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The Value Of A Score Sheet

Posted by Paul Anderson on May 5, 2015 at 12:40 AM

Game Of The Week

This week's game comes from board 1 of the money round from the Colorado Springs Chess Club's April Swiss 75.  It involved an Opposite-Colored Bishops Endgame, which are often drawn without careful play, and a time scramble controversy.

The time control was G/75; inc/30.  The idea of having a 30 second increment on every move is to avoid time scrambles and require players to record every move.  However, the reality is that players still panic as their clocks approach zero and take shortcuts with their score keeping.

This game was an example of poor score keeping by both players and my first ruling as a TD.

As the game approached 60 moves, both players had used most of their time.  White had about 1 minute, and Black had about 8 minutes.  Black stopped keeping score in a worse position.  White continued to keep score.  However, when White reached 60 moves, he failed to get another score sheet and recorded moves on the back of his score sheet.

With several moves on the back of his score sheet, White asked me, "Doesn't he have to keep score?"

I replied, "Are you making a claim?"

White says, "Yes."

I remind White he should stop the clock to make a claim.  He looks at the clock Black had supplied for the game with confusion and hovers over each of the buttons as he reads them for the first time.  Finally, Black presses the pause button for him.

With the clock stopped, I try to decide how to rule on this situation.  I clearly saw Black stop recording his moves.  However, Black is visiting the US and has a limited number of USCF-rated games under his belt.  Also, he speaks little English.  So, he may have never understood that recording moves is required with 30 second increment.  I felt a time penalty would be too harsh.

Instead I ask White, "Do you have a complete score sheet?"

My idea is to have Black use White's score sheet to bring his up-to-date and warn him to record all his moves until the end of the game.

However, White says, "Mine is not accurate."

After the game, I was able to go over White's score sheet and find several errors.  A number of moves were blank and illegible.  Also, all the moves on the back of the score sheet were without numbers.

Since neither player had an accurate score sheet, I figured that trying to get both players to bring their score sheets up-to-date would be a waste of time and likely, not possible.  So, I grabbed new score sheets for both players, made a diagram of the board, and warned both of them to keep score from this point forward.

White asked, "Can I get 2 minutes?"

I denied White's claim, "Since neither player had an accurate score sheet, I am just warning both players about the rule to record all your moves."

White asked, "Can I get 10 seconds for the time it took to pause Black's clock?"

I denied White's claim, "You are supposed to learn how to pause his clock before the game starts."

The game finished without any further incident.  However, players and spectators often have questions after the game.  In fact, the TD, himself, may have questions after the ruling. I know I was curious about whether a player can use the back of a score sheet to record moves.  The lack of move numbers makes me question how accurate the record is.  And if a blank sheet of paper qualifies as a score sheet, then why not a napkin?  Or if you are really desperate, how about your arm?

This dispute might have been avoided if White had found the best line earlier.  Here is the position.

White to move

See the diagram and answer here:

To encourage players to become better score keepers, I am going to start offering prize money for the Game Of The Week selections.  This means a player will not only have to turn in their score sheet but also record their games accurately and legibly.  Wouldn't  that be a brilliancy!

The Value Of A Score Sheet


[Event "CSCC April Swiss 75"]

[Site ""]

[Date "2015.04.28"]

[Round "4.1"]

[White "McGough, Mark"]

[Black "Bozhenov, Alexsand"]

[Result "1-0"]

[ECO "E83"]

[WhiteElo "1701"]

[BlackElo "1877"]

[PlyCount "135"]

[EventDate "2015.04.07"]

[TimeControl "4500+30"]


1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O

6. Be3 Nc6 7. Qd2 e5 8. d5 Ne7 9. Nge2 Ne8 10. c5 f5 11. O-O-O dxc5 12. Bxc5

Nd6 13. Kb1 a6 14. Nc1 b6 15. Be3 b5 16. Bd3 Bd7 17. Nb3 Nec8 18. Nc5 Qe8 19.

Rc1 Rf7 20. Nxd7 Qxd7 21. b3 Rb8 22. Ka1 a5 23. Rc2 a4 24. Rb1 Nb6 25. bxa4

bxa4 26. Rcb2 Rc8 27. Bxb6 cxb6 28. Rxb6 fxe4 29. Nxe4 Nxe4 30. Bxe4 Qa7 31. d6

Rff8 32. Qd5+ Kh8 33. Rb7 Qd4+ 34. Qxd4 exd4 35. Rd1 a3 36. d7 Rb8 37. Rd3 Rfd8

38. Rdb3 Rxb7 39. Rxb7 Bf6 40. Kb1 Kg7 41. Kc2 Kf7 42. Kb3 Ke7 43. Kxa3 Rxd7

44. Rxd7+ Kxd7 45. Kb4 Kc7 46. Kb5 Kb8 47. a4 Ka7 48. Kc4 Ka6 49. Kd5 Ka5 50.

Ke6 Bg5 51. Kd5 Kxa4 52. Kxd4 Kb4 53. Ke5 Kc4 54. Ke6 Be3 55. Kf7 Kd4 56. Kg7

g5 57. Kxh7 Bg1 58. Kg6 g4 59. fxg4 Kxe4 60. h4 Kf4 61. g5 Bd4 62. h5 Kg4 63.

h6 Be5 64. h7 Bc3 65. Kh6 Kf5 66. g6 Bd2+ 67. Kg7 Bc3+ 68. Kf7 1-0


This Week In Chess

On April 28th, the Colorado Springs Chess Club finished the April Swiss 75 (4SS, G/75+30, $10 entry). 8 players battled on 4 boards this evening. 

Here are the results:

Score, Player

4.0 Mark McGough $32.00 1st place

2.5 Richard Buchanan $10.50 2nd place

2.5 Brian Jo Rountree  $10.50 2nd place

2.0 Rhett Langseth

2.0 Aleksand Bozhenov

1.5 Jordan Myers $14.00 U1700

1.0 Justice Myers

1.0 Dean W Brown

1.0 Dan Prutz

0.5 Federico Carreon 

Categories: 2015

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