Reports | January 29, 2009 21:52

Radjabov-Smeets: what really happened

Radjabov-Smeets: what really happenedOn the game Radjabov-Smeets we created a separate video which includes the press conference given by the arbiters after the game. See for yourself what happened! (One small detail becomes clear: after Smeets started Radjabov's clock again, Radjabov also pressed the clock one more time, starting Smeets' clock again, and then the arbiter stopped the clock.)





Share |
Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Castro's picture

Thomas, Thomas! :-)

(Always) with all due respect, finally it is now certainly appreciated, by the majority of the people reading, the weakness of your position on the subject discussed.
What really is no basis for (further) discution are things like repeating completlely refuted arguments, trying to refute methaphorical or shematic arguments aplying them literaly, trying to imply that it is the other part who is simply and gratuitly(?) declaring the inferiourness of the opponent's argumentacion,... and so on. Demagogia it is called (even if not bad-intended, of course).
Besides all the not conceding aknoleage of your other mistakes on this matter, it stood now --- more then ever --- at daylight your (more or less conscient) intentions of simply make-believe that the rules of chess tell the opposite of what they tell, in order to accept what one thinks is fair, and because it have somewhat been "common pratice". THAT is the absurd thing here.
Now also for a smile: As you're probably no Edison here, you can also be sure my name (nor role) is not Fidel nor Raul. ;-)

Thomas's picture

Castro, I will only answer to two of your points which I consider particularly absurd:

"2. “Common pratice”: Death penalty, slavery, and thowsants of other things are or were common pratice. "
Of course, something that was common practice for decades to centuries can still be declared illegal by mutual consent. Taking things to another level: The UN Declaration of Human Rights explicitly bans slavery (and torture) - apparently no consensus could be reached regarding the death penalty [further discussion on this would be off-topic].
However, no single person can define or impose such a consensus. I cannot, you cannot, noone else can. No matter who you are in real life, even if your first name happens to be Fidel or Raul (admittedly a cheap off-topic joke, don't take it personally).

"9. So, you see, we’re both entitled to our oppinions, of course. I just say that your’s ... is simply unsustainable"
Strange, both opinions are permitted - yet you solemnly declare that mine is wrong!? Not really a basis for (further) discussion.

Manu's picture

Wow Castro , dont get bitter , take it easy.
:)

Castro's picture

"Speak your mind" is a bold and nice thing to state, when in fact, by saying "duplicated post" to posts that never show up and "awaiting moderation" to a 3-line post 12 hours ago, one assures that "journalism" and "open forum" meen "our view will not be chalanged, or at least we say when it is over and drop ourselves the unchalanged usual desperados childish comments about fishes, patiences, etc." (Right, Manu?)
And thinging some of this people have even the nerve to criticize FIDE...!
And showing surprise why so much problems in the chess world!

Castro's picture

My 3-line post from yesterday (let's see if...) (Now in 4 lines):

:-) It’s very conforting to see you noticed the sighnings « ” “». You discovered the powder (of the original intention) ;-)
BTW More conforting would be you noticing the methaphorical nature of point 8. (For instance, after all, Smeets had choice)

ZinkBav's picture

@rdecredico
I second that: Thomas, your patience does not go unnoticed, or unappreciated!

Manu's picture

Castro , your aproach this case is mistaken , in particullar the point 8 in your post is specially wrong , why dont you let this go ?
Your fish is starving.

Manu's picture

Castro:
It´s really interesting how you think that one fault doesn t justify another , but you start your post claiming that Thomas ¨forced¨ you to break your word.

Castro's picture

:-) It's very conforting to see you noticed the sighnings « " "». ;-)
BTW More conforting would be you noticing the methaphorical nature of point 8. (For instance, after all, Smeets had choice)

Castro's picture

:-) OK, Thomas, you managed to "force" me to break my word. It's realy my LAST statement here on the subject.

1. Agreed "so far", sure;
2. "Common pratice": Death penalty, slavery, and thowsants of other things are or were common pratice. Question closed? If not for you, sure it is now, for me!
3. Every management of the clock not considered on the rules (after your move, or in order to call for an arbiter) falls, for that reason, on grounds of disturbing the opponent, being enough for that consideration that the opponent complains or an arbiter witnesses. Question closed? If not for you, sure it is now, for me!
4. "Radjabov cannot complain, he did exactly the same thing against Ivanchuk." is an auto-anulled sentence, in serious, adult, non-TV-politicians matters. It's incredible how some clear thing passes unnoticed, but it happens to all of us, once in a while. Of course Radjabov can complain! It's for the arbiters to consider it when right, and to dismiss when not. Question closed? If not for you, sure it is now, for me!
5. You're right about the languages, and the "Jaaa". It's not a big question here, it's, as you say, completely "understandable" (but sure it's a kind of thing that can be complained about, sometimes). Not of much importance here, IMHO.
6. "And now it is time to call the arbiter". Wrong (as I explained in item 3). Time to call the arbiter is anytime after each fault (Radja or Smeets). Question closed? If not for you, sure it is now, for me! (Sorry for repeating, don't want you to think it is different here)
7. One could put even more interesting variables on the scenarios, but it realy seems to me that you didn't go deep on the exercise of the scenarios I sugested. I think you'll somewhat change something in your aproach.
8. Anyway, let me stress one last time something:
Even if you think that your neigbour is a deadly danger to the society, and even if he punched you in the face, and even if it is "common pratice" on your village to kill neigbours, you're really not entitled to defend yourself by any means, for instance that one, killing him (unless the exceptions THE LAW says). Of course sometimes you could really need to kill him and be unable to meet the law's requirments (for instance, unable to prove your state of need). Then, you would kill him anyway (what choice had you?), but don't expect to be, after all, under the law! Or that the law would not punish you...
9. So, you see, we're both entitled to our oppinions, of course. I just say that your's (and many more and of great importance too) is simply unsustainable (Of course, sometimes there are people who can mantain and even force unsustainable oppinions and decisions, but that is why I mentioned politics).
Cheers!

Castro's picture

Other then realy open-minded reading of the rules, which I believe would (will?) at last bring light and obviousity to an obvious and luminous case, it could be an interesting chess-like problem to stay with and imagine the folowing situation (which the rules obviously forbid, but that many people with certain opinions here would have to admit):

Radja presses the clock without caring the bishop. Smeets says Jaaa! and presses back. Radja says Yoo and represses. Smeets says Jaaa Jaaa and represses, Radja says Yo-Ho-Ho and hits the clock again. And so on.

(Imagine cenarios with Radja's flag falling, Smeets flag falling, both ready to fall, and both far away from faling. So, 4 flag cenarios)

(Imagine arbiters in the neigbourhood --- intervening or not intervining ---, and not in the neibourhood)

(Imagine each one of the players calling an arbiter in order to complain about something, at various different moments, and none of them calling no one)

It's not clear to you yet, FROM THE RULES??
The thing is not so simple, because it is so simple!
There will always be somewhat unfair cases. Let's change/enhance the law. Not act as if the law states the opposite of what it states!
It's not because your opponent faulters that you can also fault! Not even if you say he made you do that (because it's a lie), and not even if you think (or even if it was true) that it was the only practical way to avoid him to benefit from his fault!

Enough for me in this subject here. Peace is ok for me. A draw I'll continue to sometimes accept at the board, my friends ;-)

Manu's picture

Yea dude , go feed your fish or something.
Just kidding , interesting argument though , IMHO Radja should have lost the game. But is not so important anyway.

Thomas's picture

OK Castro, one more time .... :

"Radja presses the clock without caring [about] the bishop. "
That's against the rules - they clearly state that you have to correct fallen pieces in your own time. Agreed so far?

"Smeets says Jaaa! and presses back."
Pressing back in such a situation is common practice - not specifically allowed nor forbidden by the written rules. And Radjabov cannot complain, he did exactly the same thing against Ivanchuk.
Saying "Jaaa!" in an annoyed tone is not the best choice of words ,:) - it may be understandable to Dutch people, but Radjabov is from Azerbaijan .... . It would have been better/clearer to say "correct the piece" or something like that. I am originally from Germany, in German blitz tournaments it is common to say "Stellung!" ("position") - I never encountered nor watched such a situation in a 'slow' game.
However, a spontaneous reaction in one's own language (sort of ...) is understandable given the circumstances, can we really expect perfect behavior in time trouble stress??

"Radja says Yoo and represses. "
Repressing is wrong again, as he still didn't correct the piece. And now it is time to call the arbiter - this wasn't necessary in the given game because he was nearby (probably already for quite a while) and intervened immediately on his own.

So while I had to laugh about the rest of your post, it is rather irrelevant. How to act in a similar situation when there is no arbiter nearby (as in any of the hundreds of amateur games played at the Corus tournament) is a different story.

Thomas's picture

Thanks rdecredico - as your post seems to be sincere without hidden irony. One can never be completely sure on the Internet, e.g. Martin Glimmerveen's compliment to Castro was more like "a poisoned pawn".
BTW, I do not aspire to become an international arbiter ,:) - be it only because it took me quite some time to make up my mind on the entire situation, whereas the Corus arbiters had to decide in seconds to minutes. "Seconds" here refers to whether he should intervene in the first place. Incidentally, one of my first posts on this topic (at Dailydirt) was more like "isn't it strange that Radjabov was presented with a choice between drawing or losing ?!".

@Fritz Fritschy: I accept your draw offer ,:). Everything has been said, and the related article has now disappeared from the frontpage of Chessvibes. Even if Sofia rules applied to this site, we could probably claim a draw due to move repetitions ,:). Though not according to FIDE rule 9.2 - we said the same things several times but didn't use exactly the same words .... (the last is mostly to demonstrate that I DO consult FIDE rules!?).

Frits Fritschy's picture

participants, I mean.

Castro's picture

"lets elect castro as head referee for all big events, he knows so well."

LOL
Expected that, though, sooner or later.
At least the clown in charge is not missing.

rdecredico's picture

Thomas: you seem to have excellent undertstanding of a confusing situation.

Of course it is possible I feel this way since I agree with you on almost all the nuances of this particular case.

You are certainly a more patient human being than I.

Martin Glimmerveen's picture

lets elect castro as head referee for all big events, he knows so well.

Frits Fritschy's picture

It's about time to end this discussion, particpamts are getting sour. I suggest a draw.

Castro's picture

In fact, even in classic chess cases where the decision could be realy chess-difficult (and not "merely" politicaly difficult) --- and that was NOT the Radjabov vs. Smeets case, which was clear, by the rules --- even in those balanced, real difficult cases where the arbiter may reach a solution by making a certain choice from board or clock values, the letter and the non-letter of the rules indicate the arbiter must favor the board values. Classic chess we're talking about, remember!

Castro's picture

By that idea, for instance, for long time now, every big classic chess tournament has good reasons to be played with at least 30' of Fischer increment for every move. But we know that some agents find that unconvenient... And after all the rules allow otherwise, right? ;-)

Castro's picture

(Wau! that was my post, finaly! With some stupid changes, though!)

Castro's picture

But the whole spirit is the same!

Castro's picture

But the whole philosophy of the rules is the same.

Castro's picture

In fact, even in classic chess cases where the decision could be realy chess-difficult (and not "merely" politicaly difficult) --- and that was NOT the Radjabov vs. Smeets case, which was clear, by the rules --- even in those balanced, real difficult cases where the arbiter may reach a solution by making a certain choice from board or clock values, the letter and spirit of the rules indicate the arbiter must favor the board values. Classic chess we're talking about, remember!

Castro's picture

Oh Lord! My post has 3 more paragraphs, but I can't post them! WHY??

Castro's picture

The "letter of the law", which, by many means indicate one should favor, to the maximum extent posible, board (chess position) values over time/clock values in classic chess.

Castro's picture

But the complete spirit (or philosophy) of the present rules indicates the same.
In fact, even in classic chess cases where the decision could be realy chess-difficult (and not "merely" politicaly difficult) --- and that was NOT the Radjabov vs. Smeets case, which was clear, by the rules --- even in those balanced, real difficult cases where the arbiter may reach a solution by making a certain choice from board or clock values, the letter and spirit of the rules indicate the arbiter must favor the board values. Classic chess we're talking about, remember!

Castro's picture

(The 2nd part won't go :-( )

Castro's picture

IMHO, one of the extremely good and somewhat new things about the present rules is that they try to distinguish very well "classic chess" from rapid chess (and from blitz, of course), and try that everyone (players, arbiters, tournament directors, ...) incorporate that nocion.

Castro's picture

(Let's try breaking it in 3)
Fault? Stop the clocks, call the arbiter. The rules forbid otherwise. Are there circunstances with undesirable consequences? Of course.
I myself don't agree with several things on the FIDE Rules of Chess. But I love to see all those eforts in trying to bend the rules. Just amusing!
This was my last direct atempt to call for some people to wake up and read the rules about this issue.
I'd just like to say some more general thing:

Castro's picture

Why can't I post some (short, with no links, and non offensive) posts?
Can someone tell me what can be happening, because it's the third time in 3 days 3 different posts never show up, while I get a message of "duplicate post" when I try to post them again...?

GeneM's picture

This type of issue is recurring several times every year, it has become tiresome to re-debate this each time.

If there is a 10 second increment (or delay) on *every* move in every time-control segment, then these issues mostly go away.

A couple of answers given during the press conference were painfully lame, but there is no good answer the arbiters can give, until an increment is implemented.

Were is not for messy rules confusion caused by the minor event of a piece getting knocked over, this game would not have ended as a draw.

Without an increment, the harsh hard time deadlines enforced by the clock are an intrusion into chess beyond the practical reasons that chess adopted clocks in the first place.

Martin Glimmerveen's picture

I agree with Thomas.

Most notably that stopping the clock was not called for. The interpretation that this is only needed when the players dont agree about the real position of the dispositioned pieces - this seems rather obvious to me. However, the other interpretation isnt total nonsense as well. But as Ian Rogers (apparently) referred ... it definately is against common practice.

And there is a good reason for this! Stopping the clock would definately help the faulting player. He would have time to look around and get some energy for an ultimate sprint to make the time control. In my book, Smeets made a nice gesture, not sure I would have done the same.

Thomas's picture

Bartleby, thanks again - of course the most recent, most similar and most pertinent previous game is and remains Ivanchuk-Radjabov, Corus 2009 ... .

@Castro and Frits Fritschy: You both seem to claim that your interpretation of the rules is the only possible, correct and legitimate one. First, I would say it is and remains an interpretation - any statement such as "the rules clearly state that ... discussion closed" is simply wrong IMHO. Second, quite a few people seem to lean towards my interpretation. Besides acirce, the list includes
- Mark Crowther on TWIC
- Ian Rogers on the USCF homepage (link here on the right side of the page)
- international arbiter Jonathan Berry on Dailydirt (comment on Corus R10, posted Jan 29 2:51PM)
- indeed the Corus arbiters themselves: if the players hadn't agreed a draw (their preferred salomonic solution), they would have declared that Radjabov lost on time.
Not the worst or most insignificant company I could imagine ,:)

Anyway, as pressing back the clock "has been standard for some decades" (Jonathan Berry) / "is standard practice at all levels of play" (Ian Rogers) - I would say it is high time to clarify in the written rules whether it is legitimate or (Castro's word) illegal.

Specifically at Frits Fritschy 30 Jan 23:25:
1) Sorry for using "IMHO" jargon - I thought this was understandable to everyone. Next time, you can also look up things like that with Google ,:) I also have to do so sometimes, as I am not a native speaker, mostly if I come across less common English words (the most recent example was "denizen").
2) I do not doubt that the Corus arbiters at least intended to "act in the best interest of the competition" - whether they succeeded is also a matter of interpretation, in any case they were glad that the players helped them out.

Castro's picture

@Thomas

Frits answered you? Goooooood!

@acirce

Just laughts, your talk about Radjabov being lucky. Wake up!
Also, "There is no such rule...". More laughts, wake up and please do yourself a favor and read them.
Can some people understand that --- by the rules! --- any fault your opponent comits and you want to stop him, the procedure is Stop the clocks - Call an arbiter??
Could it be that those who read the rules can't find this (or even find the opposise, namely that you can correct your oponent yourself by any means? Moreover by ILEGAL means!?) My god!!

Castro's picture

@gogomil

Yes! That is one of the factors into the good way!

Bartleby's picture

> does the arbiter actually have a) the right, b) the duty to interfer ??

I've scanned the rules book, and found two very general rules applicable, and one quite specific:

13.1 The arbiter shall see that the Laws of Chess are strictly observed.
6.13 a. If the game needs to be interrupted, the arbiter shall stop the clocks.
6.14 If an irregularity occurs and/or the pieces have to be restored to a previous position, the arbiter shall use his best judgement to determine the times to be shown on the clocks.

This means imho: In theory the arbiter should have interfered after the first rule break, that is when Radjabov pressed the clock without re-establishing the correct position.

In real life I don't see how this should have been done. When a hectic time scramble is going on, stopping the clock would mean the arbiter changes the course of the game. Probably no arbiter in the world would do this. And in cases like Radjabov-Smeets, where one site has a won position, and the other can only hope for the flag to fall, the arbiter will basically decide the outcome: Either declaring one player lost on time, or granting a meaningless bonus to the prospective loser. I've been in this situation myself (as an arbiter), and consciously decided not to interfere.

After all, one can always invoke the Preface of the Laws of Chess:
"The Laws assume that arbiters have the necessary competence, sound judgement and absolute objectivity. 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 remember one instance from an Open where I witnessed (as a spectator) how a strong Grand Master played against a talented junior player. Both came into severe time trouble, and with maybe half a minute left, the Grand Master made his move, knocked a few pieces over, and pressed his clock. They played on with pieces lying around. In the end, the talented junior player finally lost on time, while the Grand Master had a few seconds left on his clock. The tournament's chief arbiter was present, but did not interfere. (Landa-Smeets 1:0, F?ºrth 2002)

Richard DeCredico's picture

IMHO = In My Humble Opinion

Frits Fritschy's picture

Thnx Richard (for once, I'l make a try).

Frits Fritschy's picture

First, can anyone please help me, I'm not of the cell phone generation: what does IMHO mean?
@Thomas
"does the arbiter actually have a) the right, b) the duty to interfer?" Check the FIDE site, FIDE - handbook - E.I Laws of chess (as many others should). Arbiters have lots of freedom, and rightly so.
The arbiters were at the spot and interfered as soon as they could. They had some communication problems at the press conference but when it comes to it, they acted "in the best interest of the competition", as article 13.2 clearly states. Am I the only one to see this?

Thomas's picture

@Bartleby:
Your first paragraph: I fully agree, I think I wrote exactly the same .... .

The second one: Obviously I did not make the nonsensical claim (for Smeets, myself or anyone else) to press the clock at any time and without reason. However what exactly is meant with "having made his move on the chessboard"? ,:) I would define it as 1) moving one of your pieces to a legal and unambiguous new square ("unambiguous" meaning moves such as Rb7 - Rb2.5 don't count), and 2) leaving all other white and black pieces where they were before [obviously excluding the piece you may have captured]. Radjabov didn't satisfy item 2) and therefore had no right to press the clock, thus Smeets only 'reminded' him that he had to complete his move before hitting the clock !?

Arguably strange that this is not explicitly stated in the FIDE rules, whereas "undisputed trivial things" are explained in lengthy detail (e.g. "the chessboard has 64 squares, alternating light and dark")

Last sentence from you: "It’s not Smeets’ job to punish him for his rule break, but the arbiter’s."
If both players had continued as if nothing had happened, does the arbiter actually have a) the right, b) the duty to interfer ??

Bartleby's picture

@Thomas:

The "if necessary" does not target our case. But there can be situations where it's not so easy to re-establish the correct position. A piece may got lost, or you can't figure out where it was standing.

There is indeed no explicit rule against pressing the clock. There is rule 6.8 which describes when to press the clock - "having made his move on the chessboard". But nowhere it is explicitly forbidden to press at any other time. But I think the conclusion, that you (or Smeets) may press the clock any time you want, is obvious nonsense.

FIDE Rule 7.3 covers what Radjabov has done wrong. It's not Smeets' job to punish him for his rule break, but the arbiter's.

gogomil's picture

If the rules were +30 sec on every move this would never hapened, so reduce the time and add 30 sec . to every move made?

Dimitri's picture

I checked with Cor Roet: Radjabov had one second left after 39...Te7. Perhaps Peter can put this in the article?

Thomas's picture

@Frits Fritschy: I had seen your comment - as well as others quoting the same rule 7.3 - but I am still not convinced. I will quote from TWIC - rule plus one sentence [plus my own comments]:

"That Smeets took the correct action in repressing the clock seems to be confirmed by the FIDE rule:
[Mark Crowther's - cautious - interpretation, consistent with mine]
FIDE Rule 7.3 If a player displaces one or more pieces, he shall re-establish the correct position on his own time.
[This is crystal-clear in my opinion: "on his own time" does not mean any of the following: 1) not at all, 2) on the opponent's time, 3) during a time-out with the clock being stopped. Smeets' back-pressing the clock then means "giving Radjabov a second chance to follow the rule"!?]
If necessary, either the player or his opponent shall stop the clocks and ask for the arbiter's assistance.
[And this is vague, what is meant with "if necessary"? It may only mean 'if the players do not remember the correct position of the pieces'. In the given situation, Radjabov could have 'played' Rb7-e7 followed by Be8-e9-f8 in one move ,:). Then the position would be drawn, but of course there are situations when you get an advantage from playing half an illegal move ,:).]

If FIDE decides to change/amend the rules after this incidence, IMHO the most logical change would be to put another sentence between the first and the second: "If this player does not do so, the opponent has the right to back-press the clock".

@Ricardo: You are probably right, Smeets may have been quite embarrassed if he had scored 2/2 against Ivanchuk and Radjabov, despite being lost on the board in both games - 1.5/2 is enough given the circumstances ,:). However, I don't agree with your second sentence "he ... had no choice but to oblige". He was not in any way obliged to oblige .... .

Rini Luyks's picture

I think the arbiters were lucky that the two players accepted the agreement.
Their perfomance and explanation on the video was was far from convincing.

Ricardo's picture

"In my opinion, Radjabov was very lucky that his opponent was so generous as to literally grant him a free half point. I can say honestly I would not have done that in an important game, myself."

After watching the video posted at the ChessFM blog, my first impression is that Smeets didn't really feel like he had granted anything. It looks more like he just didn't want to "get in trouble", if you know what I mean, and had no choice but to oblige.

My humble, biased opinion, of course.

Frits Fritschy's picture

@thomas
Check my comments (29/1 12.40) on "Corus R10: Aronian grabs sole lead" for the relevant articles in the FIDE Laws on Chess.

@Peter
It is a bit confusing to have the same discussion on different pages. Would it be possible to make one discussion page for a topic with several updates? Something like a button under an update that directs you to the discussion on that topic. But I'm totally unaware of the possible technical problems.

acirce's picture

Thomas, There is indeed no such rule. The rules in this case just state that the clock should be stopped "if necessary". It was clearly not necessary here, Radjabov could simply have adjusted the piece as the rules demand. (Instead, he presses the clock AGAIN without bothering to adjusting it... but at the same time his time runs out.)

In my opinion, Radjabov was very lucky that his opponent was so generous as to literally grant him a free half point. I can say honestly I would not have done that in an important game, myself.

Pages

Latest articles