Tuesday, March 23, 2010


The (short) draw
Tournament: 2nd DATCC Individual
Date:1st February 2010

It is the beginning of the last round. Arbiter had just announced player can begin the game. Some players can be seen blitzing his/her opening moves, some players are waiting for their opponents to turn up, some ponders on what defense to use etc, all in all a very normal scene.

Suddenly two players who played at the middle board agreed for a quick draw (GM draw), maybe in less than 10 moves, also actually a very normal scene during the last round. So off they go to the Arbiter's table to submit their mutually agreed short draw result.

Arbiter Najib is about to accept the signed scoresheet of these players when suddenly Arbiter Hamid steps in. He said sorry, he cannot accept the short draw, tear the scoresheet and asked both players to play again the game. Both player went back to their table and played the game till the end.

The big question now. Is arbiter got the right not to accept the short draw. Let's analyze!

The Facts
  1. There is no single word mentioning short draws not allowed on the tournament T & C.
  2. Arbiters also did not verbally mentioned on no draw policy before or during the tournament.
  3. Both players did not protest Arbiter's decision.

The Laws

What did chess rules has to say about this?

  1. Under Article 5 Completion of the game (5.2 C) mentioned "The game is drawn upon agreement between the two players during the game. This immediately ends the game".
  2. Ofcourse we need to look at Article 9:The drawn game for further guidance. Article 9.1 a mentioned " The rules of a competition may specify that players cannot agree to a draw, whether in less than a specified number of moves or at all, without the consent of the arbiter." Unfortunately as far as i remember, there is no mentioning about this, before or during the tournament.
  3. On arbiter's defense there are articles 13.2 "The arbiter shall act in the best interest of the competition..."

The Verdict

Based on above i believed that the early draw agreement is valid and arbiter should accept it since it is not made known to the player beforehand that short draws are not allowed.


  1. I think arbiter can make such a decision even though it is not announced beforehand in special circumstances. If it were an international tournament such as DATMO, then it is not appropriate for the arbiter to rule this way. But since DATCC chess league is more of a friendly tournament to promote chess activities, Hamid is correct to act as he sees fit. If in the last round there might be quick draws to secure placing. Then the arbiter should not interfere, but since it is just the first round, I think it is ok.

    Imagine if half of the participants decide they want quick draw. It will turn the tournament into a joke.

  2. Once, in a tournament, I played Sicilian Keres attack for the first time.. and got an overhelming position.. my opponent, a teenager, was literally tearing his hairs off, groaned all the way.
    When my next move will skewer his Queen, I extended my hand to him and said ,"Draw?" My opponent seemed relieved. He quickly accepted, but asked ,"Why?" I answered , "It's just a game among friends."
    Why did I offered the draw?
    1)Win won't affect my tournament results - I was not in the awards range.
    2)My opponent looked too depressed! And I remembered how losing was like..

  3. Oh, I forgot to mention that it was the last round too!

  4. Hi Jimmy,
    Thank you for your opinion/feedback. IA Hamid, a no nonsence Arbiter maybe has a right to do that.

    A legend has it that he once (in International Chess Tournament no less) gave two players a zero for agreeing to split the point without playing a single move! Vintage Hamid!

    Hi Abdooss,
    Thanks for sharing that but i feel you should not do that. After all chess is not a game for kind hearted! even for a game among friend as objective of the game is to kill, and to kill opponent's king no less. Doing other than that is not playing chess...but agreeing to draw in equal position is ok but not in the winning position! Well, that is my opinion btw.