I won’t have time to make anything like a real chess post for a week at least, so I thought I’d throw this out there – especially for any of you whose brain may have been fried by the 8 x 8 queens post.
The question was whether, in a game where White starts with his king and queen in each other’s positions, is the checkmate after
legal? Or – more to the point – does the result stand in a tournament game?
The questioner quoted a whole bunch of rules relating to making an illegal move, which I didn’t read because I don’t really give a damn. Gijssen said that the more relevant rules were those governing pieces being set up wrong in the starting position – if it’s discovered during the game, the game must be restarted from the beginning (with, one hopes, the pieces set up correctly).
However, he added, since giving checkmate and pressing one’s clock ends the game, then the result of the game must stand, even though it would really pain him to allow it. He proposed several technical rule changes to allow such a game to be disqualified, which (of course) I didn’t read either, since if I’d been that bored I would have been banging my forehead against the computer, not reading stuff on it.
My main point in sharing is that this is just a hilariously ridiculous game, and it’s even more hilariously ridiculous to see an international arbiter approaching it seriously. I mean, this is a game where White (a) attempts the Scholar’s Mate while (b) not noticing that he’s moving his king to h5. What are the chances that this is going to occur in an event governed by the laws of FIDE?
Furthermore, I think that Gijssen is just dead wrong for two reasons:
First of all, what the hell are the standards for “discovering” that the pieces were set up wrong – or that an illegal move was made earlier in the game? It’s hard to imagine that Black delivered checkmate without “discovering” that it was his opponent’s king he was checkmating. I mean, unless he played 4...g6 and then went “Wait a minute! That’s your king!”
For Gijssen’s logic to be correct, both players have to have realized that the piece on h5 was a king immediately after (and only after) Black played 4...g6. After all, if White still thought it was a queen, he would have just retreated it to f3 and the game would have continued. To constitute “discovering” that the pieces were set up wrong, is Black somehow required to blurt out “Oh my God! That’s your king on h5! It must have come from d1, where it was set up incorrectly in the initial position and it was an illegal move to bring it out to h5!”? Give me a break. If Black delivered checkmate intentionally, it’s hard to imagine that he didn’t also realize that the king’s appearance on h5 was not quite kosher.
An alternative, of course, is that perhaps the helpful arbiter who submitted the question pointed out that a checkmate had occurred, when neither player had noticed it. (In this case, the arbiter should simply be shot, because he should have let the kids play) I have no idea what the rules are on continuing the game after checkmate, because (like I said) I’m not that bored. I’m just a bit intrigued by the ridiculousness of it all.
Okay: the second reason that Gijssen is dead wrong is that White should be forfeited on principle for attempting to mate on f7. Quite honestly, this should overrule all other considerations. Especially with children. Granted, perhaps this is a Nakamura game (blitz playoff?) where he decided to revert to his Qh5 repertoire, but in that case he should lose even more so, because it might influence young people.
I once had an eight year old student who would not accept that this strategy could possibly be bad. I lectured him sternly about the need to get all your pieces out, but he would not listen. “Okay,” I said, “we’re going to play a practice game.” This went:
Howard – Leon
2.Bc4 Nc6 You see, I have prepared for my opponent’s repertoire.
and here he joyfully picked up his queen to deliver checkmate at f7, only to discover that his bishop was blocked. And that he had a problem on c2. Consternation ensued.
(Here, actually, you see why this mindless checkmate goal is such a destructive meme: here’s a kid who – when he looks freshly at a position – can notice that not only his queen is attacked but there’s also a costly fork on c2. And yet, when planning his mate, he was so deeply on automatic that he didn’t notice that my e6 pawn blocks his bishop from f7)
The game continued:
4.Qc3 Bc5 I considered 4...c5, but thought it wouldn’t teach him as much about the importance of development if I won while behind in development. Luckily, the game finished very “instructively”:
0-1 because of 7...Nxb4 coming
A much nicer game, which actually accomplished its instructional purpose and got me the best parental response that I’ve ever had or heard of. Howard was a bit sulky after the game, so I thought it best to give his mom a little heads-up on what had happened.
So I drew her aside when she came to pick him up and said (quietly, out of the side of my mouth, like a secret agent) “We played a training game today, and I, uh, sort of kicked his ass.”
Mom: Well, I should hope so! We are paying you after all!
She also reported the following week that in his games with his father, Howard had taken to admonishing him over and over to get all his pieces out. It is good to have one’s instructions taken to heart.
If my math is right, Howard is almost 30 years old now. I wonder if he still plays chess.
But that’s just so offensively ridiculous that I won’t even give it a diagram. It does seem to show, though, that there’s a theme of an early Qh5 being associated with ridiculousness. Elizabeth Viccary just made a post where she mentions an argument among some players about what move is most often a good one (or bad one) – wherever it occurs in whatever game. I’d make a case for Qh5 to most often turn out to be a silly move.