AICF and DCA simply show themselves to be unprofessional bodies blinded by their misogyny to the point where they are unable to make fair decisions. Shame on them.
yesenadam yesenadam 7/11/2015 05:23
What a ridiculous load of confused, self-serving rubbish. "We just wanted to clear the air." LOL. Truly stinky. The "too much written about this" is this very article. Well, as is clear from the response, he has convinced no-one, just shown plainly to the world the kind of nonsense Indian players talk about having to put up with.
Radena Radena 7/11/2015 02:24
Why is Mr Varma so arrogant? In the contrary, he even does not know what exactly grace time is. It is ridiculous. Mr. Varma not only fails to clear the air but even makes it worse. He shows no respect to the players. He continues attacking Humpy personally and even fools her. Well, he is not professional and make Delhi Chess Association looks bad. :(
royc royc 7/11/2015 09:58
"Grace time" is Indian English word, and when a player do not understand it, that is his/her TERRIBLE MISTAKE. The organizers "will come pounding on you" (now, I have my own English word, too)!

On the serious side, here is my two cents. The Organizers, as the word implies in real sense, has the full-circle responsibility of making sure that the event they organized and its "rules" are verbosely understood by each and every player --> don't just make one announcement but do it in 2, 3, 4 occasions.
Jacob woge Jacob woge 7/11/2015 03:22
Two complementary cases:

Carlsen lost on time. He was a bit late, and did not hear the arbiter's announcement. Had he arrived on time, this might not have happened.

Koneru lost on time. She showed up soon enough to hear the arbiter's announcement. Had she been too late for that, this might not have happened.

One point that would have been particularly misleading - apart from the fact that you convey a message related to the game and a message related to playing conditions in the same sentence - is that the time control in effect is less standard than the time control "announced". What is announced sounds very normal: you have a move barrier and then play on with some extra time. Not having any move barrier is also common, but mostly in rapid chess.

It has been claimed more than once in this debate that Ms. Koneru appealed for the result to be reversed. That the turn of events as documented contradicts such a claim does not seem to act as deterrent: "what else would she be appealing for?" the argument then goes.

I do not follow this kind of reasoning at all. One's own lack of imagination is not an argument.

Until the misunderstanding regarding time control is sorted out - and it will take more than the arbiter to do that, since he/she is the source of confusion - the thing to appeal for is for the game to be played out with the extra half hour allotted. Because that is what one believes one is (or rather: Both players are) entitled to.

The position on the board, who is better, is irrelevant in this respect.

I am not completely sure, but I think it would be a bad idea to sign the score sheet immediately, before an appeal is handed in. That would indicate the game is over, and that is exactly what is being contested at this stage.

When the time control issue is clarified, the game result is no longer contested. What remains is the discrepancy between regulations in effect, and arbiter's announcement - or the level of ambiguity in same announcements. Which definitely is present. This is most unfortunate, and the tournament officials are asked to acknowledge this. Their answer to that is to ridicule the player in question.

Who in turn chooses to abandon ship. Wise choice, when you have the option. Just look at Carlsen's meltdown - and he had only himself to blame.

fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 7/11/2015 12:08
@Aighearach, you are simply incorrect. You fail to recognize, as others have pointed out, that pre-round announcements in Indian FIDE tournaments that change the conditions of the tournament are considered binding and official. So if you cling to your position, you are indicting all Indian tournaments and rightly pointing out that a number of tournaments have not been held in compliance with FIDE rules. But the bigger point becomes, what is the point of having arbiters make announcements if they are to be ignored? I have played in tournaments in the United States and it is common for arbiters to make announcements that change the starting time of a round, eg. If you are really proposing that the only official announcements are the ones online and all other ones are to be ignored, then must a player check online multiple times before each round in order to avoid not missing anything? You are inviting chaos.

I am a native English speaker as well and "grace time" was not clear to me at all.
Adi2010 Adi2010 7/10/2015 12:26
What a rude article. Chessbase shouldn't have posted this!
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/10/2015 01:13
"Even if all the nasty things people are saying about the organizers are all true, it is still 100% the responsibility of the player to READ AND BE AWARE OF THE TOURNAMENT CONDITIONS AS POSTED IN WRITING IN THE TOURNAMENT HALL. There is no way around that. Attempts to shift blame onto others by complaining they did a poor job are guaranteed to fail."

How about distributing the blame equally, like it should be, instead of trying to exonerate one side or the other?!...

"Maybe the organizers ran a great tournament, maybe they ran an awful one. That DOES NOT MATTER here."

Except that it obviously does... We're not ONLY talking about Humpy and her actions, but also the organizers and THEIR actions. Both are on (virtual) trial here.

"the responsibility for knowing the time control rests with the player"

Yeah, and the responsibility for making sure the time control is clear to all, and uninterpretable, rests with the organizer/arbiters.

"It is disgustingly unfair to her opponent for her to make an APPEAL to the appeals committee regarding having flagged."

Except that she never actually appealed that, or requested a reversal of the result, but rather only asked for an apology for the misleading announcement - which is fair, IMO.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 7/9/2015 09:47
I think FIDE needs to restructure rules on the clock timing of tournament games. In order to avoid confusion, there should simply be established time controls for classical, rapid, and blitz, and these time controls cannot be deviated from. I'd got a step further and get rid of the 40-move transition completely. For example for classical: You get 3 hours + 30 seconds delay per move for the whole game PERIOD. No more time scrambles at move 35. You use the entire time however you want. Simple, effective, and everyone can understand how it works.

Now if you want more options for time, then FIDE could set a chart with a number attached to each official time control. Then at FIDE-rated events, the TD simply announces "We are using FIDE time #7", and of course have that also listed in player contracts. The it is up to the player to handle their own understanding of the FIDE time rules, and they will literally have no one but themselves to blame if they overstep on time.
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 7/9/2015 09:08
@Aighearach --"in American tournaments the term is indeed used that way"

Well, no. I have never heard that term used in American tournaments.

Further, a search of current USCF National tournament listings does not reveal that term being used in the tournament announcements. The USCF official rules of chess also does not use the term, and states after one hour of non appearance you forfeit.

Grace period is a very poor term. Period implies a cyclical event. I have all ready stated the best term is non appearance forfeit time. We don't have to debate this. We can test it and see...oh. wait. We already did. Players forfeited because it is a confusing term. LOL.

A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 7/9/2015 08:50
@Aighearach - Just because FIDE has a rule, does not mean it is legally enforceable.
I recommend you pick up a book on law.

I further recommend you look at this FIDE reg if you want to play the FIDE reg game:
2. Breach of Ethics

The Code of Ethics shall be breached by a person or organization 2.2.2
Office bearers who through their behavior no longer inspire the necessary confidence or have in other ways become unworthy of trust.

Organizers, tournament directors, arbiters or other officials who fail to perform their functions in an impartial and responsible manner.

It is obvious to any impartial observer that the officials have violated the above by their treatment of Humpy.
Just reading the comments in this thread should make that clear.

Aighearach Aighearach 7/9/2015 08:11
@A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88

As a fellow American I recommend to put away the USCF rulebook and pick up a FIDE rulebook. Indeed, in the US system there can be no penalty from the USCF for withdrawing, instead we allow the organizer complete authority to ban any player who withdraws in a disruptive way, or does anything that makes the organizer look bad.

Under the much stricter, more traditional FIDE sportsmanship rules, it is a violation of sportsmanlike conduct to make the organizers look bad. You're required to "take the high road." It is not a moral suggestion, it is the behavioral and ethical standards you agree to when joining FIDE. You don't have to like that rule to understand that chess is a game of rules, and the rules will be enforced after a complaint is filed.
Aighearach Aighearach 7/9/2015 08:04
@shiv mathur

It serves no purpose to attempt to re-invent the English language in order to make her misunderstanding correct. As a native English speaker, the term "grace time" was obvious, and in American tournaments the term is indeed used that way. Rarely, though, since most tournaments here use the a standardized 1 hour grace time established by the national federation. However, some tournaments do use and list 15 minute grace time, or grace period.

It is the players responsibility to be aware of the posted tournament conditions, which where not changed, posted incorrectly, or anything of that nature. That is the players ___responsibility___. I encourage you to look up this word. It is an important word in chess.

Even if all the nasty things people are saying about the organizers are all true, it is still 100% the responsibility of the player to READ AND BE AWARE OF THE TOURNAMENT CONDITIONS AS POSTED IN WRITING IN THE TOURNAMENT HALL. There is no way around that. Attempts to shift blame onto others by complaining they did a poor job are guaranteed to fail. Maybe the organizers ran a great tournament, maybe they ran an awful one. That DOES NOT MATTER here. It DOES NOT CHANGE THE PLAYER'S RESPONSIBILITY.

The players are also REQUIRED to be aware of the FIDE standards of sportsmanship, and to follow them. No blame can be shifted by making unrelated accusations of poor performance by others. The issue for FIDE, and the chess world broadly, are the rules of sportsmanship. And her opponent deserves, and is required to receive, fair and equal treatment to anybody else at the tournament. It is disgustingly unfair to her opponent for her to make an APPEAL to the appeals committee regarding having flagged. It was an easy decision for them, and it would be an easy decision for any appeals committee, because they don't just free-form make up whatever they want to happen; they consult the text of the FIDE rules and that is what they use to make a decision.

Chess is not a subjective game, chess tournaments are not run with fuzzy or subjective rules, and there is no need for subjective analysis in a situation like this. How to deal with it is already written into the rules, in a clear and objective way; the responsibility for knowing the time control rests with the player, and the tournament organizers responsibility is to POST THE CORRECT TIME CONTROL BEFORE THE START OF THE TOURNAMENT IN OR NEAR THE TOURNAMENT HALL. Spoken announcements are just part of the ceremony, and include orientation information for new players, and important but not chess related announcements like restroom locations and building access information.
maxi80 maxi80 7/9/2015 07:30
Arbiters should not make any announcements at all. There should be a standard score sheet approved by FIDE, in which a mandatory field labelled as TIME CONTROL is to be filled out by the players before the game begins, along with all other fields in the score sheet. A Time Control Code would also be a good idea. Until the score sheet does not contain all the relevant info about a game and the time control is one of them, it'll be ALWAYS the organizers' fault, not the players'... The score sheet is the only proof that a game of chess has been played, not the live transmission or the arbiter's announcements before the game, or some clever analysis post mortem... The chess world needs a decent score sheet. Thank you.
H B H B 7/9/2015 07:15
Reasons why the charges by AICF against Humpy should result in nothing more than a "slap on the wrist":

1) Another Grandmaster - Tania Sachdev - ALSO had a problem understanding the language of the rules. This was not unique to Humpy.
2) The exact language was prone to misinterpretation - "Grace Period" is Standard Terminology, NOT "Grace Time".

The very fact that Indian women in chess ranked # 1 and # 4 BOTH misunderstood the terminology is something the AICF needs to address!!

For a serious censure of a world-class chess player, there must be an iron-clad case, which the AICF does not have!
airman airman 7/9/2015 04:56
It seems both are at fault. Humpty as a "top notch" player should know the time control of the event before she starts. Don't rely on an announcement at the tournament. I mean come on. Same with Carlsen.
I read the tournament announcements when I decide to enter to see what the time controls are. Now if the announcement was different that what I read I would "then" check with the arbiter. So personal responsibility should prevail. Heck look at how the clock is set and make sure. I always make sure the opponent has set the clock correctly if I did not set it myself. If I set it I always verify it with the opponent if they are there. Again personal responsibility would have solved the issue.

With that said, The way they say the announcement was read could be misunderstood for sure. "Grace time"? Never heard that term ... what the announce meant usually says in my experience is the time control then they say and "you may forfeit your opponent after X time if they have not started the game.

And the clincher is if you just had a high profile player misunderstand the rules then at the beginning of the next round before clocks are started it should have been clarified to all participants.

So fail on both sides. And fail for making a public statement like this as well. Makes them look bad.
amit k biswas amit k biswas 7/9/2015 04:49
One of the living legend had properly said, "Yes , Humpy can become an organiser but most difficult for organisers to become celebrities like Humpys ". It says all....
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 7/9/2015 04:30
@Aighearach -- Humpy "acted badly"? Because you say so?

Withdrawing from a tournament can never be 'acting badly'. It is a basic chess player right.

In fact, if you look in the USCF Official Rules of Chess, the worst penalty that can happen is that a player may be required to put up a deposit in for future events, or may be denied entry in a future event. And they do make the additional point that withdrawals are only potentially a problem for round robins.

Humpy did nothing wrong in my opinion. As both a player and an organizer, I have to say that I understand her decision, and the actions of those attacking her just make me (and I assume others) have no desire to play in Indian events.

Truffaut Truffaut 7/9/2015 04:27
A better title for this Chessbase article -

Change the title from: "Grace-Time" Controversy – the real story
To: Grace-Time Controversy - "the real story"
guest1227491 guest1227491 7/9/2015 04:18
@Pinoki: The rules had changed several times before the start of the tournament. Please read the earlier Chessbase article:


Quote --

"The Commonwealth Chess Championship 2015 regulations clearly state the time controls. But note that the rules also say the tournament is a ten-round Swiss. That this was changed to nine rounds and was announced by the arbiter at the start of the event, together with a complete change to the round times. So it wouldn’t have been surprising that the time control had changed too. When he said "Time control is 90 min + 30 seconds from move one and 30 min grace time," many players understood that to mean an extra 30 minutes after the time control, as is common in most international tournaments. "

If all the rules are all known to the players, then why are arbiters making any announcements at all?
Pionki Pionki 7/9/2015 11:35
Surely the time control had been known to players for a long time before the tournament. I can't believe they had not checked it well in advance of the games in their basic preparations. Did the players also check the address of the venue no sooner than after their breakfast on the day of the games? These are basic things you check when you take part in something, be it a business meeting, university exam or chess tournament. If you check one thing too late, you don't check another thing at all and come to the games 1 min before they start, don't blame others for the misfortunes and poor English.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/9/2015 10:30
"Numerous people seem to be just assuming that the correct time control was not posted, but the website had the correct time control for months, the tournament fliers had the correct time control, and yes, the flier with the correct time control was posted in the tournament hall in the normal way."

And again we come to the "we should ignore all public announcements made by any of the arbiters if they differ from what's written" argument - even though plenty of times (especially in poorly organized events, such as was this one) the arbiters actually do make genuine, official announcements, even though they are written nowhere either before or after they are made/enforced. But, sure, we should just go ahead and ignore those announcements, on principle, and see what happens... Smart move!

By the way, where exactly do you think Humpy spent her junior chess career? Do you really think if she didn't know for a fact that these kinds of announcements were actually supposed to mean something when made during tournaments held in India, regardless of what the original rules were, and of what was or was not published, she would have been so naive as to just take them at face value right away, without so much as asking a simple question? And likewise Tania Sachdev... We're not talking about children here, but rather grown up, clearly intelligent professionals.

I don't buy it for a second. Maybe I'm wrong - but I really don't care that much (since I'll never be playing in India anyway), so that's fine too. But you will have to convince me first...
shiv mathur shiv mathur 7/9/2015 08:38
I think the Organiser's definition of "grace period" or "grace time" is wrong.

Grace implies a little bit extra ... in India you have the concept of a student who fails narrowly, but is generally a good student, he is given "grace marks" to make him pass. That is, EXTRA marks, over and above.

Humpy may or may not have done the right thing by withdrawing, but she certainly was right about the "grace time".
imagex imagex 7/9/2015 08:12
If I believe this account of Humpy's behavior, I agree it was not professional and likely influenced by embarrassment and anger. But the pervasive mix of defensiveness and attack in this position piece, lead me to doubt its description of her actions. This is a highly non-professional diatribe which leaves me more negative about Indian chess organization than about Humpy. And I agree with those who fault ChessBase for publishing it under the heading "the real story".
upendra rengasam upendra rengasam 7/9/2015 07:29
i think humphy lost control we should have some mild punishment like warning and any repetition will carry 25 rating point loss
amarpan amarpan 7/9/2015 06:42
I thought this was a well written article on this subject, given in the link below, but chessbase chose to publicize the petty article written by the Hindu and not this.

johan1234 johan1234 7/9/2015 06:01
It is obvious that the people running the Indian chess federation are neither very intelligent nor very nice. Only complete jerks will treat their best female player in such a fashion.
Aighearach Aighearach 7/9/2015 05:04
Numerous people seem to be just assuming that the correct time control was not posted, but the website had the correct time control for months, the tournament fliers had the correct time control, and yes, the flier with the correct time control was posted in the tournament hall in the normal way.

So why did these two players misunderstand? I think the answer is clear; they are "professionals" and had other people paying attention to details, but they're not actually successful enough as professionals to have a full professional staff. They rely on hired family members to manage a lot of the details, and have a very small training team that perhaps also helps choose tournaments. It makes perfect sense that their assistants would make a mistake or forget to talk about the time control being different than at the invitationals.

Humpy acted badly, and doubled down and defended that behavior, so FIDE will indeed have to enforce the rules of sportsmanship. Her fans should be reminded the poor sportsmanship is a real thing, and frowned upon heavily in chess. She has no defense that is valid in the context of the FIDE regulations that are in the accusation against her. General moralizing does not support a claim that she didn't violate those regulations. There seems to be no argument offered by any of you that actually takes into consideration the fact that the FIDE regulations involved existed already and are a real thing.
NJD NJD 7/9/2015 04:53
Bottom line, Humpy "blundered". Simple as that. Better players win because lesser players "blunder". We've all "blundered", it's embarrassing, but it happens and it's part of the game...
pravin mohite pravin mohite 7/9/2015 04:41
Mr Varma .. do you think people of India are fool and cannot understand the game ? it is not a game but players make the game ..but you cannot understand that ... because you and AICF think that they can do any thing , Mr srinivasan is so powerful that he can defend anybody ... Let's debate and answer ...
rony is in that DCA article it is written as they have evidence of humpy threatening to withdraw immediately after the incidence, now what kind of evidences they are referring for?? arbiter team? People from own association? isn't it big joke ?

Also the 2nd wrong point is in one of her game finished @ 41st move, how come she didn't come to about the time at that time?? DCA is not aware of current rules?? After move 40 clock won't add 30mins directly, 30mins will be added once player gets till zero, not immediately after 40moves... You are making mockery of the game and blaming players ... if humpy is wrong punish her but stop spreading lies ..
karavamudan karavamudan 7/9/2015 04:35
Players when registering for a tournament should be given the rules of the tournament and asked to sign that they have read them and agree to abide by them.
The rules given to the players at the time of registering should also clearly indicate what is meant by grace time and what the exact time controls are.
Arbiters should be suitably instructed to give unambiguous announcements.
On the whole, the entire unsavory episode may have been better handled by the administrators and the player concerned.
If Humpy criticizes her Nation's facilities, she may do something within her control to improve it. For instance, by winning against Hou Yifan in the World Championship she might have attracted more sponsors for the tournament and enabled better facilities.

fgkdjlkag fgkdjlkag 7/9/2015 04:21
I applaud him for giving his side of the story but I still side with GM Koneru.

After Sachdev lost her game why wasn't an announcement made before round 2? Or on the Internet?

Why was grace time mentioned in the same sentence as the time control?? If these are 2 different things they should not be discussed in the same sentence. As stated, grace period would have been better, as it distinguishes itself from "time," as in time control.

Wasn't the announcment made in 2 languages? In international events (outside of chess) and in international settings I frequently hear announcements made in 2 languages.

To all you persons criticizing the English of various persons: If it is understandable, where is the need to question it? No, I am not talking about "grace time." But to criticize unambiguous English is pedantic, and to criticize spelling mistakes on an Internet forum where no one cares about spelling is jejune.

AICF or the secretary's mistake was to give this exegesis on what happened. Instead he should have just issued an apology.
guest1227491 guest1227491 7/9/2015 03:55
@deathwombat: "I would like to see FIDE consider some punishment for your federation."

Fuhgeddaboutit. Bureaucrats support bureaucrats right up to the bitter end. What do FIDE officials have to worry about in upsetting Humpy? Nothing at all. But they would prefer to have good relations with AICF, because there is money, votes in FIDE elections etc. involved.
deathwombat deathwombat 7/9/2015 03:01
"In Tania’s mind there was no doubt so she did not ask the arbiter."

That's the problem. There was no doubt in her mind and thus no reason to ask for clarification of the rules, and yet you say that "not to know the rules is also players' fault". If at least two of your players misunderstood the explanation of "grace time" to such an extent that they had no doubt about their interpretation, the organizer/arbiter did a terrible job of explaining the rule! You can't mislead the players and then blame them for believing you!

Now, everyone makes mistakes, and I could forgive the arbiter for not ensuring that everyone understood the meaning of "grace time" if he or she had drawn it to everyone's attention once it became clear that one of the players had misunderstood and forfeited a game because of it. The arbiter's failure to clarify the rule to all players after it cost someone a game is unforgivable. The arbiter failed in a basic responsibility and should be suspended for at least a year.

You can't put all of the blame for this on the players. The rules must be clear to all participants. If I thought I understood the rules and then found out that I was "gotcha'd" by the arbiter's failure to explain a rule that could reasonably have been understood in more than one way, I would certainly drop out of the tournament in protest, and I would expect my national federation to support and defend me. The AICF's response to this is beyond disgraceful and I would like to see FIDE consider some punishment for your federation.
wowbagger wowbagger 7/9/2015 12:29
When I read the article I could follow the facts, but didn't understand what the excited undertone was about. The forfeit itself is unfortunate, but probably the correct decision under the circumstances. The player was upset, and withdrew from the tournament. So what?

The organizers should recognize they blundered, maybe say sorry, definitely think for a better solution next year. It's only when I read the comments that I realized they want to punish the player. Punish the player?
guest1227491 guest1227491 7/8/2015 11:20
A simple question to Mr. J.K. Verma:

You know that after Tania Sachdev lost in Round 1, she protested to the organizers that she thought "grace time" meant "additional time".


Why did he continue to use the words "grace time"?

If this is not unprofessional organization, what is?

Regarding Humpy's emotional reaction, okay it is not ideal. But imagine yourself after 40 moves, in a winning position, and losing the game on time (partly) due to the arbiter's mistake. How would you react? Humpy was at 3.0/3.0, and hoping to win the tournament. Her reaction was only human.

Regarding withdrawing from the tournament, it has happened before. I remember, some years back, there was a tournament (in Mexico?) where either Radjabov or Karjakin (I don't recall who) had his laptop stolen. He felt that it was the tournament organizers fault, and he withdrew.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 7/8/2015 09:28
"The committee also reached the same conclusion that the result of the game cannot be changed."

Again I fail to spot where exactly the proof is that she asked for the result to be changed... Keep missing the point...

"Ambiguous announcement in some minds? We agree. But please tell us what we could have done? Should we have gone to Humpy personally and informed her what happened to Tania?"

How about this: if you're gonna make unclear announcements in front of all the players, and there are obvious problems due to that (see round 1 game), maybe you should consider also making clarifications about it before the next round after the incident! No? Too much to ask? We'd rather risk it happening again? That's how much we care about the well-being of our players? Maybe we shouldn't be organizing major events then, huh?!... Maybe someone who DOES care should...

"The arbiter was not wrong. He was only misunderstood."

He WAS wrong, because his announcement was clearly confusing to all but the regulars for tournaments in that area. And then he also proved he didn't CARE he was wrong, by doing nothing about it when the consequences became apparent.

"Is not informing Humpy personally about the time control a mistake?"

See above!

Like I said, Humpy's reaction is the EXACT right reaction to have. The organizers proved they didn't care about their players, and the organization (in this and other ways) was appallingly sub-standard, at which point it becomes her moral right (and probably the best decision as well) to withdraw and avoid further unpleasantness.

"Besides Tania and Humpy there are 296 other players in the championship, why nothing happened to them?"


"In one of her other game in the event, she won in 41 moves. Yet it did not strike her to look for her clock? That did not raise any suspicion?"

Are you actually suggesting she lost on purpose, so she could make a scene and withdraw? Are you eight?...

"We regret the incident on the whole."

You're not showing it, though...

I'm not going to discuss the new take on what exactly did or did not happen after the game. Until someone ACTUALLY comes up with the evidence they claim they have to support their version of the story, and post an article containing said evidence, this has no value whatsoever. The known facts are all that matters.

"The real story?..." Try again!
MarriedRhombus MarriedRhombus 7/8/2015 08:47
I'm not siding with anyone, but I think the title of the article is a bit biased. How can one be certain that this is "the real story"? It's the story of the other side. The title should be "the other side's story", or something to that effect.
Pawan power Pawan power 7/8/2015 07:53
Mr.Varma says we call it grace time. Since when did he become spokes person for Indian English?
He also says no sports person is 'bigger than the game', but probably he meant 'bigger than him'. He did not do any service to the game by dragging the talented world champions into this undesirable controversy.

While condoning any lacunae on his side he is amplifying the blame on a great talent of India. This only shows the arrogant and inconsiderate attitude of Indian officials. They have been habituated into threatening and controlling Indian players.

Their other escapades can also be witnessed from the crying indian players at http://www.exposeaicf.com/
A7fecd1676b88 A7fecd1676b88 7/8/2015 07:36
In the USCF official rules of chess, it is stated you can be forfeited for "nonappearance", and/or arriving too late.

Therefore, the perfect term, or wording, is NOT grace time, but rather 'nonappearance forfeit time'.