A serious threat to human chess competition seems to be phone-in-the-bathroom cheating. Is anything being done to address this problem?

3 Answers 3


"Yes" is the answer according to FIDE.

They have published their Anti Cheating Guidelines which highlight the section of the new laws regarding this:

11.3.b. During play, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone and/or other device capable of processing or transmitting chess analysis in the playing venue. If it is evident that a player brought such a device into the playing venue, he shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty.

They also highlight the powers the arbiters and organizers have to enforce this rule:

The arbiter may require the player to allow his clothes, bags or other items to be inspected, in private. The arbiter or a person authorized by the arbiter shall inspect the player and shall be of the same gender as the player. If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9.

Since amateur players often need their mobile phone on the way to the playing venue or on the way back to arrange lifts, etc, the commission amended the rules for amateur players as follows:

“In tournaments open to amateur players, the prohibition to introduce electronic devices in the playing venue may, and indeed should be waived. However, under no circumstances a player shall be allowed to carry a mobile phone or other device capable of processing or transmitting chess analysis, whether switched on or off, working or not, on his body during play. This includes, but is not limited to, carrying a device in a bag or in the pocket of a jacket. Any player found carrying such a device shall immediately be forfeited his game, with rating points calculated. A second offense during the same tournament shall imply an immediate ban from the tournament, with the player’s name forwarded to the ACC for further investigation.”

The net effect of this is that at our level we may take our mobile phones with us to the competition. They must be left switched off in a bag which may be by our feet when we are playing or alternatively left with the arbiter / organizer if they have made arrangements for this (some do, some don't). We may not take the mobile phone with us whether it is in a bag or not when we leave the board. If it is suspected that we have then the arbiter can request a search or pat down. Refusal results in the loss of the game.

  • what stops them from leaving a burner in the mens room and using it when they need help Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 19:00

FIDE has proposed an Internet-based Game Screening Tool (see here for more information) in order to identify possible cases of cheating by assessing how much computer-like a player has played.

  • 1
    How does that prevent me going into bathroom to check for a possible sacrifice?
    – SmallChess
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 1:46
  • 1
    Excuse me while I go to the "deep" bathroom.... 5 minutes later.... checkmate! Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 2:11
  • @StudentT I did not say it was a perfect solution. It prevents you from going too often to the bathroom to check your moves, though.
    – lodebari
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 19:46

The Continental Chess Association (USA) has the following rule for its biggest tournaments:

A table will usually be provided near the bathroom for players to temporarily check devices. If such a table is provided, players may not possess devices inside the bathroom. See rule 10 for penalties. Players whose games have finished and spectators are also not allowed to possess devices in bathrooms. Cellphone detecting wands will be used to spot check players who have exited bathrooms.


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