Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Judges gavel fell...

Avid Doubleroo readers will remember my ignominious exit from the Queensland state championship last month. I withdrew from the prestigious nine round event due to illness after three rounds  with a score of 2/3.

Yesterday I received this letter from the Chess Association of Queensland.

That some sanction was coming was only to be expected as the following correspondence from the chief arbiter foreshadowed. 

Hi Alex,

I hope you are feeling better now.

Because of your illness, I have waited a couple of days to bring up a delicate matter concerning your withdrawal.  Technically you were an unapproved withdrawer, as you didn't contact me and obtain my permission first.  The CAQ has a strict policy against unapproved withdrawers, as you can see in our Code of Conduct (  And in a major event such as the Qld Championships, unapproved withdrawals are especially unwanted, as they can create byes and affect FIDE ratings.

The problem as I see it is that if someone withdraws by simply telling the arbiter that they are ill and have to withdraw, then our policy to discourage unapproved withdrawals has no practical value.  So in a major event such as the Qld Championships, I feel that a player should have to justify a withdrawal on medical grounds.  This can easily be done by supplying me with a copy of a medical certificate.  I have noticed a few other cases where this has been requested for withdrawals from major events on medical grounds, so it seems reasonable in this case.


No doubt my reply only encouraged disciplinary action.

Hi Patrick,

As a chess player I approve of rules and their full implementation. 

I did not visit a doctor so do not have a medical certificate. I also have no intention of getting one although I agree that it is a perfectly reasonable request.

Therefore I encourage the CAQ to do the right thing and set an example to discourage this sort of behaviour in future. I accept in advance whatever sanctions the council imposes, according to the statutes, in advance. I have not read the statutes and don't intend to but have full confidence that the CAQ will apply them properly.

As for my health, its much better now after sleeping most of the last three days. I have come to the conclusion that with my age and high blood pressure I will need to forgo stressful events, ie, where a lot of travel or multiple rounds are involved. Thanks for asking.

Best wishes


Had I been informed of the pending hearing I could have pleaded guilty and argued for a suitable punishment but here the CAQ dropped the ball. As Patrick Byrom correctly argued if a player can withdraw from a tournament simply by informing him instead of pleading for his permission then their policy has no practical value! A wholly suspended six month ban is , totally inadequate as a deterrent. 

It is therefore up to me to teach myself a lesson.

For the offence of informing the DOP of my withdrawal instead of asking his permission I ban myself from CAQ events for six months.
For the offence of not bothering to get a retrospective medical certificate I ban myself for a further six months.
The sentences are to run consecutively.
I am adding a further few months for being a smartarse.

I shall play no CAQ sanctioned games until First of January 2016

Let that be a lesson to me!

ps: I am flying to Europe next Wednesday so hopefully I will play a little and blog a little :-)
Hasta pronto amigoes.