Making a move before your clock is running?

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
A well-known and much-debated issue from the Laws of Chess became very relevant during the recent US Women Championhips. Are you allowed to make a move before your opponent has pressed the clock?

As could be seen in a video, Anna Zatonskih won the US Championship by means of an Armageddon game. That such a tournament could have been decided in such a manner is another story, but the way Zatonskih made her moves was widely criticized, not in the least by her opponent Irinia Krush, in an open letter sent to the USCF soon after the tournament had finished. She claimed Zatonskih couldn't be called US Champion, as she had broken the rules:
My opponent, seeing herself on the verge of losing on time, began playing moves before I had completed mine. She made her moves before I hit my clock, and as soon as I pressed the clock, it was punched back at me. (...) Obviously, making moves before your opponent completes theirs is illegal.
In a reaction to this letter, Tom Braunlich (on of the organizers) wrote that, how unfair it might have looked, Zatonskih had acted according to the rules. He referred to Geurt Gijssen's recent column at Chess Cafe, who answers the question whether you can make a move when your opponent hasn't pressed the clock yet:

To answer this I refer to Article 6.8.a:

During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent's clock. A player must always be allowed to stop his clock. His move is not considered to have been completed until he has done so, unless the move that was made ends the game. (See Articles 5.1, and 5.2)

Although it is not articulated clearly, it is generally accepted that based on this Article the opponent has the right to make his move before the player has stopped his clock. However, the player still has the right to stop his own clock and to start the opponent's clock, even after the opponent has made his move.


In my opinion, this part of Article 6.8 only makes sense if a player makes a move before the opponent has pressed his clock. It means that even when a player is not on move, he is allowed to press the clock in the given situation. The following argument may not be very strong, but suppose a player can only move after the opponent has pressed the clock. Can you imagine how many quarrels we would have in Blitz and Rapid games? And in this case there is no difference between ?¢‚Ǩ?ìnormal,?¢‚Ǩ? Rapid and Blitz games.

Personally I've always found it very annoying when I didn't get the chance to press my clock, because my opponent had already moved. Perhaps I should learn to get used to pressing the clock anyway?

On the other hand, indeed I find the argument "Can you imagine how many quarrels we would have in Blitz and Rapid games?" not very strong, as Gijssen already suggested. Shouldn't we choose for the other way around, and make everybody get used to making a move only after the clock is running? Yes, even at taking back, when exchanging pawns or pieces? I think I prefer it that way. How about you?

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