World Chess Championship 2013 Viswanathan Anand vs Magnus Carlsen at Chennai Hyatt Regency: zero-tolerance fide rule

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Showing posts with label zero-tolerance fide rule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label zero-tolerance fide rule. Show all posts

Friday, August 23, 2013

Will we have Zero-Tolerance Rule at the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship 2013?

Posted by World Chess Championship 2013 News Blog Friday, August 23, 2013

Is the zero-tolerance rule going to be implemented at the Anand - Carlsen World Chess Championship in November, 2013? Would Carlsen forfeit any game if he forgets his way through the elevators, or would Anand forfeit a game if he gets late by a few minutes because of the traffic jam outside the Hyatt Regency, Chennai?

Interestingly, FIDE vice-president DV Sundar, has said, "Several things would get clearer once the world body announces the Chief Arbiter for the Viswanathan Anand - Magnus Carlsen World Chess Championship Match in November. The arbiter will have a meeting with both players before finalising two important points in the match regulations."


"The arbiter has to decide whether agreed draws will be allowed before 30 moves (with exception of three-fold repetition etc) and whether zero-tolerance policy will be applicable about the starting time of the games," Sundar said.

FIDE LAWS of CHESS
The FIDE Laws of Chess are evaluated every four years and updated if required. The latest set of laws of chess as of today came into effect September 9, 2012 (including the law relating to the zero-tolerance rule that came into effect in 2009 without being updated in 2012):
6.7 a. Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game unless the arbiter decides to postpone the start of the game due to unforeseen circumstances. Thus the default time is 0 minutes. The rules of a competition may specify a different default time.b. If the rules of a competition specify in advance a different default time, the following shall apply. If neither player is present initially, the player who has the white pieces shall lose all the time that elapses until he arrives, unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.

The law first came into effect July 1st, 2009. A player who arrives just a few seconds late at his board, loses the game. At that time, the FIDE General Assembly actually could not come to an agreement on the zero-tolerance rule and, eventually, the Presidential Board decided to implement the rule.

Before 2009, the law stated

6.6 If neither player is present initially, the player who has the white pieces shall lose all the time that elapses until he arrives; unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.6.7 Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.

The big difference between the two is the clause 'or the arbiter decides otherwise' which was knocked off.

The Criticism and some unfortunate instances
The zero-tolerance rule has ever since been criticised. Some organisers have implemented it way too strictly, an example being the recent the Chess World Cup in Tromso, Norway. (Read Kasparov's comments here on Jorge Cori's 'misfortune' at the World Cup.) 

The 2008 Dresden Olympiad witnessed eight forfeits due to the zero-tolerance rule. 

Even former Women's World Chess Champion Hou Yifan of China has suffered such a forfeit. Then a 15-year-old only woman participant at the event, Yifan forfeited her game against Liang Chong in Round 8 of the Chinese Chess Championship, 2009. 

Hou was in the hall, had filled out her scoresheet, but was not sitting at her board when the clock showed the starting time as 14:00:00h. She was late by five seconds! 

At the same tournament, Ding Liren became the youngest Chinese Chess Champion with benefits coming through the zero-tolerance rule. 

In March 2012, Grandmaster Mamedyarov was forfeited for arriving at the board 10 seconds after the officially stated start time at the at the European Chess Championship in Plovdov, Bulgaria.

The zero-tolerance rule does not specify whether a chess player should actually be seated behind the board, or standing nearby would do! 

Supposedly, the German Chess Federation is not too strict about the rule and allows players' presence in the premises of the building where the tournament is being held. Since FIDE has allowed organisers to decide beforehand whether they would like to implement the zero-tolerance rule, one example to quote is Canada. None of the chess tournament organisers in Canada have ever implemented the zero-tolerance rule in the country so far.

In India, many organisers prefer not to implement the rule in open tournaments, though it is strictly followed in all national championships. India's youngest-ever national chess champion G Akash benefited from the zero-tolerance rule when, in Round 11, at the national championship in October, 2013, he won by forfeit because the leader of the pack, M R Venkatesh, reached the board three minutes late. Venkatesh was caught in rush-hour traffic in Kolkata!

Following representation by the Association of Chess Professionals, the Presidential Board in Sofia, 2010 confirmed their previous decision that organisers of events where the zero tolerance rule was in operation should be obliged to provide participants with the best conditions in order that they can respect the rule.

A large digital countdown clock must be allowed when there are more than 30 participants. Announcements via microphone are required five minutes before start of games when there are less than 30 contestants. A large digital clock has become a tradition of sorts for all top-level chess tournaments. But, don't the players have to be in the hall to be able to see the clock at least, and then make a dash for the table?


"I am just dead nervous about the zero-tolerance rule!" Magnus Carlsen had remarked about arriving early for games at the 2013 World Championship Candidates Tournament in London. Carlsen has also emphatically said he is against the spirit of short draws and chess fans would not witness anything close to dull draws like in the Anand - Gelfand World Chess Championship 2012. The zero-tolerance rule, or the Sofia rule (against draws before a particular number of moves) did not apply at the Anand - Gelfand event in Moscow. 

World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand has always maintained that he prefers to skip the Chess Olympiads because of the zero-tolerance rule (and Swiss system of play).


However, Anand is possibly okay with the zero-tolerance rule at the World Chapionship!


The Hindu quoted Anand in July, 2012: “There are lots of strong rules, like the zero-tolerance rule, that simply make playing unpleasant for no benefit,” explains the five-time World champion. It is fine to have the zero-tolerance rule in the World championships and elite tournaments. But the rule makes little sense in the Olympiad where you have 2000 players!”

The intrinsic question remains the same and that's not just in chess: Rules are for people, or people are for the rules.

We hope neither Anand, nor Carlsen, lose any of their games due to a forfeit as per the zero-tolerance rule. If such were a thing were to happen...

... Or, maybe, the World Championship arbiters won't implement the rule at all in Chennai for the epic Anand - Carlsen clash! -- Zainab Raza Undulusi


P.S. The Armenia Chess Federation had announced in July, 2013, on their official website that FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had appointed IA Ashot Vardapetyan of Armenia as the chief arbiter for the Anand - Carlsen World Championship Match. Vardapetyan was also the chief arbiter of the World Championship Match Anand – Gelfand (Moscow, 2012).