My opponent, in their turn, was distracting me making annoying sounds. However, the arbiter said that I should wait until it's my turn when I called them. Is this correct?

  • I don't know the official rules on that topic, but on general grounds I would definitely agree with the arbiter, on the opponents turn it's, well, their turn. Some people even go as far as recommending you leave the board on your opponents turn (though of course you don't need to do that).
    – koedem
    Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 10:52
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    @koedem some advanced/experienced players need to think on their opponents' turn, even more when they're under time pressure. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 11:40
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    @koedem It's you opponent's turn to move. It's not your opponent's turn to think. Your opponent's turn is a valuable resource in which to do analysis, and you have a right to that resource. Unless they're well beyond their opponent's skill level, advanced players will think during their opponent's turn. Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 21:15
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    @koedem so what's the reason why you sometimes stay at the board? Just not to lose time? Or maybe to think more and analyse the position in more depth to be more prepared? Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 9:57
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    This is probably better off in a chat room. Not sure what the standard procedure to create one is, but I tried to create one here, feel free to join chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/118105/leaving-the-board
    – koedem
    Commented Jan 6, 2021 at 10:32

3 Answers 3


You are absolutely allowed to call the arbiter when it is your opponent's turn. There are any number of reasons why this would be necessary.

  • To start with the most prosaic, you have filled your scoresheet and need another one.
  • You are feeling unwell and need medical assistance
  • Your opponent has picked up a piece but isn't sure where to move it to. They are holding the piece above the board, obscuring your view of the board and distracting you.
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    Is the last item against the rules? Is it widely considered bad etiquette? Commented Jan 5, 2021 at 23:34
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    @ElizaWilson: Was a point in my arbiter course. In principle YES, but stick to best common sense. Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 19:04

FIDE 12.6 says:

It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.

There is no mention of this applying only on one's opponent's turn. "introduction of a source of noise into the playing area" on one's own turn is a violation of the plain text of 12.6. Of course, you should be as non-distracting yourself when calling for an arbiter.


There is no rule saying that you can call the arbiter only on your turn, or that the opponent is allowed to distract you during their own turn.

If you want a more specific answer, you may need to give more details of the situation, for example what the nature of the distraction was. It seems a bit unlikely, but one can imagine some behaviour by the opponent which would be deemed reasonable during their own turn but not during yours. For example, adjusting pieces on their squares, or repeatedly reaching an arm towards the board as if to move and then withdrawing it. If a player were, say, muttering under their breath in a borderline distracting way, one could imagine an arbiter taking a somewhat more permissive view if the behaviour occurred only during the player's own turns.

  • Adjusting pieces how? Are you not required to play the first piece touched?
    – Weckar E.
    Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 21:17
  • @WeckarE. You can adjust pieces (if you make it clear that's what you're doing). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touch-move_rule Commented Jan 7, 2021 at 21:25

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