The Campbell Report
Correspondence Chess
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98-09-02: "Playing by the Rules" ... Right or Wrong?
from Robert Rizzo (98-09-03)

Regarding your 6 points:

  1. I have a more or less Jekyl-Hyde personality regarding correspondence rules. If an opponent makes what appears to be an oversight, such as leaving his move off the card, I will give that person the benefit of the doubt since I, too, at times fill out my card immediately upon receipt of a move only later to fill in the send date and move when my decision has been made. After my decision is made, I will then enter the move in my record log and then on the post card. I try to make it a habit to double check the card just before putting it to post. Many times I have discovered that I didn't include a date, a move or both! But if it happens twice from the same opponent I feel "disrespected." Recently in an ICCF USCCC game, such an occurence happened and my opponent offered that I should assess him a 5-day penalty. Being that it was his first offense, I refused to do so as he is a known and highly rated player who obviously did not get there by making intentional errors. On the other hand I have received completely blank cards on occasion! In those cases I see red, have no patience, and will penalize to the full extent of the rules. People who do not put reflection times and totals are also making more work for me which is unfair. This practice should also be punished.

    Too, I firmly feel that when an opponent does violate a time control, that player should be forfeit. How can the first transgression be overlooked? You are perfectly correct that a rule is not a rule unless enforced. Why is over-the-board play inflexible in these cases yet postal is not? How can you "raise the flag" once it has fallen? I don't get the rationale for the cavalier attitude by some organizations and TDs on time control rules violations.

  2. If bad moves are not answered with the best possible reply, then you can leave yourself open to being on the wrong side of a result. No pity.

  3. If mistakes are not answered with the best possible reply, then you can leave yourself open to being on the wrong side of a result. No pity. I have analyzed from the incorrect position turning a won game into a loss. Mea culpa.

  4. There is nothing in the rules that requires chit-chat. If I wanted to engage in idle prattle, I could have gotten a pen pal.

  5. If one is playing in an event such as the USCF Golden Knights, then every 1/2 point is dear. To simply advance is almost secondary since to win the tournament one needs an almost perfect score. In that case scoreboard watching is immaterial. In a tournament where one is advancing for a title, such as the ICCF USCCC or in a team tournament, then any score that wins the section is a good one. If that means agreeing to a draw that clinches first place rather than fighting it out to the end, then it is not only correct, it is smart.

  6. I relish having an opponent use a computer to make moves. If not strictly prohibited, then let them eat code.

from John McCumiskey (98-09-09)

Enjoyed your "Playing by the Rules"...Right or Wrong? article. I think you have hit the nail on the head...it is one thing to play in friendly/social events. It is completely another to play in serious events. The rules were created for a reason and all players are responsible for being aware of them. If I violate a rule, I fully expect to be "punished" to the maximum allowable extent of that rule!

from Stephan Busemann (98-09-30)

Dear Franklin,

while I agree that following rules by the letter is legal and sometimes necessary, I don't do this in general. The situation with wrongly numbered moves occurs quite often. In your game, I might have repeated 3.g3 and if 3...b6 then 4.blabla, asking for confirmation of the whole sequence. I would not charge him an extra 5 days, although I was entitled to do so by the rules. Usually my opponent would repeat the full sequence, thanking me, and we would continue the game in a nice atmosphere. That is my understanding of the ICCF motto "Amici sumus".

However, if I feel that my opponent is cheating with time or is less generous in comparable situations, I might react more accroding to the letter of the rules rather than to the spirit of the ICCF motto.


Copyright © 1998 by J. Franklin Campbell


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