Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Missing Queen

Imagine one of your pawns is approaching to promotion. You want to queen it but you do not find the queen. Besides that, you are playing a blitz game and you are only seconds left. Suddenly you spot one of your rooks among the captured pieces, you just take it and replace upside down your promoted pawn. What happens next?

That is what IM Nikolay Noritsyn did in his game against GM Bator Sambuev in the blitz playoff for the 2017 Canadian Championship.

Noritsyn playing Black had in fact, three pawns in route towards promotion. He advanced his d-pawn to d1, scrambled to find a Black queen, and with none in sight, grabbed a captured rook. He announced “queen” and turned it upside down on d1 before pressing his clock with four seconds remaining. In that moment, the chief arbiter intervened, stopped the clock and declared the move to be legal, but because the replaced was a rook, Black has to play according to it, not with a queen.
See by yourself the last minutes of that dramatic game in the following video:

As you can see, Sambuev holds the black queen in his left hand for many minutes, preventing Noritsyn from using it. Only when the arbiter pauses the game, Sambuev releases the queen and later two arbiters point to it on the table.

Because of this trick, Noritsyn lost the game.

Maybe Sambuev unconsciously held the queen, but he could have interceded and told the arbiter that he was holding it, right?

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