Thursday, September 24, 2009
Translated from Chinese lanaguage which was published in Sina Sports http://sports.sina.com.cn at 21:21 hr on 21 September 2009.
In the 6th round of the Zhejiang Lishui Xingqiu Cup International Open Chess Tournament held in Lishui, Zhejiang Province, an extraordinary incident happened when two young star players Wang Chen and Lu Shanglei agreed to a draw. After the end of the round, the Chief Arbiter declared both players to have lost their game. This is the first time that a double default has ever been meted out in chess competition in China.
What actually happened? This brings us back to 16:00 hour when the Chief Arbiter announced the start of the round and the two players wrote their result as drawn, signed on their scoresheets without making a single move and left the playing hall. The Chief Arbiter from Singapore, Mr Ignatius Leong, General Secretary of the World Chess Federation, saw what happened and after checking that no move was recorded on the scoresheets, declared the game lost for both players.
After the incident, Mr Leong was interviewed by the sports reporter from Sina Sports. Mr Leong said that while this was the first time that such a ruling had been made in China, it was also the first time he had ever made a double default in his 30-year carrer of arbitratiion in major international competitions all over the world. In his opinion, such conduct does not show respect for the competition, the organisers and the chief arbiter.
There may be different reasons where short draws are made during a game. However, as in today's case, agreeing to a draw without making a single move are rare. When the reporter asked Mr Leong if there are regulations which support his decision, Mr Leong replied smilingly asked if there are regulations which do not support his ruling. "I have arbitrated in numerous major world and international competitions for 30 years and have not made a mistake. From my perspective, a sportive result cannot be achieved without making a single move.
The players had come to the tournament hall, signed on the scoresheets without makiing a single move and left the tournament hall immediately. This is as good as fixing the result prior to start of play. Such behaviour is bad for the image for the development of Chess. This was why he made such a tough ruling.
The reporter contacted a Chinese International Master Xu Yang who supported Mr Leong's decision. Xu said that such conduct of the players could lose the support of sponsors. Moreover, from the professional view point, this is unfair to chess fans who want to see interesting games.
Before the start of the 7th round, Mr Leong will announce his ruling in the presence of all the competitors. This will be a good lesson not only for the two players but to all competitors to respect their profession as chessplayers, to respect the efforts of organisers and to respect the development of Chess activities.