Monday, October 16, 2006

Heat or Light?

Apparently there was some controversy swirling around the US Chess League last week. I happened upon it somewhat inadvertently.

You may have noticed this line of text under last week's Blitz-Tempo match results:
Tennessee will have a 5 minute penalty on each board for submitting the lineup after the deadline.
Since I wasn't fully conversant with the rules governing this infraction, I checked them out. And, to be honest, having reviewed them I'm still not really sure where the 5 minute penalty came from.

Rule A9 covers the case where a team makes a change to their lineup after the Sunday night deadline. However, I didn't see a rule which specifically addresses the penalty for not submitting any lineup at all by the deadline. If A9 had been applied, i.e., if the late line-up was viewed as a change in lineup after the deadline on all four boards, then according to the rules each member of the Tempo should have been penalized 1/6th of their time (~12 minutes since they were playing G/75). So unless the league office does its mathematics in base 3, it's hard to figure out how 12 became 5.

While it probably would have been helpful for the Commissioner to provide a clarification on all this, since there didn't seem to be any complaints from Boston or Tennessee I figured there really wasn't much of a story here.

However, since I had now made a study of the rules, I became further perplexed when I noticed a related ruling in the San Francisco-Seattle match.
The lineup for this match has changed, and the time control on both boards 2+3 will be 85 minutes for San Francisco and 65 minutes for Seattle, due to the late lineup change by Seattle.
Obviously Seattle made a change to their lineup which affected boards 2 & 3. According to rule A9 if the change occurred prior to Monday 9:00pm then Seattle should have lost 1/6th of their time (~12 minutes) on these two boards, if by Tuesday 9:00pm, then 1/4th of their time (~19 minutes). So why did Seattle lose 10 minutes on these two boards and San Francisco gain the same amount? I suppose it might have been deemed the most appropriate way of docking Seattle 19 minutes, but nevertheless this approach to adjusting the clocks is not discussed in the rules.
While I was hung up in the mathematics of it all, it turns out that charges, counter-charges and accusations over the substance of the infractions were flying around elsewhere. Here are some relevant links for your reading pleasure:
I've read through all this material and, quite honestly, I still don't really understand who did what, who's right and who's wrong, what the current rules are now, or how the 5 min and +10/-10 min penalties were calculated. I certainly think it would be helpful if the Commissioner laid out his position on these matters and explained his rulings since none of this is currently covered on the official website. At the same time, I think Clint needs to get a grip. Making accusations about East Coast bias hardly helps his cause. The Sluggers were playing San Francisco after all, not New York. And if the Commissioner is trying to help the Knights this season, he's doing a pretty pathetic job of it.
Speaking of New York, the Knights are under great pressure to win this week's match with the Blitz in order to maintain their slim hold on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Division. Here are the matchups - Boston has white on boards 2 & 4:

GM Eugene Perelshteyn - 2614 vs. GM Pascal Charbonneau - 2500
IM Igor Foygel - 2533 vs. IM Irina Krush - 2445
NM Charles Riordan - 2283 vs. IM Jay Bonin - 2354
NM Ilya Krasik - 2162 vs. Matthew Herman - 2172

Since LarryC has had his troubles with Pascal in past matches, Boston is substituting in their other GM (what a luxury!). I also like Boston's chances on the other three boards as well. Of course, by now it should be clear to everyone that waiting for JG's prediction before putting down your money is the prudent thing to do.

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