“It’s fine to show up late, no one cares”

About a decade now into playing chess, I , for the first time ever, regret arriving to a tournament game late. Okay, that’s false – the first time was when I remembered the time of a round wrong… and forfeited my first (and as of today, my last) game. But this time was different – to be honest I don’t think I was even late when I got to the tournament hall, as the announcements were still going on.

For some background, this was the last round of World Open, right after my first win of the tournament. With 2.5/8, I was set to play up again and a point above the players with the lowest number of points in the section – and honestly, my score is not as bad as it sounds as I had played 6 games against players rated either 2200 or higher. I was playing solid 4-5 hour games and pretty satisfied with my game quality as someone who hadn’t played since January nor studied since before entering college. When I walked up to the standings that round, I remember staring in confusion as my name was nowhere to be found in the 4-5 boards of players with 2.5 scores and as I looked down, I realized that I had been withdrawn without my knowledge and given a zero point bye. As with other problems, I immediately went to the TD desk, where I was told that they’re not sure what happened and to wait for the head TD who was making the announcements at the time.

After he came out of the main tournament hall and the other TD’s caught him up on what happened, I was given two options: either take the withdrawal or play the player who had a one point bye, a player rated about 1600 FIDE. Ultimately, I chose to not play the last round as I saw no point in playing down so much when I had finally just won a game and while not in the greatest mood from finding out about the withdrawal in the first place. Inside, I was honestly pretty upset. Competing in Philadelphia isn’t just hard on me, but it’s also extremely hard on my parents who drive me an hour to and an hour back every single day. Just because I had arrived to the standings minutes late, I was unable to play the game I deserved and had wasted a couple hours of my parents time having them wait for me to finish to go home. So next time, note to self, just arrive early – it’s better than allowing yourself to be removed or paired incorrectly.

3 thoughts on ““It’s fine to show up late, no one cares”

  1. Kassy

    So if you had had 6.5/8 and were in contention for 1st place, the answer would be take the withdrawl or play a 1600?
    Did they give you a point for their mistake? Not that it would matter in this case, but it would if you had 6.5 and they accidentally withdrew you. Can you imagine the uproar if you were ‘given’ 7.5 and won outright when others had to play round 9.
    Is there any evidence at all that you withdrew yourself? If not, then they should treat a player with 2.5 who is completely out of the running the same as someone who has 6.5 and is in contention.
    You paid for a game in your section. You did not ‘earn’ the full point bye. I would request at least 1/9 of my entry fee back as a start since they denied you one game thru no fault of your own.
    Offering you a game against someone 2 sections down is not compensation. If you had the full point bye, then any game is acceptable as an offer. But that is not the story being presented here.

    1. Alice Dong

      I believe that if it were a 6.5/8, it would have been way harder for them to make the mistake in the first place of withdrawing the player, but also that they most definitely would have re-paired the section as it was a money-game. At the end of the day, I was neither given a point nor was I given evidence that I withdrew myself. The tournament directors were as flabbergasted by what had happened as I was, especially the ones that I had spoken to as I know the more frequent TD’s from having played in their tournaments for years. Re-pairing in order to put me back into the section would have affected about 10 boards if I remember correctly, and as the clocks had already started they did not believe that that would be the best course of action. As much as I would love that portion of my entry fee back, as the end of our discussion I was tired out by what had happened and also did not want to make the tournament director’s lives harder as I know that it must be extremely difficult to run a tournament as large as the World Open as smoothly as they did this year. While what happened was unfortunate, I don’t believe it was necessarily anyone’s fault (unless someone purposely tried to withdraw me without my knowledge but that’s a pretty far-fetched theory) and I just hope that others learn from my mistake and don’t let the same thing happen to them.

      On another note, I just wanted to clarify that the 1600 was in the open section, simply the player who received the 1 point bye. He was not 2 sections below me.

  2. Interesting to see this mentioned, as the same thing happened to me in a Continental Chess tournament a couple years back – getting dropped off my section’s pairings in the last round with no warning, while not having a high enough score for them to want to bother redoing them. They ended up giving me a rated game with a 2100 player who was the odd person out in a different section; I won the game, so all’s well that end’s well in that particular case, but it’s still unacceptable business practice, especially in a tournament with a high entry fee.

    It’s also worth noting that normally their last round pairings are posted only minutes in advance of the actual start time – or sometimes even late – which perhaps makes it that much more unlikely they’ll get redone in case of an error.

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