Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Incident at KL Chess Classic

My student was playing against the adult player, Lim Sim Leong A closed position was reached and both sides started repeating moves. Student offered a draws a few times, thinking that Lim Sim Leong could not make progress. Somehow Lim managed to break through but almost immediately blundered an exchange.
Student now had a R vs B ending which was easily winning. As I was looking at the online chess-results I saw that he was accorded the win. To my surprise a few minutes later, this was changed to a draw result.
I asked him about it and he related the story. Lim kept badgering the arbiter to declare the game drawn. His reasoning was that there were mutiple three-fold repetitions and also my student was repeatedly offering draws. In fact he held up the beginning of the next round by almost half an hour.
Finally the arbiter turned to student and asked him whether he agreed to the draw. In order not to create a bigger scene and to get the next round started, he agreed and a draw was recorded.
I posted this incident to Facebook and drew many comments (Over 130 at this point in time). I have tried to get the arbiter of his version of how this happened but sadly he has not given any. So I can only relate what I believe happened based on my conversation with my student and her mother.
Here I want to give a proper SOP on how to handle this type of situation which is not that uncommon actually.
Arbiter entered the result as win and posted to chess-results, as seen with my own eyes. So there is no reason to deny he already accepted the result of the game at that point.
Then Lim comes along and protests the result. Was he not present when the result given to the arbiter earlier? In such situation, the arbiter should verify the result. How? By playing through the game from the scoresheets. He will then see the final position which he being a chess player for decades he should know that the position was lost for Lim. Case closed.
So why did he start asking my student if he will agree a draw?
The arbiter commented on Facebook that Lim refused to accept the result and delayed the start of the next round. Therefore his solution was to get both players to come to a compromise (draw). The position was win for him so the results stand. It does not matter if the opponent does not agree. Pair the next round and start.
Instead, the arbiter took the coward way out. Instead of standing firm against a bully , he bullied my student instead by asking him if he agrees a draw instead. An 8 year old boy could not stand his ground against a 70 year old arbiter and gave in.
There was some comment that my student made numerous draw offers and this was the reason Lim contested the result. This is not uncommon either and the player can also protest to the arbiter. Arbiter can warn the player. If warning is not complied with, than a penalty can be imposed. Start with time penalty and the last resort forfeit the game. I do not think the arbiter did any of this.
There were also many comments defending the arbiter decision from his daughter, Ruby Kwan. Her arguments were totally irrelevant and without any reference to FIDE Laws of Chess. She did out of loyalty. I respect that last part but sorry.
Know the rules.
Be objective
Make the correct decisions from your understanding of the FIDE rules.
Stand firm on your decisions
Enforce your decisions.
This is the job of a chess arbiter.