Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Look, no hands

You might recall last Wednesday's posting which asked the question - is there any reason to think that it remains compulsory to shake hands before a game?

As far as I'm concerned the answer is still I'm not sure, but since I can't find anything in the present rules of chess to say that the handshake is compulsory, I'm going to assume, just for the moment, that it is not.

What's this about? You might also recall a posting from last month in which I made plain my annoyance at opponents who turn up late for games and especially those who can't be bothered to apologise for their late arrival.

My own apologies, by the way, for not responding to the interesting comments that followed - by the time they appeared I was in a small Scottish village with no WiFi. Anyway, later on in the holiday I played a weekend tournament in which, on the Sunday morning, my opponent arrived very late for the game. No apology, no nothing. This, once again, annoyed me.

Thinking on this, since then, I wondered if it might provide an opportunity for a little exercise in comparative ethics. Many people think it's unsporting to start a game without a handshake: I'm not so bothered about that as I am about players arriving late for games. For my part, I think it's discourteous to turn up late with no apology to the opponent.

So what I propose is that the next time this occurs - an opponent turns up late, lets say more than ten minutes, and without any apology - I refuse any handshake that they offer. On the grounds that I consider their conduct unsporting and hence see no reason to greet them "in a normal social manner".

How would that be?


Anonymous said...

Imagine you are playing black and your opponent arrives on time, plays 1.e4 (which you already knew he would play) and then vanishes for 15 minutes maybe to get a coffee and something to eat. To me it doesn't seem to make such a big difference whether you wait for your opponent before the first move or after.

And even if I accept arriving late as impolite, it is hard to construe it as a personal insult. Refusing a handshake is decidedly a personal insult.


Anonymous said...

If an opponent arrives late, it doesn't bother me one bit.

The later they arrive, the bigger my time advantage.

Simples ;)

ejh said...

And even if I accept arriving late as impolite, it is hard to construe it as a personal insult.

But doing so without any apology may more easily be construed as such.

Anonymous said...

So unlikely to be applied to most players. I looked it up when playing in South Wales a few years ago, but fortunately the pairing did not come up. It did not occur to me at the time turning up late might have conveyed my feelings more effectively.

Paul C

ejh said...

Very classy Paul. As usual your research is inadequate though as you'll find that document linked to in last week's posting.

Anonymous said...

Indeed not classy, but it is true. I think I considered turning up late to try to avoid a handshake, which is a further irony.

Peace and love

Paul C

ejh said...

I would be most surprised if you were late arriving at the board Paul. It is perhaps in other areas that you have fallen behind.

Jonathan Rogers said...

What about simply shaking the hand of the unapologetic latecomer and showing yourself to be the classier person?

ejh said...

Perfectly reasonable plan Jonathan and always my policy hitherto. It does have the disadvantage however of not carrying out the experiment in comparative ethics which interests me.

an ordinary chessplayer said...

If you carry out your plan, the effect on your opponent, good bad or indifferent, is unpredictable. I expect that observed effect is the intended datum of the experiment. At the same time, there would be another perhaps unintended experiment taking place. You claim to care about these protocols. What sort of person would break an ethical principle for the sake of an experiment? What would happen to your ethics as you repeatedly did that? My belief is that actions have consequences; I would not be willing to experiment on myself in this way.