Arbiter Vardapetyan explains the Wang Hao-Dreev game incident

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Armenian Arbiter Ashot Vardapetyan explains the incident in the Wang Hao - Alexei Dreev game in detail.

I will try to answer all the questions raised on a Russian website and hope you will find the answers interesting as well.

Indeed, I have read all the original Russian comments and I am sorry to find out that 90% of people didn’t understand what happened. They chose to interpret everything from their point of view based on their imagination of “what could happen” or they just don’t comprehend the FIDE rules.

Let me note that it is not the first time that such a situation happened in an international event, including in official events. In my practice, the last time I encountered such a situation was during the Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. Such situations were discussed during the FIDE Rules Commission meetings with a general opinion formulated at the end.

Moreover, many lecturers have discussed such situations during the FIDE Arbiters seminars. I am sorry that many readers, including chess players and arbiters, voiced their strong opinions without having a command of the nuances of the chess rules.

The situation is very simple. Let us again discuss the situation:

1. Before claiming a draw Wang Hao offered a draw to his opponent as it is obvious that after the planned move is made the position will be repeated 3 times. Getting no response from his opponent, Wang Hao claimed a draw by telling the planned move to the arbiter. According to the rules he may stop the clock while claiming the draw.

2. The arbiter was right when he did not react to the claim as there was an obvious failure in procedure. Then, after the second claim, the arbiter felt that Wang’s claim with incorrect procedure disturbed his opponent. Because of this, he stopped the clock.

3. The Chief Arbiter added time to Dreev's clock to punish Wang Hao for disturbing his opponent. This is in accordance with the rules.

4. Dreev did not understand why time was added and told everyone that he had no connection with any of this. (A reader who draws his own conclusions could hardly understand that by watching the video).

5. Finally, after clarifying the situation and adding more time to Dreev’s clock, the arbiter re-started the clock.

Here, let us note: in fact no claim of a draw (neither correct nor incorrect) is recorded at this moment since Wang did not write down his next intended move on the score sheet. There was only wrong behavior (a procedural failure) that disturbed his opponent in time trouble. This at least was recorded by the arbiters.

6. The fact that Wang Hao said the move he was planning to make could have no consequence as the move was not written down.

7. It was clear that Wang Hao understood his mistake after the arbiter’s first intervention (and not after the arbiter’s tip) and was indifferent to the punishment of adding time to his opponent’s clock.

8. He wrote down the move immediately after the game was restarted, stopped the clock, and claimed a draw with no procedural failure, according to the FIDE Rules of Chess.
Let us note that in the first case if he wrote down a move which would bring an incorrect claim then he would indeed make exactly that move and on that move he would have no right to claim a draw by three-fold repetition.

9. Then Dreev, probably not taking into account that nuance claimed that his opponent had lost the right to claim on that move and all the rest of the conversations and explanations were only about that issue.

10. Finally, the two sides agreed on a three-fold repetition and no checking of the position was required as the claim of a draw is also the draw offer that is recorded immediately upon the sides agreeing to it.

I would like to thank the minority who made efforts to draw attention to the facts rather than speculate as there was really no mistake by the arbiters in this case.

Hopefully this will satisfy all the curiosity about this situation.

Ashot Vardapetyan
Councillor of the Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission