Rare mistake of Geurt Gijssen

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Russian Chess FederationMaking mistakes is a human thing. This saying can be applied to Geurt Gijssen as from today. Gijssen, the Pierluigi Collina of chess arbiters (and I'm not speaking about their appearance but about the amount of respect in the worlds of soccer and chess), granted a draw claim unjustfully to no one less than Magnus Carlsen in his game against Alexander Morozevich, today in the second round of the Tal Memorial. Gijssen discovered his mistake himself.

This remarkable message by Gijssen, chief arbiter at the Tal Memorial, was put onto the tournament website tonight:

"Tonight during the game Morozevich-Carlsen, Mr. Carlsen approached Mr. Dubov to say that he intended to play 46... Qc7 whereupon the same position will arise for the third time. Mr. Dubov called me and Mr. Carlsen and I went to the analyzing room. Then I found Mr. Morozevich and informed him about Mr. Carlsen's cliam, inviting him to check the scoresheets. Mr. Morozevich informed me that he did not want to attend the checking and left it to me.

Mr. Carlsen and I replayed the game, coming to the conclusion that the same position indeed repeated three times on the board. The players signed the scoresheets.

Afterwards I had my doubts and on my own initiative again investigated the game. My conclusion was that the same position appeared three times on the board, but not with the same player having the move. It means that the claim was wrong and my decision was wrong as well.

I informed Mr. Carlsen about it and he was immediately ready to continue the game. The organizers tried to reach Mr. Morozevich, but he was nowhere to be found. Mr. Kuzmin, his coach, informed the organizers that, in his opinion, the draw should stand. All this time Mr. Carlsen was waiting for the game to continue and did not analyze the resulting position."

Article 9.2 of the FIDE Laws of Chess says:

"The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves)

a) is about to appear, if he first writes his move on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or b) has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move.

Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same. Positions are not the same if a pawn that could have been captured en passant can no longer in this manner be captured or if the right to castle has been changed temporarily or permanently."

Quite a tricky rule, which Gijssen knew of course. Making a mistake is a human thing.

The games of rounds 1-2, including Morozevich-Carlsen, can be replayed here. Chessbase already wrote about the exciting first round over here.

Postscript: The game Morozevich-Carlsen ends with 45...Qb6 but I assume the move 46.Be3 had also been played, after which 46...Qc7 brings the position for the second time on the board with White to move. After 39.Kg2 it was the same position with Black to move.
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