I wish to know how to handle a certain situation regarding chess etiquette. Consider the following:

I went for an OTB tournament recently - rapid 15 + 10 time control. Organizers stated that recording is not compulsory, but I still recorded for the purpose of post-mortem analysis. One of my opponents didn't record the game himself but he asked me for a photo of my recording sheet after the game ended, which I had recorded on my own time during the game.

Should I let him take a photo or ask him to record his game himself if he wants to do post-mortem analysis? I let him take a photo but I feel a bit sour now, considering that it's pretty unfair that I spent some of my own time recording instead of thinking - or am I being a bit petty? Also we'll probably meet in some other tournament again just that he's in a better position to prepare against me now.

  • 7
    you chose to record when it is not required. i dont think the arbiters would care. all up to you to let your opponent have a copy
    – cmgchess
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 3:55
  • 7
    Its all up to you - no one can push you to share scoresheet in this case. For me - if opponent asks only this one because it was incredibly interesting game - I would share, but if that is his usual behavior - relying on others or repeats every time you play him - I would not. But again - its only your personal decision.
    – Drako
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 7:29
  • 1
    You say... "Also we'll probably meet in some other tournament again". I would share the score sheet with him and say... "Next time you can record the game for both of us."
    – James
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 12:41
  • It seems to me like you are imagining choosing between the worlds "nobody records, nobody has a record" and "I record, both of us get a record". If that were the choice, "I record, both get a record" would indeed be a sour thought. But you aren't. You are choosing between "I record, I have a record" and "I record, both get a record". You can't control what other people do; you can only do what is Right For You. If recording was Right For You, that is true independently of what your opponent does. It is a sunk cost. Your choice now is whether both of you get to benefit from that act or not. Commented May 29, 2022 at 14:50

6 Answers 6


You did the right thing! I would definitely allow my opponent to take a picture of the scoresheet. There is no need to be sour, as it is very unlikely you had or will have any disadvantages from his behaviour. It was your choice to spend time recording the moves and one single game will not help him in a meaningful way to prepare against you next time, even if he didn't have ChessBase. Even if it did, you would still need to be matched.

Of course, it would not have been sportsmanlike if he had already started to record the moves and stopped doing that after noticing you keep recording the moves only in the hopes of getting them from you later. In this case, rather than alleging that so. has such dishonest motives, grant him the benefit of the doubt and show magnanimity. In the case described, I would assume that he would not have recorded the moves anyway and only asked for the sheet because it was nice to have.

Try to separate your emotions about the game itself from such questions. I find it hard to believe that you would have such thoughts if you had taken the full point effortlessly. If that player does not already have a reputation for taking advantage of others, I will second Brian Towers' opinion that refusing the scoresheet would appear rather petty.


Should I let him take a photo or ask him to record his game himself if he wants to do post-mortem analysis?

The FIDE Laws of Chess say this about the ownership of the scoresheet:

8.3 The scoresheets are the property of the organiser of the competition.

and they say this about sharing the scoresheet:

8.5.2 If only one player has not kept score under Article 8.4, he must, as soon as either flag has fallen, update his scoresheet completely before moving a piece on the chessboard. Provided it is that player’s move, he may use his opponent’s scoresheet, but must return it before making a move.

So, you are not allowing your opponent to take a photo of your scoresheet, you are allowing your opponent to take a photo of the organiser's scoresheet for your game and there are certain events which can happen during the game which require you to share the scoresheet you are keeping.

Although the rules are silent on what happens after the game regarding sharing the scoresheet it would appear churlish to deny your opponent a photo. Arguably your opponent needs the permission of the organiser, the owner of the scoresheet, not you, in order to make a copy.

  • 8
    Isn't this ignoring the part where recording was not required by the organizer? The other player is not required to "update his scoresheet" in the first place, so I don't see where said opponent has a leg to stand on by rule. That opponent is asking for a favor.
    – DevSolar
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 11:31
  • 3
    @DevSolar The rules say that the scoresheet is the property of the organiser. They do not say that only in the case that recording the moves is the scoresheet the property of the organiser. If recording is not required you may record the moves on a scoresheet but if you do then the scoresheet is the property of the organiser.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 12:55
  • OK, understood. Thanks for clarifying this for a chess layman. ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Commented May 27, 2022 at 13:14
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    @KenBourassa "Scoresheet" is defined as "A paper sheet with spaces for writing the moves. This can also be electronic." The Rapid rules contemplate a scoresheet being used when it's not required. And "personal notes" are very much prohibited during a game.
    – D M
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 1:13
  • 8.5.2 does not apply because this was a rapid game where scorekeeping is not required. What would be churlish is to abuse the technicality that "the scoresheet is the property of the organizer" to freeload on one's opponent's voluntary scorekeeping work. If I were the organizer and heard such a request, I would let the author of the scoresheet decide.
    – itub
    Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 12:31

It seems likely that someone who doesn't record moves themselves wants a picture for personal gratification ['my first chess game in a real tournament!!!'], rather than deep study for which they maliciously offloaded work to you.

Therefore refusing a picture of this is not a matter of some sort of 'game edge' you are denying, it is simply a personal request which provides no harm to you and some enjoyment to the other player.

  • 2
    I doubt this. In my experience, people don't ask for scoresheets for sentimental reasons. They do it because they want to analyze the game in some way.
    – D M
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 21:50

This is an incredibly legalistic argument over a simple matter of common decency. Rules have no place here. Use your common sense and be as nice to your opponents as they are to you.

  • 1
    What's common decency here is exactly the question. We have the case of a shared score sheet and a little sourness. Our common sense is guided not least by the underlying rules, so we should know and share them.
    – Pattmann
    Commented May 29, 2022 at 9:25
  • Actually the rules should be guided by common sense.
    – Philip Roe
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 15:41
  • But how can we change the rules to be in accord with common sense if we don't share them? We will have different beliefs about the rules, which, I believe, lashes back at the consensus.
    – Pattmann
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 20:38
  • 1
    Rules are needed only when common sense fails. This was a low-level, informal, just-for-the-fun-of-it competition. Common-sense says says give the man your score sheet with a nice smile and a friendly remark. That is what your mother would tell you. What is so complicated that it needs a rule book?
    – Philip Roe
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 21:18
  • Your explanation is perfect. Yet, we know from the exposition that the situation was, if wrongly, conceived as a competitive environment and so it is answered in an as if it was a fide event way. Which is nice and informative, too.
    – Pattmann
    Commented Jun 21, 2022 at 15:01

This is too long for a comment, but Brian Towers answer as it currently stands is legally wrong. It is true that the score sheets are property of the organizers. But the document you wrote during the game is not a score sheet as understood by the rules, these are just your personal notes that happen to have a form that is very similar to a score sheet.

Score sheets have to satisfy a whole bunch of rules on what is and isn't written there, how it is written and which notation has to be used. Your personal notes are not bound by any of these rules. You could have skipped a few moves, you could have written down some variant that wasn't actually played in the game, you could have used your personal notation, maybe you didn't even write down the game at all but rather some general impressions of the tournament. All of these things would get you in trouble on an official scoresheet. None of them matter on your personal notes.

What you wrote are your personal notes and you are free to do with them as you please.

All that being said, personally I would consider it impolite to not share them if the other player asks nicely. This is just information, you lose nothing by sharing but the other player gains something.

  • 9
    " these are just your personal notes that happen to have a form that is very similar to a score sheet". This is nonsense. The rules are very explicit. Making notes during the game is forbidden. If your scoresheet were notes then you would be penalized. Ask Wesley So.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 9:40
  • 1
    @BrianTowers OP stated that the organizers of their tournament declared that recording is not compulsory. The FIDE rules you cite clearly state that recording the moves is compulsory. I would conclude from that that the tournament OP played in was NOT played according to FIDE rules (possibly a subset of them). Knowing this relying on some FIDE rule to apply to OPs tournament sounds very sketchy.
    – quarague
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 11:09
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    Brian is right. Note this part of the FIDE rules: "Appendix A. Rapid chess A.1 A ‘Rapid chess’ game is one where either all the moves must be completed in a fixed time of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player; or the time allotted plus 60 times any increment is of more than 10 minutes but less than 60 minutes for each player. A.2 Players do not need to record the moves, but do not lose their rights to claims normally based on a scoresheet. The player can, at any time, ask the arbiter to provide him with a scoresheet, in order to write the moves."
    – Arne
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 11:56
  • @quarague 'Possibly a subset of them': possibly the complete subset. For all we know there was no duty to record moves. That should leave all other rules intact, though. Why could you take notes, all of a sudden, unless the organizer said 'and feel free to take personal notes', p.e.?
    – Pattmann
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 12:03
  • @Arne Looks like if no player recorded and one player wants to claim 50-move rule sometime soon, that player would have to ask for a sheet and record the game- correctly- from memory. But if the other guy recorded, can the first one rely on cooperation? I guess so, but it is not all explicit. Arbiters? Thank you :)
    – Pattmann
    Commented May 28, 2022 at 12:16

You dont have any obligation. If I was playing a friend I would give it to them but if I thought he was doing it to gain an advantage, which he is by forcing you to use your time, I wouldn't.

He is choosing to not record the game. If you give it to him its a favor.

Besides, how does someone not remember the game they just played? Thats just laziness. Back in the day, before smartphones and before I had internet, I would go down to the local library and play online for 4-5 hours then come home and transcribe the 10-15 most interesting games. How can someone not remember ONE game they just played?

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