TITLE OF LESSON OR IDEA: Dealing with directors of scholastic tournaments
NAME: Jeff Wiewel
SCHOOL: none (ANTD that has directed at over 100 non-national K-8 scholastic tournaments with over 100,000 scholastic games and also directed at another six national scholastic tournaments)
CITY/STATE: Arlington Heights, IL
E-MAIL: [email protected]
KEY WORDS: Tournament, Director
GRADE RANGE: K-8
SHORT 1-2 SENTENCE INTRODUCTION: Here are a few tips on how players can deal with tournament directors to make things easier for the player and for the director.
MATERIALS NEEDED: none
1) Keep score even at the early grade levels. Many times two players
have conflicting viewpoints of whose move it is or what the position is,
and they both honestly believe that their opinion is the only correct one.
Without a scoresheet the player has to depend on the director to make a
judgment call as to what the position should be.
Even if you have made a mistake in the scoresheet and cannot
reconstruct the early portion of the game, still keep score. This has
helped countless times in determining what the last few moves are, and thus
what the position should be.
On at least one occasion having a scoresheet has helped determine that
the winning final move of a four move combination was planned from the
beginning of the combination and was not played because a spectator said
something, and thus a claim of interference was denied. Without a
scoresheet there would have been a chance that the statement made by the
spectator did interfere with the game and the game might have been declared
drawn (an option the rulebook allows when either allowing or prohibiting a
move that might not have been seen would result in a loss by one player or
the other). Needless to say, the spectator who was also a player at
another board was warned that future interference would result in
forfeiture of his game, and if it had actually affected the outcome of the
game there could easily have been forfeiture of his game with no warning.
2) Do not comment on other games that are still in progress. Even quiet
comments might be overheard and considered to be interference even if
neither player actually heard the comment. Also do not discuss your own
game during your game.
3) Raise your hand or ask for the director if your opponent is trying to
use a rule that you do not know about. Many players have either been
informed of rules that are not really rules (i.e. incorrectly thinking that
you have to say check or incorrectly thinking you can castle through
check), are no longer rules in the USCF (i.e. you must touch the king first
when castling), or have misunderstood what they were told (i.e. incorrectly
thinking it is a 15-move rule draw instead of the correct 50-move rule
draw, incorrectly thinking 50 moves is really 25 by each player instead of
50 by each player, or incorrectly thinking that the 50-move rule draw
starts from move one without realizing that the count has to restart after
each capture, pawn move or loss of castling capability).
If you do not question the rule at the time you may not be able to get
corrected the problems that resulted.
You may stop the clock when you have to ask the director a question.
4) When there is a dispute try to remain calm, however difficult that may
be. Make sure that you state your case to the director, but don't
interrupt or yell to keep your opponents from stating their case. If you
are a witness to a dispute that is not in a game you were playing, do not
interrupt the players when they are talking to the director, let the
director know that you were a witness and answer the director's questions
when they are asked.
If you remain calm you are unlikely to confuse yourself, and when you
put forward your case you will probably be stating it clearly and
consistently. Making statements where you contradict yourself will cause
the director to question whether you truly know what happened. With
nothing else to go on, given a choice between a logical and consistent
story and a logical and inconsistent story a director is more likely to go
with the consistent story.
5) If you believe that the director has made an incorrect ruling you can
appeal it. The sequence is to appeal to the floor chief and then the chief
director. If you wish to appeal beyond that, you will probably want to let
your parent/coach know that you wish to do so. Usually the first director
to make a ruling will be correct, and the chief director will almost always
be correct, but for those rare cases where they are incorrect there is an
appeals procedure. Letting your parent/coach know has often resulted in
the player learning from a trusted source that the ruling is indeed
correct, and has sometimes resulted in the parent/coach being able to show
the director how a ruling is incorrect.
If you lose an appeal, try to calm down and play your game. I have
seen many cases where a player was down a queen, lost an appeal, and still
managed to win the game. I have also seen many cases where a player was up
a queen, lost an appeal over an issue that did not affect the game, and was
so upset over losing the appeal that the player lost the game.
6) Don't appeal to the director unless you honestly have a question or
believe your opponent may have done something against the rules. Having
dealt with multiple directors over the years I have to say that some
directors will get "fed up" with players that continually make seemingly
ridiculous appeals, and that attitude will affect their rulings.
7) Don't automatically think that your opponent is trying to cheat you,
even when they are violating the rules. I've seen thousands of cases where
a player honestly thought he was correct in what he was trying to do, but
didn't really know the rules (such as younger kids incorrectly trying to
take a queen en passant). If your opponent is incorrect then call the
director over and have the director correct the situation and explain the
rules to your opponent.
It will also be easier to remain calm if you realize that your
opponent may be trying to follow the rules and just doesn't know what all
of them are. As stated above, it is easier to state your case when you are
calm, so give your opponent the benefit of the doubt and give yourself a
better chance of making your case at the same time.