Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 June – from Stewart Reuben
This was hosted at Marshall Chess Club in Manhattan in their building that dates back to 1915.
This was my fourth trip this year for FIDE for such meetings. The others were in: Dresden, concerning disabled players; Warsaw, ratings experts and qualification commission; Lausanne, the laws of chess. My sister asked me why I bother to own a home as I have been away so much this year (I am off on a cruise on Sunday).
Geurt Gijssen, Chairman of the Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission was to have chaired this last meeting, but he was taken ill during the meeting in Lausanne and it would have been most unwise to take a long-haul flight. We wish him a speedy recovery. So, as secretary of the RTRC, I was asked to go in his place at very short notice.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the differences between the FIDE Laws of Chess and the USCF Rules. The FIDE Laws are followed everywhere but in the US. I have long said this works to the disadvantage of US players when they play internationally. FIDE have turned a blind eye to the differences for many years, but finally said that, from 1 July 2013, they should be the same. So we want to take the best of both sets.
Of course the differences are virtually all in the Competition rules, not the Basic Rules of Play. Examples include: US allows touching the rook first when castling; To win on time in the US you must have a nearly complete scoresheet. In FIDE the arbiter works it out. But in this case the US variant is allowed within the FIDE Laws. FIDE the arbiter calls an illegal move and corrects it. In the US he just lets the players get on with it. A big difference in the US is that for many tournaments it is BYO (that is bring your own). So the equipment will vary from one board to the next. When using electronic clocks that can be very important. In the US players can still record their move before playing it. This has been outlawed in FIDE and I spent some time reassuring them that the transition had not been particularly difficult.
I spent some days before the meeting acclimatising myself and even played one tournament rapidplay game. I won and my USCF membership was renewed for 3 months. Thus presumably the fact that I am a USCF Master (rated 2200+) has been revived, although that is the first time I have played in the US this century. The game was with delay mode rather than cuumlative, so now I have played 5 such games. I suspect that is more than the entire rest of the RTR Commission. There were 6 of us at the meeting, the other 5 all being USCF arbiters, although Carol Jarecki represents the British Virgin Islands. They were all fmiliar faces to me. The meeting was both amicable and constructive. I am now in the process of preparing a document with the other members of the RTR Council to present to the world for consideration and eventual ratification in Turkey.