"Hypnosis" in India. Country's Top Players Suffer from Time Control Mix-Up

Время публикации: 30.06.2015 21:40 | Последнее обновление: 09.07.2015 05:38

The series of high-profile incidents of time control mix-ups continues. After the "trendsetter" Magnus Carlsen suffered from ignorance of the time-control in the first round of Stavanger, the trend was continued by Lenier Dominguez, who strangely forgot about the clock in Havana in a winning position against Ian Nepomniachtchi. This was not the end: the "virus" was picked up by participants of the Commonwealth Championship, which has ended today in New Delhi, capital of India. The competition is open to members of Commonwealth countries (the United Kingdom and representatives of most of its former colonies), but is mostly attended by Indian chess players. By a strange coincidence, the victims this time were the fair sex - the leading Indian players Humpy Koneru and Tania Sachdev.

The tournament hotel. Photo - chessbase.com

The rules of the championship prescribed a control of "90 minutes for the whole game with an increment of 30 seconds per move," but the main cause of confusion was the announcement made by the arbiter before the start of the first round. Among other things, he said the following: "The time control is 90 min + 30 seconds from move one and 30 min grace time", meaning that players were allowed to arrive up to 30 minutes late for the game. With regard to chess tournaments, this term is rare and used mainly in India, but, more importantly, the organizers had already changed the rules of the tournament in several respects - in particular, to reduce the number of rounds from 10 to 9 and completely redraw the timetable (!). These changes are contrary to the position announced in the rules and many participants not unreasonably assumed that at the same time, the time control had also been changed, and that "grace time" meant an extra 30 minutes on the clock at move 40.

Tania Sachdev. Photo - chessbase.com

The first victim of the ill-fated announcement was Tania Sachdev, already on the same day: playing against an opponent rated more than 500 points below her, she lost on time at move 41, expecting an extra 30 minutes to be added. Sachdev did not make a fuss, and the organizers, in turn, decided not to draw attention to the incident (unlike their Norwegian colleagues in Stavanger who had publicly apoloziged to Magnus).

Sachdev: "I do wish the Arbiter had communicated better. But of course its also my responsibility to know these things. Learnt it the hard way!"

The second incident came in the fourth round, when the undisputed leader of women's chess in India and the second seed of the tournament, Humpy Koneru, who had 3/3, had a chance to win another game. Having achieved by move 44 an overwhelming advantage against IM Himanshu Sharma, she quietly left the board, waiting for the extra time to appear on the clock.

On returning to the board, Humpy got a nasty surprise, as her time had run out. In each of her three previous wins, she had needed less than 40 moves, and she wasn't aware about the first round incident.  

Photo - chessbase.com

Unlike Sachdev, the leader of the Indian team decided that not to take it lying down, and filed a protest. The aim was not to win Koneru the point - she knew that the loss would remain - but only demand a public apology from the organizers for their unprofessional actions and, in particular, to highlight that it was the arbiter's fault. However Humpy met with a complete lack of understanding: the organizers not only told her that the arbiter was in no way to blame, and that the participants themselves must examine the situation and know the rules of the tournament, but they generally behaved very disrespectfully - up to being rude and ridiculing her that almost reduced her to tears.

As a result, Koneru decided to withdraw from the championship, without waiting for the fifth round. In a subsequent interview with Sabrina Chevannes, who plays in the same event and has closely followed the development of the situation, the victim explained her position, revealed a number of facts and responded very negatively both to the organizers of the championship, and the level of organization of chess tournaments in India, in general, at the same time recalling things like broadcast problemsand frequent power outages during the rounds.

Andrei Deviatkin, Chess-News editor: "One day I suffered from this in the decisive round of an open tournament in India: the lights suddenly went off, my concentration was lost, and immediately afterwards, I blundered, and an unclear position turned into a loss. However, my overall impression of Indian tournaments remains good. "

Koneru: "I felt I was in good form and was confident of finishing on top. I wanted to be amongst the top three and to enjoy my games. ... When I got to know about Tania’s forfeit, other GMs also confirmed that they are still playing the tournament under the same impression of getting additional time. Only after my loss, many players became aware of the time control that was in force. I was furious after knowing this. ... When such things occur, it is the moral responsibility of the arbiter and the organizing committee to inform players, so that further incidents do not occur. Instead, they hid the whole matter. ... "

Referee Srivatasan - the one that "fooled" players - in turn, argues that "grace time" is a common term in chess (although in reality is not - CN), and notes that no one prevents the player from going to the organizing committee to clarify the time control.

Deviatkin: "The last remark by the arbiter is quite reasonable, but it is unclear how it justifies the strange behavior of the organizers, who denied the strongest chess player of their country even a simple apology. The blame certainly lies with the organizers and the arbiter much more than in the similar story with Carlsen. Maybe the clue is that in India women traditionally are somewhat differently treated than in Western countries?"

[Event "Commonwealth Championship Delhi"] [Site "?"] [Date "2015.06.25"] [Round "?"] [White "Humpy, Koneru"] [Black "Sharma, Himanshu"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D10"] [WhiteElo "2589"] [BlackElo "2420"] [PlyCount "87"] [EventDate "2015.??.??"] [SourceDate "2015.06.28"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 a6 5. Qc2 g6 6. Bd3 Bg7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. O-O Bg4 9. Ne5 Be6 10. Bd2 Nbd7 11. Nxd7 Qxd7 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Na4 Rac8 14. Qb3 Ne4 15. Ba5 Qd6 16. Nb6 Rb8 17. Rac1 f5 18. f3 Bh6 19. Rfe1 Nf6 20. Qb4 Rf7 21. Qc5 Bf8 22. Re2 Nd7 23. Nxd7 Bxd7 24. Qa7 Rc8 25. Rxc8 Bxc8 26. Rc2 Qe6 27. Kf2 Bh6 28. Bd2 Rf8 29. Rc7 Qd6 30. Qc5 Qxc5 31. Rxc5 Kf7 32. Bb4 Rd8 33. Ba5 Re8 34. Bc2 f4 35. e4 dxe4 36. fxe4 Bg7 37. e5 g5 38. Bxh7 Bd7 39. Rc7 Bc6 40. Bc2 Bd5 41. Bb4 Bf8 42. Bb3 Bxb3 43. axb3 Rd8 44. Bc5 {[#] 0-1 


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