Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mobile Phones - Alternative Penalties

The Vikings Weekender is a small weekend tournament held in Canberra, Australia each year. This year there are 57 players playing, with a time limit of G60m+10s per moved. As it isn't FIDE rated, I (the arbiter) have a little flexibility with some of the rules. For this years event I am trialling a different set of penalties for Mobile Phone Infractions.
Instead of the instant loss that the current FIDE Rules prescribe, I instead announced a two-step system. If a players phone makes a sound (ring, beep, trill etc), the player will be given a warning and the opponent will be given an additional 5 minutes time. If it happens a second time the player will then lose the games. Note: Players are still forbidden from conducting conversations on the phone if it does ring.
As for how it is working in practice I cannot say. By the end of Day 1, no ones phone made a noise.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bughouse Rules

A couple of weeks ago the ACT Junior Chess League held it's annual Transfer Tournament. (For those unaware, Transfer is the named used for Bughouse or Tandem Chess in Australia). The difficulty in running this event is that there are some subtle variants of the rules for Transfer, some of which only make sense if you are playing online.
So for information here are the declared variants to the rules that others may use.
Firstly, the reference for the rules we used was

The changes from these rules were

You can drop for check, but not for checkmate. Dropping for mate and pressing the clock is considered an illegal move (and the opponents can claim a win).
Pawns cannot be dropped on the 1st or 8th ranks.
There is no promotion. Pawns reaching the 8th rank just sit there until captured.
Partners can offer any sort of advice, even going so far as to suggest actual moves. The however cannot touch the pieces or clock on their partners board.
Castling can only take place with the original (ie non-dropped) rook.

The trickiest (and most controversial) rule is the no-drop-for-mate rule. This rule has been around in Canberra since I started playing chess over 25 years ago, although it's continued existence probably has a lot to do with old hands like myself arguing for it's retention. Indeed when it was announced at this years tournament, it was met with a chorus of boos from the mainly under 14 crowd.
The no-promotion rule is simply to make OTB Transfer easier to handle. No running after spare queens, and then trying to remember if it was the promoted queen or the original queen that was captured (and therefore turned back into a pawn).