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Eric Moskow vs Sidney Norman Bernstein
FIDE Rating Improvement (1976), New York, NY USA
Zukertort Opening: Black Mustang Defense (A04)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Nov-15-06  Resignation Trap: Here's Sidney Bernstein's comment after 12.Bh3 Ng4:

"Hereabouts there occurred the first act of a drama which I've dubbed 'The Double Bathroom Episode'. On a quick trip to the men's room, I found <no paper of any kind there>. Returning to the playing room, I notified the appropriate official. After checking personally, he managed to arrange for a girl to obtain paper in the ladies' room, and placed said paper in the men's room. It took several minutes to arrange matters. On the way back to the chessboard, I realized that I had lost time on the clock <through no fault of my own>. I therefore accosted the tournament director and asked that my clock be set back about 5 minutes. He agreed, and so did my opponent, who stipulated that I be given <four> minutes. Half an hour later, my youthful adversary jumped up, said he had to "go," and requested that his clock be stopped for four minutes! The tournament director demurred, stating that no problem existed in the bathroom, and that the request therefore lacked any reasonable basis. I interceded--and the four minutes were granted. The importance of these technicalities was demonstrated late in the game, when both of us were afflicted by serious time-pressure. In fact, when my opponent resigned at move forty, both flags were ready to drop!!

Premium Chessgames Member
  fredthebear: FTB knows from personal experience that the matter of using the bathroom can impact the game, usually negatively. It breaks one's concentration or has caused a hasty move just prior to leaving the table. Sometimes stepping away generates a fresh idea during relief while contemplating the position in a "blindfold" manner.

FTB suggests to be alert to where the second closest bathroom is beforehand (overcrowding certainly does occur in the men's room). Do record your move and stopped-clock time before getting up from the board. FTB also recommends making a specific mental note of the occupied squares of the four opposing minor pieces.

If your clock is running when you return, ask the opponent "Did you move?" Be sure to record the opponent's move in the correct column and re-assess the entire position. It's not uncommon for the same player to make two moves in a row (illegally) when either player returns to the table.

FTB recalls one incident (up on the 4th floor) where the janitor had closed off the men's bathroom for cleaning purposes, so FTB improvised out of urgency and used the empty women's room rather than navigate to the other end of the building. "Necessity is the mother of invention" is so true.

Sadly, in this day and age, it might be necessary to check-up on the opponent away from the board. This is particularly true if it's the opponent's turn to move -- his clock is running -- yet he's left the board. Often, it turns out to be harmless, such as a 20 minute smoke break at the World Open before deciding to resign (as long as the opponent is not discussing the game while it's in progress).

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