In a club game this week, checkmate was reached legally on the board, however the players thought it was stalemate, shook hands and signed the scoresheet as a draw.

The "winner" was a young junior, she initially wrote 0-1 on the scoresheet but then the "loser" pointed out that he thought it was stalemate, and so the junior accepted this and changed the score and signed it.

Being a club game the arbiter let the result stand; but if this happened in a FIDE-sanctioned tournament then what should happen?


According to the FIDE Laws of Chess

5.1 The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the checkmate position was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7.

8.7 At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

The "winner" won the game. However, both players signed both scoresheets indicating 0.5 - 0.5, so that would be the result unless the arbiter were involved.

In this case, I think the arbiter made a mistake. The young junior should have stuck to her guns and kept the 0-1. She agreed to mark it a draw because she didn't understand that she won regardless of her opponent realizing he was beaten. Were she an experienced chess player, I would absolutely let the 0.5 - 0.5 stand, but I think you need to help young players understand the rules without penalizing them for trying to avoid conflict. I think the gender dynamic and potential age dynamic (you explicitly mentioned she was young, but made no mention of his age) should also be considered in the decision.

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    It was a club game. They do not all use FIDE rules. Young players (and even some older ones) can make a move and not realize that it was mate. – yobamamama Dec 31 '19 at 23:54

In a FIDE rated event the win would stand (checkmate ends the game) and the "scammer" would, at the very least, receive a warning against his unethical behaviour. In the FIDE Laws of Chess Article 11 covers the conduct of the players and 11.1 would be used in this case.

11.1 The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute.

In this particular case I would strongly suggest that the offending player be spoken to and it made clear that his behaviour is unacceptable.

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    And if it was a local club and not a FIDE event? – yobamamama Dec 31 '19 at 23:54

It matters when the winner noticed that the game ended in checkmate, and that the opponent's claim was in fact wrong. If the arbiter was the one to point this out, then he could defend his action in ruling the draw as standing by saying that he wanted to clearly communicate to the winner that the accuracy of the score is a solemn duty. It is, after all, why the player signs the scoresheet. By doing so, they are finalizing the result and implicitly waiving their right to contest it, unless new facts come to light.

Since new facts came to light, she now has grounds for disagreeing with the arbiter's ruling, and filing an appeal. She should learn her appeal rights, and the normal procedure for doing so. These include a hearing with the senior Tournament Director or Arbiter, and the possibility of an Appeal Committee it still not satisfied with the outcome.

I would certainly advise her to file an appeal, but it must be done within 30 minutes of the game's end (or the time of the TD's decision, if prior to the game's end as when disallowing a draw claim during a game), as I understand the rules.

Given that she doesn't seem to know when her opponent's king is in check, this may all be too much for her at this stage, however.

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  • There are times when new players (and even sometimes old ones) do not realize that there is a check or even that it was a mate. Especially at fast time controls. – yobamamama Dec 31 '19 at 23:55

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