Two-Minute Rule by Ian Campbell

There were two disputes in local Merseyside matches involving the Quick Play finish. My general advice to players and Captains would be as follows;

If the players agree, don't interfere.
If the Captains agree, the players should follow their advice.
If no agreement is possible, the final sanction is Appendix D of the Laws of Chess.

In the spirit of mutual understanding and goodwill I offer an article containing my thoughts on the two minute rule. Hopefully, it will offer some insight on how one Arbiter approaches these situations.

This rule probably causes more confusion amongst club players than any other rule. Here is an article reproduced from the Arbiter’s Association magazine for your interest.

This position arose in a game at the British Championships in Swansea. The arbiter was called when Black refused White’s offer of a draw.

What would you do?

1. Give draw    2.Ask White to play on and watch game

The game continued 89.….Rb5 90. Kc3 Nd5+ 91. Kc4 Rb4+ 92. Kxd5


The game continued 92.……Rb2 93. Kc4 Kd2 94. Rh1 Ke3

In this position, White’s flag fell. What is your final decision?

My thinking is as follows

An aphorism. Book draws happen in books.

It seems to me that the advent of super chess computers has resulted in an emphasis on the human brain as a chess playing tool. Banned during play are such possible aids as mobile phones, writing directly into a book of personal games, writing the move down in advance, asking for advice, etc. So, the lament It's a book draw should be met with the riposte... Show me !

In this case I would award a win to Black as White has failed to repeat the position once and I cannot be certain of White’s intentions. Ra1 might follow but I don’t know that.

Suppose the moves 95. Ra1 Kd2 96. Rh1 had been played. I might well award a draw and hope the appeals committee backed me up.

Perhaps it is just as well that I am not an arbiter at such prestigious events !

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I invite any readers to study the following position;

Suppose White or Black has claimed a draw under the two minute rule and is playing on under your supervision. The claimant’s flag falls in this position. Both players look at you and wait for your verdict.

What would be your decision?

In my opinion, it is a win in both cases.

Should you disagree, analyse the position after Ke1 by White or h2 by Black. I can almost hear the complaints arguing that such moves would not have been played, but it can not be denied that such moves are playable in a time scramble.

Players should keep enough time to demonstrate the repetition of king moves that would indicate a draw. That is the point.

White players seeking a draw should aim to capture the pawn as quickly as possible. Black players seeking a draw should not try to promote a Rook's pawn. Run the king to the a file and stubbornly refuse to move it back towards the pawn. Allied to a proper written record, which can be kept by Captains, it would be difficult to argue that the King and Knight can win by normal means.