Topics

Quickplay Finishes

... and a Further Reply from Bernard Cafferty

8th March 2010

I note David Fryer's comment on QP finishes, but do I detect a logical fallacy in his submission? Suppose a figure as high as 50% (a figure which he plucks out of the air) wish to adopt QP. Would that necessarily lead, as he states, to 25% such finishes?  
Suppose that all or some or the opponents of the 50% did not give their assent. Would that not produce a variable figure - as low as zero per cent and ranging as high as the high forties?    
 
Bernard Cafferty, Hastings & St Leonards CC

 

Response from David Fryer

6th March 2010

It is obviously useful to review how the rule change has been received especially with regard to any problems caused such as disputes or disruption to other players.
 
I personally am not aware of any such issues and Bernard does not mention any in his comments.
 
I am not sure that the proportion of games played under these rules is of any importance as the purpose of the rule is to provide the choice however it is worth remembering that even if 50% of players would like to play under the QPF rules this would only result in 25% of all games played being QPF. 
 
David Fryer
Uckfield Chess Club

 

Reflections on the First Season With the Option of QPFs

1st March 2010

Bernard Cafferty (Hastings & St Leonards) offers the following comments as we approach the closing stages of the furst season since the option of quickplay finishes was introduced:-

I write this in late February with more than half the season behind us. A glance at the result of the controversy of last season with regard to the introduction of an optional QP finish might be useful.

So far, in matches reported by Feb 25th, there have been only two adjudications all season. It is not possible, however, to quantify the balance between games played at 42/90 minutes and 30/60 with all moves in half an hour thereafter. These details are not reported in the main.

However, the Hastings & St L captains in the first Division have been keeping careful records of this point. In 59 games played by the first and second teams so far (one defaulted by a no-show), there have been 12 QP and 47 non-QP finishes.

Is this proportion representative of the whole League? I appreciate that the answer might be impressionistic rather than strictly factual, but it would be useful to know.

I have taken into account three matches not reported yet. Crowborough Two vs Hastings One played on January 22, Crowborough One vs Hastings One on February23 rd, and Crowborough One vs Hastings Two played 26th February. The absence of the January match seems to imply a lost card, since all games were finished on the night. Would it be helpful if the Mid-Sussex League introduced a double reporting system, preferably by email, as applied in some leagues and in the Southern Counties Championship? Both captains, home and away, are required to report SCCU county results to both the Controller and to the SCCU Webmaster.

As a result, a very topical check can be kept on current positions, since county match results normally appear on the web site within 36 hours of being concluded, sometimes on the very evening of the match!   

Bernard Cafferty

[Ed.:  There have been some delays reporting to me a small number of results.  I believe that with the posting of today's date this is largely resolved.]

Quickplay Finishes:  Richard Almond Reflects on The Arguments and Emphasise the Optional Aspect of the QPF Proposal

17th May 2009 

I'm dusappointed little has been said in the contributions about the issues directly related to the actual proposal being discussed at the AGM. Reams have been written about whether QPF is better than adjudication or vice versa.  However I believe those who are firmly in the QPF camp and those firmly in the adjudication camp have long since stopped listening to the views of the other side.  So hardly are likely to be persuaded by the counter arguments to their own position.
 
In any case why debate which is right or wrong, when the actual proposal being put is that there is only a QPF if both players agree.  So adjudication is not being taken away from those who insist on it. While those who offer to play QPF should ensure they are aware and understand the pitfalls they expose themselves to. It may well be that quite a few of those who offer their opponent a QPF will do so naive and blind to potential consequences to them, but the League should n't be a "Nanny State".
 
Thus I think the debate on the forum and also at the AGM if it is n't to be unnesssarily protracted should focus on the key questions by which the proposal should stand or fall, not QPF v Adjudication.
 
Firstly will QPF games disrupt those with adjudication? 
 
I don't think it should be an issue if the actual detailed rule amendments and other provisions put in place are well thought through, and Clubs, Captains and players think how they can play their part with anything in addition they can do.  Whether people agree with QPF or not, they should engage with the actual detail of the rule changes that are needed, so that if passed the right things are put in place. Also Clubs and Captains should make sure those who wish to play QPF know the League rules and FIDE Laws before they play, to avoid any interuptions or queries during play that may distract others. 
 
Very few games end in draw claims in practice as it is only in certain circumstances that it can be done and a tricky judgement under time pressure. Get it wrong with a claim and the loss is assured. Why should there be much distraction if a draw claim is made anyway?  The player should as a matter of etiquette offer a draw first, and then if declined claim the draw by advising the opponent and stopping the clocks.  The players then only need to record the position with no need for anything further to be said.  Which is no different to when a player announces he is stopping for adjudication before the session ends, which happens fairly commonly.
 
Perhaps more importantly as regards distraction to others, I don't think proportionally many games descend into a desperate blitz with both flags hanging.  Either because the game was decided much earlier, one of the players has significantly more time in hand, or with the game still in the balance with a few minutes remaining, the players edge their bets by agreeing a draw.   I can't provide evidence on this, but it seems to be only a relatively small number of games if observing County matches or Weekend Congress games.  In County Chess the wind back is also 30 mins as proposed, but will it make so much difference 5 less moves have been played?  In any case in the MSCL with also games being played with adjudication, it will be a proportion of a proportion.
 
If all the players in the team agree amongst themselves not to play QPF, there won't be any distraction at all in your matches!
 
The second question is will QPF reduce the quality of the chess in the League?
 
Once again if you assert your right for adjufication, then there will be no change in the quality of chess in your own games.  Some who won't contenance QPF in their own games may well be concerned about the quality of chess in the League even so.  Of course if a reasonable number of games are determined using QPF then there will be a lower quality of chess as a whole in the League.  It is a matter for individual judgement as to  whether it is more important to maintain this status quo of quality than to permit two players to enter into a contract to decide their game according to their own taste of QPF
 
Thirdly, wiil bad feeling between Clubs and players increase in the League?
 
Again if you are concerned about this as regards your own games, then assert your right to
adjudication. Those that opt for QPF should be aware that they may encounter a situation as to where they feel an opponent hasn't acted sportingly. By which I mean breaking the FIDE Laws willfully or acting unsportingly to gain an advantage or win the game.  However my experience of domestic QPFs is that such players are far and few between.  Although I've observed it, I can't recall being on the end of such an incident in a large number of games domestically.
 
Those opting for QPFs should give thought to their own behaviour so that they do their best to act sportingly. Clubs and Team Captains should also not tolerate unsporting behaviour and stamp it out at the first sign.  Even if that means not picking someone who damages the Club's reputation. 
 
From the other side those who opt for QPF need to understand what is within the rules, and so not accuse others of being unsporting lightly.  For example if you agree QPF, you accept the role of the clock and your opponent is perfectly entitled to play on in a lost position if there may be insufficient time to convert it.  However if you offer him/her a draw and it is turned down, you quite properly can feel it unsporting.  But a draw claim will probably be available as an antedote.
 
 
To sum up, logically those against the proposal will always play their games with adjudication.  Fair enough.  However how are they making the case for voting against the actual proposal to those in their Club who would like the opton to play QPF?

Richard Almond
Hastings & St Leonards CC

 

 

Quickplay Finishes:  John Cannon Expands on his Experiences

15th May 2009 

"At least 2 of the 4 [U175] examples could have happened in the approach to a normal time limit, eg 42 in 90 and had little to do with the QPF element. " [Ed. quote from Mark Attree's comments posted yesterday]
 
There is a huge difference between having to merely reach a time control and having to win a game against an obdurate opponent before doing so. 
 
Roger de Coverly responded to "These all the moves on the night games result in players never resigning in hopeless positions but instead playing till they are mated or their flag falls.", with: 
"Not in my experience. Almost all players will resign when confronted with an opponent with several minutes remaining and an overwhelming position."
 
I beg to differ (see my posting of March 29th) and this is not the impression given by a number of the Forum contributions.   
 
            All the evidence suggests that gamesmanship and ill-feeling would escalate under QPFs, and I am tempted to recount my worst QPF experience.  It was in a 1992 Sussex II county match and a piece that had been accidentally dislodged while both players were very short of time was inadvertently and crucially replaced on the wrong square.  In the heat of the moment play was resumed, as my protestations that the position was incorrect were ignored by my opponent and "shushed" by surrounding players.  I quickly "lost", and at the end of the match the opposition failed to address the situation. The dispute dragged on over Christmas, and for many more weeks, with the opposing captain writing that "I am bound to support my player", and the matter was referred to the SCCU Tournament Controller.  My opponent then refused point blank to submit a copy of his scoresheet, which, like mine, would have confirmed that the resumed position was impossible to recreate.  Rather than being gamesmanship, it was blatant and transparent dishonesty, which left a very nasty taste with the Sussex captain Daniel Hirsch and me.  (It was eventually ruled that the position prior to the dispute be independently adjudicated, even though the SCCU adjudication procedure had by then been disbanded.)
 
John Cannon
Horsham CC

 

Quickplay Finishes:  Brian Donnelly Sees The Benefits of Rapidplay Chess, But Not in the MSL.

15th May 2009 

What an interesting debate with good points being made by both sides.

When I played in Chess Olympics and World Zonal Tournaments (a long time ago...!!), the normal time rate was 45 moves in 2 & a half hours per player and 18 moves per hour thereafter plus adjournments. Life has moved on, the pace of life become hectic / digital and people seem to have less time for everything. Cricket has moved to limited overs and 20/20 matches and chess has seen the introduction of quicker time limits. All this has probably made chess (and cricket) more popular and attracted increasing numbers of young people into the games, which is a good thing.

HOWEVER.....the quality of play in Quickplay Finishes' (both sports) is affected negatively; in Sussex County Matches this season, I have had 3 winning positions end up as draws because of the mad rush of the sudden death finishes. QPF is a lottery and does chess a dis-service by intoducing luck at the expense of skill. I do accept that in our modern age it has an important place in weekend congresses, etc. And, I love playing Blitz games because you can get in so many games in a short period of time. BUT it is not suitable for our League, not least because the current system WORKS, adjudication requirements few (and in any case with Fritz, easy), it is complex and it will cause unnecessary squabbling & bad feelings.

Brian Donnelly

Horsham CC

 

Quickplay Finishes:  The Debate Continues (and Goes National!)

14th May 2009 

Firstly, a contribution from Mark Attree:-

"There seem to be a number of recent posts against QPF's appearing on the forum pages and some of these points could probably do with addressing.

"Much of the recent comment is based upon the 'gamesmanship' and squabbling that the QPF brings with it.  I would just point out that gamesmanship has more to do with the habits of the individual than any time limit.  Do people really think there is no gamesmanship at present?  That no squabbles occur? 


"What about the player who gets to 42 moves having moved rather quickly and then sits out the remaining playing time on the basis that he  is a bit better and can leave it to Fritz?  We had atleast one of those this season, and that after our player, having travelled a long way to the match arrived only just in time to avoid a default, with his clock running the whole time of course.

"I had a quick look at the SCCU website for the comments about the U175's, who appear to be an argumentative lot.  At least 2 of the 4 examples could have happened in the approach to a normal time limit, eg 42 in 90 and had little to do with the QPF element. 

"Rather more convincing are the arguments for a better standard of play..up to a certain point in the game.  Unfortunately this is followed by no play at all, usually for the endgame.  So to me it seems this argument boils down to a bad endgame or no endgame.

"Finally, and most importantly, the point that QPF favours younger players is no argument at all, except that it indicates that the discussion needs to be about what the majority of players in the league prefer to play.  Last year at the East Grinstead AGM we did have a show of hands on the subject (not this year, we were a bit forward in thinking a motion would come forward in 2008) and the majority were against.

"Sooner or later the idea of an adjournment will disappear from amateur chess, as it has in practice from professional chess; note however, that the FIDE rules allow adjournment and agreement at present. In the meantime I have no objection to carrying on as we are, though surely everyone can see the day coming where this is actually against the laws of chess."

Mark Attree

East Grinstead CC

 

*****************************

Secondly, in response to the comments from Ken Norman (posted below, 12th May) Roger de Coverly, League Controller of the Berks League, contributes:-

"As current League Controller of the Berks League, I think that Ken Norman's points should be countered from a current Berks perspective. These are my own views though and not necessarily those of others in Berks.
 
"Ken's original notes are in italics.
 
"I always loved adjournments which gave me the opportunity to play games of 60 or 70 moves at a normal time.
 
"He was becoming a majority of one in that! The current Berks rules still permit adjournments but only if
(a) both players agree
and crucially
(b) they can agree a date for resumption BEFORE start of play.
 
"Hardly anyone takes up this option. The general feeling is that it's no longer satisfactory to pause the game for analysis at about move 36 because of computer assistance. Also some players had little spare leisure time to devote to adjournment analysis and sessions.
 
"I agree with Brian Denman that these 90 minute games should be graded as QP not as standard play.
 
"The ECF has a very simple rule - less than 60 minutes is rapidplay, else standard. I wish this rule had been in existence thirty years ago. Had it been so, I might have proposed that the adjudication point be moved from move 30/36 to move 60/72.
 
 
"These all the moves on the night games result in players never resigning in hopeless positions but instead playing till they are mated or their flag falls.
 
Not in my experience. Almost all players will resign when confronted with an opponent with several minutes remaining and an overwhelming position.
 
 "I recently checked on how many over 60's are still playing in the Berkshire league. In the lower divisions I think most still play but in division one I identified only one over 60 player. The rest like myself have stopped playing in the league.
 
"There were 2 over sixties playing in the Bourne End team this season (my club). Camberley have at least 2 well known players. Reading (particularly the B team) must have several.
 
 "I can think of two players who stopped playing when we switched to playing in one session. Both the players I'm thinking of still play both congresses and county matches with QP finishes so they are cannot be totally opposed to the QP finish.
 
"The only argument these QP zealots have is that the game is finished on the night.
 
 
"That is the point surely. You have 3 hours to play chess on a weekday evening. The point is to play a whole game not half or three quarters of one. This means that you have to play at a faster pace than in a game that will last 7 hours. By comparison to 5 minute or 30 minute chess it's just a gentle jog though.
 
"The fact that the chess produced is rubbish and is played in a very unpleasant atmosphere is irrelevant to them.
 
"I cannot say I had noticed unpleasant atmospheres. As to whether the chess is rubbish, neither the Berks games nor the Sussex games are published so it's all subjective. I could make the case that chess played to a short adjudication limit is potentially rubbish because certain openings have to be ruled out either because they sacrifice material or because the book lines stretch towards the adjudication cut-off. In addition, players get next to no experience of lengthy endings.
 
 
"The next quote is from Brian Denman
"It is completely unreasonable to expect a player to have to make 70 or 80 moves in three hours to win a game and
 
"Why is it unreasonable? I've played  3 hour games of a scored length of 79 (win), 71 (win) and 67 (draw) moves this season. (Hint you need to play at the pace of say 2 minutes a move for the first 30 and 1 minute a move or faster  after that). The move count is for 85 minutes as I make a point of not scoring the last 5.
 
"this is a good example of quickplay rules turning the game into a farce.
 
"My idea of a farce is when a player stops moving with 15-30 minutes of the session remaining because they know they cannot lose on time and want to sit out the position for adjudication. You then spend 15-30 minutes debating the resulting position."
 
 
Roger de Coverly

Quickplay Finishes:  Further Accounts of Unsatisfactory Experience of QPFs

12th May 2009 

Further words of warning have been submitted by past and current players in the MSCL of what they have deemed to be unsatisfactory experience of QPFs being introduced elsewhere.

Firstly, Ken Norman, a former player in the MSCL, has been following our debate on QPFs.  His experiences of QPFs elsewhere have not been favourable, but he was unsure of whether it was appropriate for him to comment directly.  However, he provided his views to Bernard Cafferty with permission for them to be reproduced on the MSCL website if thought appropriate.  Ken's comments are
as follows:-

"I have been following the debate about the quick play finish on the Mid Sussex league website.
 
"The Berkshire League introduced QP finishes in the 2005/6 season. They changed to all moves in 90 minutes having previously played 36 moves in 90 minutes followed by adjournment. I tried it for one year then stopped playing league chess for Crowthorne
 having found it was not enjoyable playing chess at that time limit. I always loved adjournments which gave me the opportunity to play games of 60 or 70 moves at a normal time.
 
"I agree with the points made by John Cannon, Brian Denman and [Bernard Cafferty]. These all the moves on the night games result in players never resigning in hopeless positions but instead playing till they are mated or their flag falls. Gamesmanship and sharp practise are encouraged and far more disputes occur. I agree with Brian Denman that these 90 minute games should be graded as QP not as standard play. Also this fast chess does favour the younger player. I recently checked on how many over 60's are still playing in the Berkshire league. In the lower divisions I think most still play but in division one I identified only one over 60 player. The rest like myself have stopped playing in the league.
 
"The only argument these QP zealots have is that the game is finished on the night. The fact that the chess produced is rubbish and is played in a very unpleasant atmosphere is irrelevant to them.

"My two local leagues have changed the time limits from those used when the QP finish was introduced. Berkshire league now plays 30 moves in 75 minutes followed by a 15 minute QP finish. The Surrey Hampshire Border League has a fischer time control in division one only of all moves in 60 minutes plus a 30 second increment every move. Most of the remaining divisions still have adjournment however both players can agree to play a QP finish.

"These days the only league chess I play apart from 4NCL is in the London Commercial League. The time limit is 35 moves in 75 minutes followed by 7 moves every 15 minutes with adjudication after 42 moves. The playing conditions are better than most club rooms as we play in either a conference room or a canteen. Drinks and food are provided as required by the league rules."

*******************************

Secondly, Phil Stimson (Horsham CC) adds to his previous comments:-

"I used to play in the Surrey Border League, where adjournment was the default position, and QP was ok if mutually agreed. In practice it worked that the board order was "massaged" to get the players who preferred the same finish rules to play each other. The downside of this was that you got the same players against each other in every match. However, year after year at the League AGM the QP preferrers proposed QP as the default, and after 3 or 4 years the motion got passed. Then I joined Horsham."

 

Quickplay Finishes:  John Cannon Passes on Concerns From A Former Member With Current Experience Of QPFs

29th April  2009 

I was not expecting to post again on this subject, but a sobering note has just reached me from Len Skinner, a former Horsham player (and the principal co-author of the definitive 1998 anthology "Alexander Alekhine's Chess Games 1902 - 1946"), who nowadays plays in the
East-Glamorgan League, which like the MSL has four divisions.
 
On April 9th, Bernard Cafferty (who has experience of QPFs in Kent) wrote in this forum: "I do not want any club to be able to turn round in future and say: "We were not warned of the potential for trouble and strife".  Now Len Skinner has written:
 
"We are having lots of problems with QPFs too. Quite a few players from several of the bigger clubs have just refused to play in matches with the present arrangements, so it will be back to the drawing board at the AGM of the County Association.  I've managed to score very well under our QPF system, but I haven't enjoyed the games very much."
 
John Cannon
(Horsham CC)

 

Quickplay Finishes:  John Cannon Expands On Concerns Raised By County Matches

26th April  2009 

For what it is worth, the four high profile county match disputes, all engendered by QPFs,  to which I referred on March 29th, were: Ex U175 v Kent 1/11/08 bd.11; Ex U175 v Sy 3/1/09 bd.1; Kent U175 v Ex 25/1/09 and Sx U175 v Kent 31/1/09 bd 2.  All four were referred to the Tournament Controller for a decision and the first and third were appealed and went to the Rules and Appeals Committee.  It is indisputable that all four produced a highly aggrieved party, something that is totally impossible among the relatively few MSL adjudications, where logic rules the outcomes.  One must also not lose sight of the generous time limits that pertain in county matches as compared to those in evening MSL matches. 
 
John Cannon
(Horsham CC)

 

[Ed.  for details on all the matches referred to here, please see the SCCU U175 Results .]

Quickplay Finishes:  A Response From The SCCU County Match Controller

26th April  2009 

John Cannon (posted 29th March) and Brian Denman (24th April) have referred to a County match this season where a player sought to claim a draw, despite his flag having fallen during the quickplay ending session of the game, on the basis, I presume, that his opponent did not have a realistic winning position.  However, a decision from the SCCU County Match Controller awarded a win to the opponent.  I was confused over how such a claim could arise once the flag was acknowledged to have fallen. 

Referring to the SCCU website elicited the following information:

"Our understanding is that [Player A's] flag fell when [he] had K, B and two Ps against [Player B's] K and N. [Player B's team] claim win on time; [Player A's team] claim draw. At last an easy one. Except that, apparently, their scoresheets were not up to date and they did not note the final position.
     
Ruling 5.2.09. The Controller has awarded a win to [Player B]."

[I have replaced team names, as I'm trying to focus purely on the issue.]

In order to resolve my own confusion, I took the liberty of contacting the SCCU County Match Controller, David Smith.  With his permission, I reproduce below his reply:

"I note your enquiry and all that you say, and have also read the comments on your Website with interest
 
"I can confirm that the facts of this appeal are as stated in your letter, although as you yourself
point out details of the final position etc are not available, and I made my decision based on
a matter of principle, rather than this specific game
 
"I do agree that the FIDE Rule in question can lead to some possibly anomalous decisions, but I am assured that the wording is deliberate and I had no option but to follow the letter of the law which states: (the bold highlights are mine though)
 
6.10

Except where Articles 5.1 or one of the Articles 5.2 (a), (b) and (c) apply, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player. However, the game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player`s king by any possible series of legal moves, even with the most unskilled counterplay

 
 
"It is quite easy to construct positions in which a lone knight can deliver checkmate against a bishop and two pawns, so the drawing possibility referred to in the above rule does not arise, and the result had to be a win for the player with the knight. 
 
"I would however comment that the concern expressed by many (on your Website) that introducing QPFs will lead to many appeals is greatly exaggerated; during the time I have been SCCU CMC there has only been about one appeal every year. This year has seen one
or two other disputes arising between players for a variety of reasons, but, frankly, attributable to players ignorance of the Laws of Chess, rather than any inherent defect in the QPF Rules themselves.
 
"You may also be interested to hear that the Essex League introduced compulsory QPFs in Sept 08,since which time there has not been a single appeal under the QPF Rules as the season nears its end.
 
"You are welcome to quote all this on your Website (and anywhere else if needed)"


I must adsmit that I had been unaware of this Rule 6.10.  However, checking up on it, it appears that it is not related to any particular set of time rules.  Although perhaps less likely, it could, I presume, arise in non-QPF games also.

I suspect that each side of this debate can take some comfort from David Smith's response.  Those in favour of QPFs will note his comments that  they have not produced problems in the Essex League.  Those opposed will see confirmation that, although not strictly related to QPFs, they are more likely to invoke a FIDE Rule that many will see as producing a result that would be highly unlikely to have occurred had the game been played out to its natural conclusion.  However, I hope this at least makes quite clear the basis of the decision in the case that has been cited. 

Julie Denning

(Web Editor)

 

 

Quickplay Finishes:  Brian Denman Adds to the Anti-QPF Case

24th April  2009 

I enclose some notes on David Fryer's proposal of 30 September 2008 regarding quickplay finishes and on other contributions to Forum on the same subject.

(1)   The Mid-Sussex League is a thriving and successful organisation. Play is of a decent standard and in the first division in particular there are several strong players representing the various teams. Why then change this? David Fryers proposal involves a slightly faster time limit over the first two hours and then a quickplay for the last hour which could potentially result in much faster play. These changes would inevitably result in a lowering of standards in the league. Also at the end of the quickplay the moves could be played at such a speed that the games descend into a lottery where it would be much harder for the stronger player to prove his superiority.

(2)   Under David Fryer's proposal it would probably often be the case that more moves are actually played in the quickplay than the rest of the game. It is therefore highly questionable that such games should count for normal grading purposes. Rather they should be recorded under the grading section for rapid play. David can probably quote some international rule that allows such games to receive a standard grading, but, if such a rule exists, it is clearly unfair.   

[Ed.  The Grading page on the ECF website states "(a grade) may be for Standardplay (players have more than one hour each) or Rapidplay (at least 15 minutes but not more than 60)".  Whether fair or not is no doubt open to debate, but (speaking also as the county grading reporter) I believe that so long as MSCL matches still require a total playing time in excess of 2 hours - > one hour per player - they would remain eligible for standardplay grading, whether utilising QPFs or not.  Readers can see, and participate in, debates on ECF grading on their  Forums site.]

(3)   In his contribution of 3rd April 2009 David states: 'A game of chess is won by checkmate and a player needs to leave enough time to complete this task.' At this point it might be a good idea to consider why a player resigns in a game. Usually this would be because he realizes that he has no hope of winning and he does not want to waste people's time in vainly continuing the game. Imagine how long games would last if no-one ever resigned. However, under the quickplay rules players sense that they might be able to run an opponent out of time even if they are being completely outplayed. It could be argued that this lowers the tone of the league, but we also have to consider that sessions only last for three hours. If a player decides to play out the game to the very end, he could add some thirty moves or more on to the game. Indeed games that might be over in 40 moves might now take 70 or 80 moves to complete. It is completely unreasonable to expect a player to have to make 70 or 80 moves in three hours to win a game and this is a good example of quickplay rules turning the game into a farce.

(4)   Evening quickplay finishes give a great advantage to players who do not work. Often games involve a good deal of travelling to a venue after work with the players feeling tired before even the game has started. If one then has to make some 70 moves or more in the three hour session exhaustion is likely to kick in towards the end of the game. Younger players often come off better in quickplay finishes. Inevitably younger brains think more quickly, but at issue here is who is the better chess player, not necessarily the one who can move the pieces around most quickly. I do not begrudge players their success in quickplay events or the formation of a proposed quickplay league, but it is play at a standard rate that carries the greatest status.

(5)   Supporters of quickplay chess are critical of the process of adjudication. When I played schoolboy chess, adjudication could take place after 24 moves which was too early. However, it is reasonable to assume that 42 moves is long enough for the stronger player to establish a decisive advantage. If at that time one player is clearly winning, it would be unfair to deny him the win that he deserves by blaming Fritz. In his contribution of 13 April David seems to be suggesting that the adjudicators will judge a player to be winning if Fritz gives him an advantage of 1.0 or above. However, this is not so, as my one adjudication so far this season has proved. I had an advantage of about 1.39 on Fritz 10 and the game came back as a draw. After a long study of the position I came to the conclusion that the adjudicators were probably right. I do believe that if Fritz is used properly adjudications are generally fairer than they used to be and contrary to some peoples' opinions it can be harder to demonstrate a win using computer analysis. Having said this, the fairest way of all is to continue the game at the same rate as it started. This would obviously be difficult because of the travelling involved, but, if there was an option on the table of continuing the game with a gentleman's agreement that no computer analysis was to be used and no one else be consulted, the fairest result of all would be achieved.

(6)    In her contribution of 13th March Sue Chadwick suggests that players in Divisions 2, 3 and 4 should be obliged to play quickplay finishes, while Divisions 1 remains the same. I would not deny that some of the less experienced players are superficially attracted to quickplay chess and they are open to persuasion that this type of chess is fun. However, I doubt that playing superficial chess is ultimately good for their chess education. Also several of these players are probably blissfully unaware of the complex and sometimes absurd rules involved in playing quickplay chess. As an example of an unfair rule we have only to look at what happened in a county match this season. A player with bishop and two pawns left against a knight lost on time (N.B. one could argue that he could have gained a draw under the two minute rule, but perhaps he was unaware of the full implications). He was given a loss on the grounds that his own pieces, the bishop and pawns, could combine to produce a self-mate. Yet if he had only a bare king, he would have obtained a draw. This farcical situation shows up the unfairness that can arise under the quickplay rules. And despite what the advocates of quickplay chess say, these rules can be less fair than adjudication.

(7)    In his contribution of 13th April David suggests that where matches contain games with both quickplay finishes and finishes under the normal rules disruption can be avoided by pressing clocks 'in considerate fashion' and avoiding discussion. However, human nature being what it is, does he expect that a player who is clearly lost but will not resign and who is trying to run his opponent out of time will be gently pressing the clock? Also while he suggests that there should be no discussion about unfinished games, will players really sit there is silence while the players conducting the game under the normal rules finish their games? Even if they follow the guidance and keep quiet until the conclusion of the session, the discussions that will eventually take place could rumble into the night when teams want to get away to travel home. Dubious is the suggestion that only one completed scoresheet should be enough under the two minute rule. If a player refuses to verify his opponent's scoresheet perhaps because he was not scoring and could not remember the moves (or just to be awkward!), I do not believe that a legitimate decision could be made by an adjudicating body which is not on the spot. I once accidentally caught the edge of the board with my sleeve during a quickplay session and there was chaos when many of the pieces fell on the floor at a time when neither I nor my opponent was scoring. Can one imagine what would happen if this took place when others in the room were trying to finish their games under the normal rules?

(8)   In his article of 3rd April David states that it would not be difficult to set up a panel to rule on any disputes that might arise or unfinished games. He maintains that one does not have to be graded 200 or more or to have the latest version of Fritz to make such decisions. However, it is not as simple as that. International rules on quickplay are subject to change and one has to be up to date with the latest precedents. It is almost as if one has to become a lawyer who is armed with the latest case judgements. It would be necessary for several people to sit on David's proposed panel as one could not rule on one's own team. The sort of knowledge required to make such decisions can normally only be acquired by experienced players and tournament controllers, not by comparative novices in this field.

(9)   There will probably be people at the AGM who will say to themselves, "Let them have their optional quickplay, as it will not harm me." To these people I say, "Think again." It could be argued that the compromise motion has been brought forward because of previous failures to obtain compulsory quickplay finishes at previous AGMs. I believe that the followers of quickplay finishes have in some cases been effectively conducting a campaign to support their proposals. The phenomenon of an opinion poll even resembles a General Election campaign. People should ask themselves if those who fervently believe in quickplay finishes will be satisfied with such finishes only being played if their opponents agree to them. I suspect that they realise that if they convince enough people to play quickplay finishes, they could return to the AGM in a year's time claiming that quickplay has become the norm. Think carefully!

 

Brian Denman (Brighton & Hove)

Quickplay Finishes:  Bernard Cafferty Replies to David Fryer

20th April  2009 

David Fryer asks me to look at my games over recent seasons, for example in the Hastings Masters, to provide some perspective to my claim that games become a lottery in the helter skelter of a Quickplay finish.
 
Having done so, I am not sure that the conclusions I draw are the ones he wishes to see. In fact, I have only played in about three competitions in recent years: Hastings, the Mid-Sussex League and the occasional county match. Only in the last-named would I be liable to be involved in a QP finish similar to his proposal for the League. I generally so much dislike 'losing the thread' that I normally am satisfied with a draw by the 35th move, i.e. before we get to 'skittle alley. I like to analyse my games afterwards and lose interest in this if the second half of the game has turned into a chapter of errors, or the final moves are lost due to moves not being recorded.
 
As for Hastings, there is no comparison with the MSL, as the December-January event at Horntye Sports Centre is played with time added for every move, so you can easily keep score thoughout. One game stands out in particular, a 114-move draw with a Russian IM. The time limit was 80 minutes for 40 moves and then 20 minutes to complete BUT with one minute added for every move, starting from move one. Consequently the game lasted a little over seven hours.
 
I had a considerable advantage at move 40, but let it slip and by move 70 had this position. White: king on f4 about to go to e3, bishop on g7, pawn on d4. IM Prosviryakov had king d7, N a5, pawns e6,d5.
 
For 44 moves Black moved his king and knight all over the board, making no progress. My replies were fairly easy to find, so I had 18 minutes in hand at the end. By now Black had realised he could not 'blitz' me at this time limit and called off the attempt to win just six moves short of me being able to claim a draw under the 50-move rule - no captures, no pawn moves made.
 
Had it been a game with a fixed time to finish, as in the MSL, I would not have been able to keep my score sheet up to date over all that number of moves, yet the pawn deficit made it uncertain that I could make a successful claim of 'opponent not trying to win by normal means'.
 
A technical correction: Plus 1.00 given by chess engines is not an automatic win - you have to get closer to 1.40 by trying plausible sequences of moves. I dislike the suggestion that entering an adjudication position in Fritz and accepting the initial assessment is all that MSL adjudicators do, as David seems to think. That is certainly not the case. I know for a fact that some positions have been adjudicated as draws despite Fritz/Rybka/Shredder giving them as a definite win. Please do not underestimate the effort made by the volunteer adjudicators.
 
Bernard Cafferty, Hastings
 

 

Quickplay Finishes:  David Fryer Responds

13th April  2009 

I agree with Bernard that it is important that we all understand the consequences of the proposal.
 
So to clarify a few points;
 
There will be no discussion at the end of the game to complete the scoresheets as the rules and the ECF guidance on this matter is that the scoresheet has to be completed before the end of the game i.e. before the clocks are stopped. If a player wishes to take advantage of the claim that his opponent is not trying to win by normal means then they should continue to write the moves down even with less than 5 minutes on their clock. 
 
The fast pressing of clocks at the end of the game can be done in a considerate fashion and in any case probably coincides with the time when the players who agreed to adjudication are sitting back awaiting for the session to end or are themselves in a time scramble to complete 42 moves.
 
Disruption to players arriving late happens anyway and should be little more than a simple question and a yes no answer.
 
I strongly believe that a game resolved by agreement without sending to an adjudicator is still an adjudication and usually just a resignation to the fact that if Fritz says its +1 then that is the result that will come back so why waste £5. I would ask Bernard to look at his own long play games say from the Hastings Masters and check how many of the results of games lasting longer than 42 moves actually match the position after move 42. 
 
Finally and as said previously the proposal is an option so if Bernard can convince all his team mates to not choose a QPF non of his worries apply.
 
And similar to Bernard I play chess because I enjoy it and I have to say playing a game to a finish is more enjoyable than playing a game for three hours and just getting into an ending and having to stop.
 
David Fryer

 

Quickplay Finishes:  "QP Finishes = Squabbles" Argues Bernard Cafferty

9th April  2009 

I do not want any club to be able to turn round in future and say: "We were not warned of the potential for trouble and strife". Long experience has shown that minimal conversation and interaction between the players is the formula for a sedate and civilised chess match.
 
David Fryer's latest submission mentions 'unfair'. Alas, the unfairness is inevitable in a league where most venues can only have a three-hour session and where the long distances involved rule out a second playing session which more compact areas can offer.  
 
To illuminate the discussion, could I pass on some figures which I have compiled in conjunction with Bob Elliston, the Sussex County Adjudication Secretary, and Joe Sharp, second team captain of Hastings.
 
The current size of the MSL is 38 teams which involves just over 800 games being played per season. As a rule of thumb, I find that about a quarter of all  games are unfinished at the call of time. This rule is based on rough sampling - some matches have three unfinished. some two, some one, some none. Hastings One had 11 games unfinished this season, Hastings Two had 13. So, about 200 games are left unfinished. How many of these are submitted for adjudication? In the 1990s the figure was of the order of 40-50. In recent seasons it is of the order of 8-12. None of the 24 unfinished games Hastings had in the First Division this season went for adjudication!
 
So, say 180 games are left unfinished, but are then settled by agreement when the sides have had the leisure over the next week to examine them and see if a position is worth sending for adjudication.
 
That seems to be an indication that some dozens or scores of games would  involve QP-finishes, if the option were to come in. Plenty of scope there for stopping the clocks, claiming a draw due to unsporting play, 'making no effort to win by normal means', and getting your score-sheet up-to-date. Would this updating involve consultation between the players while others are still in play? Moreover, claiming 'not trying to win by normal means, cannot win by normal mean, just trying to run my clock down' is, in effect, an accusation of dubious conduct by the opponent. Just the thing to raise the temperature in the match.
 
 I do not envy the task of those called upon to deal with the hefty number of squabbles likely to arise.
 
Finally, we are offered the prospect of discussion before a match begins, and after as well, as latecomers show up, as to which mode will apply in each game. Such a 'mixture of modes' may disquiet some who try to play a 'normal' game in peace and quiet  - all to the accompaniment of rapid moves on adjacent boards, the hubbub of claim and counter-claim etc. It brings to my mind a scene somewhat like "The Charge of the Light Brigade" - "cannon to the right of them, cannon to the left of them, volleyed and thundered"!     

Bernard Cafferty
Hastings & St Leonards CC

 

Quickplay Finishes:  David Fryer Reminds Us of His Original Proposal

3rd April  2009 

As it is a proposal put forward by myself I would like to answer the points raised by John, Phil and Bernard.
 
Adjudication - it will not be difficult to set up a QPF adjudication committee from within the league should the current adjudicators not wish to take on this task. Don't forget you do not need to be a 200+ graded player nor have the latest copy of Fritz to adjudicate a QPF position.
 
The FIDE rules as included in my proposal are clear. The difficulties that appear to have arisen elsewhere and mentioned on this forum seem to have come about by players not following the simple rule of stopping the clock before their flag falls and claiming a draw. A game of chess is won by checkmate and a player needs to leave enough time to complete this task.
 
I therefore dispute the claim that more and prolonged adjudications will occur. I and I am sure many others have spent hours in the past studying adjudicated positions and preparing appeals against decisions made.
 
Although I sympathise with John and his KRR vs KR scenario I would point out similarly 'unfair' issues arising from not having a QPF. eg we have the current situation in the Horsham 4 vs Brighton 3 match where Horsham are a pawn up but depending upon the adjudicators opinion whether with 'best' play this can be converted into a win or not the whole season's outcome of three teams depend. Brighton may be champions or not even get promotion, Horsham may or may not win promotion and Uckfield may or may not be champions! How much better would it have been and less controversial had the players fought it out to a finish.    
 
All other concerns even if correct (and I am not sure they are) are irrelevant given that within the proposal if one player prefers the status quo then adjudication it remains.
 
David Fryer

 

Quickplay Finishes:  Another View Opposing QPFs

29th March 2009

Quickplay Finishes - an open invitation to players never to resign.

I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of Phil Stimpson and Bernard Cafferty regarding the unfairness of players using time differentials to achieve results unwarranted by their play.

  I still recall a county opponent of mine being enthusiastically congratulated by his team-mates for "drawing" an ending and the match, when he held a solitary rook against my two rooks.  I wouldn't have dreamt of playing on in his position, nor would I have endorsed a team-mate who did so, but there are sadly plenty of players who would.  Had my flag fallen, I would have lost, as did a Sussex player in one of four high profile county match disputes this season, two of which went to appeal and all four of which produced "unfair" outcomes dictated by current FIDE rules. The losing Sussex player held a bishop and two pawns against a solitary knight. How absurd is that!

             QPF disputes and distorted results would inevitably be more frequent in evening than in weekend matches, and as Bernard has pointed out, they "do drag on and rankle" and the MSL has no procedure for dealing with conflicting claims. I have turned down several invitations to play in MSL K.O. matches because of distaste for QPFs, and know players who would cease to play in the league were they to be introduced.  In recent years two Sx clubs have closed, two others have joined forces and the future of two others is in doubt, so it is hardly a time to be losing players unnecessarily.

 John Cannon, Horsham C.C.

 

Quickplay Finishes:  2 Further Contributions, Each Voicing Concern Over QPFs

28th March 2009

The corollary to Paul's comments about QP v standard finish, is that players no longer resign in the face of significant material deficit. I do not need Fritz to tell me how to win with K+Q v K+P, and no player is going to waste club funds on an adjudication! Yet on 3 occasions I have had to play QxP+ KxQ draw in order to avoid a loss on time (including once against an IM). So no chance of playing out an interesting endgame then. Such an outcome ruins the pleasure of playing the game, and you may as well determine the result of a game by simply tossing a coin.

I will be told to move faster. Fair enough, but with any time control, eg 42 in 90, I am entitled surely to use up that allowance without being put at a severe disadvantage once the time control is reached. The implication of QP finish is that 42 in 90 still applies, but if your opponent is  moving more quickly then you had better match his rate of play or risk being swindled in the ensuing frenzy.

Phil Stimpson

Horsham Chess Club)

 

******************************

 

There has been an interesting exchange of views on QP finishes in the league in recent submissions. I know that there are divided counsels within our bigger clubs like Brighton CC and Hastings CC. It has been suggested that lower-graded players favour the QP finish, whereas the higher-graded don't mind adjudication and think that the race to 42 or 49 moves on the night is quite enough, thank you. Another suggestion is that QP finishes suit the mentally agile younger end, whereas older players have had enough after reaching 42 moves.

 I try to have an open mind on the issue, but I should point out that it is a fallacy that a QP finish settles everything on the night, so doing away with the need for adjudication, as has been claimed. Experience at county matches shows that this is not the case - and they are played at the weekend when players are more rested than on weeknights when players coming from work are hardly all that wide awake and mentally alert from 10.00pm onwards.

 In fact, some disputes do arise, drag on and rankle. I pose the question: which scenario is the more likely to induce players to swear off league chess? Scenario A when a player has an unwelcome verdict delivered by the Sussex County Associations panel of adjudicators, but the player receives that verdict some time after the match,  when he/she has had time to assess the final position in the cold light of day; or Scenario B when there has been a finish involving a crash, bang, wallop of multiple moves, perhaps culminating in a claim that one side is trying to win a drawn position on time by just making pointless moves to and fro, so running down the opponent's clock?

Then there is the question of who is to 'adjudicate' on conflicting claims when the opposing sides submit conflicting accounts of what actually happened in the tense final moments of a session. I think I can confidently state that the SCA panel is not prepared to take this task on. Is it appreciated how much work is going to be created for Mid-Sussex League officials by having to sift through and rule on such rival claims?    

Bernard Cafferty, Hastings

 

Quickplay Finishes:  John Herbert Contributes Support For QPF's, Perhaps With further Changes

24th March 2009

Sue Chadwick requests some feedback on the proposal to introduce the option of a Quickplay finish in League games. I think that Eastbourne representatives at the forthcoming AGM are likely to support or not oppose such a proposal,but would oppose obligatory Quickplay at any level.
One of the least satisfactory things about Quickplay as usually played is that at the end of a long well-played game a player with an overwhelming advantage on the board can lose through physical inability to move fast enough.Personally I would support the further option of a small time increment per move if a suitable clock is available.At the Turin Chess Olympiad two years ago the time control was 90 minutes plus 30 seconds increment for the whole game.We could easily adjust this for our use - eg 80 minutes plus 5 seconds for the whole game.
John Herbert ( Eastbourne )


Quickplay Finishes:  Paul Kington Opts for a Result on the Night, Over the Dubious Merits of Fritz.

17th March 2009

After being against quickplay finishes all my life I have now changed my mind completely and
would now vote FOR quickplay finishes!
 
Why should Fritz or anybody else decide a result between two players who would almost certainly only see a fraction of the variations involved?

It is quite feasible for Fritz to award a technical result in a game which might be almost impossible for human players to achieve in practice.
 
This could have implications far beyond an individual game and even lead a team to be relegated for example.
 
Whereas a quickplay finish would solve all arguments on the night without any further problems.
 
Paul Kington (The Argumentatives)

Quickplay Finishes:  Further Support for a Change

13th March 2009

I welcome David Fryer's proposal for a quickplay finish option to be introduced to the league but I'm not altogether optimistic about its success at the AGM. The silence on the forum about the issue I guess is due to boredom and a sense of deja vu, but it is noticeable that the forum contributions are almost totally in favour of a quickplay finish of some sort and yet the AGM apparently so much against. The proposal that Crowborough are supporting is already something of a compromise and this in itself is anathema to the purists who want to see the end of adjudication and part-played games. Those in favour of the status quo complain about the confusion and 'banging of the clocks'. 

But what is the real feeling of the membership? I have roughly canvassed Brighton and Hove on this and it seems there may be something of a divisional split with a small minority of higher-graded players tending to prefer the status quo and the majority, on average younger and lower-graded, feeling increasingly frustrated. No one wants to force the minority into an unwelcome change, but neither should the league be held back in what many see as an antiquated system.

I am therefore wondering whether another compromise might prove more acceptable. Suppose the first division (and second?) were to retain the status quo while the (second?) third and fourth went completely over to quickplay? This would avoid the problems of confusion and disturbance with different time controls operating in the same room. Also higher-graded players are likely to have more finely-balanced games so that quickplay appears to 'randomise', whereas lower-graded players can often see the 42-move finish as a 'random' ending. 

I would really like some feedback on this idea before the AGM. Is it worth proposing at the AGM as a second alternative proposal to the 'option' proposal already on the table?

Sue Chadwick
Brighton and Hove

 

Quickplay Finishes:  Updated Proposal for Rule Changes

30th September 2008

David Fryer advises that this topic was debated at Crowborough Chess Club's AGM with the following outcome, which replaces his proposed Rule changes posted on 15th June 2008:-

 

Proposed Rule Change - Mid Sussex Chess League 2009/2010

At the Crowborough Chess Club AGM on 12th September 2008 that was attended by about 20 members the following rule changes were fully discussed and approval given to submit to the MSCL Secretary for inclusion at the next MSCL AGM in 2009. This has now been submitted to Sue.

The voting was overwhelmingly in favour. There was also discussion with once again overwhelming  approval to advise any Crowborough delegates at the next MSCL AGM to vote against any proposals that would exclude the option of adjudication or any proposal to increase the number of moves before adjudication takes place.

Following discussions with and comments from chess players around the county these proposed rule changes are slightly different to my first attempt as posted on this forum last season. The main reason being to comply with the FIDE Laws of Chess.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The aim of this rule change is to allow, where both players wish it, the option of a quickplay finish in place of adjudication.

The reasoning behind '7.5 Before white makes his second move both players may agree...' is to cover the situation where one player may be late and on his arrival may find his opponent away from the board.

The following changes to rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4,8.1,9,9.1 and additional clauses 7.5 and 7.6 are marked in red.

The relevant sections of the FIDE Laws of Chess that these rule changes comply with are;

Article 10: Quickplay Finish

A `quickplay finish` is the phase of a game, when all the (remaining) moves must be made in a limited time.

If the player, having the move, has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw before his flag falls. He shall stop the clocks and summon the arbiter.

a. If the arbiter agrees the opponent is making no effort to win the game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means, then he shall declare the game drawn. Otherwise he shall postpone his decision or reject the claim.

b. If the arbiter postpones his decision, the opponent may be awarded two extra minutes and the game shall continue in the presence of an arbiter, if possible. The arbiter shall declare the final result later in the game or after a flag has fallen. He shall declare the game drawn if he agrees that the final position cannot be won by normal means, or that the opponent was not making sufficient attempts to win by normal means.

c. If the arbiter has rejected the claim, the opponent shall be awarded two extra minutes time.

d. The decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to 10.2 a, b, c.

 

D.

Quickplay finishes where no arbiter is present in the venue.

D1.

Where games are played as in Article 10, a player may claim a draw when he has less than two minutes left on his clock and before his flag falls. This concludes the game.
He may claim on the basis

a.  that his opponent cannot win by normal means, and/or

b.  that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means.

In (a) the player must write down the final position and his opponent verify it.
In (b) the player must write down the final position and submit an up-to-date scoresheet, which must be completed before play has ceased. The opponent shall verify both the scoresheet and the final position.
The claim shall be referred to an arbiter whose decision shall be the final one.

 

7  Time controls

7.1  Clocks  Clocks must be used in all games.

7.2  Time controls: division 1  In Division 1 matches, including play-offs between Division 1 teams, at least 3 hours must be allowed for play, and unless 7.5 applies the time control shall be 42 moves in 1 hr 30 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter.

7.3  Time controls: other divisions  In other matches at least 2 hrs 40 min must be allowed for play. If at least 3 hours is available, then the time control shall be as above with the option of 7.5, but for shorter matches it shall be 40 moves in 1 hr 20 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter with no 7.5 option.

7.4  Additional time controls  Both clocks should be turned by 15 minutes for each additional 7-move time control played.

7.5 Quickplay finish Before white makes his second move both players may agree to play under the following time control; 30 moves in 60 minutes with all (remaining) moves in 30 minutes. Upon this agreement the clocks shall be adjusted accordingly by adding 30 minutes to each player's clock. After completion of blacks 30th move the clocks should be turned back by 30 minutes.

7.6 During the quickplay phase of the game A player may claim a draw when he has less than two minutes left on his clock and before his flag falls. This concludes the game.

 

He may claim on the basis

a)       that his opponent cannot win by normal means, and/or

b)       that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means

 

In (a) the player must write down the final position and his opponent verify it.

In (b) the player must write down the final position and submit an up-to-date scoresheet, which must be completed before play has ceased. The opponent shall verify both the scoresheet and the final position.

If a result cannot be agreed then each club shall submit a claim in accordance with 9.1

8  The playing session

8.1  Before play begins  Immediately before a match, team captains shall: (1) exchange names of team players; (2) toss for colours, the winner's team taking either White or Black on the odd-numbered boards; (3) agree and announce to all participants: (a) the time controls and if applicable explain the option of a quickplay finish , (b) the agreed finishing time, (c) any arrangements for interruptions that could involve stopping clocks.

9  Adjudication including Quickplay Finish claims

9.1  Submitting games for adjudication  Team captains should make reasonable efforts in the eight days following a match to agree the results of any unfinished games. If agreement on any such game cannot be reached, then each club must submit forthwith to the Adjudication Secretary of the Sussex County Chess Association: (1) a copy of the final position, with all relevant facts, and the club's claim; (2) the adjudication fee, and (3) a stamped addressed envelope.

With regard to a quickplay finish claim under 7.6(b) a copy of the verified scoresheet must also be submitted by the claiming team.

 

 

Quickplay Finishes

1st August 2008

David Fryer responds to the query regarding the point of play by which the decision on QPF or adjudication must be made in his proposal:-

 

To answer Duncan's question my thinking behind 'Before white makes his second move both players may agree' is that it is not uncommon for one player to arrive after the clocks have started and when he does arrive the other player may have wandered away from the board. To avoid a time disadvantage to a player at the board it seemed useful to make this rule. I cannot claim originality for this as I pinched it from league rules that I could find on the web.
 
There may be other subtleties like this that I have missed and that is one of the reasons why I was suggesting a sub committee to look at the rules.
 
David Fryer

 

Quickplay Finishes

25th July 2008

Reading the forum for the first time since the AGM it was pleasing to see so much sensible comment. It has not been so pleasing to hear of the out of hand dismissal of having a working party concerning quick play finishes and other comments that were made. The league belongs to all its members.

Sue Chadwick's QPF league is surely worth looking at, after all more chess played must surely be a good thing. My only concern would be that it may result in kicking the core question into the long grass so to speak. My wish is for a proper process and vote; if then the league rejects it then fine and I for one would just get on with it rather than stop playing MSL chess. Everyone appears to appreciate the importance of avoiding a daft schism and I hope Ian Comely is unduly pessimistic about the possible results of such a process. Since we cannot uninvent the computer and its de facto role as adjudicator; the intention must be to persuade members that QPFs or at least the option of QPFs is the lesser of two evils.

Though I have only just read them for the first time I like the look of David Fryers proposals in particular the two minute draw claim rules (rule 7.6). Just one thing, could someone (David perhaps) explain why the agreement to QPF could be made up to just before whites second move? Why not before battle commences? Am I missing the obvious?

Lastly in answer to Mathew Britnell, yes I would happily contribute to a group aiming to hammer out a consensus amongst the pro QPF members.

Duncan Badham

Brighton Chess Club

 

Quickplay Finishes

27th June 2008

Matthew Britnell continues the debate, drawing on the comments already made by bothe David Fryer and Sue Chadwick:-

 

David Fryer is to be thanked for proposing detailed rule amendments enabling an element of QPF if individual pairings chose.  I think however he was a little quick to reject Sue Chadwick's idea, which has more mileage than he supposes.  One possibility, if we took up Sue's idea, would be to require clubs, if we ran it as an experiment for a season or two, to only enter the 'Finish on the Night League' if they also pledged to enter their usual team or teams in the current MSCL.  So the Finish on the Night League would be an extra, not a subtraction from a club's existing commitments and would I think answer the charge of divisiveness.  At the risk of sounding a divisive note myself however, might it be not be time to knock the Knock Out Cup out to free a bit more time for clubs to enter such a new league? The KO Cup is of course already in a finish on the night format so in a sense that would be entirely appropriate.  And I say that as the captain of Lewes Chess Club's KO team, which continues to support the KO Cup while many other clubs do not. 

Anyway, all that wasn't may main reason for writing!  I think David was right to feel aggrieved that the MSCL AGM wouldn't even entertain the setting up of an official working group to look into QPF options.  I don't think however that those of us who favour change should simply go back to riding our own hobby horse preferences - as I was in danger of doing myself just a minute ago!  That won't get us anywhere.  Clearly one major impediment to change is the fact that those of us who want change seem not to want to agree amongst ourselves.  One has only to review the contributions to this Forum over the last few months to see that there are as many proposals as contributions and as yet no one proposal that a significant number of the rest seem to want to get behind.  There's no reason why, even without the sanction of the MSCL AGM, that those who favour some form of finishing on the night shouldn't get together and hammer out an agreed format.  This could then be submitted to the MSCL AGM next year as an agenda item knowing not only that a lot of time and effort had gone into it, but that it already had a significant groundswell of support within the league.  I for one would like to contribute to such a group: would anyone else?  David, would you be prepared to co-ordinate and lead it?

Matthew Britnell

Lewes Chess Club

 

Quickplay Finishes:  A Proposal

15th June 2008

As he undertook to do at the recent AGM, David Fryer (East Grinstead, Crowborough and Uckfield Chess Clubs) has made the following proposal for clubs to consider:-

 

As requested at this year's AGM I will be sending to the League Secretary (once I have club approval) the following proposed rule changes for the season 2009/2010 to be considered at next year's AGM.

These rule changes are aimed to provide the players (if they both agree) with the option of playing to a quickplay finish. This provides ample time for all club officials to discover their members views on this issue.

Because of the multitude of different options suggested by members not least on this forum I had hoped that a working sub-committee could have been setup by the league to assess the different options and to propose a rule change. However this was summarily dismissed at the AGM so these changes are my own best attempt and I would ask that any clubs who wish something different submit amendments to the league secretary in a timely fashion so that everyone can consider the options before next year's AGM.

I agree with Ian Comley that we should avoid any possibility of fragmenting the league and would be worried about creating a separate quickplay finish division for this reason. But I must disagree with Ian that there were only 8 adjudications last season. This is a myth as I would estimate from the matches that I have been involved in that of the 725 games played last season that at least 100 games were adjudicated by Fritz.

Proposed Rule Changes

The following changes to rules 7.2, 7.3, 7.4,8.1,9,9.1 and additional clauses 7.5 and 7.6 are marked in blue.

7  Time controls

7.1  Clocks  Clocks must be used in all games.

7.2  Time controls: division 1  In Division 1 matches, including play-offs between Division 1 teams, at least 3 hours must be allowed for play, and unless 7.5 applies the time control shall be 42 moves in 1 hr 30 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter.

7.3  Time controls: other divisions  In other matches at least 2 hrs 40 min must be allowed for play. If at least 3 hours is available, then the time control shall be as above with the option of 7.5, but for shorter matches it shall be 40 moves in 1 hr 20 min and 7 moves per 15 minutes thereafter with no 7.5 option.

7.4  Additional time controls  Both clocks should be turned by 15 minutes for each additional 7-move time control played.

7.5 Quickplay finish Before white makes his second move both players may agree to play under the following time control; 30 moves in 60 minutes with all (remaining) moves in 30 minutes. Upon this agreement the clocks shall be adjusted accordingly by adding 30 minutes to each player's clock. After completion of blacks 30th move the clocks should be turned back by 30 minutes.

7.6 During the quickplay phase of the game If the player, having the move, has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw before his flag falls on the grounds that his opponent is making no effort to win the game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means. He shall stop the clocks and both players shall record the position. If the players do not agree then the claimant's opponent will be awarded 2 additional minutes and the game continued. Should the same player claim a draw for a second time before his flag falls and the players do not agree then the game shall be discontinued and each club submit a claim in accordance with 9.1

8  The playing session

8.1  Before play begins  Immediately before a match, team captains shall: (1) exchange names of team players; (2) toss for colours, the winner's team taking either White or Black on the odd-numbered boards; (3) agree and announce to all participants: (a) the time controls and if applicable explain the option of a quickplay finish , (b) the agreed finishing time, (c) any arrangements for interruptions that could involve stopping clocks.

9  Adjudication including Quickplay Finish claims

9.1  Submitting games for adjudication  Team captains should make reasonable efforts in the eight days following a match to agree the results of any unfinished games. If agreement on any such game cannot be reached, then each club must submit forthwith to the Adjudication Secretary of the Sussex County Chess Association: (1) a copy of the final position and with regard to a quickplay finish the position of the first draw claim, with all relevant facts, and the club's claim; (2) the adjudication fee, and (3) a stamped addressed envelope.

 

Quickplay Finishes

7th June 2008

Ian Comley (Horsham Chess Club) weighs into the debate with a plea to be cautious before leaping into such a fundamental change over which views are so divided:-

I have read through the entire discussion and was interested by the views expressed which are clearly strongly held on both sides  and which splits many clubs straight down the middle.

Switching from adjudications to any form of QPF will be the most fundamental change since the time control was changed. Such a fundamental change should not be entertained lightly as the MSL continues to delivers thousands of high quality games, year in year out. Bearing in mind the tenuous position that the league has been over the last two years we need to tread very carefully.

Last season there were just eight adjudications, each of which was resolved satisfactorily, fairly and amicably. To disturb the current system which has served us so well for so long risks a divisive debate with a very uncertain outcome - experienced players are warning of the dissatisfaction and discontent that inevitably arises.

We should leave this difficult issue alone until we are absolutely forced to fight a civil war.

--
Ian Comley

 

Quickplay Finishes

2nd June 2008

Sue Chadwick (Brighton & Hove CC) suggests a way forward might be to set up an additional division or competition with QPFs to gauge just what support there is amongst the clubs for this:-

An interesting AGM was held last night but the QPF issue was not a topic on the formal agenda, although it was on the informal one and I think remains an issue for the league as a whole. However, thinking about it, and in view of a quite definite and passionately felt division of opinion, I am left wondering if the idea of an experimental QPF division isn't such a bad one. It would run alongside the current league and would be an additional opt-in competition for any clubs wishing to put up a team or teams. Playing in either competition would not disqualify anyone from also playing in the other. Would there be any interest from the clubs in doing this? I feel fairly confident there would be enough interest among Brighton players for us to be able to put together at least one QPF team. What do other clubs think? If this works and enough people were in favour we could seek to formalise the arrangement at the next AGM.

Sue Chadwick