Posts Tagged ‘chess rules’

Two Hands Aren’t Better Than One

December 9, 2019

Was playing with both hands ever allowed in chess?

You can play chess with either hand or both if you choose. The standard that you need to press the clock with the same hand that you use to move the pieces is there to keep players from touching the clock before they have finished the move….

So Much to Learn: An Important Lesson from the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship

April 13, 2015
Wesley So alone at the board(photo by: Lennart Ootes, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis)

Wesley So alone at the board(photo by: Lennart Ootes, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis)

In case you missed it, the world of chess was stunned on the tenth of April when Grandmaster Wesley So was forfeited in round nine of the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship after being caught “note taking.” Wesley, who is currently ranked number 8 in the world by FIDE, had already been warned twice in his previous games that his habit of writing notes during the game was a violation of the FIDE Laws of Chess. Below is a copy of the rules 21 Year-Old Wesley So was caught violating:

Article 12: The conduct of the players

  1. During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard
  2. Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.
  3. Smoking is permitted only in the section of the venue designated by the arbiter
12.4 The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.
12.5 Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be spectators.
12.6 It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.
12.7 Infraction of any part of Articles 12.1 to 12.6 shall lead to penalties in accordance with Article 13.4.
12.8 Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game. The arbiter shall decide the score of the opponent.

When asked about his behavior during the round, Wesley first claimed that he did not realize he was breaking the rules.


However, several witnesses immediately came forward to discredit this claim.

After it became apparent that he knew it was against the rules, Wesley proceeded by blaming his earlier losses and cavalier disregard for the rules on “personal problems” in his family. According to the family he now lives with, So’s biological family and former coaches “conspired to destroy” his chances at the U.S. Chess Championship(an assertion that Wesley So has yet to contradict.)

Regardless of what other pressure Wesley may or may not have been under, the blame for intentionally violating the rules of chess has to be attributed to the player who committed the crime. At 21 years of age, Wesley So apparently lacks the maturity to own up to his own mistakes. Playing by the rules and taking responsibility for your own failures may not make you a grandmaster… but these qualities are prerequisites of adulthood.

For more on the rule violation by Wesley So which result in his forfeit loss to Varuzhan Akobian, please watch the thorough explanation that occurred during the live boradcast of the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship:

USCF Ban on Music

November 26, 2012

On November 16, 2012 the United States Chess Federation announced updated scholastic regulations that prohibit the use of personal music players and headphones. This move was made in order to defend against perceived threats to the integrity of over-the -board chess caused by electronic devices being used as a tool for cheating.  In a bold contradiction of logic, the USCF still sanctions the use of electronic score keeping devices which, in my opinion, have a much greater chance of being used nefariously. I believe that this rule change will result in USCF national events becoming more like a detention halls. It doesn’t take a chess master to understand that by making the tournament experience less pleasant for players, the USCF should expect to see fewer players participating and consequently less membership renewals.

Nigel Short Forfeited By Cell Phone

September 21, 2008

The European Union Open Championships took place from September 9th to 18th September 2008 in Liverpool, England. Hometown hero and former world chess champion contender Nigel Short was penalized in this event for allowing his cell phone to ring. Before his game against Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Nigel Short turned off his brand new Nokia cell phone and placed it on top of a biography of Fidel Castro beside him on the table. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant admits that this occurred before the game. After receiving loss for that round, Short explained that his phone had had a low battery and played a theme to remind its owner to charge it. The offending phone had been a gift from a sponsor at a recent tournament and Nigel had just started using it. Below is the F.I.D.E. rule relating to such a disturbance:

“It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic means of communication, not authorised by the arbiter, into the playing venue. If a player`s mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game. The score of the opponent shall be determined by the arbiter.”

from Paragraph 12.2 in the Laws of Chess

I understand the need for chess tournaments to limit distractions and maintain an honest playing area, however I feel a warning should be issued on the first offense. Speaking as a regular attendee of the symphony, I know from experience how easy it is to make a call at intermission and then forget to switch the phone back to silent mode. The reason I have never been embarrassed by having my cell phone add to the music is due to the fact that the symphony makes a public service announcement reminding attendees to mute their cell phones. I wonder if the Chief Tournament Director for the European Union Open Championships delivered such a reminder.

The game Nigel Short lost because of his cell phone is below.

Short,N (2655) – Arakhamia,K (2448) [B45]
4th ch-EU Liverpool ENG (2), 10.09.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 Be7 8.Qd2 0-0 9.g4 d5 10.g5 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Nh5 12.0-0-0 Bxg5 13.Kb1 Kh8 14.exd5 exd5 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Rg1 Qf4 17.Qxd5 Nf6 18.Qg5 Qxg5 19.Rxg5 Be6 20.Bd3 h6 21.Rb5 b6 22.a4 Bd7 23.Rb4 Bc6 24.f4 Rad8 25.Rc4 Bf3 26.Re1


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