Comments on Playing Rules

All the games of the World Championship must be played in accordance with RIF rules.
However, the official rules cover only the basic part of ruling. There are lots of other rules that have to be decided before the World Championship, usually initiated by the tournament organizers.
It is allowed to implement any rules that do not violate the official rules of RIF.

The most common issues that the organizer has to deal with:

  • to control that the valid rules are carefully used;
  • to judge in all disputs that may occur during the competition;
  • to control that good circumstances are presented during the competition;
  • to control that the players are not disturbed by each other or by spectators;
  • to punish players who does not follow the rules;
  • to decide the order when interrupted games have to start again;

Although different countries use different style of organizing of the tournament, the main issues are still in common:

  • There will be round robin tournament with 11 rounds.
  • The time control is usually 2 hours for each player without control moves, and then 30 stones/30 minutes and when the stones are used up, another 30/30 is given, etc.
  • There are usually 2 games per day (could be 1, but not more than 2)
  • The seeding of players is done by the principle that the players from the same countries could not meet in last 3 rounds.
  • It is not allowed to talk during the game. If some kind of discussion is needed, it has to be done in English, and with the presence of referee who makes sure that the topic of the talk has no influence over the ongoing games.
  • Usually organizers provide the drinks for the players during the rounds.
  • Observers are allowed to take flash photos only during the first 15-30 minutes of the game.

Disputable Situations

There are disputable situations happening in every WC. Some are solved easily, but some cause further arguments and protests.
It is very natural. It mostly happens when either one of the players or observers or referees do not know the rules very clearly. In recent years, it has often happened that the referees make the most mistakes during the WC. This is one of the reason why the Referee Commission was created, in order to improve the level of referees
Even some inexperienced players make mistakes.

Here are the examples of the mistakes:

  • In WC 1999, the player touched the intersection of board with the stone and having not released the stone, he took the move back. According to the RIF rules "The making of a move is considered to be ended when the player has released the stone." However, specially for WC 1999, the General Assembly had approved the organizers suggestion that "It is not allowed to move a stone around the board while making a move. If you touch an intersection by the stone, you have to make your move on the intersection." It is hard to get used to such temporary rules, and therefore such mistakes may easily happen. As a result, the referee ruled that the player has to keep the stone in the place where it touched the board, and that caused the loss to a player.
  • In WC 1999, a player with white color removes one of the 5th moves offered by black and pushed the clocks after that, forgotting to make his own 6th move. The referee commission decided to allow the game to be continued and undo the mistake, and punished the player by deducting 15 minutes of thinking time from his clock.
  • In Women WC 1999, the player used the paper record of the game and the pen to simulate further moves of the game. The complaint was made by the opponent, and the referee committee decided that the player loses the game. Violation of RIF rule 16.
  • In 1999, during B tournament, the X country players left the tournament hall without notifying referees, and the referees who saw the players leaving did not stop them. Here is the mistake from both player and referee. Such mistake might have resulted with outdoor analyses while the game was going.
  • In 1997, during A-final, there was a big noise coming from next door which seriously distracted everyone's games. There was the mistake of organizers, according to RIF rules 17.3.
  • In 1998, during the Youth WC, the organizers made the rule that whoever makes a mistake in recording of the game on paper, should be pubished with loss. But when the organizing country's player happened to be the first one to do that mistake, the organizers quickly cancelled the rule completely. It was a severe mistake my organizers and it put the reputation of organizers under a doubt of other RIF members.
  • In 1998, during the Youth WC, one of the observers from the organizing country spoke in their own language to the young player who was thinking about next move. The complaint was made, but it was ignored by a referee. A severe mistake.
  • In Women WC 2001, the organizers had made the rule "when there is 10 minutes left on the clock, the player should raise the hand if she wants to call for the referee to help to write for her." The player did not use this opportunity, but continued play. When there was 5 minutes left, she stopped writing the game record. The complaint was made and the referee was close to punish the player with loss. However, the observers of the game reminded the referee that there was no violation by player, because RIF rule 13.2. says: If a player has only five minutes or less left of his time, he does not need to fulfil the duty prescribed in 13.1, ...". At first, the referee ignored those reminders by observer, and insisted that player violated the rule of not writing the record since she didn't raise her hand. It turned out that the mistake was the 10 minute rule itself. It was an illegal rule since it forced the player act differently than stated in RIF rule 13.2, and the RIF rule 18 says that These rules can only be changed after a decision made by the General Assembly of the Renju International Federation." After a short argument, the referee agreed that the rule itself was illegal and the player did not violate any rules. The game was to be resumed.
The list of mistakes above is just a small fraction of all the mistakes. The purpose of showing the mistakes is not to blame or point out anyone, but to let you know what might happen during the real games, and how to be prepared for all this.
The best way to protect yourself, and to be always correct, is to learn well about the RIF rules, and the additional tournament rules, which are in accordance with RIF rules. And when you get into the trouble situation, when you feel that you are right, but you are not sure, then try to ask the help of some experienced players who know rules well.