Last Sunday I was accused of 'sportsmanship'. Frankly I felt like a mug. What happened was that in a crucial tournament game in a rapidplay event the minute hand on my opponent's clock stopped moving when he had 5 minutes left. This meant that he effectively had unlimited time and I saw a better position and time advantage evaporate into a loss. Immediately after the game it was established that this had indeed been a defective clock but that my resignation had to stand. I didn't kick up a fuss because then I stood to lose more than just the point. This is why my 'sportsmanship' later got praised.

Naturally I've been thinking about what I should have done, this was the first time I've had this situation. It's difficult to know because calling the arbiter means losing concentration and thinking time, not to mention the fact that you're in the lap of the gods once officials are involved. One could simply ask for a new clock, providing there's someone there to hear this request. But given the potential for argument a better approach may be to knock the clock to the floor, by 'accident' of course. Hopefully the thing will more obviously break and at the very least you can ask for a new clock 'just in case'.

Shouldn't the organisers have ensure that all the clocks were working? In theory, yes of course. But this is the kind of naive attitude that means you always get shafted. It's better to leave 'challenging authority' out of the battle plan.

A Trader from NYC adds:

It is difficult to know what to do. This happens in real trading situations all of the time, and I've been on both sides. There have been many times where I've seen a trader at a Nice Yokel Scum Exchange appear to not honor a posted market. Do I take time out from my trading to call surveillance and have it tracked down, knowing that they are inclined to take the other guy's side?

As a market-maker I've been on the other side too. On the ARCA options exchange, for example, a customer has 30 minutes, I think, to ask for a trade-break on an "obvious" error. The exchange would then look at it, then make a ruling, then call me. So 45 minutes or so after a trade, I get call on something that has already been hedged, on an option that has been up 50% and down 50% in value on the day. I then have to decide do I lose yet more time fighting the ruling, knowing I'm going to lose but that precedent matters, or just eat it? Of course, these customers challenging are never Grandma from Des Moines, but usually a "customer" account at Large Hedge Fund or Mega-Bucks Bank. They buy an option at the market on the open in something that just had earnings. ARCA is electronic, and they take whatever offer I'm sending. Being a good-little liquidity provider, I'm providing liquidity at the moment of the opening in an event-driven stock. 25 minutes later, the initial euphoria is over, volatility is in 50%, and the call they paid $2.50 for is now offered @$0.75. They call to bust the trade because the price is "obviously" an error. The cynic would say they are just taking a free look on the open, but I, of course, would never accuse LHF or MBB of such tactics. I did ask ARCA what they would do if I opened Free Look Trading, a division of Customer Capital…



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