Friday, September 18, 2009

Addressing some of the most common issues in blitz chess

Here's one of the most common issue in blitz chess (as always, in most blitz matches), the promotion of the pawn. But first thing first, here's the issue raised by one reader from An Arbiter's notebook:

Question: I regularly play in blitz tournaments, but I find that in different regions of the country the arbiters have different approaches in regards to pawn promotion. Here are two scenarios: 1. The pawn reaches the eighth rank, I place the promoted piece, and I press the clock. 2. The pawn is removed from the seventh rank, I place the promoted piece, and I press the clock. (Here the pawn is never played to the square of promotion.) Is the second method considered an illegal move? Thanks for your help. Mauricio Rãos, (Colombia)

I inserted here a good example of blitz game gone wrong (but I'm pretty sure these two know exactly what they're doing). Don't pay any attention to Nakamura's trash talking, ICC style, by the way.

Almost every moves within the dying seconds are "unclear". Pieces falls, and then Akobian/Nakamura correct its place (that's fine in blitz match, in my opinion) while opponents clock is already running, So Nak knocked his piece over, hit his clock, then corrected it on his opponent's time at least 5 times in this video. In regular time controls that's a 10 minute penalty. When Akobian put his pawn on the last rank ( at 1:24) he didn't promote it and push his clock. According to FIDE rules these are both, an illegal move (anyway, Nakamura just grabbed and captured it) Instead, he had to stop his clock and promoted it to a queen (or any other piece to which he wanted to promote his pawn).

But let us read what international arbiter's Geurt Gijssen had to say about this:

Answer Formally, the correct way of promotion is

  1. Play the pawn to the eighth rank
  2. Remove the pawn from the square
  3. Put a new piece on the same square.

When electronic boards were introduced in tournaments, the computer only accepted the promotion when it was done in this way. But this caused so much commotion that removing the pawn from the square on the seventh rank and placing a new piece on the eighth rank was also programmed in. In my opinion, both ways of promotion are acceptable. In your question you refer to Blitz games, but the method of promotion above applies to all kinds of chess.


Sergio said...

this is how they should market chess to the mass public. this game was like a game of street basketball where the guys talk trash to eachother.we got an insight on the players personalities. we need more chess videos with high class players people.

Boylston Chess Club said...

Sergio, I don't believe you are allowed to talk to your opponent like this in a game. It's not only obviously rude but it's probably illegal as well. Just my point.