Monday 2 May 2016

Twice is not coincidence

What you see in the following clip is cheating.

I wish it wasn't. I wish it hadn't happened. But it did - and there's no point in calling it anything other than what it is.

It's cheating. The most famous living chessplayer in the world took his hand off the piece, went to press the clock, realised his move was an error, put his hand back on the piece and moved it to another square. Unfortunately, that's cheating.

It doesn't cease to be cheating because the arbiter didn't step in and it doesn't cease to be cheating because the opponent didn't make a complaint. It was a conscious, flagrant and serious breach of the laws of chess which you or I would neither expect to make nor to get away with if we did. It was cheating.

You can get away with cheating because nobody detects it. That's not the case here. You can get away with cheating because everything happens so fast and nobody thinks to act before it's too late. That might be the case here (and was probably the case here) although I doubt that absence of time was the only element in play. But even if you do get away with it, it's still cheating.

But you can also get away with cheating if you're a massively important and famous person and other people are likely to hesitate before challenging you.

You know, in some ways it's the non-application of the rules, when an infraction occurs, that turns a spontaneous, panicky reaction into cheating. If the rules are applied then the player is penalised, he or she apologises, everybody moves on. If the rules are not applied it's then that we get the controversy, the pretend-excuses, the damaged reputation, the bad taste in the mouth.

Do the rules suddenly stop applying when you're a world-class player? Of course they don't. So apply them.

Now this has happened more than once - more than once this year, more than once in Kasparov's career - then all the more reason to be concerned that the rules of our sport are being applied on the basis of who you are, rather than what you have actually done.

Because this was cheating. And it left a bad taste in the mouth.


Anonymous said...

Taking the alternative view, I've never understood why piece-touch applies to blitz rather than clock-touch. I see why in ordinary chess, but when you are moving as fast as your hand/synapses allow, the very chaotic nature of the ongoings would seem to lean toward leniency, especially as disputes can occur. Whether or not you pushed the clock, is not too arguable.

ejh said...

Perfectly valid view if you ask me,: but clock-move wasn't the rule here.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't an official USCF or FIDE event, so were the Rules, particularly whether clock-move applied or otherwise published beforehand?

Elsewhere the Kings Head Memorial Blitz, recently in the UK, was observed by one of the participants to be clock-move.


ejh said...

Later Chief Arbiter Tony Rich confirmed that there was no such clock rule and Nakamura could have insisted that Kasparov played the original move.

Chess 24

Unknown said...

Why twice??
Why not thrice???

Anonymous said...

Very two-faced of Tony Rich. Isn't the arbiter supposed to take a more active role, to ensure the Laws (or whatever rules are being used for the game) are respected? Didn't Nepo complain exactly that, there was no intervention against Nakamura? Anyway, has he commented?

ejh said...

Why twice??
Why not thrice???

I don't think I'd seen that before. Yasser again, coincidentally (as well as You Know Who).

Anonymous said...

Look at this film of USA kids (2200+) playing blitz. Horrid all the takebacks (1:35, 2:35, 3:57, 4:33 twice, 5:08)! And Greg Shahade puts this up as example to showcase what he wants chess to be.

Ben said...

A good question on Chess Exchange.

Kasparov Chess Foundation's mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children worldwide by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. ...

This mission statement presupposes that there actually are educational benefits of chess.

Is there any argument to support the claim that chess can help develop moral virtues or practical skills? Or is it perhaps just the wishful thinking of chess playing philosophers and philanthropists?

I argue that being able to "get away" with touch-move violations based upon gravitas is a practical skill. However, taking my notions from Aristotle, I do not find violating touch-move (or evenmoreso attempting to get away with it) to be morally virtuous.