When I was young, the knight was sometimes lousy and knights took the cake. It happened more than once that I hammered a knight sacrifice into the rows of my opponent during blitz...the effect being greatly diluted by the fact I only hammered the top half, the bottom still standing on the departing square.

Question: I assume "material malfunction" is practically absent in modern tournament chess (or can you tell anecdotes?) and simply stopping the clock and calling the arbiter does it?

  • 6
    From the title I thought your question would be about knights who were not well read.
    – bof
    Dec 22, 2021 at 20:38
  • I have a wood set from my early days that does this. Dec 23, 2021 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


simply stopping the clock and calling the arbiter does it?

No! If this arbiter sees you deliberately using excess force which leads to (further) damage to equipment then a first offence will get you a stern warning and the second ejection from the tournament and a ban.

According to the FIDE Laws of Chess:

11.5 It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.

It is even more important not to disturb or annoy the organizer or arbiter.

One of the great benefits of digital clocks and increments was that players lost any excuse (if ever there was one) for hitting clocks in time trouble.

  • Your word about clocks in players ears...Especially the kids keep on hammering the clocks. But at least knights which consist of two parts mostly glued together with spittle are no longer in use. (I assure you I'm a very gentle player and pieces don't have to fear me :-) Dec 22, 2021 at 22:15

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