Hendon F4 (U125) team off to flying start

Wednesday 20 November, 2019

Captain David Lewis reports:

Hendon F4 beat Hammersmith F4 by 4 games to zero: a fine victory for our team comprising Faye, Morris, George and me. Congratulations and thanks to the team from the club committee and me for playing in this match and contributing to the 4-0 whitewash.

A couple of points of interest arose during the match which I want to share with you. They both relate to recording the moves on the scoresheet. It’s a dry topic, but I’ll try (and probably fail) to make it interesting. I’ve put the boring bits in italics so you can skip them to get to the main point, but they show my reasoning and it’s useful for match players to understand some of the rules in competitive chess.

What happened (or didn’t happen) on board 4

While following Morris’s game, during its second and final period, I noticed that his opponent had stopped recording the moves at about move 25, while Morris was assiduously writing them down up until the end. There was a time scramble during the second period, in which Morris was seriously disadvantaged, and from which his opponent considerably benefited, owing to the fact that he was recording the moves and she wasn’t; I’ll say more about that in a moment. Fortunately his opponent’s flag fell first and Morris won the game: a fair result, given that he was about to queen a pawn leading to a speedy checkmate. But Morris’s flag could easily have fallen first.

What the rules say

Each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in algebraic notation, on the prescribed scoresheet: FIDE Laws of Chess (FLC), article 8.1.1.

If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock at some stage in a period (and does not have increments of 30 seconds or more per move), then for the remainder of the period he is not obliged to meet these move-recording requirements (though he must endeavour to ascertain and record the remaining moves after the end of the period and in his own time (if applicable). You are highly unlikely to encounter long increments of 30 or more seconds per move in a match, so we can safely discount that exception at present.

Applying the rules to the facts

There were no increments under the time control used, which was 30 moves in 75 minutes (the first period), then all moves to be completed in 15 minutes (the second period – a quickplay finish). Morris’s opponent almost certainly stopped recording her moves during the first period, and even if she’d stopped when she was in the last five minutes of that period she should have updated her scoresheet (from Morris’s record) in her own time at the start of the second period and before making her first move in that period (article 8.5.2).

By not doing so, Morris’s opponent was in breach of article 8.1.1. An arbiter (or the two captains acting jointly as an arbiter) could (at their discretion) have increased Morris’s remaining time, reduced his opponent’s remaining time, warned her, awarded Morris 1 game point, reduced his opponent’s game point, and/or declared the game to be lost by the opponent.

Morris himself could have stopped recording his moves when his clock time reached 5 minutes in the second and final period. If I had been present when this happened (which I may have been) I could have grabbed his scoresheet and attempted to record the moves myself, though (being relatively inexperienced) I hadn’t realised this at the time.

Future action

I consulted captains with a lot more experience that I have (but don’t worry – I’m a quick learner), and I now realise that an ECF-registered adjudicator (there was at least one present, though I didn’t know this at the time) or the two captains – acting jointly as arbiters (Middlesex League Rules (MLR), rule 4) – could have directed Morris’s opponent to make up the scoresheet in her own time. That is not exactly what the Laws say, but the Preface to the Laws does, sensibly, provide: “The Laws of Chess cannot cover all possible situations that may arise during a game, nor can they regulate all administrative questions. Where cases are not precisely regulated by an Article of the Laws, it should be possible to reach a correct decision by studying analogous situations which are regulated in the Laws.” The arbiter(s) could even have warned Morris’s opponent that if she didn’t make up the scoresheet in her own time they would declare the game lost by her.

So next time you play in a match, and the time on your clock gets to below 5 minutes, then for the sake of the team if not for your own sake you need to stop recording the moves. (If I am available and I see that neither player is recording moves I may even grab your scoresheet and start recording them myself.) Between you and me I’ve forgotten the 5-minute rule on more than one occasion, and I’ve had to have it drummed into me quite rightly by one of the main league captains!

Second point: if your opponent stops recording the moves –

  • Stop your clock (FLC, article 6.11.2)
  • Call me over, even if I’m still playing, or call in the opposing captain if you can’t find me (article 6.11.2)
  • I will stop my clock, and yours if necessary (article 6.11.1)
  • The two captains will adjudicate, or will call in a registered ECF arbiter if one is known to be present (MLR, rule 4)

A knight on the rim is dim … until it leaves the rim

The only game I can show you from the match is my own (35 moves).

[Event "Hammersmith F4 v Hendon F4"] [Site "https://lichess.org/lGOAld8f"] [Date "2019.11.19"] [Round "?"] [White "David Lewis"] [Black "Daniel Corbett"] [Result "1-0"] [WhiteElo "?"] [BlackElo "?"] [Variant "Standard"] [TimeControl "-"] [ECO "D00"] [Opening "Queen's Pawn Game: Mason Variation"] [Termination "Normal"] [Annotator "lichess.org"] 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 { D00 Queen's Pawn Game: Mason Variation } Bf5 3. e3 e6 4. Nf3 Bd6 5. Bxd6 Qxd6 6. Nc3 a6 7. Bd3 Bg6 8. Qd2?! { (0.29 → -0.23) Inaccuracy. O-O was best. } (8. O-O Nf6 9. Re1 Nbd7 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 Bxe4 13. Rxe4 O-O 14. c3 Rad8) 8... Nf6 9. a4 Nbd7 10. O-O c5 11. Rfe1 Ne4 12. Qe2? { (0.08 → -0.96) Mistake. Bxe4 was best. } (12. Bxe4 dxe4 13. dxc5 Qxc5 14. Red1 Rd8 15. Nd4 O-O 16. Nde2 Qc8 17. Qe1 Bh5 18. Rd2 Bxe2) 12... O-O?! { (-0.96 → 0.00) Inaccuracy. f5 was best. } (12... f5) 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Ng5?! { (0.10 → -0.83) Inaccuracy. Nh4 was best. } (14. Nh4 f5 15. Nxg6 hxg6 16. d5 Ne5 17. Red1 Rad8 18. h3 Qe7 19. dxe6 Qxe6 20. a5 Nc4) 14... f5 15. Red1 Qe7 16. Nh3 cxd4 17. Rxd4 e5?! { (-1.13 → -0.42) Inaccuracy. Ne5 was best. } (17... Ne5 18. Nf4 Bf7 19. Qe1 Rac8 20. h3 Nf3+ 21. gxf3 e5 22. Rd2 exf3 23. Qd1 exf4 24. Qxf3) 18. Rd2 Rac8 19. Nd5 Qc5?! { (-0.84 → 0.02) Inaccuracy. Qf7 was best. } (19... Qf7 20. f4 exf3 21. Qxf3 h6 22. Nf2 a5 23. e4 f4 24. Qb3 Kh7 25. Qxb7 Nc5 26. Qe7) 20. c4?! { (0.02 → -0.72) Inaccuracy. b4 was best. } (20. b4 Qd6) 20... Kh8 21. b3 Nb8?! { (-0.39 → 0.29) Inaccuracy. a5 was best. } (21... a5) 22. Ng5 Rc6 23. Rad1 h6 24. Nh3?! { (-0.05 → -0.58) Inaccuracy. b4 was best. } (24. b4 Qxc4) 24... Bf7 25. Kh1 a5 26. f4 exf4?! { (-0.49 → 0.45) Inaccuracy. exf3 was best. } (26... exf3 27. Qxf3) 27. Nhxf4 g5 28. Nh5 Re6?! { (0.28 → 0.92) Inaccuracy. Nd7 was best. } (28... Nd7 29. Ne7 Nf6 30. Nxf6 Rxf6 31. Nd5 Rd6 32. Rd4 Bxd5 33. Rxd5 Rxd5 34. Rxd5 Qb4 35. Qb2+) 29. Ndf6 g4?? { (0.87 → 7.75) Blunder. Qe7 was best. } (29... Qe7) 30. Rd8 Qe7 31. Rxf8+ Qxf8 32. Qb2 Rxf6?! { (14.41 → Mate in 7) Checkmate is now unavoidable. Bxh5 was best. } (32... Bxh5 33. Nxh5+) 33. Qxf6+ Kg8 34. Rd8 Be8 35. Rxe8 { Black resigns. } 1-0

I got control of the d-file, topped by a pawn-supported knight outpost (Nimzowitch would have been proud of me), but I wasn’t sure what to do with it; and my other knight seemed permanently stuck on the h-file despite my best efforts to move it away. Nor could I find a way to get my queen into the game. But then an opportunity presented itself …

If you think your game in this match is worth circulating to the squad, send me the score or a link, together with any comments of your own.

Next match

Our next game is on Wednesday February 12, away to Athenaeum F4 in central London, and starting at their relatively early time of 6:45pm. Please put this match in your diary and try to keep the time free. I will start emailing squad members three or four weeks before the match, i.e. mid-January, and I am keen to give match experience to those of you with the least such experience because it will help you to develop into stronger players and maybe get your grading up to 125 or more.

Once again, congratulations to the winning team and thank you for playing.

Hammersmith F4 Hendon F4
Corbett, Daniel
31 0 - 1
Lewis, David
Rutherford, Nicholas
105 0 - 1
Ainscow, Faye
Chandrasekaran, Rahulan
104 0 - 1
Meligonis, George
Royce, Anastasija
99 0 - 1
Jones, Morris
0 - 4