Online Chess Questions & Answers, March 2021

Questions about FIDE Online Chess Regulations – part 3

by IA Stéphane Escafre, FIDE rules commission

Since Covid entered our life, chess online, or hybrid, is growing. More and more competitions are organized.  New tournaments are created, for example the first FIDE World University Online Championships.
Those competitions need adapted rules. You can find FIDE Online Regulations here 

  • Dear Stephane

In this position (see diagram) I lost on time with white pieces. 

As there is no checkmate possibility, this looks unfair. The victory was given to Black because White fell on time. But this is not right, as Black can’t have a checkmate pattern. Isn’t this against the rules?

As there is no checkmate possibility, this looks unfair. The victory was given to Black because White fell on time. But this is not right, as Black can’t have a checkmate pattern. Isn’t this against the rules?

S.E.: Well, you have to think like an arbiter, not like a player. We just apply “normal” rules, and article 6.9 says “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.” With a lonely bishop, it seems that Black can’t win… but with a little help, for example: 1. Kd5 Kd7 2. Ke5 Ke8 3. Kf6 Bd2 4. Kg7 Bg5 5. Kh8 Bh6 6. c8=N Kf7 7. Nb6 Bg5 8. Nd5 Bh6 9. Nf6 Kg6 10. Ng8 Bg7# they can checkmate!

You can reach this position:

So, I am sorry for you, but the platform was right, you lost on time.
  • I have found a bug in a platform regarding the threefold repetition rule involving en passant:

1. e4 Nf6
2. e5 d5 {Position arises, e5 can capture d5 en passant, repetition count #1}
3. Be2 Bd7
4. Bf1 Bc8 {Position arises, e5 cannot capture d5 en passant, so repetition count back to #1}
5. Bd3 Be6
6. Bf1 Bc8 {Position arises, e5 cannot capture d5 en passant, repetition count #2}
7. Bc4 Bf5
8. Bf1 Bc8 {Position arises, e5 cannot capture d5 en passant, repetition count #3}

Here my questions:

How does FIDE deal with this specific bug?

Has FIDE any practices in place to ensure that the platforms used correctly implement the laws of chess?

S.E.: The situation you describe is a problem according art. 9.2.2.1. “Thus, positions are not the same if at the start of the sequence a pawn could have been captured en passant”. FIDE is not responsible for the private platforms to respect the rules. Of course, on official events, the arbiter can intervein and change a result or allow the game to continue.
So, if you notice such an irregularity, ask the arbiter to apply art. 15 of online regulations. In official events, the arbiter is still human! The “bug” you describe is not mentioned in art. 15.4, but we can take a decision “by studying analogous situations which are regulated in the Laws” (see preface of the rules). “If a playing zone automatically declares a draw in contradiction with Article 4.5 (mate possibilities still exist), the arbiter is entitled to modify the automatic result”. Maybe in the future, we will add art. 5.4 to the 4.5.

  • The chess.com platform, for example, allows multiple premoves where, for example, lichess.org only allows one premove.

For games at low time control, having multiple pre-moves instead of one pre-move allows for different tactics. For this reason, I would appreciate a precision for article 3.6.b to allow or disallow multiple pre-moves explicitly.

S.E.: As it is mentioned in art. 3.6 of Online Regulations, pre-move is an “additional option”. This means the organizer can ask to disable this possibility. The same can happen with auto promotion to a Queen.
It means that the organizer will decide if the player can use this tool. Even if the platform usually allows pre-moves (simple or multiple), this option can be activated or disactivated. The competition regulations will specify these in advance.

  • Can the arbiters overturn a game result of a game played in the platform? The server automatically determines the game result, and I would like to know if the arbiter can manually change such a game result. Also, of course, such that the next rounds pairings calculation uses the changed result. 

Thanks a lot for considering my question, and I would appreciate it if you find the time to address my simple concerns.

S.E.: The art. 15 of Online Regulations can be helpful (or art. 19 for hybrid)

 15.3 If a game is not drawn automatically when one of the situations described in Article 5.4 (automatically drawn situations) has occurred, the arbiter will declare the game drawn. 

15.4 If a playing zone automatically declares a draw in contradiction with Article 4.5 (mate possibilities still exist), the arbiter is entitled to modify the automatic result.

And, we can also use those articles take a decision “by studying analogous situations which are regulated in the Laws”.
So the answer is clearly: Yes!

  • During our youth championship online, a player thought she had validated or “re-signed” her entry into the game and therefore clicked on the “resign” button? What is the consequence? What should she do?

S.E.: Especially with young players, not in top world event, and if the platform is not using the native language of this player… then if this is on move one, the arbiter could change the score and authorize to restart the game. But please, remember that each player is responsible for familiarizing themselves with the platform. So, this is an exception. The arbiter can use his freedom of judgement to find a solution to a problem dictated by fairness, logic and special factors.

A special thanks to Mahdi Abdulrahim (United Arab Emirates), Daniel Bäechli (Switzerland), Gerald Murcia (Corsica), Denis Regaud (France)


See you next month for more questions about FIDE Rules

Send your questions to stephane.escafre@fide.com

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