Tim Just is a National Tournament Director, FIDE National Arbiter, and editor of the 5th & 6th edition of the US Chess Rulebook. He is also the author of My Opponent is Eating a Doughnut & Just Law, which are both available from US Chess Sales and Amazon/Kindle. Tim is also a member of the US Chess Rules Committee and his new column exclusive to US Chess, “Just the Rules” will help clarify potentially confusing regulations.
Keeping the Point!
At move 34 your opponent stretches out their hand. You silently engage in the traditional handshake. In the skittles room you analyze your hard fought victory with your friends. You pick up well deserved praise for your excellent tactics and strategy in an unclear position near the finish of the game. When you make your way over to the results sheet you notice your opponent has posted that the game result was a draw. But you won! When you, your opponent, and the TD get together to straighten out this reporting mix-up it is clear your adversary thought you were accepting his draw offer, not his resignation—messy, messy, messy…
If an outstretched hand is what you saw, make sure it’s a resignation and not a draw.
Your opponent reaches out and shakes your hand after stopping the clock. Are they resigning? Or are they agreeing to a draw? How about when your opponent mumbles something and stretches out their hand? Is that a resignation or a draw offer? Make sure you know the answer to those questions before you report the game results. Of course, a tipped-over king is good clue—as well as the words “I resign”— that your opponent has quit the game.
Many players don’t realize that draw offers are off the table after (1) a move has been made, (2) a piece has been touched and (3) the draw offer has already been declined. Players frequently incorrectly believe, as the opponent in this situation incorrectly does, that the draw offer may still be accepted many moves later. In this case you might consider saying, “Thanks for the game. You played well, and I am sorry you lost.”
Reporting the Results
After his first game was over Jack and his opponent went to the skittles room and analyzed their contest. This was a five round tournament and Jack’s final score was 4 wins and one loss. When it came time for the prizes to be doled out other players that scored 4-1, like Jack, were given their well-earned money—Jack got nothing. When he checked with the TD he discovered that his first round win went unreported. He and his opponent were forfeited. They were both given zero points. His opponent confirmed losing to Jack. The TD was willing to account for the win on the rating report. He was not willing to allow it to count towards prizes. After all, he pointed out; Jack got easier pairings than the other 4-1 scorers throughout the tournament due to his deflated score. And Jack did not point out this scoring snafu until after the tournament was over. No prize for Jack.
Win or lose, report the result of your game to make sure the right score is next to your name.
When your game is over, immediately make sure you report the results, usually on the pairings sheet. If you are a neophyte here is how to get that job done: In the space provided, place a “1” by the winner’s name and a “0” by the loser’s name, or “½” or “.5” by both names if the game was a draw. TDs usually announce if the reporting procedure is to be done differently, especially at scholastic events. If you miss this step, even if you lost the game, you could be unpleasantly surprised by your next round’s pairing and the long-term effect on your tournament score. Some TDs even double-forfeit the players in games with no reported results.
Example: How YOU Report Your Score
|119||.5||Rubin, Alex||.5||Ricky, Ross|
|121||0||Blale, Maurine||1||Turtle, Yuri|
Next time we will look at those freebies—that one point win that counts towards your final prize winning score, even if you don’t play a game!