Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forfeit Time

From the 1st of July 2009, the laws of chess have been changed to allow tournament organisers to set a forfeit time for their own events, rather than the previous case where it has been 1 hour. However the rule change also states that the default time shall be 0 minutes, unless the organisers specifies otherwise.
So a couple of questions in terms of what will happen in practice.
(a) If an organiser fails to publish a set forfeit time in their entry form/tournament conditions does it have to be 0 minutes or can the chief arbiter simply announce that the forfeit time will be x minutes before the first round?
(b) Can a sanctioning body for a tournament (eg a national federation / state association) set a general forfeit time that will then cover all events under their control?
(c) What do you think is a sensible forfeit time?


Anonymous said...

a). I would anticipate we would post a default of 15 minutes on our web-site, as a condition in general.
b). Most unlikley course of action where we play.
c). 15 minutes or phone call before the start of play (after that time all mobiles are silenced).

Jim Flood said...


Haven't most simply accepted the one hour as a given and therefore did not need to be announced or published beforehand? Nobody seemed to bother about the qualification to the one hour limit.

I say that because the current rule is:

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.

So applying the same approach, if a variation to the 0 minutes default time is not part of the tournament conditions or the arbiter does not make a prior ruling, and it is not published in the tournament flyer, then 0 it is. By the way is it 0 - 59 seconds, i.e. when the clocks are started or when 1 minute actually passes?

Nevertheless, I feel it would be courteous to players to let them know well beforehand what the determined default time is in any publication for a tournament. Saves arguments and no great effort is involved. Also put it up at the venue with the scheduled time for each round. Doesn't require a lot of time to type or cost much in terms of printer ink.

As to (b), depends on what you mean by "control" but in any event it would not hurt for those bodies to at least suggest to an organiser what their view on the matter is but still leave it to the organiser/arbiter to decide.

On (c) 15 minutes. The scheduled times are published so players should know to get there beforehand.

Shaun Press said...

The problem with 0 minutes is it is vastly unpopular, both as a time, and in how the rule has been enforced. In the Olympiad it was 0 minutes and 0 seconds ie The arbiter announced the start of the round and if your were not sitting at the board you instantly lost. At least with a slightly longer forfeit time some of the absurdities of its enforcement might go away.

Reasonable Person said...

Is there any reason why it shouldn't be 0 mins 0 secs? In almost all sports , if you are late without excuse , then you forfeit e.g. athletics, swimming, gymnastics etc.

However, the one silly thing is that absurd situation in Dresden when that poor player went to the toilet at the starting time and came back to find himself forfeited, but that should be a different point entirely, more to do with enforcement than the rule itself.

Shaun Press said...

I think that the problem with enforcement is a consequence of the 0m forfeit time. Because the time is so absolute (be there or lose), the enforcement is also.
However one thing to note about chess as compared to other sports is that a game of chess can be started with 0, 1 or 2 players present (due to the added dimension of time). This is not so with sports where the actions are simultaneous (football) or kinetic (tennis). In those cases the absence of players normally renders the game unplayable (although I once refereed a basketball game where one side took too long to return from the half time break. Blowing the whistle and tossing the ball up with only one team on the court lead to both an easy lay up and a rapid appearance of their opponents).

Kevin Bonham said...

(a) That literally depends on whether the arbiter has the authority from the organisers to vary the competition rules.

(b) Yes, since if a sanctioning body declares that all tournaments run under it must abide by a certain condition, then anyone agreeing to run an event under that stipulation is agreeing to implement that condition.

(c) Depends on the competition, eg interclubs held on far sides of cities on weeknights require more lenience than weekenders. I'd prefer not to have forfeit times below 20 minutes. As for the argument that other sports have forfeit times for being late at all, as Shaun points out it's because those sports are unplayable with one team absent. Some sports such as cycling and motor sport permit a competitor to start a race late.

Anonymous said...

In clubs, the idea is to play chess. There should be some flexibility, mostly the ourcome isn't that important, and the scheduling isn't difficult. Often, the arbiter is also playing, and an idle player could help out.

Weekenders, the scheduling is more critical, and for higher-caregory touraments there might be involvement of media and/or other matters to consider. Get the round under way.

All that said, 30 minutes all round seems fairly reasonable, it-s not so long to hang around for a no-show opponent, but long enough to cope smoothly with the common causes of delay.

And generally, the director of play should have some flexibility to make other decisions, especially when both players wish to play.

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Anonymous said...

Whether zero default time is correct or not, entirely depends on all the details surrounding why the rule was instated in the first place, and then compare with the same details on why the 1 hour rule was instated back then. IMO.