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Do FIDE rules allow a player to make notes on the scoresheet like

Here, I wanted to play c4, but thought it would be better to play d4 first.

He played Nc6. I think he should have played Nbd7.

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I have read from multiple sources that annotating your games are encouraged. It would be rather interesting if it turns out to be illegal. –  firtydank Apr 1 at 7:42
    
It's definitely encouraged, but not during the game. –  RemcoGerlich Apr 1 at 10:04
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No. Notes could help you during the game, and therefore they aren't allowed. The Laws of Chess say:

12.3.a During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chessboard [...]

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.

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Agreed pre written notes are not allowed. But it still doesn't seem to forbid alternative moves ('other relevant data') –  ragu.pattabi Mar 30 at 15:12
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@ragu.pattabi Alternative moves are clearly notes, which are explicitly forbidden by 12.3. –  David Richerby Mar 30 at 16:37
    
@David - No, it does not seem as clear to me. There is obviously a difference between a pre-written note and an annotation. The rule as it stands seem to apply to pre-written notes rather than annotations. –  firtydank Apr 1 at 7:41
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@FranS: the purpose of the rule is very clear indeed: you are not allowed to write down anything that might possibly help you with the game. Remember that it used to be common to write down a move, then think about it a bit more, then make it, to prevent blunders. But that was explicitly outlawed because it counted as an example of using notes. If writing down a single move isn't allowed, making longer notes certainly isn't. –  RemcoGerlich Apr 1 at 10:03
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In fact writing down "He should have played Nbd7" on your scoresheet (which has to be visible to the opponent at all times) could be seen as an attempt to influence him, it's worse than just a note. –  RemcoGerlich Apr 1 at 10:05
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First off, I don't actually know whether it is allowed or not, but I have a number of reasons to believe that it may be allowed, or at least be somewhat allowed.

  1. Willy Hendriks recommends in his book "Move First Think Later" that you record candidate moves and possible responses during your match in order to review them later. It would be strange for an IM to not be aware that this practice is forbidden by FIDE.

  2. Although the rule technically states that "During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes...", it is not entirely clear from that section of rules by what is meant by "a note". The obvious interpretation is that it points to "crib notes". Does it include annotations you make as you play? This is not clear to me.

  3. I have personally played in an ECF rated chess tournament where there was a prize awarded to the player with the best annotated score sheet. It is strange to me that the tournament organizers would endorse a practice that is forbidden by FIDE.

  4. I fail to understand the logic of such a rule. Making personal annotations of your thoughts and ideas during a match does not, as far as I can see, assist you in any way during the actual match, as it still amounts to your personal ability to play the game. To me it seems analogous to making personal notes while writing a maths exam - why would this practice be forbidden?

I think there is enough doubt about the interpretation of this rule to require of us to get some clarification. I will most certainly ask an arbiter at my next tournament.

Update: Based on Grizzy's comment below, I am swinging to the camp that thinks it is probably not allowed. At the very least, I would say don't do it unless you have checked with the arbiter (it is probably safest to just not do it though).

It is clearly forbidden by FIDE to write down a game move before playing it on the board. Even though I think there is a difference between writing down moves before you make them and recording (or simply marking) moves that you could have made after the fact, it is probably fair to say that FIDE will find policing your notes too cumbersome. It makes sense to me that they would blankly ban any types of note taking as a matter of practicality.

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1. I cannot explain that but I've not read the book. 2. Why do you think "any notes" only means "some notes"? The most obvious interpretation is that it means "any notes"! 3. That is bizarre but the scoresheet could be annotated after the game. 4. Of course it assists you. Suppose you write down "Nd4 fails to Qb4" -- there's a good chance that will still be true after a couple more moves have been played. –  David Richerby Apr 1 at 12:09
    
@David - 2. The term "note" is loaded - it can have a general meaning (any scribbling whatsoever on a piece of paper), or a specific meaning (a note made to record some information that cannot be remembered otherwise for later reference). I am not convinced the meaning of the word is sufficiently clarified as stated in the rule. The rest of the rule seems to focus on "sources of information", which to me indicates the second (specific) meaning. 4. I see your point, but you still came to that insight on your own, right? –  firtydank Apr 1 at 12:28
    
The rules explicitly disallow the use of any notes, and explicitly disallow writing down moves in advance. I don't see how you can come to the conclusion that writing notes/annotations during the game is compatible with any of those rules. You are making notes that assist with your thinking, and you are also writing down moves in advance (as you would be writing moves that have not yet been made on the board). –  GrizzlyRawrz Apr 1 at 15:15
    
@Grizzy - Yeah, I still think there is a difference between writing down a move before you play it, and ad-hocly making a note about what other moves you could have played (even if that move is still available for the next move). But I can see that policing this type of thing must be difficult. Seems like the lawyers won this one then. –  firtydank Apr 2 at 10:27
    
@GrizzyRawrz: What if one had an opaque drop-box, and after making a move but before observing any response from one's opponent, one wrote something on a slip of paper and placed it in the box? The slips of paper might be useful for analysis after the game, but if the markings thereon were not readable during the game I don't see how a player could be accused of "using" them. –  supercat Apr 2 at 20:35
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