I'm not sure where you were fencing 15 years ago. Given the context of the action in the second video, I'd generally expect a good foil referee to award the point to the left. Based on my experience fencing in the U.S., that call hasn't changed much since 2004. I've been fencing in the U.S. since 1991. Of course, before the 2004 timing changes, you never saw this kind of slow pressure with the footwork on the advance. Foilists used to move much faster because they could be sure of turning on a light, but in the 1990s, attacks with a bent arm (point aimed at ceiling, preparing to finish either with a flight to the back or indirect to the chest) were very common. Unfortunately, as I said before, the refereeing was inconsistent, and the leeway for an attack-in-preparation against that kind of attack varied a lot from region to region of the US and at different levels (local, regional, national). Well, yes. Welcome to foil? Part of fencing a conventional weapon is figuring out how to exploit the convention to gain an advantage. It's great when I can show my opponent something that doesn't look like an attack to him while showing the referee that I am clearly attacking. Free touches, and it drives some opponents crazy. If you watch the whole bout, you'll see that just by stepping forward, Kiefer takes a risk against a fencer like Itkin. The current timings give Itkin plenty of leverage even before he can find Kiefer's blade. If Itkin really wants to see the blade, he can just stop making those early searching parries and retreating. Trust me, Kiefer will attack and extend in that case, and then Itkin can attempt a very late parry. Foil fencers have just decided that that's not the most effective way to set up an active defense under the current convention.