29 January 2009

Tournament Directors: Beware

And the king said, "Bring me a sword." So a sword was brought before the king. And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other."
I Kings 3: 24-25

The game between Teymour Radjabov and Jan Smeets yesterday had a remarkable finish. With both players in time trouble, and with Radjabov finally securing an advantage after a complex and difficult game, Radjabov knocked Smeets' bishop askew after moving his rook. He pressed his clock; Smeets immediately pressed the clock and asked Radjabov to correct the piece on his time.

The official report on the Corus Chess 2009 site states:
The game’s climax happened when as he was making his 39th move, and with only seconds on the clock for both players, Radja knocked over a piece, and pressed the clock without fixing it. Smeets restarted his opponent’s clock without making a move., Teimour then overstepped the time limit. Just before the arbiters were about to award a time win for the Dutchman (a decision that would have been sure to prompt an appeal), and upon the initiative of the arbiters, the players decided to meet half way and the game was declared a draw.
"Report of Round 10"
Further discussion of the incident should start at ChessVibes and Mark Crowther's The Week in Chess Report.

Chess Vibes has a video of the incident and the subsequent press conference.


  1. Teimour was tense on that video until they agreed to a draw, then he look relieved, as for Smeets - winning on that in worse position ...
    So, despite looking a bit like "king's decision", maybe it was logical and fair to have a draw.

  2. Yes, Radjabov did look tense. I've been in those games with everyone hovering and the clock running down. But a few seconds each ...

    I don't want to be in such a spot as a player or as a TD.

    Still, I think the game had a lot of interest, and the conclusion no less so. Splitting the point makes it easier to move forward to the next challenge. Both players have a chance to finish the event near the top. Smeets still has Carlsen and Aronian in the last two rounds, with Stillwagen tomorrow. Radjabov has Wang Yue, Movsesian, and Stellwagen in his last three.

  3. I guess with so little time on your clock it makes you lose on time to stop the clock especially since it takes more then five seconds to find the correct button to push on.

  4. Who wants to be an arbiter?

    That is the reason why I think playing with 'real' pieces is outdated.
    It's time to start using screens wired together instead.
    No hassle with tumbling kings and queens, and less chance of collecting germs at the same time.
    (let's cut out the handshake at the same time ;-)

    That is the way I would like to play backgammon: all that rolling of dice and shuffling of stones is a mess too.

    Thoroughly Modern Millie :-)