GM Sergei Zhigalko called the arbiter and made a claim against GM Hikaru Nakamura

Wow! Zhigalko must be one of the players who can only play here but cries foul at live games! Dude, you lost my respect and you are just bad for chess. Must be one of those guys who gets upset for the silliest of things. Guess what, you are a loser and you deserve it!

Timestamp: 1:58-

You conclude a lot about a person after just a few seconds. Chill!

It was one claim that seemed technically correct: Naka was adjusting his pieces in his opponent's time.
And of course, Naka didn't push over his rook on purpose after pressing his clock, but in every sports accidents happen and fouls get called, penalties are given.
In prof sports, every edge counts and so is getting your opponent out of his concentration and maybe even out of his game. I believe it was Nimzowitsch who called an arbiter because his opponent was threatening to smoke. That opponent had placed his unlit pipe next to the board.

Anyway: it was clear that Zhigalko was visually bothered by Hikaru's action. If he hadn't stop the clock and called the arbiter, he would have played on bothered, maybe even a bit on tilt. In that scenario Hikaru would have profited from his 'foul' and that's not fair either.
The result of calling the arbiter was that Zhigalko gave himself time to land again and maybe Hikaru got a bit out of his game. To me, the outcome is/seems fair.

And in the end Zhigalko was very civil. He didn't delay a resignation, he offered his hand palm up. Last but not least, he also set up the board for the next game. Hikaru was smarter: he just put the Kings on e5/d4 to indicate his win and then rushed off. He gave himself more time to get ready for the next game.

What I'm saying is:
- arbiters are there for a reason (shoutout to arbiters in every sport!)
- there's a lot going on at OTB-tournaments that can get you out of your concentration. It's good to take time to clear your head of unhelpful thoughts.
- To me it seems that Zhigalko has acted as a perfect sportsman and gentleman and doesn't deserve your condemnation based on this video.

That said: the best wishes for 2020! Let's make it a beautiful year.


Well there was avviolation. Nakamura should l not have hand over board after pressing the clock. But I dont see any possibility of actual punishement. I would perhaps give warnign and ask player to careful not put board at disarray after pressing the clock

Now nakamura cause disturbance during opponents thingking time. Givent that player obviously did not actually suffer anything from this calling arbiter was bit overdoing it. In Blitz that could be more important.

There’s no reason to call the arbiter over for that. It was a simple knocked over piece that occurred during the motion of hitting the clock. What was better, leave the knocked piece and make his opponent have to adjust it rather than quickly setting it up again?

Trying to call technical fouls such as this is not sportsmanship it’s gamesmanship, and it’s petty. It wasn’t a blitz game even where such a disturbance could possibly cause an unfair play environment. Play the game.



(This sentence is not true. Sorry. There's an incrememt. Thanks IM Lovlas)
The correct action was to repress the clock, adjust the piece and press the clock again.

And Zhivalgo Was bothered. You see that in the seconds after the event. He was out of his game. I don't think he faked that, but it doesn't matter anycase. And yeah, one less than perfect move against Nakamura and you'll get pounced upon.

And gamesmanship, sportsmanship: it's for the world rapid title. Pretty big deal. Why would anyone want to give anyone an edge?


Is there really no rule to punish a player who pushes over a piece? And what about 2 pieces or the lot? In snooker, if a player unintentionally touches a ball without moving it and without anybody else seeing it, he calls foul himself.

#6 that's not how it works, no. They are playing with increment. Pressing the clock would only have made it worse.

@IM lovlas: you are absolutely right. Thanks!

So that does mean that Zhivalgo's only option was to call the arbiter?

What I saw, naka moved, reached over to the clock to stop it and on returning his hand to the table knocked over his rook. what should have naka done? I have no idea.

Clock was on 13:35 when naka knocked the rook over, clock paused at 12:50, the next move played at 3:28. About 10 minutes between naka knocking the rook over and Zhigalko making his next move.

In some sports, players follow unwritten and unofficial rules. Things that aren't official rules that players over the years develop themselves and agree to follow. Sometimes a player loses on the field but could win on a technicality if they appealed, many don't want to win that way, so don't appeal.

In the same spirit, if over the years most chess players don't appeal when someone accidentally knocks over their piece and puts it back on their opponents time, then I think Zhigalko should have played on even if naka was technically in the wrong, if most players do appeal, then fine. Either way, Zhigalko taking 10 minutes to move suggests to me he was upset and is a part of the game he could work on to become a better player.