The entire email exchange is given below. With Stewart's disclaimer that he would need to hear both sides of the story before rendering an official verdict, the salient points are:
1) "The retroactive penalty as in 2) after 8 days was clear incorrect." (Bold letters his)
2) "As you explain it, this is clearly nonsense on the part of the organisers. Your games should have been taken out of the system."
3) "The right to an Appeal Committee is more-or-less guaranteed for an event played according to the FIDE Laws of Chess."
However, #3 may not apply to this tournament.
In summary, the CSS organizers have violated either two or three basic, major rules in their handling of this situation. I kindly ask them to correct this.
You can quote my opinions, but you may not necessarily like what I write.
The FIDE Laws of Chess specifically cover only over the board chess, which clearly internet play is not. FIDE just does not have the experience of internet play and there would have to be a separate appendix for this type of play.
I presume the two of you played as if one person on different occasions, although you did not necessarily make this clear to your opponents and the site. you certainly did not make it clear to me. I would think this is clearly incorrect, although I imagine it may be quite common. You are being personalised for your honesty.
The retroactive penalty as in 2) after 8 days was clear incorrect. Was it legal? Well, does that matter in that it would be very difficult to go to court? What court?
3) As you explain it, this is clearly nonsense on the part of the organisers. Your games should have been taken out of the system.
4) The right to an Appeal Committee is more-or-less guaranteed for an event played according to the FIDE Laws of Chess. But that covers only over the board chess and this was clearly nothing of the sort. The organizers should consider whether to appoint an independent arbiter such as myself. However, when you entered the tournament, you accepted the conditions of the event. Since it was not over-the-board chess, you had no right to assume that FIDE Laws would apply and should have asked the question before entering.
The whole situation that arose was, from what you state, most unsatisfactory for everybody concerned. The organizers, whoever they may be, should consider their methodology for the future. I would strongly recommend an independent arbiter or committee. Please note, just because you have stated certain matters that happened, I, as a completely objective arbiter, would have also to have a statement by the other sides(s) before I could possibly come to a final conclusion.
Stewart Reuben International Arbiter, Chairman of the FIDE Organizer's Committee
Iweta and I played in a team tournament over the internet and have a dispute
with the organizers about some rules. Can I ask you a few questions about FIDE
The organizers banned us for account sharing - Iweta played one weekend and I
took over the next weekend. We did this openly.
The tournament has a few special internet-related rules, and the remainder are
referred to FIDE rules via the following statement: "1. FIDE rules: As far as
nothing different is defined the FIDE rules and the server rules are valid."
My questions are:
1) This rule had been routinely ignored in previous tournaments, although the
evidence and the details are always a bit different. Is this a legal argument,
or only a matter of judgement?
2) The tournament directors knew about the violation no later than round 2 and
did not enforce it. The organizers enforced it retroactively 8 days after the
tournament was complete. Is this legal?
3) Our games are counted for the other participants, but not for us. Is this
4) The organizers rejected our request for an appeals committee. Is the right to
an appeals committee guaranteed by FIDE rules, or only via pre-tournament
I hope you find these questions interesting rather than tedious :-)
ps. One more question: can I quote your answers?
> Was it legal? Well, does that matter in that it would be very difficult to go to court? What court?
IANAL but you'd probably need to get a civil case heard in a local-to-CSS (read: German) Court. If the Judge found in your favour then not only would CSS need to pay Rybusia the money earned in the Freestyle, they'd also have to stump up for your costs. Isn't Kulberg a lawyer in Germany? :)
> 1) This rule had been routinely ignored in previous tournaments, although the evidence and the details are always a bit different. Is this a legal argument, or only a matter of judgement?
I would find this argument (the use of precedent) to be a bit stretched, as the organisers have clearly(?) attempted to made a shift (particularly in the 7th Freestyle, with the elimination of pure engines) to make the event more of "a human with help", as opposed to the totally amorphous entities that could exist in previous Freestyles. Whether the rules specified "a particular human with help" (and what this means) is a bit of a different matter.
> Rybusia was Iweta and me in the prelims and me ... We also played with the Rajlich account in the prelims.
If they had based their decision on this, I might be more inclined to agree with them (though the lack of timeliness is still worrisome), as this could (debatably) be construed to be against the intention (with the 8th Freestyle) of limiting teams using multiple nicks.
>3) Our games are counted for the other participants, but not for us. Is this legal?
I think I (or they) would phrase this a bit differently --- the games were counted, indeed, the Rybusia 4th place finish was listed as such. But as a legal (non-chess) matter, the prize monies for Rybusia were withheld, due to the claimed (or imagined) infraction of the tournament conditions. This sort of jugglery has been known to occur with disputes in other sports.
[Not since Walter Browne got 3/4 point (on appeal) for having 3 straight blacks in the US Open (if I am remembering correctly) have I seen something quite this bizarre in chess].
I think, under such circumstances with so much information missing, his reply is meaningless (yet).
Don't get me wrong; I can understand that you are frustrated after these procedures, maybe in the sense of "why me? I only did what others have done before" etc. But if that was true, then the mistakes of the TDs and/or organisers were back then each, not taking steps against it (maybe they didn't know about it or didn't have reliable information), not now...
My honest viewpoint and opinion is that your attempt for a protest is a waste of energy, and also it is not as popular in the entire computer chess scene as it may seem to be here, in the Rybka forum where your fans are (and I am one of them! :-) ). But maybe you should try to do what you clearly feel that you need to try it. At least it would create even more pressure to improve the Freestyle rules, for the future.
I personally think Vas's reference to precedent is without merit. The whole crux of the case hinges on 1) vagueness respecting what a "player" is in Freestyle (it isn't quite as cut-and-dried as a purely human tournament, though it could be interpreted that way--and that is the way CSS has chosen to view it), and 2) the tardiness of the ruling.
I think the $1000 isn't worth all the ill-will and angst this controversy is producing and Vas ought to back off. If people could just let tempers cool and focus on how to avoid such problems in the future we'd all be better off. For better or worse the decision has been made and there is no established appeal procedure.
Besides, there is no "German side", it is CSS, and even there they might not totally agree with each other. Probably between 1 and 10 people involved in that matter which is 0,000...% of German population.
As far as precedence goes, I see no difference between Vas playing for the Rybusia account and Anson playing for the Cato account.
1. I have never personally registered for a Freestyle tournament since my disastrous debut in #2. Anson or Wing have always been the official registrants, even though I technically own the Cato account.
2. The vexing issue of multiple accounts was totally within the rules prior to #8. You may not have liked it, but it was legal. With #8, the rules changed. We changed our behavior and entered one account. Not to please you. To stay within the rules.
As I have said in other posts, the whole problem rests on what is a "player". This is very simple in a human tournament. It is not so simple in a Freestyle tournament where the spirit of the thing is "anything goes" and a "player" can mean multiple things in different contexts. Thus my constantly harping on clear definitions in the rules that can only be interpreted one way. I'm not being Clintonian here. It's just regrettable that the rules were so loose.
I don't really see the definition of player to be an issue as long as each player is identified with exactly one team. I think keeping the makeup of the teams secret and allowing people to hop from team to team is bad for freestyle, but I'm probably in the minority on this.
In my utopia, there would be no issue with Iweta not playing in the finals as long as one of her teammates could play for Rybusia. This could not be Vas because he was on another team.
Your views may be in the minority but I'm on your side. Freestyle would be far better if the rules were changed just as you say. Some things would be enforceable and some might not, but that's better than having no rules at all.
Now, suppose giving takebacks in mouse slips is somehow an unenforceable rule. Now, the people with honor will give takebacks on mouse slips, but when they play someone without honor and they mouse slip, they have automatically a lost game. Also opponents without honor could realize they blundered and claim a mouse slip, and people with honor would have to accept it.
This means that people without honor have a lot of more chances of winning the event. (I know the analogy is very far fetched but I'd expect a similar effect with the "Don't join another team after you lost the qualifiers" rule, for example.)
The real problem is not people joining finalists. That doesn't trouble me so much. The problem is collusion in the qualifiers and finals. If, for example, a team of Albanians put in six separate entries and threw games for each other, and then got two entries into finals--that would be problematic. One of the best solutions for this, in my opinion, is for the tournament to get a lot larger and for seedings to consider national flags, avoiding pairing same nations if possible. Not a perfect solution but more players and fewer chances for fixed games would help. Or if people running entries were pre-identified as associated and they met, an instant draw could be declared. This would require some sophisticated programming but it could be done. It would also require honest dealing. Most would abide by the rules and the ones who didn't, for the most part, would be the dregs of chess society, lacking the skills to win anyway.
>First,Germany and now ... Albania?!!!
An Austrian army awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery beseiged Belgrade. (poem)
Well, not quite the right geography for Team Italy invading the Rybka headquarters in Budapest, but one could claim poetic license. Though I'm not sure what Ivanchuk would say about a later couplet:
Truce to thee, Turkey! Triumph to thy train,
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Freestylers are another breed. Just about everyone who participates in this hobby has a genius or near-genius level IQ. Among the regulars in this room I don't consider myself in the top 20% intellectually. We have doctors, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, programmers and a host of highly skilled chess players. As a general rule people with such skills do not act like brigands and villains because they don't have to employ desperate survival strategies. We play primarily for vanity, egoism, glory; the money is secondary. If you really wanted to make some money you would be crazy to pursue it via Freestyle.
Another point. It really is very, very hard to win even if you are a cheater. Even someone who relentlessly lied and cheated their way to victory would deserve some grudging respect. Cheating doesn't guarantee victory.
Finally, changing tack a bit, I think a lot of this discussion is fairly myopic because near-term technological change is making it increasingly likely that someone will show up at a Freestyle tournament with hardware resources that could be 100x greater than the next-strongest opponent--perfectly legal within current rules. Get your head around that and other things I cannot even foresee and it is obvious that there will continually be challenges to make this competition relevant. Cheaters will be the exception, not the rule, and their impact should be minor. We should try to keep our eye on the bigger vision of where this tournament is going and what we can do to make it better and more respected rather than obsess about the few weasels who are ethically-challenged.
Recent cheating (by non-titled player):
Cases of ratings manipulation:
http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/twic226.html (heading #4)
>Call me an antique if you want but I do believe "honor" is possible. Even with money at stake.
Didn't The Federalist Papers §51 already address this roseate view?
"But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions."
[Yes, I could give a quote from earlier vintage, but stuffing Hamilton and Madison down NH's throat seems more incisive].
You might well have quoted Hobbes:
"Force and fraud are in war the two cardinal virtues."
"I put for the general inclination of all mankind, a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death."
nicks, it is only his/her challange, which in the end should always mean poorer performance and more monies paid on starting fee.
why this rule has been made. I know the Reason. Now the reason has gone, vanished.
Arno, why this rule? We want an open Freestyle, people log in with their real names. The case like this is only adding to the opposite behavior.
>I'm a simple guy and I would contend that the distinctions are unimportant.
I could give the following Statement of Principle for multiple nicks (I don't claim to be able to enforce it):
A Freestyle entity is defined by its essential decision-making process. For instance, Ultima, SpaghettiChess, and Rodo might all share information, but the final decision-making for each is not the same. Contrast this to what might expect with CatoTheYounger and Ibermax. There is (to me) a large difference between Iweta playing with Vas assisting, and conversely Vas playing with Iweta assisting, which is what appears to be the case with Rybusia/Rajlich. [I'm not sniping at anyone here, just trying to flesh out the principle].
Of course, a Freestyle entity can change its decision-making process between rounds, etc.
> is whether the game will be contested or decided by game theoretic considerations.
A bit off-topic:
I remember once when the infamous Monty Hall problem was being discussed. One person noted that Monty is not a static entity - he offers you money to change your mind, etc. What is his goal? To increase uncertainty in the eyes of the viewer at home, which will (presumably) create more interest, thus a higher Nielsen rating, thus more commerical sponsorship, etc. Similarly, even with the predetermined results in RollerDerby (or pro wrestling), there are some "game-theoretic considerations" occurring --- but they are not the ones a casual observer might expect. :-P
> The organizers banned us for account sharing - Iweta played one weekend and I took over the next (sic) weekend. We did this openly.
I might point out that the World Chess Championship conditions have sometimes allowed a principal's second to be substituted, at least in case of illness.
>3) "The right to an Appeal Committee is more-or-less guaranteed for an event played according to the FIDE Laws of Chess."
>However, #3 may not apply to this tournament.
The Fifth Freestyle Rules had the following about director decisions:
Please remember that due to the very large number of participants we have to rely on your cooperation to successfully stage this event. If you feel you have been unfairly treated you can write to the organisers, who may offer you a free place in the next Freestyle tournament to compensate for the injustice. As a rule it will be difficult to find satisfactory solutions while the event is under way. Remember: the decision of the tournament director is final.
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