At one of the chess league fixtures recently, one of the players was writing moves in advance of moving the pieces on the board.

As per the FIDE rule 8.1.2 it's forbidden to do so, but in practice what's the penalty for the player who does it? Should it be a verbal warning and loss of the game on a subsequent attempt or something else?

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    I think it's up to the arbiter (choosing from the options in 12.9), and most will do something like that but it's not rigorously defined. – RemcoGerlich Dec 15 '19 at 14:08

As always: It depends ;-) FIDE tells us that it is not allowed to write moves in advance, so the arbiter HAS to give a penalty. He may choose from those in Art. 12.9 considering the circumstances.

Normally, writing in advance gives no advantage and does not disturb anyone, so I would give a warning. If the player is new to tournament chess, I even would give several warnings, as a warning is not the same as a yellow card in soccer, where the 2nd is automatically a red card.

Against a regular player, 2nd time I would give his opponent 2 minutes additional time. If the arbiter changes the clock, most players take it for a sign that declaration of a loss is near. And that would be the consequence at the third time, especially if one regards Art. 11.7.

If I think that a trainer/parent/stronger player looks at the move and give signs, I will declare the game lost at once.

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  • "Normally, writing in advance gives no advantage and does not disturb anyone" I must be abnormal because it disturbs me when my opponent does that. I'm trying to think on his time, but when I see him write down a move I srop thinking and wait to see his move, and it's very annoying when the wait drags on for minutes. – bof Dec 15 '19 at 23:05
  • I don’t know about normal. I know about rules. And for centuries, writing moves in advance did not disturb anyone. It is done in the time of reflection of the writer. If there was not the possibility of fraud, it would not be forbidden. I’d even say you will get an advantage if you can thing about a response to a written move using his time. – Christian H. Kuhn Dec 19 '19 at 20:27

Should it be a verbal warning and loss of the game on a subsequent attempt or something else?

It depends entirely on the circumstances, although a player would never be defaulted for the specific reason of writing the move before playing it. (I will return to this point at the end)

A big part of the problem is that years ago young players were taught to write the move down, do a final blunder check and then make the move. If the blunder check revealed a problem or they just had second thoughts they changed what was written and made the new move. This is the nub of "making notes".

First, if as an arbiter, I'm observing a game and the player is consistently writing the move, pausing for reflection then making the move then I will step in and warn him.

If the player is just writing the move and then immediately playing the move then I will not intervene unless the opponent complains but I will speak to player after the game and tell him that what he is doing is against the rules and tell him not to do it again. This is a general principle for very minor infractions when the arbiter intervening would disturb the players unwarrantedly.

Coming back to what I said at the beginning, that a player would never be defaulted for this, we can look at what happened in the Wesley So case which is analagous. He wasn't writing moves down but writing advice to himself about how to play. He was defaulted after 3 warnings but he was not defaulted for writing notes.

He was defaulted for ignoring the instructions of the arbiter which is something different and, in the extreme case that a player continued writing moves down before making them after several warnings from the arbiter, this would also happen. The player would be defaulted for ignoring the instructions of the arbiter. It may look as if it is the same thing but it is not.

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  • While i think that you HAVE to intervene, i think in the case of writing and then moving immediately your not-action is in accordance with the preface. – Christian H. Kuhn Dec 19 '19 at 20:39

If FIDE has the rule then FIDE must state the penalty. Otherwise there will be bigger problems then whatever the rule tried to fix by changing from the time when doing this was allowed.

I am not a FIDE rules guru so you need to check the FIDE rulebook.

I would say that if no penalty was specified that as a tournament director I would do nothing.

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    Sorry, while there is no specific penalty, doing nothing is against the rules. – Christian H. Kuhn Dec 15 '19 at 20:38
  • So what. If there is no penalty then it is just a mental problem not a real one. As TD I would tell them not to do it but would never impose a penalty if FIDE did not see fit to specify one. – yobamamama Dec 15 '19 at 20:39
  • A lot of illogical thinking here or were all the down votes personal? If the rules do not have a penalty then why would the TD do anything at all? That would make them super dictator of the rules instead of FIDE or USCF or whatever rulebook was in use. – yobamamama Dec 16 '19 at 14:50
  • The rules don't specify a specific penalty for most transgressions. The arbiter is given a list of possible options for penalties in section 12.9. There's general guidance (e,.g., in the glossary section under "penalties") that the listed penalties are to be applied on an escalating basis from least to most severe, but the arbiter has some discretion. It's generally understood that the rule book can't account for all possible situations that may arise. But the commenter above is correct, "doing nothing" is against the rules. If an arbiter observes a violation, some action must be taken. – patbarron Dec 16 '19 at 19:15
  • Well if FIDE gave penalty options then of course you would pick what you thought best fit the situation. Still an awful lot of downvotes for personal opinions or is it just the norm to haze new folks and hope they go away. – yobamamama Dec 16 '19 at 21:03

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