The touch-move debate

The Nakamura touch-move incident at the Candidates is our poll topic this week. The facts are not in dispute, as the video is clear. Nakamura touched the king, so he had to move it, and he did. It’s the interpretation of his after-the-touch “j’adoube” that’s in question. A heat-of-the-moment slip or something dodgier? You can listen to Nakamura’s side of the story in this video. I believe Aronian is waiting until after the event to give his view.

I will just leave it with 2 options, though no doubt there could be dozens of different levels of alleged dodginess.

16 thoughts on “The touch-move debate”

  1. I voted for “Dodgy chancing his luck”, however, the following better fits my interpretation: criminal, he’s brought the game I love into disrepute. Maybe a slight exaggeration but I do consider what he tried to do an act of cheating. After his comments regarding Aronian insulting him, I don’t yet know if this is true or not. Hopefully Aronian will set the matter straight. If it turns out Nakamura has lied about this, thereby slandering Aronian’s character, I hope Levon takes legal action against Hikaru.

    Furthermore, Nakamura’s 10% loss of prize money was due to not attending the press conference after the game, he seems to have gotten away scot-free regarding the touch-move incident itself.

  2. @James
    I am not sure it’s difficult to judge for me which option to select.
    What I am sure is Nakamura did not get away with anything.
    He was still forced to move the king and lose the game what more punishment do you want?

  3. First Aronian was 100 percent in the right in a calling the touch move immediately, as Yermolinsky said on ICC ( That’s what Polgar should have done in Linares and Nepo in the both hands castle situation)and not putting up with the ‘J’adoube nonsense and it would be perfectly understandable if it did turn out that he spoke to Nakamura somewhat harshly.
    I think Nakamura’s action was a third way, it was a spur of the moment attempt to get away with something, but remember Nakamura is a very quick thinker so maybe he thought Aronian would wimp out like some one like Navarra might have. Still Naka lost the point and had his equilibrium disturbed for the rest of the tournament so his punishment is done.
    It would seem much tougher for chess players having to sit there for hours under tension than it is for any other sports players in any clash

  4. If I understand it, Nakamura was upset because Aronian said something like “come on; there are cameras here, and an arbiter. You can’t do this sort of thing at an event like this.” The implication being that Nakamura has done this in the past and gotten away with it. This is what offended Nakamura, not that Aronian called a touch-move.

  5. Interesting Wallace, if Aronian said this , he was doing Nakamura a favour reminding him of cameras before he got into further trouble by continuing to claim J’adoube . IIRC the video clip Aronian does not say anything else to rub it in once the arbiter made the ruling.

  6. The way Naka still doesn’t fully admit in the video interview later – kills any chance of it being heat of the moment slip. He has had time to think about it by then. Watch his body language (slight smirk) when Sagar brings up the topic.
    In my opinion, Naka should have taken this opportunity and apologised publically to his opponent for his “heat of the moment” slip and that would have been more convincing.
    Trying it on due to the enormous pressure is perfectly understandable but he needed to apologise for it and say he just didn’t realise what came over him at that time!

  7. Did anyone catch the beginning of the Giri-Nakamura press conference lol?

    Evgenij Miroshnichenko: So, we are back with another press conference. Err, Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura finished their game in a draw. [3 second pause] Quite a usual result for Anish it seems (whilst smiling), so, got something to say? Well today it looked very close right?

    Anish Giri: I’m going to restrain myself because err… It’s going to be saved forever on the internet, so I’m not going to say anything bad to you right now, but erm… yeah… I’ve err… I think I played a good game.
    [Evgenij Miroshnichenko no longer smiling.]

  8. Anish is great player. I dont understand why are people moking his results. He had his chances, but by my opinion, he is playing against pieces, positions, not using psyhology and playing more objectivly. And his comments of the games he plays are comments of a player from whom you can learn a lot. Compare the games that Caruana played and his comment. Perhaps he should try with some crossfit or HIT trainings for energy.

  9. There’s no doubt that he didn’t touch the piece with the intention of adjusting it. He got twitchy and then tried to back out of it.

  10. It’s up to the opponent to claim touch move. If Nakamura was intending to move his rook instead of king if Aronian didn’t enforce the touch move rule, it’s not really unsportsmanlike.

  11. Chess25652 :
    It’s up to the opponent to claim touch move. If Nakamura was intending to move his rook instead of king if Aronian didn’t enforce the touch move rule, it’s not really unsportsmanlike.

    I think that part of the culture of chess, as in golf, is that players police themselves. Do you need an arbiter to tell you it’s touch move?



    I don’t like Giri and his writing style for New in Chess Magazine. Because of him I’m skipping pages and I’m in no way interested for his game comments. But in Netherlands they like him, he is their dark horse after all…


    I haven’t read his stuff but I’m not so fond of him either. He comes across as rude in his press conferences. Sometimes you can pass it off as English not being someone’s native language, however, in Giri’s case I think he’s just rude as his English is excellent. I’m not sure if he does it purposely or it’s something he’s developed. He use to be a lot nicer when he was younger giving press conferences.

    Of the guys that can still realistically win the Candidates I’m hoping for Aronian or Caruana, both would set different kinds of problems to Carlsen in a match. I think Caruana has proven he can beat Carlsen, depends if he can rack up enough points over the course of a match. Aronian on the other hand is capable of outplaying Carlsen. Of the two Caruana has the best chances imo. Personally I think Caruana will beat Carlsen if wins this years Candidates.

  14. Aronian also has a tendency to outplay himself, also his repertoire is way too narrow to pose problems in a match with Carlsen. A Caruana match-up though could be quite interesting, as the guy has a work ethic of a Beast, my fear however is that he would burn himself out preparation wise even before the match started.

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