Opzienbarend verhaal bij WK JeugdStunning story at World Youth

| 0 | Chess Event Coverage
We were notified by the Belgian chess blog De Schaakfabriek about a stunning course of events during the World Youth that was held 17-29 November Kemer, Antalya (Turkey). A 14-year-old player from Belgium had drawn his game in the penultimate round after a threefold repetition. At 23.00 hours at night, he was suddenly lifted from his bed to see the officials Azmaiparashvili, Campomanes and Makropoulos. The result: around midnight he had to continue his game.

After he had gone to sleep, the 14-year-old Belgian player Nils Nijs heard somebody knocking on the door of his hotel room. He was told that he had wrongly claimed his draw that afternoon. There had been a threefold repetition (not consecutively) and then Nijs had made his move, stopped the clock and claimed a draw with the arbiter. According to regulations, this is a wrong claim because in case of a threefold repetition, a claim should be put forward before making the move. But the arbiter had made the blunder to accept the claim. Mai Lloyd, Nijs' Canadian opponent, had not agreed with the draw because different moves had been played between the three identical positions (which of course is irrelevant). He had walked away without signing the score sheet. Later it appeared the Canadian delegation had filed a protest concerning the wrong claim, about which the Belgian delegation was never informed.

And so, to his astonishment, together with his coach, Nijs had to go back to the hotel/playing hall where Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Florencio Campomanes and Georgios Makropoulos of the protest commission were waiting for him. His opponent was already there too, and both teenagers were heard by the commission. Because Nijs honestly told them that indeed he had played the move before claiming the draw, it became clear that the arbiter had tried to cover-up his mistake.

After a ten-minute delibaration the commission summoned the players to continue the game, right then and there. And so around midnight, the two youngsters, instead of getting their night sleep before the last round, were finishing an official game. Nijs lost.

The head of the Belgian delegation decided to write a letter to the commission. Not because they didn't agree with their decision, which stricktly speaking was correct, but because of its inhuman character:

Dear Sir, Madam

With respect to the incident that happened yesterday with the complaint and the appeal for the game in round 10 between Mai Lloyd and Nils Nijs, the Belgian Chess federation would like to react as follows:

1) We accept the verdict of the appeal committee as it was correct according to the laws of chess. 2) We would like to know which measures are to be taken against the arbiter who incorrectly accepted the draw claim and who made false statements to the appeal committee. We all agree that such behaviour must not happen in a world championship chess and we would like to know what you will do to avoid this in the future. Due to this behaviour of the arbiter, May Lloyd and his coach had the opportunity to analyze the position with the computer. 3) Although the organisation of the WYCC has been great until now, we feel extremely uncomfortable about the proceedings of the appeal:
  • The timing of the appeal is not aligned with a youth championship. Appeal should be handled before the players are going to sleep. We don't want to consider if this happened to the -8 category, where our participant goes to bed before 21h00.
  • The 14 year old player was lifted out of his bed at 23h00. This is totally unacceptable. One cannot intrude in a player private room and definitely not at 23h00 when he is gone to bed. We don't know the legal situation in Turkey, but in Belgium this is an illegal behaviour, risking prosecution. We demand from you a clear reaction about this fact.
  • By this action the player was deprived of the necessary sleep and his chances for round 11 are severely jeopardized.
  • The Belgian delegation was only informed about the appeal after Nils was lifted out of his bed. This is also unacceptable. As such we had no time whatsoever to inform Nils about the appeal and to prepare him for the appeal and the potential continuation of the game, which his opponent had. This is by all means unfair.
  • Nils had to continue the game in dire conditions: he was emotionally completely devastated by the verdict of the appeal committee, it was already 23h30 and in his mind the game was drawn because he reached 3 times the same position. One cannot expect that Nils continued the game at his full capabilities.

We would appreciate a positive gesture from your side to Nils because, not having done anything wrong, he has become a victim of a bad arbiter.

Best Regards Ruben Decrop Head of Belgian delegation

That "positive gesture" did come: during the prize giving Nijs was asked on stage and from FIDE he received a "Fair Play Award" for his honest testimony to his own disadvantage. It's unclear whether the award was accompanied with apologies.
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