Monday, September 1, 2014


The new rules introduced by fide also generated a lot of discussions in Belgium. The hot potato was of course the mobile-ban in tournaments which many considered as a privacy violation. Now accidentally yesterday I read that it still can become worse as in the college of Rotterdam students aren't allowed anymore to wear watches, see hln article. If mobiles and watches are forbidden then also contact-lenses (Bionic_contact_lens), spectacles (Google Glass), pens (pen computer) ... must be forbidden.

Players can leave watches and mobiles at home but this can't be demanded for contact-lenses, spectacles,... Personally I find that the battle against cheating is done the wrong way. The measurements largely miss their target as when 1 or 2 players really want to cheat then they always find new methods. On the other hand every honest player is the victim of the new bans. Today I use as mobile the Nokia 108 which you can buy for only 25 euro. It is a basic model which I use for calling and sporadically sending sms. I can't make an internet-connection with it but also this model I am not allowed anymore to bring to the tournament-hall. The ban feels therefore unreasonable and out of proportions. I last read on chesscafe that this opinion is shared on the recent fide congress at Tromso in which was plead for more flexibility so maybe an adaption of the rules will happen.

In the past Open Gent such flexibility was already applicable as the mobile was allowed in the tournament-room as long it was placed next to the board. As I possess only an old very cheap mobile, I used this flexibility. However most players didn't have any mobile laying next to their board while after their games many were quickly using mobiles. So I guess many players had sneakily their mobile in their pockets. There was no serious inspection ( frisk/ metal-detector) and even the arbiter told me afterwards that carrying mobiles was tolerated as long he didn't see the players having the mobile in their hands while playing. Maybe I should also use this less legal path as twice after the game I had to return to the tournament-hall to pick up my forgotten mobile.

Besides the new rules to fight cheating, we also see a much bigger focus in recent years on procedures. Hereby the arbiter gets an always increasing role which we for example could read in my article mate ends the game or not. Our home-arbiter Peter Beeckmans summarized on his blog the latest changes, see article but the chapter about irregularities is incomplete. There is mentioned that article 7.4 a becomes 7.5 a but not that the new version includes an important change of which I was not aware till a recent incident at the Open Charleroi.

To understand the impact of the new element, we best return to the famous game in the 12th round at the candidate-finales between Carlsen and Ivanchuk played in London 2013. Ivanchuk promoted at move 86 the h-pawn but left the pawn on the promotion-square to manage pressing the clock just in time.
Ivanchuk played at move 86 : h2-h1 without defining the piece
Carlsen did not protest, captured the pawn and lost the game. An elaborated article with strong comments can be read on schaaksite about this topic. There is even a picture in the article which shows clearly how Ivanchuk promoted wrongly. The picture I don't dare to reuse because of copyright.

Since first of July 2014 the article 7.5 a says: "If het player has moved a pawn to the furthest distant rank, pressed the clock, but not replaced the pawn with a new piece, the move is illegal. The pawn shall be replaced by a queen of the same colour as the pawn." Or in other words Ivanchuk loses the option to choose another piece except the queen for promotion if we don't consider for a moment the consequences of the illegal move. Some readers will consider this a detail. Probably unless you create stalemate via the wrong promotion as happened in a game of one of my club-fellows. This is very painful if you intended to make a minor-promotion. An example of such position is below.
White plays c7-c8 without defining the piece.
I don't see myself making immediately such wrong promotion but I do find such details interesting to know. By the way my compliments to the help-arbiter Luc Cornet whom acted correctly in this difficult situation.

Minor-promotions are of course the domain of chess-compositions. Hereby the Babson task is considered as the holy grail. A summary can be found on the site of Tim Krabbe. I made 21 years ago a very modest try on the promotion-theme, see below.
White mates in 3 moves.
With the 2 pair same-colored bishops this problem doesn't compete for an honorable spot but I do find it still charming.


..., Rh1 2. Bc5 en 3. Qa3#
..., h1(Q) 2. Bb4 en 3. Qa3#
..., h1(R) 2. Bb4 en 3. Qa3#
..., h1(N) 2. Bad6 en 3. Qa3#
..., h1(B) 2. Bf8 en 3. Qa3#

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