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Good ruling/Bad Rule

Posted By: Phil Simborg
Date: Sunday, 1 September 2013, at 4:37 p.m.

Frank Raposa had 2 seconds left on the clock (against Tim Mabee). Frank rolled 4-4, thought he rolled a 5-4, and moved 5-4 and hit the clock. Tim pointed to the dice and said that he played illegally and must correct his move. We are playing Legal Moves at this tournament, and that is Tim's obligation.

The problem is, now when we start the clock so that Frank can correct his move, he gets a new 10 second delay, so he ends up getting a lot more time to make the move than he is "entitled" to.

The tournament director was called (Jeb) and he ruled (with advice from Rich Munitz) that Frank must correct his play and indeed he does get the full 10 seconds extra delay to make the move.

It didn't help the situation that this was DMP. Of course, Tim felt that Frank got some extra time benefit from his error, but that's the rules and Tim was a good sport about it, as always.

If I were tournament director, given the clock rules etc., I guess I would have been forced to rule the same way. However, it does seem unfair that Frank should benefit from making an illegal move.

Of course, if I had any reason to believe that Frank (or someone else) was a bad actor and had done this intentionally to gain time, I would only give him 2 seconds to correct his play. The problem with that is how can I possibly prove "intent"? Even if the player is a known cheater or has made many illegal moves in his favor, it would be a tough call to tell someone he did it intentionally.

So, what should the rule be? How should this be handled?

PS: No one, including me, thought Frank did this intentionally, but intentionally or not, should a player gain a time advantage from a mistake. If he had played legally he might not have completed the play in time.

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