Hoogeveen controversy on final ratings

10/28/2016 – The Hoogeveen match between Nigel Short and Hou Yifan ended in a victory for the former World Championship challenger, who decided it after five of six games when he led 3.5-1.5. The sixth game was a contractual obligation, which Short played and lost. The organizers submitted all six games for rating, although the FIDE rules say that the last game should not count. That has led to a furious controversy, very aptly described in MalayMail by Peter Long.

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This article by Peter Long begins with a roundup of the Hoogeveen tournament, which you can read in full in MalayMail Online. It is the second part that is of special interest, and we reproduce it with the kind permission of the web site and the author.

Nigel Short had told me before his match that he expected it to be very difficult but it certainly did not seem that way as he cleverly used his experience to blunt Hou's play and by the time he drew his fifth round game, the match was already won on the back of two fine wins.

But that's where the controversy that eventually followed began with a requirement to play the sixth and meaningless game.

In most matches, once won, it is usually halted and if there is a requirement to continue play for some reason i.e. because tickets were sold, then it switches to exhibition mode and often rapid games are played instead.

But today's chess is all about ratings and that is calculated based on a formula which shows the likely outcome and after comparing that to the actual result, the rating change is given.

Winning two games against an opponent with a similar rating means a big gain for Short and so he checked what the FIDE rating regulations were to confirm if indeed he had to take it seriously. The FIDE Rating Regulations read in paragraph 6.5 that: “Where a match is over a specific number of games, those played after one player has won shall not be rated.”

To be sure, Short checked with Tournament Director Loek van Wely, who as a former Netherlands No. 1, has vast experience in top level chess. After some email exchanges and a talk over breakfast, van Wely said he would refer it to the arbiters at a meeting that same morning for a decision.

Worst was to follow as Short went into the sixth game with no reply from van Wely despite repeatedly asking. Hou, meanwhile, was blissfully unaware of what was going on but soon there was more for Short to be upset about as one arbiter felt it appropriate to tell Short, during actual play, that he was a chicken!

Hou salvaged some pride with a fine win to reduce the final score to just 3.5-2.5 in Short's favour. Without taking anything away from the excellent play of the Women's World Champion in that game, it is hard to believe that the Englishman was as focused as he normally would have been.

The arbiters had illegally decided to ignore this FIDE regulation by arguing there was a precedent two years ago when the organisers had faced this exact same issue and had successfully ignored it! It is clear that they have submitted all games for ratings but very sensibly FIDE has rejected it as can be seen here.

Maybe it is best to let Short provide context through the series of Twitter replies below:

What was even more shocking has been the reaction of Loek who has been actively making statements while going on social media to essentially troll and attack Short's airing of his unhappiness, and a lot of what he is saying is rather ill-advised and quite unbecoming for the organisers as can be seen from just this one example.

This unnecessary incident and subsequent reaction – a major mistake by either arrogant or incompetent arbiters – is just one of too many recently in the news and reflects the challenges that chess is facing today in the way arbiters are trained, certified and awarded titles (and even re-certified) has not kept up with the explosion of chess worldwide.

Firstly, too many arbiters are not professional in that it is not their main job or vocation.

I have already said before that whether we like it or not, a minimum playing strength with requisitive tournament practice has to be one prerequisite to be an arbiter at top level events but it seems this is not always enough as in this case where a Tournament Director is either badly advised or unable to keep his personal feelings in check.

Secondly, the whole FIDE Arbiter System needs a rethink and then possibly a serious revamp because to start with, after passing a seminar with minimum marks, one can become an International Arbiter quickly by getting norms from just attending tournaments where basically all one did was pick up scoresheets and adjust clocks.

All too often, the wannabe arbiter is not getting any real practical training but it is rare a Chief Arbiter will not sign off a title norm of someone who has helped out with this grunt work!

The division of arbiters into various categories from A to D is also flawed in that it is based on participation in FIDE events where too often the appointments are political.

Thirdly, while the quality of arbiters has dropped and with that also their quality of interpretation, the FIDE Laws of Chess being applied has at the same time become unnecessarily complex so as to compensate for a lack of logic together with a real understanding of the underlying and basic principles.

And it becomes even worst when one appreciates that there are also rules regulating various competitions, numerous tournament systems and tie-breaks, and ratings and titles. Even when it is a matter of pressing importance such as the challenge of cheating using electronic devices, measures taken are ad-hoc and not well thought through.

Rules are rules; if they are bad or not working well, then they need to be changed.

But when the rules in place are ignored, and not because it is a matter of a conflict with that of natural justice or even if simply to ensure fair play, but just because you can, then I think we have a very serious problem on our hands.

Original source: MalayMail Online. Peter Long is a Project Manager at the Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific which advocates the use of chess in education and facilitates regional chess development. He is a FIDE (World Chess Federation) Trainer and International Arbiter.

Addendum

Frederic Friedel spoke with Nigel Short, for almost an hour, on Skype. He reports that the former World Championship Challenger was extremely distraught about the waves this controversy had generated in the press and in social media. For instance there are pages on the Polgar chess news blog entitled "Ultimate Shameful Unsportsmanlike Conduct In Chess" where Short is soundly criticized. But especiall the comments in the various chess blogs are often extremely hostile, to the point where Nigel feels personally threatened.

On Facebook the President of the Association of Chess Professional (ACP), Emil Sutovsky, wrote:

There is a lively discussion below Emil's post

In the end FIDE overruled the rating submission of the Hoogeveen organisers and rated only five games. Nigel gained 8.5 rating points, Hou Yifan lost the same number.

Nigel commented on Facebook:


Topics Hoogeveen
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ini_iyahdub ini_iyahdub 11/11/2016 01:58
Short can get on anyone's nerves when he wants... But he seems right here, and Loek was unprofessional which came as a surprise. Id guess Short gets on his nerves as well
PiToThePowerOf2 PiToThePowerOf2 11/2/2016 03:37
I didn't know Nigel was afraid of little girls?
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 11/1/2016 02:56
"I think the arbiter was right to send all 6 games to FIDE to be rated, especially since all 6 games of the 2014 match (Giri - Shirov 4,5 - 1,5) also got rated! "

Two wrongs don't make a right. That's like in football, if a penalty is awarded incorrectly, asking that a penalty also be awarded incorrectly to the other team.

"We will never know what his reaction would have been had he won the last game. "

After he'd insisted on it not being rated beforehand? :) What do you think?! Even if he's as evil as you make him out to be, do you think he's also that stupid?...

"then Nigel can complain or the error might be caught by the ratings committee."

Yes! Let's put our faith in FIDE correcting errors! That's never failed in the past...
abdekker abdekker 11/1/2016 02:45
If Nigel was so sure of the rules, why check with the arbiter? Nigel's version of the story is fishy. If the organisers make an error (as any human can) by sending 6 games when they should only have sent 5, then Nigel can complain or the error might be caught by the ratings committee. Nigel is there to play chess and has done chess a disservice by bleating he's a "victim". Its puzzling why organisers keep inviting him to their events...
mannetje mannetje 11/1/2016 09:07
Lose the IA title? I doubt Loek has any. He was acting as organizer not as arbiter.

I think the arbiter was right to send all 6 games to FIDE to be rated, especially since all 6 games of the 2014 match (Giri - Shirov 4,5 - 1,5) also got rated!

By making a big thing out of this Short saved some 5 precious rating points. We will never know what his reaction would have been had he won the last game.

scoobeedo scoobeedo 10/31/2016 08:05
I still dont see there a problem.

Loek van Wely gave all game results to the FIDE.

I am sure that he knew that the FIDE will follow their own rules.

To send one game less or not to the FIDE, who cares when it get anyway fitlered out?

Loek was with this way on the safe side.

And Nigel should not make a scandal out of it.

Nigel, do you really expect that Loek van Wely go against his own workers?
Be more sensitive and understand that this was a clever way to solve this problem.

Because Nigel knew the same as Loek, that the FIDE will follow their rules.

It is the same as if I give a box of recycling bottles back and there is one which does not belong to it. The shop just throw it away. There will be no discussion about it.

- - -

Nigel, stop to talk about it or go back to the Kindergarten!
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/30/2016 04:06
nutflushing,
To lose the IA title, in the first place you must be an international arbiter. Van Wely is not. Can't lose what you never had, as the Allman Brothers used to sing.
The main arbiter was Frans Peeters, and he is an IA. As the FIDE Rating regulations say: "The Chief Arbiter is responsible for the results submitted." According to FIDE rules (see http://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/B06annex5a.pdf), Peeters could be disciplined. I quote art. 3f: "Deliberately misrepresenting the score sheet, or the match protocol, or the report of the tournament (disqualification from 4 to 18 months)."
By calling Nigel Short a 'chicken', IA Mark Huizer also runs a risk (although he claims it was in a jocular context, as I quoted earlier). See art 3i: " The verbal or by acts abusive, indecent, inappropriate behavior towards members of the
governing bodies of all kinds of chess and arbitration, to the players, coaches, other persons involved in the games and the spectators (disqualification for 3 to12 months )."
I think the last offense (if it was) will be difficult to prove, but Peeters may have a serious problem - unless he realized in time things were not right and reported the mistake in the original report himself.
nutflushing nutflushing 10/30/2016 02:38
Surely this makes Loek unfit to organise/run events. How can FIDE sanction someone who has deliberately flouted the rules in the past and was prepared to do so again. His judgement in what he wrote is also clearly questionable.

I don't wish to comment on Short's behaviour here or elsewhere as it's IRRELEVANT to this particular point. Loek was in the wrong - he knew he was in the wrong - he tried to knmowlingly ignore the rules (again) and unwisely attacked one of his players in public. What more do you need to do in order to lose the IA title?
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/29/2016 11:47
Pick_n_Roll,
Not quite. After a tournament, organisers have to fill in a so-called TRF form. (You can google that, just like I did.) From this form, it is not immediately clear whether a tournament consists of matches. Because of this, national rating officers (responsible for reporting to the FIDE rating commission) are not prompted to include this information. And because of that, the FIDE rating commission often misses out on the fact a report concerns a match. If you look at the discussion on chess.com, you will find several instances the FIDE rating commission missed this piece of information. Not so strange; there are many more tournaments than matches, and not all the matches end this way. This means a lot depends on the honesty or rule knowledge of the official at a tournament responsible for reporting the results. In this case, Hoogeveen willfully reported wrongly (they included six instead of five games in their report). At first, FIDE díd count the last game. Only after someone reported the mistake (I have some hope it was me who prompted this after delving into FIDE regulations and suggesting on chess.com an e-mail to be sent to the rating commission...), FIDE corrected it. Not everything is automatically checked by the rating commission, and with the amount of data they have to deal with, you can't blame them too much. In the case of the Hoogeveen organizers, it was not about rule knowledge, they tried to mislead the FIDE rating commission. I don't like that.
PicK-n-Roll_#7 PicK-n-Roll_#7 10/29/2016 10:52
I find the attacks against Mr. van Wely quite exaggerated. Just as FIDE is the only responsible party to decide on Mr. Short's case, exactly the same thing applies for Mr. van Wely and the organizers. For example, FIDE might very well decide that the organizers were justified in not discussing this subject with Mr. Short. That's quite possible, as the organizers' actions had no irreversible effects (it's FIDE who decides on the players' ELO gains / losses), except the sentimental disturbance of Mr. Short, something which I find debatable (as it was him who kept discussing this issue). Finally, Mr. Short's general actions, in my personal opinion, show a complete lack of sportsmanship, in the true, general, sense of the word.
fons fons 10/29/2016 08:31
It's not necessary to follow the rules? Wow. Just wow.


I agree though with some that this specific rule is stupid. I don't see a good reason for it to exist, so it could be abolished.
mozartiano123 mozartiano123 10/29/2016 05:32
I agree with Loek in this case. However, if they did not inform their decision to Nigel, before the game, the whole thing is unfair.
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 10/29/2016 12:23
"But stupid FIDE rules that run counter to the norms of the game should not be accepted by event organizers, who ultimately are the ones that set the rules _for_an_event_."

That is 100% wrong. We're talking about rules for rating calculation, not organizational issues. FIDE sets the rules for what games are rated. The organizers have no authority at all in that matter. (Which is why this attack by Van Wely is completely unwarranted and irrational.) They can submit whatever games they want to be rated - if FIDE finds that it's against the rules to rate them, they don't get rated, as this incident, thankfully, proves. (At least for now.)

Perhaps the rule is stupid - this is definitely an opinion I can understand. (I, for one, think the rule is borderline, so definitely not clearly stupid or clearly not stupid, and probably somewhere in the middle.) But that's irrelevant. (As Queeg put it: "If a rule change deems desirable or not has nothing to do with the fact that the current rules must be respected as long as they are valid.")

"since there was no title on the line"

Perhaps none of the games should be rated, then... Were they playing for no prize money? Did the winner of the match not get even a dime more than the loser? Unless that's the case, I don't buy this argument. And, again, in this case, if there are absolutely no stakes, why are we rating any of the games? (And I'm NOT being sarcastic, like the previous user who suggested this. Though I'm not saying I think none of the games should be rated. I'm only saying that, the way you make it sound, this was just a friendly match with absolutely nothing at stake - which, again, I very much doubt -, in which case why should either of the players play any of the games as though they were serious games? Sure, they won't lose on purpose, because they have their reputations to consider, but you have to agree there's a difference between friendly and official games! If you think there isn't enough of a difference to make the rule just, that's perfectly fine. But I think it is. The point of the rating system is to rate the players in official games, not friendly ones. The fact that this rule even exists to begin with, irrespective of how stupid or not it is, pretty much proves that, at the very least, this is what FIDE WANTS the rating system to be about.)

"He wants the last game to not count, so maybe it doesn't count as per the contract, either?"

Then whoever wrote the contract was a moron.

***

"his understandable insistence, as a professional chessplayer, on compliance with FIDE regulations."

Well said!
tamango tamango 10/29/2016 12:04
It feels like watching a bad movie. Would van Wely been happier if Nigel had drawn a short game or even resign after 1st move!? He played the whole game and he honored the contract clause. You may like or not Short (I personally don't), but that does not give you the right to avoid the rule. Short is right to claim the regulation and if this controversy is good or bad for chess, I really don't care. If the rule is bad - change it, but until then give the man the credit.
What I was really shocked was van Wely's personal attack against Short, which it was like a bolt out of the blue. This man should be banned from being TD anymore and those arbiters (especially the one with "irritating chicken" ) should be excluded for life from competitions. Van Wely is a good professional player and should stick to it, but as a human being he's a complete disaster and his arguments against Short's request are lacking elementary logic (or even worse). For those who're interested in the subject - you should also check Sutowsky Fb page.
To be clear - I don't like Short (and I suspect van Wely either), but that does not give me the right to attack him so rude and disrespectful, like the Dutch did.
Kudos for Short and his always entertaining chess games and let's hope FIDE will clear this out.
Karbuncle Karbuncle 10/29/2016 12:02
I'm no fan of Nigel Short, but I'm totally in agreement with his position on this incident. Very poorly handled by the tournament arbiters.
Paul Janse Paul Janse 10/29/2016 10:30
All this fuzz goes to show that rating has become too important in chess.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 10/29/2016 10:06
I like to see the Dutch Defense, but only on the board.

Regardless of whether Short is right or wrong, the arguments should NEVER be personal and should ALWAYS take the rules as a base. If there is a debate, let a legal authority decide who is right.
much faster much faster 10/29/2016 09:58
die regel sagt, bei einem "match" oder wettkampf zählen die partien nachdem einer gewonnen hat, nicht mehr für die elo wertung.

nur, wo sehen die einen wettkampf? was gab es zu gewinnen? den wm titel, die europameisterschaft? nichts von allem. es waren klar 6 patien.
und alle sollten für die elo zählen. das short die goldene ananas gewonnen hat, nach seiner meinung, mit dem 3,5 zu 2,5, ist da völlig nebensächlich
portici portici 10/29/2016 08:55
I totally agree with Short in this incident, and FIDE should investigate this incident. If van Wely and other arbiters are found to have violated the rules for arbiters, then FIDE should take action such as suspending their qualification of Tournament Director or Arbiter.
X iLeon aka DMG X iLeon aka DMG 10/29/2016 04:15
What an absolute mess! I can't believe the organisers (inc. that arbiter) could act in such unprofessional manner! This is completely unacceptable
Rambus Rambus 10/29/2016 02:21
Let's give van Wely the benefit of the doubt, silly ass though he may have shown himself to be. FIDE rules being in English and van Wely being Dutch, it would have been double Dutch to him.
AzYz AzYz 10/29/2016 01:42
Like Short too or don't like him, but rules are rules. He is totally right. If rules are bad or stupid, we have to change them the proper way, and that's not the business of the arbiters or tournament directors in a tournament.
AzYz AzYz 10/29/2016 01:36
This is what is happening when you jump on the social medias instead of jumping on the proper thing. You check with fide and you post a claim, no need to yell on the social medias. As he said, FIDE has changed it so this all public mess is just kindergarden. Next time, one should adress it claims where it belongs, and then if it doesn't work, you can try social media drama. this is just ridiculous on both side.
vladivaclav vladivaclav 10/29/2016 01:00
i think the best option is not to submit any of these game for fide ratings. after all, this is just an exhibition match. what do you think about that nigel?
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 10/29/2016 12:10
Martas,
Interesting point you are raising: why could blindfold games never be rated? I can't find anything in the FIDE Handbook that precludes them from being rated. See for instance art. 4.9: "If a player is unable to move the pieces, an assistant, who shall be acceptable to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to perform this operation." See also art. 6.2e. Same for chess960; its rules are even mentioned in the Handbook. Or did I overlook something? When there is nothing there that contravenes the rules, and procedures are followed, any tournament can be rated (except when "FIDE reserves the right not to rate a specific tournament" in the rating regulations is applied).
By the way, simultaneous games can't normally be rated, because, for instance, it is use that the simul giver may retract a move before completing his round.
Martas Martas 10/28/2016 11:27
Actually idea with the contract which should overrule FIDE rules regarding FIDE rating - it's just a nonsense. As an example take blindfold games - contract can say anything but those games would never be rated. If organizers want their event to be rated by FIDE, they simply have to respect FIDE rules.
Martas Martas 10/28/2016 11:22
Aighearach - opinion addressed to FIDE and rude personal attack are two different things. Tournament organizers and referees are supposed to respect FIDE rules if they want their games to be rated by FIDE ELO. If an organizer disagrees with FIDE rules, he can address claims to FIDE before the event.
Regarding enjoying the sport - I do and the main issue I see is the incident during the game when referee distracts the player by calling him a chicken.
I don't care much about rating but I understand that pro players do, in the end their invitations depend on ELO and therefore they care about rules regarding rating. Same as everybody does regarding conditions for his job and the salary. If somebody complains about rules, players are not supposed to be target of an insult in situation when the rules are in their favour.
Jon Targaryen Jon Targaryen 10/28/2016 10:12
This rule being silly is just his opinion.Doesn't mean that he is right.Just blatantly ignoring the rules even when the player is asking you to enforce them and then making personal attacks against him is just classless.Shocking to see players support this kind of behaviour.
Queeg Queeg 10/28/2016 10:01
This controversy leaves me baffled:
1. It doesn't matter if the organizer submits the final game for rating or not. The FIDE rating office will act in accordance with the rules and not rate it.
2. Players, arbiters and organizers alike are expected to know the rules and to follow them, and there cannot be a discussion about it.
3. If a rule change deems desirable or not has nothing to do with the fact that the current rules must be respected as long as they are valid.

Have they all gone mad, or am I missing something?
NiceChappie NiceChappie 10/28/2016 09:56
Van Wely's ad hominem attack on Short is astonishing, and seriously calls into question his suitability as a tournament arbiter.
This controversy has nothing to do with Short's character, regardless of one's opinion of him, and everything to do with his understandable insistence, as a professional chessplayer, on compliance with FIDE regulations.
By all means lobby to have this particular provision deleted, but why pour opprobrium on Short for abiding by the rules?
Truffaut Truffaut 10/28/2016 08:11
Thank you Chessbase for an excellent article.

It is beyond my comprehension why Loek Van Wely and the unnamed arbiter would choose to act in such a dishonorable way. Ego, spite??

Nigel Short comes out of this smelling like a rose. Why? Because he simply followed the rules.

I don't know if Loek Van Wely regrets his actions, but I'm sure he is regretting the result of his actions, just like Donald Trump will on November 8th!

Character is destiny.
Aighearach Aighearach 10/28/2016 08:03
Also, you could have a situation where by insisting on the FIDE rule he's actually violating the contract that said the games all had to be completed. He wants the last game to not count, so maybe it doesn't count as per the contract, either? It is a dangerous game to play when you're trying to "game" a contract.
Aighearach Aighearach 10/28/2016 08:01
Shame on all of you who think Loak shouldn't be allowed an opinion, and shame on Chessbase for saying so straight out!

I happen to agree with everything he said, as will most humans who enjoy sport. That's a rule? OMG, what an anti-competitive load of pucky, better change that rule. Wait, what, pundits are saying you're not allowed to suggest a weird and rarely used rule be changed?! What weird religion do you use in place of communication norms?

If you play the game under the same conditions, it should be rated. The point of ratings is to rate the players based on the result of games, it isn't actually a system of trying to measure only "clutch" or "meaningful" games. It is all the public games that are played in a competitive setting. In a tournament sometimes the winner is announced before the last round; yet the games are still rated, because they're under the same conditions!

Rules may "be rules," nobody disputed that. But stupid FIDE rules that run counter to the norms of the game should not be accepted by event organizers, who ultimately are the ones that set the rules _for_an_event_.

And further, since there was no title on the line, I think it was actually not true that he had an insurmountable lead towards anything. Even if he won every single game, he wouldn't be winning a title; the rating points are what was won or lost, everything else (ie, the money) achieved was only achieved through the contract, not through the rules of chess, so there is nothing for him to have been ahead on. The rule makes sense in the context that it is from, which is candidates matches.
J Nayer J Nayer 10/28/2016 08:00
Short is a trouble maker. Everybody knows this.
The rule is the rule unless otherwise stipulated in the contract. If the contract says that all games will be rated, they will be rated. Otherwise, unfortunately, Short is right, as seems to be the case.
amarpan amarpan 10/28/2016 07:14
Why should Nigel Short worry about ratings at this point of his career?
imdvb_8793 imdvb_8793 10/28/2016 07:08
"This unnecessary incident and subsequent reaction – a major mistake by either arrogant or incompetent arbiters – is just one of too many recently in the news"

Exactly... (All of it, but particularly the last sentence.)

Of course Short is 100% right. And, as for his character (on which I have no opinion, nor do I need to for the purposes of this discussion), that is HEAVILY beside the point - meaning it should have precisely ZERO bearing on whether he's deemed right or not, and even on whether he was "morally" to blame, somehow, which, I might add, he obviously wasn't. Maybe for whatever else he's done in his life that these people are so obviously still hung up on, but not for this... Also, calling him "chicken" for not wanting to risk his rating in an exhibition game (coming at the end of a probably reasonably draining and stressful match for someone who isn't 25 anymore, given the strength of the opposition) is beyond stupid, if you think about the situation for a minimum of a few seconds, and I don't feel this point of view even requires an explanation (for which reason I shall also completely ignore any replies from anybody that has a problem with that, should there be any.)

I'm gonna go watch some South Park now. You know... something made by actual rational human beings...
beerpatzer beerpatzer 10/28/2016 07:02
This reminds of the hand shaking incident, in which Short took the "high road" but still ended up looking like a prick.
jajalamapratapri jajalamapratapri 10/28/2016 06:55
I guess Loek van Wely illustrates the fact that you can be a genius at chess while being a complete idiot outside of it. Nigel Short also illustrates this when he talks about women, but that is of course irrelevant for this particular incident. And we all know what Fischer did when not playing chess...
zookid zookid 10/28/2016 06:43
The rules plainly state that games played after the match has been decided will not be rated. Nigel knew this and wanted to confirm this match would be treated as such. Everything he did was in his favor and sportsmanship.
He played the 6th game and lost to Yifan. This was the best scenario for the fans, rated game or not!
He could have forfeited the game, or asked her to agree to a short draw, or even stayed up all night to formulate a plan to win with black. Knowing it was suppose to be unrated, and having won the match, he could relax and play the game straight up and let her show her skills as a champion. Given the chance I would do the same thing.
genem genem 10/28/2016 06:07
Quote: "whether we like it or not, a minimum playing strength with requisitive tournament practice has to be one prerequisite to be an arbiter at top level events".
.
Avoidable or not, it is unfortunate if "playing strength" of the Arbiter is relevant to enforcing the Rules of Chess. For example, it seems plausible that someday we could let a chess computer decide whether the position is a dead draw before allowing the two players to agree to an early draw.
.
Perhaps the organizers' mistake boils down to their chosen terminology: "exhibition match" - gives a lot of strength to Nigel's argument. Next time, Loek might consider saying "six rated games".