According to the FIDE Laws of Chess:

11.3.1 During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard.

Streamers and banter blitz players often draw lines and arrows on the board while discussing what moves they are thinking about. Here is Eric Rosen doing exactly that.

Surely this is every bit against the rules as using an engine?

If Wesley So can be defaulted for basically writing notes saying things like "Must try harder" why is this allowed?

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    Notes are permanent, arrows are not: they vanish after the next move. – fuxia Nov 4 '19 at 19:53
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    Probably yes, but that's like saying Formula 1 drivers break road laws – David Nov 5 '19 at 7:46
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    Reading the rule to the letter (as an outsider), it talks about using notes. With the "sources of information or advice" added it sounds like they're tackling outside help in any form (written or otherwise), rather than notes made by the player themselves. Can someone clarify if it is confirmed that the rule also prohibits the making of your own notes? – Flater Nov 5 '19 at 20:52
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    @Flater As a FIDE arbiter I can confirm that it prohibits you from making your own notes and using them at any time during the game. – Brian Towers Nov 5 '19 at 20:56
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    @David: They don't, as they're not on a public road. On private property, you don't even need a driver's license to drive (in countries I'm aware of), let alone being required to follow road rules. I get your point but it slightly fails in reality :) Except for Monaco, I guess, though I don't remember seeing road signs during the Monaco F1 so you should be able to get any charges dismissed in traffic court. – Flater Nov 5 '19 at 20:59

I agree that it would break the FIDE rules against note taking, but this is not a FIDE tournament; it is online blitz on Lichess, so FIDE rules need not apply. You'd have to look at the Lichess terms of service instead. They say

  1. Cheating. We define this as using any external assistance to strengthen your knowledge and, or, calculation ability to gain an unfair advantage over your opponent. Some examples would include computer engine assistance, opening books (except for correspondence games), endgame tablebases, and asking another player for help, although these aren’t the only things we would consider cheating.

The definition is open-ended so it's really up to the Lichess administrators to interpret. Does drawing an arrow on the board during a blitz game "strengthen your calculation ability?". Perhaps, but one could also argue that it makes you waste precious time, so it is probably more of a handicap than anything else. More importantly, just the fact that the Lichess user interface supports drawing arrows during a game (something which I had never noticed, despite being a frequent user!) may reasonably be interpreted as implying that the administrators approve of that use.

I don't think the "banterers" who stream their games draw arrows as a calculation aid, but rather to communicate their ideas to their audience. I'd love to hear from anyone who uses this feature and finds it helpful while playing blitz for non-streaming purposes. (Arrows might be more useful for correspondence chess, but there you are definitely allowed to use analysis boards, opening books, notes, etc., so arrows shouldn't be a problem.)

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    That's the main point -- the FIDE rules simply don't apply to online chess. See also premove, the touch move rule, autoflag, not having to write down moves, no need to press a clock, the fact that spectators may be present in the playing area, et cetera. – RemcoGerlich Nov 5 '19 at 8:25
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    @nick012000 as someone who plays blitz / bullet more than standard games. I doubt anyone could effectively gain a useful idea from twitch chat in less time than it would take to actually just think about the current situation. not to mention Twitch chat can often purposely give bad advice – Alex Robinson Nov 5 '19 at 14:18
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    While you're right that the administrators probably approve, more importantly, this isn't cheating since it isn't "external assistance". It is using the tools already available in the UI (so not external) and it is something equally available to both players, so doesn't generate any sort of power imbalance. – terdon Nov 5 '19 at 16:12
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    @terdon I think that would make a solid answer on its own. It's not external, and it's not an "advantage over your opponent" since they have the same capability, so whether it strengthens your knowledge or calculation ability or not doesn't matter. – Steven Jackson Nov 5 '19 at 19:39
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    @AlexRobinson: Commonly true about Twitch chat, but if that's the ruling then I can cheat the system by having a known friend advise me on moves. I just look for their suggestion and ignore everyone else. The point stands that you could have a helpful crowd, or a single helpful participant whose advice you blindly follow. I suspect the only thing making this allowable is if the streaming lag outweighs the move time, because they the viewers don't see the move until the player has already made their own move. – Flater Nov 5 '19 at 20:55

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