The FIDE rules state:

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.

I believe this rule has been used before, against Wesley So in the 2014 ACP Golden Classic tournament (more here). But, what about this?

Carlsen's scoresheet from the 2018 European Club Cup

This is Carlsen's scoresheet from his game with Alexander Donchenko in the 2018 European Club Cup, where he wrote "Absolutely no shorts allowed" instead of writing his and his opponent's names.

Isn't this a violation of the rules? Why didn't the arbiters take appropriate action?

  • I thinks the question should be "mustn't the information be accurate ?". Because it is supposed to be accurate, otherwise there it wouldn't even be required.
    – Isac
    Oct 20, 2018 at 18:37
  • 1
    To me, it looks the same as Wesley So's case - not allowed. But how do you know that the arbiter took no action? Oct 23, 2018 at 22:23
  • The only action they could take is consider him lost, which didn't happen.
    – Wais Kamal
    Oct 26, 2018 at 18:27
  • 2
    "The only action they could take is consider him lost," No competent arbiter would do such a thing for a first offence of this nature. Wesley So was only defaulted after repeated warnings spread over several games. The appropriate penalty in this case, as any competent arbiter would tell you, is a warning. You have no clue whether that happened or not.
    – Brian Towers
    Dec 23, 2018 at 12:20
  • 1
    Well, actually he was given a warning for wearing shorts in the previous round :)
    – Wais Kamal
    Nov 14, 2020 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


I believe this rule has been used before, against Wesley So in the 2014 ACP Golden Classic tournament (more here)

Both you and "LuisFSiles" in the chess.com article you quote are wrong. So was warned three times not to write other things on his scoresheet but was not punished (in that case by losing the game by default) for writing unauthorized material on his scoresheet. He was punished for deliberately disobeying the arbiter on three occasions.

Isn't this a violation of the rules?

Yes, it is, albeit a very minor one. The normal approved arbiter action would be to warn the player not to do it again.

Why didn't the arbiters take appropriate action?

Your assumption doesn't make sense. We don't know if the arbiter took action or not.

If the arbiter saw (and paid attention to) the fact that Carlsen had written what he did on his scoresheet then the appropriate action for the arbiter to take would have been to do what the arbiter in the Wesley So case did and give Carlsen a warning. We don't know if that happened or not. In any case. not surprisingly, there was no repeat offence from Carlsen. Carlsen did not wilfully disobey the arbiter even once let alone three times. Hence no reason why the arbiter would take any more obvious action that we would know about like awarding a time penalty.

In this kind of high level tournament the PGNs of the games have to be sent to FIDE. If there are no DGT boards then this transcribing to PGN has to be done by a human but that would not necessarily be the arbiter and it would not necessarily happen the same day. It might even happen after the tournament. In this case I would expect that Carlsen would be playing on a DGT board and so the moves would be recorded electronically. In that case an arbiter might never check the scoresheet and would never know.

What has also to be remembered about the Wesley So case is that it was instigated by an opponent complaining to the arbiter.

  • 1
    'He was punished for deliberately disobeying the arbiter on three occasions.' --> actually 'But So believed that if he made notes on another sheet of paper, he would not be breaking the rules' ?
    – BCLC
    Jan 20, 2021 at 19:51
  • 1
    @BCLC That excuse might work the first time the arbiter warns you but not the third. Yet more evidence that the top players are very far from being highly intelligent let alone geniuses
    – Brian Towers
    Jan 20, 2021 at 20:33
  • 1 - the 1st 2 times, wesley so did on the scoresheet. the 3rd time it was not on the scoresheet. are any of these 2 statements incorrect? 2 - arguably this is 3rd offense in spirit of the law, but letter of the law is i think where the dispute may lie (but i believe there is actually a law about separate sheets; but the point is it's a different law from the score sheets)
    – BCLC
    Jan 20, 2021 at 20:51
  • Since it wasn't on the scoresheet, the above rules doesn't apply. but another rules does cover referring to written notes.
    – Mike Jones
    Jan 22, 2021 at 14:27
  • i awarded bounty but downvoted for the technically incorrect info on wesley so
    – BCLC
    Jan 27, 2021 at 7:32

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