"Queen - Face - Nepo"

Время публикации: 20.09.2015 21:29 | Последнее обновление: 22.09.2015 06:34

Common sense or formalities? Law or justice? These were the questions Ian Nepomniachtchi kept asking after losing in all senses wild tiebreak against Hikaru Nakamura. 

This is the Fairmont Hotel, "the anteroom" of the playing zone. Nepomniachtchi has just filed an appeal against Nakamura's win in the decisive blitz game. He claimed the arbiters didn't do anything neither when his opponent used both hands to castle (which is forbidden by the rules), nor when Nakamura failed to comply with the touch-move rule.

Yes, the regulations clearly state what should the player do (yes, first the player(!) not the arbiter) when his/her opponent breaks the rules. What are all those five arbiters surrounding the table for then? - Ian kept inquiring.

From those surrounding the table two are cameramen and one is the member of Appeal Committee. All others are arbiters.

"The arbiters are just watching," - the members of the Appeal Committee (AC) explained the victim. What are they following? What for? Well, if the player appeals to them with any claim, they must be well informed on what has been happening to further help to solve the problem. And the arbiters who write down the moves shouldn't be doing anything else then notating the moves.

"Are you saying, - Ian objected, - that if my opponent at some point throws the queen in my face the arbiters should keep silent and instead of Qd4 write down "Queen-face-Nepo"?"

Ian was moderately nervy understanding that the AC was unlikely to allow his appeal. Nonetheless, he was sure in the rightfulness of his claim. "Of course if it went as it should have to, I would have to be preparing for my next game instead of sitting here now," - he kept saying.

Here are the members of the Appeals Committee who eventually got the work to do at the competition: Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Hesham Mohamed Elgendy and Jorge Vega. They have just left the room where they had made the decision. 

For the official announcement of the decision, it should be printed first. The Egyptian member of the AC went to prepare the document (that's not an easy thing to do either!). Meanwhile, Zurab didn't hide that the rematch wasn't going to take place. 

Ian kept repeating his arguments, brought new ones, referred to the common sense which is also mentioned in the regulations. But all he could get from the "bosses" was sympathy, at times only its imitation. The outcome of the case was too obvious for them. 

In my opinion, this was the very case so vividly demonstrating the imperfection of chess regulations. All regulations are introduced on the traces of the incidents. Maybe this very incident with Nepomniachtchi will push revision and rewriting of some of the paragraphs on the regulations. It won't help Ian of course, but this is how life works. As Azmaiparashvili has noted "there's always a victim for a just case". 

So what are those imperfections? It is pretty clear that those regulations were adjusted for the classical chess games with longer time control. Then they were edited with add-ins for rapid and blitz which as it turned out are not enough. Nepomniachtchi's case demonstrates that the procedure the player is required to undertake is not working for the Armageddon and most probably for the blitz either. 

According to regulations the player should stop the clock and appeal to the arbiter. But do you actually understand what does the World Cup tiebreak mean for the player? It is a colossal tension which lasts for two, three, four, five or as it happened in Nepomniachtchi - Nakamura encounter for all six hours. So, the players go through all circles of hell - rapid, blitz, more blitz and there's the last decisive win or lose game. One will be defeated and eliminated.

Perhaps, chess players can be divided into two categories at this point: those who except concentrating on the game also keep in mind the rules and can apply those when necessary, and those who can't be thinking about anything than the game itself. Nepomniachtchi belongs to the second category. "On the seventh hour of play there's only a triangle on my mind: the hand - the pieces - the clocks. Nothing else," Ian explains and I feel like understanding his feelings is not hard at all. 

It is obvious that during the Armageddon that decides everything, the players should look after the game, while the arbiters must watch the players' abidance by the rules. 

Although it's not that unambiguous as it may seem. For instance, there's a rule according to which the player has the right to make his/her move only after his/her rival has played (moved the piece and switched the clock). Everyone knows such a rule can hardly be efficient in the games like Armageddon. That's why it is abandoned. Now imagine there's an arbiter stopping the game every time this rule is not abode. The game simply won't happen.

All in all, nothing's simple in this chess world...

Meanwhile, preparation of the printed version of the decision AC made takes longer than expected. The dining opportunity is long gone. Ian watches the replay which shows how Nakamura touched the king and the rook simultaneously. 

Still awaiting. Vega and Azmai are long gone, while the Egyptian is in the neighbouring room typing the official decision. 

The ACP President was celebrating his birthday all this time. He has just returned to the hotel. This is how life works - I have to repeat - some suffer, others celebrate. Someone goes forward, others are pushed downward. 

In addition to the printed version of the decision, Elgendy tried to give back Nepomniachtchi $500 he paid for the appeal. The attempt was unsuccessful. The player took this huge piece of paper, but refused to take the money back. He also refused to agree with the decision. 

The negotiations continued but now everyone had his own idea of it. Nepomniachtchi kept hoping something could change, while his interlocutor was just performing a friendly gesture - he didn't leave the victim alone with his problem ready to listen to anything the latter had to say.

It all reminded a psychoanalyst room.

Do you want to talk about it?..

Night on earth. They continued sympathizing with Nepomniachtchi, but it wasn't what he actually needed. 



Psychoanalysis for $7000 fee.

Psychoanalysis for $7000 fee. :)

I very much liked this piece. A wonderful attempt by the photographer to try to capture the ordeal.

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