Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ignoring Touch move = Illegal Move?

From GM Bartlomiej Macieja to the FIDE Rules and Tournament Regulations Committee, and republished here with his permission

Dear Members of the Rules and Tournament Regulations Committee

I would like to consult with you the following cases:

In a blitz game a player deliberately touches a piece, but eventually moves another piece.
An opponent claims a win basing on Article B.3.c:
"An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started. The opponent is entitled to claim a win before he has made his own move."
What should an arbiter decide?

In a rapid game, in the phase when both players have only seconds left to the end of a game, a player deliberately touches a piece, but eventually moves another piece.
An opponent calls an arbiter, claiming that irregularity.
What should an arbiter decide?

What should an arbiter decide in cases 1) and 2) if a player wishing to claim the above mention irregularity, having only 1 second left, doesn't manage to stop the clock before his flag fells?

Best regards
Bartlomiej Macieja

Feel free to make your answers in the comments section to this post.


Shaun Press said...

My decision would be
(1) Assuming that the player who touched a piece and moved another, then
pressed his clock, and that a legal move could have been played with the
touched piece, I would uphold the claim and award the game to the second

(2) Again I assume that the touched piece could be moved legally, and
that the clock has been pressed. I would again uphold the claim, give
the claiment an additional 2 minutes on his clock (under 13.4b), and
require the first player to move the touched piece.
The second part is slightly tricker (flag fall before claim). If it
could be established that player intended to make such a claim before
the flag fell (difficult I know), or that they were aware that an
illegality had taken place, then I would make the same ruling as before.

Kevin Bonham said...

I note Macieja uses numbering from the 2009 Laws. On that basis:

(1) As usual the Laws are sloppily drafted, but in my view touching a piece then moving another does not constitute an "illegal move", but rather what Gijssen calls an "illegal action" (although the Laws do not define such a concept). Legal moves are defined in article 3. If the view of what is or is not a "legal move" is taken to include touchmove compliance then several parts of Articles 4.3-4.6 become recursive and confusing, so it is quite clear (to me at least!) that this is not what was intended. Furthermore if moving a piece after touching another was considered to be the same as making an illegal move then why would 7.4a (for normal time controls) stipulate that 4.3-4.6 applied to the replacement move? It is within the arbiter's discretion to declare the game lost because of the touchmove violation but I would not do so. I would restore the position, enforce touchmove, and give the claimant extra time.

(2) I agree with the proposed action - note that I would take it under A4b (the old B5) not A4c.

Player fails to stop clock in time - assuming "inadequate supervision" then the question is whether the player claims the touchmove before the opponent claims the flagfall. If the player claims the touchmove I would award the player extra time which would mean their flag has no longer fallen. If the opponent claims the flagfall first I would award the flagfall. Since the illegal touch happened before the flagfall there is no reason the wronged player should not be able to claim first if they have their wits about them and are aware they need to do so.

Reasonable Person said...

An interesting situation is: what happens if a player were to move a pawn up for promotion, and then picks up a Queen to replace it, but at the last moment changes his mind to a knight. Is the act of picking up the Queen to replace the promoted pawn touch-moved? Is the player committed then to promote to a Queen? In a recent game against a local IM, a player would have lost had he promoted to a Queen, but a knight promotion would have won!

Kevin Bonham said...

For a promotion, touchmove applies once the new piece touches the square of promotion. It doesn't apply to just picking up a piece that's off the board.

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