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Magnus Carlsen vs Ernesto Inarkiev
World Blitz Championship (2017), Riyadh KSA, rd 1, Dec-29
Sicilian Defense: Mengarini Variation (B20)  ·  1-0


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Premium Chessgames Member
  rogge: Well, <most> people seem to disagree with <nok>.
Jan-04-18  WorstPlayerEver: <nok>

Do you mean that most players who have made an illegal move first, try to cheat their way out of it like Inarkiev? Can you give some examples, please?

I'm a bit afraid you are painting yourself slowly a way to the corner now. And that would be a shame IMHO

Jan-04-18  nok: Most players who make an illegal move in blitz just lose because the opponent sees it. This was unusual in that the opponent didn't see it and the arbiter was also wrong.

What I do mean anyway is that the chief arbiter's decision was iffy, and <most> white knights here would object to have to play it again irl.

Jan-04-18  WorstPlayerEver: <nok>

Theoretically I agree with you about the whole procedure; the decisions made were dubious. Regardless of Inarkiev's motivation; the benefit of the doubt should be the norm.

However, as Pein pointed out: in practice it would lead to an unworkable situation. For the arbitrage. So they had to solve a dilemma. And they did; they are considering to add a tiny paragraph to the rules.

Sometimes common sense rules.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanzibar,

"But then, why insist on appealing the chief arbiter's decision?"

He had two choices after the chief arbiter's decision.

Play on in a lost position practically admitting he tried to pull a flanker.

Or appeal based on the first arbiters decision and Carlsen signing the score sheet. This also shows (or is meant to show) that he thought his illegal move claim was valid and he was not trying to chisel Carlsen.

I've seen dozens of players walk out of tournaments or refusing to play on when a decision has gone against them.

Player 'A' played Bf1-c5. (Illegal move) Player 'B' calmly spent 5-10 minutes looking at to see if it would lead to an advantage for him.

No. So he pointed out the illegal move. Players 'A' took back his move and tried to move another piece.

'Touch Move' on the f1 Bishop claimed player 'B'.

Massive argument in tournament hall. Player 'A' insisting because his opponent took so long to point out the illegal move 'Touch Move' did not apply (!). (ridiculous I know but when the temper is up chess players can amazingly creative in their arguments.)

Arbiter rules in favour of player 'B'. The pieces were scattered player 'A' walked out.

These incidents go on all the time, in this case Carlsen was involved, that is why we are discussing it.

This particular case is unique, I thought I knew all the blitz dodges but this is a new one and apparently a new rule is being added to cover it.

Hi WorstPlayerEver:

"Sometimes common sense rules."

Usually eventually, but before then we get over excited humans either clutching at straws or simply not knowing the exact rules. First Beldam then Common Sense.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Hi <Sally>...

Let's start with just the first few assertions from your post, to wit:

<He had two choices after the chief arbiter's decision.

Play on in a lost position practically admitting he tried to pull a flanker.

Or appeal based on the first arbiters decision and Carlsen signing the score sheet. This also shows (or is meant to show) that he thought his illegal move claim was valid and he was not trying to chisel Carlsen.>

I disagree with several points already. Let me elaborate a few...

First - he has four options after the chief arbiter's decision

<(Play on -or- resign) x (Appeal -or- Don't appeal)>

A player always has the right to appeal a decision, no matter what the outcome of the game.

Now, as for appealing...

<This also shows (or is meant to show) that he thought his illegal move claim was valid and he was not trying to chisel Carlsen.>

Your parenthetical allows the supposition that Inarkiev was insincere in his claim, as he certainly could have been trying to chisel Carlsen, and still file the claim.

In fact, one might posit that filing the claim was a blatant continued attempt to chisel.

Or, as you suggest, he could have earnestly believed he won the game.

Or, he could have been trying to cover his ass for making the initial claim, by following it up in what he thinks incurs the least damage (ie. he knows what he was pulling one off, and thinking this option incurs the least fallout).

Or, he could believe the chief IA's decision, but he makes the appeal in order to highlight the confusion in the rules, or to get a firmer and more final ruling.

He could also be in denial, and filing the appeal allows him to rationalize his initial actions.

There are lots of options at play.

But how can anyone, after the heat of the moment has passed, think that they should win a game when they themselves made an illegal move and their opponent missed stopping the game?

In effect, that is the ruling that Inarkiev seems to desire.


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: RE: appeals

Unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise, a player may appeal against any decision of the arbiter, even if the player has signed the scoresheet (see Article 8.7).>

Jan-05-18  WorstPlayerEver: It's impossible that Inarkiev wasn't aware of his illegal move; the position was 'legal' after Carlsen made his move.

So how could Inarkiev claim an illegal move (Kd3) if he did not now the position was illegal after he played Ne3+?

Like I said: it's logically impossible by matter of deduction:

Carlsen made an illegal move

The position is legal after Carlsen's move.

Therefore Inarkiev must have made the first illegal move.

Inarkiev claims an illegal move by Carlsen.

Therefore Inarkiev must have known the position was illegal before Carlsen played Kd3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Bardeen has this:

<In the opening round Carlsen won a pawn against Ernesto Inarkiev, the 2016 European champion, and his rook was checking his opponent’s king. Inarkiev illegally replied with a knight check of his own and, when Carlsen in reflex mode moved his own king, the Russian claimed the game! The world body Fide has Byzantine rules on illegal moves and the deputy arbiter declared a win for Inarkiev. On successive appeals the ruling changed to a draw, then for play to resume from the last legal position, which Inarkiev refused.>

Who made the interim decision that the game was a draw?

(Or did Bardeen get it wrong by saying "successive appeals", as chief IA did offer a draw option to Inarkiev if he choose to resuming play, at least I think he did) .

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <WPE> It's possible (though I think very unlikely) that Inarkiev didn't notice he was in check until after he surveyed the board after Carlsen's 28.Kd3 move.

Only then he realized his ...Ne3+ was illegal.

Of course this is disproved by viewing the actual play in real time:

Inarkiev took all of 0.0 msec to point his finger at Carlsen's king after Carlsen moved it.

The ...Ne3 move was a deliberate trap is the only "logical" conclusion.

One wonders if Inarkiev successfully pulled off this stunt before - which would also be a rationale (at least to him) for his appeal.


Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: The video clearly shows Inarkiev pointing to the Rook checking his King after Carlsen played 28.Kd3 in response to 27...Ne3+.

Riiiight, Inarkiev did not know that his King was in check.


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I also have to say that I admire's Carlsen's restraint at that point. He's clearly stunned, but accepts the situation foisted upon him, expressing his disbelief, but complying with the proper protocol to finish.

Of course, I'm pretty sure he instantly resolved to seek out the chief IA rather than argue with the initial IA.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Check It Out: Here's a transcript I made of the interview with E. Inarkiev immediately after his now infamous game with Carlsen (Read in your best Russian mafia voice. The announcer is female: )

<Announcer: We have Ernesto Inarkiev here with us. He just won a game against the World Champion Magnus Carlsen..Please, tell us what happened here?

I: We played to seconds already [remaining] and we didn’t control the situation. We both made illegal moves. After he took on b7 I forgot that this was a check and I saw that 27…Ne3+ was a very clever intermediate move; but, after he answered 28.Kd3 I realized that my king was under attack so I just fixed it ..uh.. illegal move ..yeah.

A: There were no objections from Magnus’ side or the arbiter’s side?

I: No, he asked what is going on, I mean, what should be the result? But, that he didn’t fix his moment he cannot already make a move back. So this was the case.>

Here’s how I interpret Inarkiev's convoluted conclusion, albeit in his non-native tongue: <I realized the situation was illegal first and then fixed the situation officially with the arbiter. So yeah, I win. >

Was Carlsen’s move “officially” legal? Has that been established beyond opinion?

Or, is that the gray area that should be more concretely addressed in the rule book?

IMO, since it can’t be expected in blitz that all errors will be caught in the moment, either by arbiters or players, then Inarkiev automatically loses since he made the first undisputed illegal move.

In the end the chief arbiter made the correct call and all’s well that ends well and all that, but perhaps the rule book needs amendment.

The question remains: to what extent does Inarkiev’s character take a blow? Did he act dishonorably or merely rash?

I've mostly seen the derogatory side. But consider this, he obviously new the position was lost:

<A: What about the position at the moment this happened?…how did you estimate it?

I: White clearly has a very big advantage; probably just a winning position already.>

I think Inarkiev was merely rash in the heat of the battle and deserves the benefit of the doubt; but, I’m open to evidence that he acted unethically.

Jan-06-18  JPi: <Of course, I'm pretty sure he instantly resolved to seek out the chief IA rather than argue with the initial IA.> I'm not sure that it was as instantly as Inarkiev pointed out Carlsen's "illegal move" however it's natural to know what FIDE rule decides about Inarkiev's incredible claim. It could be Carlsen or a friend of Carlsen who advice him to make it sure about. At least the one who made an illegal move is Inarkiev as you can't put your King in check. It was already explain, Carlsen got an Illegal position but not because he played an illegal move but because Inakiev did it! To claim it a victory is out common sens and by the way shows a silly opportunistic mind.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I'll add my two cents that the claim Carlsen "instinctively" moved out of check doesn't really seem right when you watch the video. It took far longer than an "instinctive" move.
Jan-06-18  WorstPlayerEver: <After he took on b7 I forgot that this was a check>

Pretty clever statement, but irrelevant; he had made the first illegal move, which was pretty clear by the time he had to play on. According to the rules.

But he didn't. Instead he made an appeal. If he just had played on, no one would have made objections.

Things happen.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: The Chief Arbiter on the incident:

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: The arbiter in the above video explained to Inarkiev some of the rules and that there was a rule about two kings being in check.

He told him if he wanted to resume the game from the position prior to the illegal move, to which Inarkiev refused, because as he saw it, the game was lost.

Inarkiev preferred to make an appeal.

If Ernestito knew he was lost after 27. Rxb7+, (refusing to resume the game) then it's not much of a stretch to assume that he was well aware (during the game) that he was lost, and hence his illegal move 27...Ne3+.

So it was a ploy all along.

Jan-06-18  WorstPlayerEver: 1. e2xe8 1-0
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <<OCF> I'll add my two cents that the claim Carlsen "instinctively" moved out of check doesn't really seem right when you watch the video. It took far longer than an "instinctive" move.>

I'd make a differentiation between a reactive move and an instinctive.

Instinctive here means that seeing his king in check he instinctively focused all his attention on getting it out of check. King safety demands some deliberation whenever moving such an important and vulnerable piece.

The only time such instinctive focus would be errant would be when your opponent makes an illegal move. And I believe Carlsen's focus is so extraordinary, and his instincts so reactive, that he could easily temporarily forget that his opponent was in check once he saw his king under attack.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: <Or did Bardeen get it wrong...>

Beg your pardon, it's Barden.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi Zanibar,

" And I believe Carlsen's focus is so extraordinary, and his instincts so reactive, that he could easily temporarily forget that his opponent was in check."

Then we are all Carlsen's because every blitz player I know has missed a check or left their King hanging. It's very common in OTB blitz. Impossible in net blitz. You need to get out more :)

W.P.E. is correct:

" Inarkiev was merely rash in the heat of the battle and deserves the benefit of the doubt."

It was a clutch at a passing straw did on the spur of the moment and the deeper he waded in to grab that straw the worse it looked and he was soon in over his head.

It was ridiculous claim but it caught both players and an arbiter.

Jan-06-18  WorstPlayerEver: <Sally Simpson>

The benefit of the doubt is one thing, but it does not mean I am not suspicious.

In a previous comment I wondered why Carlsen reacted so calm, considering his temper when 'things go wrong.'

But what do you know? Carlsen was prepared! Peter Heine Nielsen seems to have faced the same swindle in Dubai '14:

In other words: what had been Carlsen's reaction if he were unprepared for this nonsense? I think this is a serious consideration, after reading Carlsen's blog.

Btw watch closely how Inarkiev studies the reaction of Magnus when Carlsen 'hears the news' from the arbiter.

It's a bit supicious that it happened during the first round, because that makes the incident a bit too incidental IMHO

We're speaking of a very prestigious -politically- tournament, not about some local chess happening FYI. That's the difference. I think you can't neglect these facts, so IMO your comparison cuts no wood.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi W.P.E.

I don't think I am neglecting anything that really matters. I'm bringing to the debate nearly 50 years of blitz chess and the effect this cartoon chess has on players.

The Peter Heine Nielsen 'incident' was a dubious three fold rep claim which merited one post.

P H Nielsen vs V Kovalev, 2014

Which was quite different from this game.

Which proves, as I said before Blitz squabbles happen all the time and we are only debating this because Carlsen was involved.

I'm afraid my telepathic skills do not match yours in as much as you can tell what a player was thinking by 'watching closely' at Inarkiev studying the reaction of Magnus when he hears the news from the arbiter.

The lad has no prior convictions for this kind of behaviour, his after match interview tells you he was not used to this situation. He got his hand stuck in a cookie jar and had no experience on how to slip it out saving face.

He got wrapped up in a moment of madness which blitz has a habit of bringing out in people and may or may not be embarrassed about it (as I said before, my telepathic skills are found wanting as to what he thinks.)

"a very prestigious -politically- tournament" It's a Mickey Mouse event and this happening in the first round or the last round matters not. (Infact it's more like a latter rounds incident when the money is at stake.)

I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt and moving on.

Feb-02-18  Lovuschka: So what exactly is supposedly illegal about Carlsen's move? It is not illegal to move your king out of check. And there is no rule in the FIDE Laws of Chess that says it is illegal to keep up a check either. If Carlsen's move would be illegal, then in fact Carlsen would be checkmate as he is unable to remove both checks at the same time. Now that checkmate would not have been made by a legal move, meaning that Inarkiev's move does not win the game. So the game has to continue, but it can't as there is supposedly no legal move. So stalemate?

No, the truth is an easier solution: The judge is a complete ... you know what ... who did not read the Laws of Chess, and so did not see that moving a king out of check is completely legal. And he also did not see that there is no rule against giving check, or sustaining it, with your move. In fact, as that should not happen, it is not covered anywhere. Caputuring Inarkiev's king would have been illegal. Moving the own king out of check is not.

So Inarkiev should have been punished for making a false claim. Also the game should have continued after R:b7+. So the appeal decision was correct.

Also the judge should never be used for ANY tournament again until he makes a refreshment course about the rules of chess.

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