So I've got a question regarding if an arbiter can talk to a player in this situation : My clock was running and I was thinking about the next move that I should make. I was already 10 minutes into thinking when this arbiter (international arbiter) told me while I was thinking and my clock running that my water bottle had to be on the floor. The bottle was on the table and far away from touching the board if it was knocked.

Can arbiters interrupt you to do this while it your turn?

1 Answer 1


Can arbiters interrupt you to do this while it your turn?

Of course!

Article 12 of the FIDE Laws of Chess defines the role of the arbiter. In particular it says this:

12.2 The arbiter shall: ... 12.2.3 ensure that a good playing environment is maintained,

Having water bottles on the table was not conducive to a good playing environment in the view of the arbiter.

The bottle was on the table and far away from touching the board if it was knocked

Was the bottle glued or nailed to the table so that it couldn't move? Of course not! You had it on the table with the intention of picking it up, drinking from it and then putting it back down on the table. Where it is now is not necessarily where it is going to be later. In particular, later might be when both players are in time trouble, trying to move fast and hit the clocks fast and the bottle can get knocked hard and fly into the board causing havoc when neither player has much time and both players are stressed. Don't put tall, unstable objects on the table.

  • This answer is generally correct, but I want to point that most arbiters don't mind at all players having their bottles on the table : i0.wp.com/www.chessable.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/…
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 15:41
  • 1
    @Evargalo Indeed. Last Sunday I was arbiting a FIDE rated blitz and I was far too busy to worry about bottles of water on the table. Different tournament directors have different rules. Most tournaments don't allow eating at the board (seems reasonable to me) But I have also played in tournaments which don't allow drinking at the board either, so only personal items allowed on the table are pens. We were allowed to drink but only if we stepped out of the playing area.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Jul 6, 2023 at 15:48
  • 1
    Anecdotally, the eating at the board is a major concern. I remember a junior rated tournament where a child went into an anaphylactic shock. We figured it out later that it was because a kid eating at the board 2 games prior, peanut butter.
    – Dheebs
    Commented Jul 8, 2023 at 3:41

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