Game Spotlight: 2019 Kenya Premier Chess League, Week 2

Nairobi Chess Club remains undefeated after week 2 of the Kenya Premier Chess League.  The only blemish thus far is a draw with TUK.  Looking at that match, this selection is more interesting for what it says about the rules of Chess than the gameplay.

The rules themselves aren’t written in the clearest way, so I’ll paraphrase here (though feel free to read the rules for yourself — it’s worth doing from time to time).  One of the ways to get a draw is by repeating a position exactly, which means all the pieces in the same place, and the same player to move.  If that happens three times, regardless of what happens in the interim, the game is a draw provided one of the players claims it in the right way.  So if you are making the move that would draw the game, instead of making the move you write it on your scoresheet, call the arbiter, and tell the arbiter you intend to make the move and you believe it’s a draw by repetition.  If your opponent made a move that draws the game, you need to declare it’s a draw to the arbiter.  Either way, the arbiter will stop the clock, go through the game scores to confirm if the claim is correct, and declare the game drawn if it is.  If it’s not really a draw, two minutes get added to the player who didn’t claim’s clock, and the game continues (with the written move being made, if relevant).

All of this is a little arcane, but here’s the relevant part: the draw claim must be made right as the position appears for the third time.  If it’s not, the game just continues and there’s no draw.  Even if you touch a piece with the intent to move, stop yourself, and then notice there’s a repetition and try to claim a draw, the opportunity has passed.  Note that because in a large tournament it may take a while for the arbiter to arrive and give a ruling, the player making the claim is allowed to stop the clock.

Weirdly, there’s another draw-by-repetition rule that’s a lot more straightforward.  If the same position ever appears five times, the game is drawn as soon as it’s noticed.  No strange things to remember.

As a final note, those players who either don’t know how to record moves or try to avoid keeping an accurate record of the game should be aware that a draw by repetition can’t be claimed without a game score.  How do you expect the arbiter to declare the same position has repeated if you won’t provide them any evidence?

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