The Campbell Report
I wrote on the subject "The Rules
Define the Ethics" in my September and November 2003 columns
in the APCT News Bulletin. My friend and fellow CC.COM
webmaster Ralph Marconi suggested an interesting idea
... ask the readers for examples that may contradict my idea
that, unlike real life, chess ethics is completely covered by
the rules of play. Following are excerpts from my two columns
on this subject. This article is provided so that additional
contributions could be made by the Internet cc community before
my next column deadline. If you have examples or ideas that
fit my challenge below, please email them to me as soon as possible.
My deadline is 10 December 2003, but earlier contributions are
requested, since I try to finish my column before the deadline
If you have something
to contribute to this discussion I ask that you follow these
- Keep to the
subject, provide a specific example of something that
is not against the rules of play (I suggest the ICCF playing
rules to keep us all on the same page). Your example should
demonstrate something you feel is unethical, even though
within the rules of play
- Be concise.
I don't want to have to throw out a good example because it
is too long for my article. I also would prefer to use your
exact words and not do any editing. I want to present your
example as you state it, but to do so it must be short,
clear and to the point.
- Sign your email
with your correct name and provide your location. If
you don't want to give your city/state/country of residence
that is acceptable, though I like to include location with
name in my column, where possible.
- Send it as
soon as possible. The closer it is to my deadline when
your material arrives the more likely it will be unused or
used in a later column. Of course, good ideas sent later will
still be useful for future columns, since this is a subject
I'll return to more than once. My deadline: 10 December 2003.
Your deadline should be considered more like 5 December
2003. Send it to J.
Material that contributes
in a useful way to this subject (in my opinion) and that isn't
already covered by other contributions will be used in my January
2004 APCT print column and posted at my site later. It's possible
I may get material too late for the January column or may get
too much to put into a single column. In this case some material
may be used in the March 2003 (or a later) column.
- J. Franklin Campbell
Rules Define the Ethics
by J. Franklin Campbell
(posted 29 November
I invite readers
to review what I've already published on this topic in
the APCT News Bulletin (these columns are
later posted on this site at APCT
Columns). Then, if you have a useful addition to this
subject, answer my challenge at the bottom of this page
for inclusion in a future column. If you reply by Dec.
5, 2003 I'll try to include your remarks in my next column.
Thanks to everyone who can add something useful to this
an excerpt from my column "The Campbell Report" in the
Sept-Oct 2003 issue of APCT News Bulletin:
Rules Define the Ethics
agree with the viewpoint that rules that cannot be effectively
enforced should be avoided. Some even say that such
rules contribute to undermining respect for the rules.
The feeling is that the mark of good rules is effective
enforcement. This is a powerful argument. However, there
is another viewpoint I would like to express, namely
that the rules aren't just a set of laws to enforce,
but rather the rules of the game define the game.
is it ethical to receive advice from another player?
This cannot be answered in a vacuum. Recently there
have been several on-line contests between experts and
teams of consultants, such as Dave Taylor (10th USA
Champion) vs. a team made up of visitors to the TCCMB
message board and IM John Knudsen vs. Rest of World.
Not only was it correct for the team to consult one
another, but it was central to the contest. Some players
have expressed great pleasure in participating in such
a consultation match. How about computer use? There
have been a series of matches played using "Advanced
Chess", a system allowing a player full access to the
chess engine of his choice. No one would argue that
these players were being unethical
it was just part
of the contest. So, what makes the use of a computer
engine or consultation unethical in other circumstances?
It is the rules, of course.
crafted rules will clearly set forth what is legal (ethical)
and what is illegal (unethical). Chess is a game, a
competition, not life. In real life we are often faced
with ethical decisions not covered by laws. A cashier
gives us too much change. We think, "this makes up for
the times I've received too little change and didn't
notice" or some such thing. Is it ethical to keep the
extra change? I think not. In OTB our chess opponent
doesn't notice his flag is about to fall. Do we point
it out to him? Would it be unsporting to just sit there
and watch him lose on time? In cc our opponent writes
down a conditional move, but he leaves out an exchange
of pawns in the string of "if" moves. This loses a piece.
Are we obliged as ethical chess players to point out
his mistake and not take advantage of his oversight?
I think in
competitive chess it is completely appropriate to take
advantage of our opponent's mistakes, whether it is
misjudging his position or writing down the moves incorrectly.
In OTB chess it is our opponent's job to watch his clock,
not ours. In life, if a cashier makes a mistake and
gives us too much change, the situation is completely
different. There are no written rules for life (of course,
the legal system offers a limited set of rules, but
we may legitimately disagree with some of them). Life
isn't a game defined by rules of living. Chess, on the
other hand, is a competition that is defined by the
rules of play.
In the case
of the ICCF rules where it was decided to not have a
rule against using computer engines, I say there is
no ethical problem with using computers. However, many
people believe it is inappropriate to use computers
it goes against the spirit of the game, at least the
way many care to contest it. I think there is a place
for competition with computers and without computers,
but the rules should be clear in either case.
simply something you shouldn't be caught violating?
If so, then the ICCF situation may be correct. However,
if the game is defined by the rules, then the rules
should reflect our vision of the game
how it should
be played. If our vision of the game is a one-on-one
competition without consulting with humans or computers,
then the rules should so state, whether or not it is
practical to enforce any specific rule. Then people
can choose the organization, or specific competition
within an organization, that specifies in the rules
the manner in which we wish to play the game. There's
nothing inherently unethical about using consultation
during the game
many people quite enjoy it, I understand.
However, if the rules forbid such consultation, then
it isn't the same game. The competitor who uses consultation
when the rules forbid it has chosen to play a different
game and to pretend it is the same game the opponent
is playing. I don't understand the motivation for playing
in this unethical behavior. What satisfaction is to
be gained by cheating?
should specify our ideals for the game. I will not join
those who say, "Everyone uses computers
I expect it."
In APCT play I expect my opponents NOT to use computers.
That is my expectation. The fact that there are cheaters
in this world does not affect my expectations of my
APCT opponents or those of any other organization. To
expect people to violate the rules is a form of corruption
of the game, I believe. Expecting violations is a form
an excerpt from my column "The Campbell Report" in the
Nov-Dec 2003 issue of APCT News Bulletin:
Rules Define the Ethics (Revisited)
Last time I
published an opinion piece titled "The Rules Define the
Ethics", where I stated that chess is a game completely
defined by the rules of play, unlike life which is much
more complex and has no well-defined rules. I concluded
that if the rules allowed you to use a chess engine (note:
APCT rules do NOT allow such use) then there was no ethical
reason not to do so, only a matter of personal choice.
This same argument holds for not allowing take-backs and
taking full advantage of notation errors by your opponent.
Not surprisingly, I got some mail on this topic from Stephan
Gerzadowicz, who now lives in Crossville, TN. Following
is his opinion on this subject.
Do NOT Define Ethics -- by Stephan Gerzadowicz
I bet you
KNEW you would hear from me. [Of course -- JFC]
going to keep quoting George Will until everybody
is disoriented when proper moral judgment is supplanted
by a morally constricted legalism, the notion that
whatever is legal -- whatever there is a right to
do -- is morally unobjectionable.
In sports, as
in life generally, comportment should be controlled
by a morality of aspiration more demanding than
a mere morality of duty. A morality of aspiration
should elevate people above merely complying with
I think, is to try to separate Chess from Life. Sure,
Chess and Sports are defined by their rules, but we
players are still moral beings! "Life" does not go
on hold when we take up ball and bat, or Rook and
Pawn. A second baseman can tag a base runner in a
perfectly legal way -- that knocks out teeth. Legal,
example -- I was playing a fine old gentleman, struggling
in a double rook ending. He (Black) sent
was a ridiculous move; I had a Pawn on f2. He had
used DN all his life and still thought in it. He clearly
Re6 was a good and obvious move, one
I expected. I acknowledged his move as
Re6 and sent
my reply. When he responded he said, "I was glad to
see that I had sent
Re6. I had mistakenly recorded
Re3 on my score sheet." I made no comment and the
game was drawn (I think).
his Rook would have been legal. It would not have
been ethical. We were playing a game. But I was (still)
living my life.
Mr. G. went
on to say, "May we agree to disagree and always be friends."
Of course, I accept this view and consider Stephan a
good friend, and I always respect his opinion. I must
consider the possibility that I am mistaken in my opinion
about chess being completely defined by the rules. Above,
Stephan wrote, "Taking his Rook would have been legal.
It would not have been ethical." The view I had stated
in my previous column was that there was nothing unethical
about capturing the Rook. However, I understand Stephan's
approach very well. His preference was to continue
the game with the bad notation being corrected. I think
there is disagreement in the cc community about which
is the correct viewpoint, and there are probably people
who would find themselves somewhere in between.
Ralph Marconi wrote me, "Yes, it does boil down
to individual beliefs and this mystical realm of unwritten
rules." I have considered the so-called unwritten rules
as a very bad thing, something that leads to people
being unjustly labeled as unethical or as cheaters.
Am I mistaken?
on to say, "It would, however, be interesting to try
to come up with a concrete, unequivocal example of something,
within the narrow confines of the rules of a game, which
is legal and yet at the same time unethical. I can't
think of anything off hand. It would probably be quite
difficult, if not (impossible), to find such a situation.
Maybe this would be a good question to pose on the TCCMB
to take his advice, but I'm going to my readers here
instead of TCCMB (the on-line cc message board). Read
on and see if you can offer something in answer to my
to the Readers
the suggestion of Ralph Marconi stated above,
here is my challenge to readers:
up with a concrete, unequivocal example of something,
within the narrow confines of the rules of chess,
which is legal and yet at the same time unethical."
challenge serious thought, present your example(s),
and explain why you consider the legal situation you
describe to be unethical. Try to be concise and very
clear so I can publish your statement(s) in a future
column with minimal editing. I consider this a serious
issue which requires serious thought. Thank you in advance
for your thoughtful replies. At my discretion, everything
sent to me will be considered for publication.
your useful comments for my column. Send to: Contact