Here is my email conversation with the head of the FIDE Arbiter's Commission, Laurent Freyd.
In essence, for now, until they add a clarification, and arbiter would be correct ruling either way. That said, he says that he teaches new arbiters that once the game has ended, they do not go back and change the result after the fact. In other words, they still lean toward mate ending the game or resignation ending the game is final so if that clarification is ever issued, it is clear what that would be.
"When the game reached a point where it's finished in a way that all actors observed that end and agree - let's not change it back after analysis." (full text quoted in context below)
Dear Mr. Freyd,
The other day on Stack Exchange Chess, a question about FIDE rules came up. We got several answers, including two conflicting answers from two FIDE arbiters. Although the circumstances would be very rare, I am hoping that you can resolve this.
The question was “Does the FIDE 75-move rule (9.6) apply after checkmate or resignation?” There is further explanation in the body of the question, but summing it up, a game is proceeding, and although it is not noticed at the time, 75 moves passed, and let’s say, of the 81st move of no pawns moving or captures, one side is checkmated or resigns. Almost immediately, the losing person realizes that 75 moves had passed, and believes that the game immediately ended there, and he files a protest that the game was officially over at move 75 so the result should be changed to a draw.
Which takes precedence? Rule 5.1.1 “The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game”, or 9.6 “If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn” since that had occurred first?
Did the game immediately end on the 75th move of no pawns moving or captures, or since no one noticed, upon the checkmate or resignation?
Thank you for clarifying this.
Thanks for your email.
Article 9.6.2 states "If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence."
In the case when none of the players claimed before (let's remember that they are already allowed to claim a draw from the 50th move without capture or pawn move), nor the arbiter identified that 75 moves or more were played in that same context, I believe it makes sense to keep the result decided by the players. I would make the parallel with a football game where one camp was off-side but scored a goal, while the referees wouldn't see it. The goal remains, even if the video shows after the match that the context of play was not supposed to allow the goal to be validated by the referee.
Of course, if the arbiter sees that the limit is passed, he MUST stop the game with a draw.
I agree with you that there are 2 different ways of thinking about such questions:
- either consider that there's one truth, which would impact a result even after a game is finished. e.g. a kid's game where one of the players gets checkmated, none of the opponents understand it, continue the game, then the same player checkmates his opponent: with that philosophy, the result would be changed as the analysis of the game would show a "first checkmate" earlier in the game.
- or consider that a game is a flow of events, and the truth is what the different actors (players, arbiters) understand and see, so it may happen that some events aren't seen. e.g. you played 80 moves without pawn move or piece capture and a checkmate is observed (as a result of a legal move, of course), then checkmate stands: with that philosophy, you don't expect to reconstruct a game to validate its result.
My preference goes to the latter option, as it keeps responsibility on the players to understand what's going on in their own game and creates less complications when treating the end of the game with the arbiter (who sometimes can't find out all irregularities or detailed facts of all the games he has to supervise at once).
I hope this helps.
Chairman - FIDE Arbiters' Commission
One last clarification: Are you saying that an arbiter could rule either way and be correct?
I think yes, until we publish a "philosophical statement" on the fact that we use "available facts" at the moment of the action, rather than post mortem seeking absolute truth, to make a final decision. Although, I'm really uncomfortable with the "post mortem" approach and when I teach arbiters, I always mention such cases as "too bad nobody saw anything, but that's life. I don't expect to transform arbiters into players analysing the game after it is finished. When the game reached a point where it's finished in a way that all actors observed that end and agree - let's not change it back after analysis." (of course, except if a proof of cheating is found or something like that, but then it is not anymore a simple change of result, it is a sanction).
Chairman - FIDE Arbiters' Commission