A rook is always a rook no matter what you call it.

26th September 2017 - Cabot A vs Downend D

Our opening match at Cabot turned out to be very educational. Missing Mike P and Toby we were expecting a tough night against a team that we needed to get points from if we are to avoid relegation this year.


Out graded on every board, significantly so on the top two, we set to the task. After the opening exchanges things weren't looking bad and we were slightly better on at least 4 boards. Unfortunately Jack was first to succumb on board 6 having put up a good fight. I finished soon after forcing a perpetual check after being unable to regain my opening gambit pawn. A quick check of the boards at this point showed that Richard P and James were well up with seemingly straightforward wins, and Richard L and Dave had complex positions that could easily be draws.


Then came a lesson we should all heed. Richard P promoted a pawn to a queen, but as his was still on the board he did what we all do and took a spare rook and turned it upside down declaring it a queen and calling check. His opponents King was forced to retreat behind his queen. Queens were exchanged (using Richard's original queen) and Richard went to change his upside down rook for his now spare queen. At which point his opponent went to check the rules and declared that a rook is a rook whether it is upside down or not. He is of course correct, though this is a generally accepted action in this situation. Given his opponent only had a few pawns left, Richard accepted the ruling and played on winning the game shortly afterwards. If the situation had been more complex it could have cost him the game.


I doubt this will ever happen again in a league match, but you have been warned, if you want to promote to a queen go and find one. I assume you can stop the clocks whilst you search.


(Update: Resident arbiting pro Geoff Gammon has been in touch to confirm both of these points and to add that moving the upturned rook diagonally as if it were a queen would constitute an illegal move!)


Shortly after this episode Richard L's opponent offered a draw which he took. We were all level at 2-2 and it was down to the top 2 boards. James quickly converted his position to a win, and we just needed a draw on board 2 to win the match. However, Dave was not so lucky and the superior strength of his opponent eventually forced him to concede the game.


The result, a draw, and our first point of the season from a good match, let's hope it's not our last.

Nigel Wilcox