[Retros] fractional moves: to be or not to be (Geurt Gijssen'sanswer)

Rol, Guus G.A.Rol at umcutrecht.nl
Wed Apr 23 11:57:17 EDT 2008

Hi Roberto,

Geurts inclination seems close to my suggestion a few months ago:

"There is another way to interpret 7.4a "the position immediately before
the irregularity shall be reinstated". If one conceives that the
irregularly only started AFTER playing Ke1-g1, more precisely at the
time the clock was pressed, then the referee might decide to restore the
conditions after Ke1-g1 and demand that the player completes the
castling move."

There is a natural way to handle the illegal move situation by adopting
this axiom: an illegal move cannot be terminated, not by pressing the
clock, not by the opponent playing, not in any other way. Every illegal
move remains incomplete until it is corrected. The logical defense for
this position can be found in the atomic nature of the "chess move".
What else can a "chess move" be than a "legally completed chess move"?
Ever seen half an oxygen atom?

I suppose some pitfalls remain (may be for blitz chess and such) but one
would expect that adopting this position would make the rules a bit
simpler overall.

Guus Rol.

-----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
Van: retros-bounces at janko.at [mailto:retros-bounces at janko.at] Namens
raosorio at fibertel.com.ar
Verzonden: dinsdag 22 april 2008 22:18
Aan: retros at janko.at
Onderwerp: [Retros] fractional moves: to be or not to be (Geurt


I reproduce here the Geurt Gijssen's answer (in his section "Arbiter's
notebook", chesscafe) to the question I made in february.

Your question is very interesting. Article 4.6 relates that a piece
released on a square, provided the move is legal, cannot be replaced by
another move. It also states that there are three types of moves that
consist of two parts: capturing a piece, castling and promotion of a
pawn. If the first part of a move is legal, then the player is forced to
play the second part of the move as well. In case of Ke1-g1 nothing else
can be played except the rook from h1 to f1. Therefore, I am inclined to
consider Ke1-g1 as the first half of a legal move, not as an illegal
move. Nevertheless, I shall discuss this case in Dresden during the
meeting of the Rules and Tournament Regulations Committee in November

Hi retrofriends and Geurt,

I'm sending this with copy to the Retro mailing List and to the chess

On january 30th I made the following question,

"If the wK is standing on e1 and a wR on h1, castling is legal and
posible but the player conducing the white side moves the King to g1 and
that's it, he stops there. This move is illegal, but it's also a half
legal move. Is white forced to move the king freely or he's forced to
castle? "

Then I found article 4.6,

"4.6 When, as a legal move or part of a legal move, a piece has been
released on a square, it cannot then be moved to another square.
b. in the case of castling, .... When the player has released the king
from his hand, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has
the right to make any move other than castling on that side, if this is
legal; "

I concluded that time that this answered all the questions, forcing in
any case to castle. But I got another surprisse in my project related to
ilegal situations. Art. 4.6 applies in the half move situation (the
player has not pressed the clock) but in the case the player pressed the
clock, then he made an ilegal move and the situation is governed by the
article 7.4.a.,

"7.4.a. If during a game it is found that an illegal move.... has been
completed, the position immediately before the irregularity shall be
reinstated. .... Article 4.3 applies to the move replacing the illegal
move. "

Then, in this case the move after the illegality is restricted by 4.3
instead by 4.6?! The 4.3 is the
"touched piece" article so the player is just forced to move the king
freely, not to make castling.

Let's imagine the following situation,

I'm in the turn to move and I have doubts: is it better to play O-O or
Kd1? Then, being an expert on the
fine details of the Laws, I move Ke1-g1 to have a look of this
alternative a half move forward. My
opponent claims and the arbiter comes and, before he asked me to
complete the castling, I press the
clock (I found that Kd1 was better). Consequences? A couple of minutes.
Piece of cake!

Am I missing something here?

Roberto Osorio

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