Archive for September, 2007

How to Play Chess: Adjudications

September 9, 2007

Col. Ed Edmondson finished his chess career as Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation who guided that organization during much of its growing years. He had helped establish an Industrial Chess League while residing in Rochester, NY that had been discontinued. I had been appointed a USCF Region II Director, was active in our club as its program director, TD, organizer and treasurer. One of the objectives I had was to increase interest in our local chess scene. I was at the time in close contact with Col. Edmondson working on some projects. He mentioned that he had once lived in Rochester and had helped set up an industrial team league. I learned that it was defunct mostly from just lack of interest. I decided to contact Roman Kuzelak who had been the adminstrator and a prominent chess personage in the area business world. I contacted him explaining my thoughts about reviving the league which met with enthusiasm. A meeting of all company representative was set up and we met in Todd Hall at the Central YMCA branch. It was my intention to introduce ratings and USCF membership which I gave a short talk on about the advantages of supporting US chess and having the added value of having an official rating for players that would help organizers and team captains evaluate the relative strength of their teams and members. However, it was met with total objection as the Rochester Athletic Association that controlled all company and corporate sports play involved had bylaws which prohibited anyone from having to belong to any outside organization inorder to participate in sponsored events. And companies would not compete without their approval. Of course my main desire was to bring better opportunities for chessplayers locally and the 30 teams we set up with 150 players plus 2 subs per team would enrich my program hoping that some would join the Rochester Chess Club and participate in our activities and regional tournaments.

Moving ahead in time, we had a number years of success with Kodak Recreation Center hosting the league. I was asked along with Dr. Marchand to accept appointment as an adjudicator of unfinished games which we accepted. Mr. Kuzelak would do a diagram of unfinished game positions and provide either of us with them for adjudication. No names or team was known to us. This was a very enjoyable experience for us.

The question of what constitutes an adjudication in terms of a result never came up until one I did where I found a beautiful win leaving the opponent in zugswang (any move played creates a lost position). Well, that raised the devil with the team captain who along with his team members felt the game was drawn. The lines I submitted with my result was questioned and Dr. Marchand was asked to give his evaluation without seeing my analysis. He analyzed it with the players involved, one being the winner, Rev. Poluikis who admitted that he did not see the move starting my lines of analysis and probably would have settled for a draw result. However, my analysis could not be refuted after more than a half hour tries to do so by Marchand and the opposing player so the victory was given to Rev. Poluikis.

What has all this to do with the leadup of the last comment? Mostly for historical reasons of how the Industrial-Civic League was reestablished and blossomed in part and to set the stage for the necessity of the adjudicationary function. I argued that the only thing that mattered was the position and result, not whether a player or players would have seen the moves deciding the adjudicator’s result. The principle involved here is the truth of a position to be fair to both parties. My reasoning was accepted by all and it kept the members from creating the type of situations that led to the demise of the league previously.

Adjudications are a tough call. I have seen some conducted in correspondence events where poor decisions were handed down largely on superficial review such as material or position without any support but a decision statement.