Question about arbiters

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Wadih Khoury
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Question about arbiters

Post by Wadih Khoury » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:39 pm

I was thinking what are the pros/cons of becoming an arbiter (as some other chess parents seem to be). Thought it would be nice to be able to help organisers and do something while my son is playing. Whenever OTB restarts.
Some questions in no particular order:

  • Key question is: how good do you actually need to be at chess to be an arbiter? I'd probably self assess myself as a lowly 1200 (if ratings even mean anything at that level)
  • How much work is required for each level, from ECF1 to IA? How much time?
  • What is the cost for each level?
  • What type of tournaments does each level allow you to arbiter in? (i.e: is ECF enough to assist in Fide rated tournaments? What does IA give you on top of FA?)
  • Any pros/cons?

Matthew Turner
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Matthew Turner » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:18 pm

Wadih,
I attended a ECF Level Arbiters course alongside a participant with a similar profile to yourself.

1. The course is a couple of days
2. The cost is negligible
3. The idea is that this gives you a strong grounding and then you move up the levels through practical experience
4. I think you'll find the course interesting (everyone who attended did), but it is quite challenging to pass

So, I would say if it is convenient, it is a good thing to do and you'll learn a lot. There is no reason why you shouldn't pass with a rating of 1200, but I imagine that realistically you would have less than a 50/50 chance.
I would also say that you don't need a qualification to be hugely useful to organisers in administering events.

Hope that helps.
Matt

p.s. If you are interested in completing the course, I'd recommend that you consider doing it alongside Theo.

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IM Jack Rudd
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by IM Jack Rudd » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:23 pm

To be listed as an arbiter in FIDE-rated tournaments, all you need is for your federation to agree that you are qualified to do so - what FIDE refers to as a "National Arbiter" title. For England, this agreement will usually be conditional on passing the ECF or FIDE arbiters' exam.

The big thing, with FIDE arbiting titles, is the jump up from NA to FA - a title-norm tournament needs at least one FA or IA to be present at all times.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:30 pm

"Key question is: how good do you actually need to be at chess to be an arbiter? I'd probably self assess myself as a lowly 1200 (if ratings even mean anything at that level)"

I'm not sure it is too important, as 2-minute rule claims don't happen much. possibly it's easier to gain the confidence of players if they think you can play!

Most important thing is to appear calm and sensible, which is certainly the impression you give in your posts. So go for it and good luck.

David Sedgwick
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:41 pm

Wadih Khoury wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:39 pm
What does IA give you on top of FA?
The procedure for becoming an IA has radically changed with effect from 1st January 2021. I haven't yet found the time study the new Regulations.

They were drawn up by the Education Sub-Committee of the FIDE Arbiters' Commission, a body on which British arbiters are well represented. IA Alex McFarlane is Chairman of the Sub-Committee and IA Shoreh Bayat is a member.

Joseph Conlon
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Joseph Conlon » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:31 pm

Interesting question Wadih - also something I have thought about doing when it becomes possible again.

I may be at risk of incurring the wrath of the Arbiters' Union here, but I do feel that for lower level events a sort of practical wisdom at the board is more important than knowing the minutiae of the rules (under the Laws I am sure two juniors are entitled to play out K+B v K+B on increment until they reach the 75 move rule, but (proverbially) knocking their heads together and telling them that they are agreeing a draw might be the better solution.....)

Looking back at when I was a junior the arbiters I most respected were those who could combine what one may call legal knowledge with human wisdom.

Nick Grey
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Nick Grey » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:16 pm

Apply Wadih. There are many arbiters here to help and players too. Hopefully see you at a congress in 2021. Hopefully arbiters doing online training.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:04 am

Joseph Conlon wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:31 pm
may be at risk of incurring the wrath of the Arbiters' Union here, but I do feel that for lower level events a sort of practical wisdom at the board is more important than knowing the minutiae of the rules (under the Laws I am sure two juniors are entitled to play out K+B v K+B on increment until they reach the 75 move rule, but (proverbially) knocking their heads together and telling them that they are agreeing a draw might be the better solution.....)
i don't know if it is still part of arbiter wisdom, but there used to be in my mind a bizarre interpretation of "unable or not trying to win" rules when playing without increment that if a player was struggling to figure out a method of delivering mate with King and Rook against King that a repetition or two was a circumstance where an arbiter should award a draw.

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:14 am

Joseph Conlon wrote:
Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:31 pm
Interesting question Wadih - also something I have thought about doing when it becomes possible again.

I may be at risk of incurring the wrath of the Arbiters' Union here, but I do feel that for lower level events a sort of practical wisdom at the board is more important than knowing the minutiae of the rules (under the Laws I am sure two juniors are entitled to play out K+B v K+B on increment until they reach the 75 move rule, but (proverbially) knocking their heads together and telling them that they are agreeing a draw might be the better solution.....)

Looking back at when I was a junior the arbiters I most respected were those who could combine what one may call legal knowledge with human wisdom.
Apologies if I'm opening a can of worms with this one but it is possible to construct a checkmate with K+B vs K+B (provided the bishops are on opposite coloured squares) and two inexperienced juniors might conceivably arrive at such a position.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:32 am

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 3:14 am
Apologies if I'm opening a can of worms with this one but it is possible to construct a checkmate with K+B vs K+B (provided the bishops are on opposite coloured squares) and two inexperienced juniors might conceivably arrive at such a position.
Naturally it's a helpmate but put a black king on h8 a white king on h6, a black bishop on g8 then Bc3 or anywhere on that diagonal is mate.

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JustinHorton
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by JustinHorton » Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:13 am

The previous move must necessarily have been ....Bg8 which must also necessarily have been The Worst Move On The Board.
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E Michael White
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by E Michael White » Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:22 am

JustinHorton wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:13 am
The previous move must necessarily have been ....Bg8
not so generally but in Roger's position yes !

Andrew Zigmond
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Andrew Zigmond » Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:36 pm

That's the same position I set up last night (for the sake of pedantry I had the mating bishop on f6). Justin is right to say that Bg8 would be the worst move on the board but a young beginner might conceivably do it without thinking, which was the scenario given.

The point is that checkmate can be achieved by a series of legal moves.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Roger de Coverly » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:03 pm

Andrew Zigmond wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 12:36 pm
The point is that checkmate can be achieved by a series of legal moves.
The key point for an arbiter being that if a flag falls a win can be given to the other player. That's the same as King and Knight v King and Knight. It is also the case that if a flag falls when a player has just a lone Knight or Bishop against an army then also the win can be awarded.

Joseph Conlon
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Re: Question about arbiters

Post by Joseph Conlon » Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:18 pm

I posed the example because checkmate *can* be achieved by a sequence of legal moves - otherwise there is no problem in declaring the game drawn.

A related example would be where a player, swindled and subject to a forced mate next move (say a back rank mate where all they can do is interpose a piece), instead runs their clock down in spite. On one level, a player can use their time as they wish - but they also need to be told that this is not acceptable.

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