In round 1 of the recently concluded 4th EJCOA IM norm tournament this game was played:
[Title "Rajat Makkar vs Neil Berry 4th EJCOA IM Norm 2022"] [fen ""] [Startply "36"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 Nbd7 7. c5 c6 8. b4 b6 9. h4 a5 10. a3 h6 11. Bd3 Ba6 12. Bxa6 Rxa6 13. b5 cxb5 14. c6 Qc8 15. c7 b4 16. Nb5 a4 17. Qc1 Ne4 18. Qc6 Nb8 19. cxb8=N Ra5 20. O-O g5 21. hxg5 hxg5 22. Bc7 1-0
In the position above Makkar had a long think before getting up and saying something to one of the Black players on an adjacent board who was watching the game. The player smiled, nodded, went back to his board, took a white knight he had captured and handed it over to Makkar who then made his stunning move. All great for the arbiter who didn't have to get out of his seat.
I wondered, what if it had gone differently? Suppose White had captured the knight with the pawn, left the pawn on the 8th rank, paused the clocks and raised their hand to call the arbiter to ask for a knight. Suppose Black had immediately flashed out the move QxQ. What should the arbiter do?
Just to recap some of the rules.
- A player is allowed to reply to their opponent's move after the move is made but before the opponent complete's the move by pressing the clock.
- If a player completes (by pressing the clock) a promotion move leaving the pawn on the board then that is an illegal move. Along with the usual punishment the arbiter should remove the pawn and replace it with a queen.
- If a player touches one or more of their pieces, they must move the first piece touched that can be moved
- If a player touches one or more of the opponent’s pieces, they must capture the first piece touched that can be captured
- Only the player having the move may adjust one or more pieces on their squares provided they say “j’adoube” or “I adjust” or something similar
- Any other physical contact with a piece, except for clearly accidental contact, shall be considered to be intent
- A player is said to ‘have the move’ when the opponent’s move has been ‘made’.
What should the arbiter do?