Saturday, October 10, 2009

USCF Rules

There is an interesting discussion taking place on the forum at the Kentucky Chess Association website: ( ), which should be happening on the USCF forum. But, as you loyal readers know, USCF, in it's wisdom, pulled my post.
There is a practice in one of the local tournaments whereby the director allows anyone wishing NOT to keep score in the G/30 to do just that; providing the player starts with 25 minutes, in lieu of the 30 for the player who follows the rules. Mr Ken McDonald "believe(s) this would fit under the category of a "house rule". He writes: "The possibilty of a TD implementing "house rules" is covered under USCF rules 1B1 and 1B2."
I read those rules and it clearly says that 'House Rules' are only for things NOT covered in the rulebook. Rule 15A states, unequivocally, that the only exceptions to having to keep score are those with physical handicaps; religious; or beginners.
I'm reminded of the story of the gambler who came into town. As he was checking into the hotel, he asked the clerk if there was a poker game. "That depends," said the clerk. The drifter pulled out a wad of cash, and the clerk said, "Be here at 9 tonight."
The drifter arrived right on time and was led to the back room, where the game commenced. Not much happened until about midnight, when, as luck would have it, the gambler drew a straight flush. He decided to only put half of his wad in the pot, not expecting to be called. Everyone chucked their cards, except the fellow directly across from him he thought of as a weasel. When the weasel turned over his cards, a 2-4-6-8-10, of various suits, the gambler turned over his straight flush and began to rake in the pot. The weasel leapt up, pounding his fist on the table! "What?" asked the drifter, "You ain't got shit!"
"Look over your right shoulder," said the weasel. The gambler did exactly that, and saw a sign reading: O-Wa-Zoo beats anything.
"It's a lesson I shoulda learned a long time ago," the gambler thought to himself, "Learn the rules before you sit down to play."
The gambler still had half of his roll and they continued to play. As the sun was coming up, the drifter was dealt the 2-4-6-8-10 of various suits. The O-Wa-Zoo! "Just in time," he thought. He put the rest of his wad into the pot and, like before, all folded, except the weasel, who turned over trip Kings. The gambler proudly turned over the O-Wa-Zoo, and started to rake in the pot. Just like before, the weasel pounded his fist on the table. "What is it this time?" said the gambler. "I've got the O-Wa-Zoo!"
"You better look over your left shoulder, Mister," said the weasel. The gambler did exactly that, this time seeing a sign which read: O-Wa-Zoo only works once a night

Many years ago I travelled to the Tennessee Open with the Legendary Georgia Ironman. It was at that tournament I beat the DiscMan, formally known as the Hit Man, Chris Chambers, who was back from recently scoring 8 1/2 out of twelve at the US Open, thus becoming a Master. Both the Ironman and I were 2-0 when we saw the pairing for the next day. The Nashville Strangler had lost a game and, as the highest rated player at 1-1, should have been paired with Ron Burnett. The tournament director, Harry Sabine had made a different pairing. When asked why, Harry said the tournament was also some kind of team tournament, and "it is too early for them to play." The Ironman and I protested but Harry did things his way. Our contention was that the Tn Open was a USCF Grand Prix tournament and, as such, should have the same pairings as would be used in any other state in America. We withdrew and went home.
Fast forward over a decade and I was at the House of Pain on a Thanksgiving when it was closed. There was a knock on the door, and, when I peered out, imagine my surprise upon seeing orange Converse tennis shoes. It could be none other than Harry Sabine! I invited him in, showed him around, and made some coffee while we talked about, what else, chess. Harry and I have had our moments; the infamous 'slam-dunk' affair; the infamous chandelier incident, to name the most notable. I believe Harry, the TD, made a mistake. I do not hold grudges. I respect Harry for allhe has given to the Royal game. I'm proud to call Harry my friend. He always greets me with a smile on his face and a firm handshake.
There is also the problem of how to rate a game in which one player has 30 minutes, and the other only 25. USCF rules state that a game with less than 30 minutes may only be rated as a 'Quick' game. What happens when a player who only has 25 minutes insists having it NOT affect his 'regular' rating?
Mr McDonald also writes: "I believe the term 'analyze a game in progress on another chessboard' to more than simply looking at a Monroi screen."
My question is: How long does one have to 'look' at the Monroi screen for it to be analysis? I had an opponent who completely eschewed the board in front of us, looking at nothing but the screen on the Monroi. Is that considered 'looking', or 'analyzing'?
I would like to thank Terry Vibbert for posting the updated rules, which I printed out and read. Bobby Ambeck may find this interesting: 15A Paper scoresheet variation.
The player using a paper scoresheet may first make a move, and then write it on the scoresheet, or vice versa. This variation does not need to be advertised in advance.
Then comes: TD TIP: TDs may penalize a player that is in violation of 20C. "Use of notes prohibited" if the player is first writing the move and repeatedly altering that move on their scoresheet before completing a move on the board.
Nothing is said about what, exactly, constitutes 'repeatedly'.
I have never minded an opponent writing the move down before playing it, and I've never minded an opponent changing his mind 'repeatedly'. It's like being a batter and having the pitcher 'repeatedly' shaking off the catcher! I have, though, had players tell me they found it disconcerting because a player would write down a move, letting them see it, and then change it later, after spending much time considering the first move!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This should be titled, House Rules!
All players should keep score. Since a classical game of chess is considered 40/2, with a secondary time control, a faster time control like G/30 should only be rated at 1/6, or 1/5, the rate. For example, if a G/2 limit is considered standard, then a G/30 would be 1/4 of that. G/60 would be 1/2, and should be rated accordingly. If one gains 4 points in a classical game, then one would only gain 2 in a G/60, for example.