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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. Dec 15 '19 at 14:08
  • wait really? was this rule after fischer's time? i could swear this happened in the graphic novel 'the knight who killed the kings'. maybe it was just a fictional invention: supposedly fischer wrote the move, looked at his opponent's face and then changed the move
    – BCLC
    Jan 20 at 14:38
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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. Dec 19 '19 at 20:27
  • wait really? was this rule after fischer's time? i could swear this happened in the graphic novel 'the knight who killed the kings'. maybe it was just a fictional invention: supposedly fischer wrote the move, looked at his opponent's face and then changed the move
    – BCLC
    Jan 20 at 14:38
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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. Dec 19 '19 at 20:39
  • wait really? was this rule after fischer's time? i could swear this happened in the graphic novel 'the knight who killed the kings'. maybe it was just a fictional invention: supposedly fischer wrote the move, looked at his opponent's face and then changed the move
    – BCLC
    Jan 20 at 14:38

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