After I received this answer on my previous question, I found the list of penalties which a player can receive, according to FIDE guidelines.

As FIDE states in Article 12.9:

Options available to the arbiter concerning penalties:

  1. warning
  2. increasing the remaining time of the opponent
  3. reducing the remaining time of the offending player
  4. increasing the points scored in the game by the opponent to the maximum available for that game
  5. reducing the points scored in the game by the offending person
  6. declaring the game to be lost by the offending player (the arbiter shall also decide the opponent’s score)
  7. a fine announced in advance
  8. expulsion from the competition.

I'm curious: Is there potentially a way to benefit yourself by being penalized?

As an example, the second penalty listed is:

2. increasing the remaining time of the opponent

Even if it won't directly add to my time, I can still ponder my moves during the opponent's turn. This would allow me more time to think than I could have otherwise had.

Additionally, are there other ways to benefit yourself by purposely receiving a penalty?

  • 3
    Can you explain what you mean by the 'ponder' technique? Do you mean thinking on the opponent's time? If so, time to think when it's your move is generally considered more valuable than time to think when it's your opponent's move so increasing the opponent's time would indeed be a punishment.
    – Cleveland
    Commented Jul 7, 2014 at 14:17
  • 7
    Why the downvotes? Despite some problems with the language and the presentation, this is an honest, clear question.
    – JiK
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 9:48
  • 5
    The person is trying to find how to annoy his opponent in a way of getting benefit from it. Clearly a nice question. We all should think how to make chess a crappier game. How about beating the opponent before the game (in a way a judge and police can not see) and in such a way he would not be able to think properly. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 11:57
  • 5
    I think the question has merit. Chess players are notorious for trying to get an edge at any cost. It happens, whether we downvote people for asking about it or not. I don't see a reason not to address the topic.
    – Az-
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 22:01
  • 3
    Asking for how to break/exploit chess rules by unsporting conduct. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 3:16

5 Answers 5


It is important to realize that chess is a zero-sum game*. In other words, everything that gives advantage to one player gives an equal disadvantage to the other player. So if adding 2 minutes to your opponent's clock benefits you, then it would be harmful to your opponent. It is not possible for any decision of the arbiter to give an advantage to your opponent and a slight advantage to you too.

(* Although of course there are things that make both players enjoy the game more etc., but here I'm concerned only about the result of the game.)

Suppose two minutes are added to your opponent's clock. Now (s)he has two choices (or something between them):

  1. Pretend his extra two minutes didn't exist and play as if his clock showed 2 minutes less.
  2. Make good use of his extra time.

If your opponent chooses option 1, the only effect of the extra time is that he does not run out of time accidentally. This never gives any advantage to you. If your opponent thinks that option 2 is better for him than option 1, then he also believes that him choosing option 2 is worse for you.

It is possible that your opponent does not understand how well you use his time and therefore chooses option 2 but it ends up being beneficial to you. However, I think this is very unlikely.

I think a more important loophole is this: When calling the arbiter to settle any dispute over the board, you are allowed to stop the clock even if it is your turn. Sometimes it can take a minute or two before the arbiter arrives, so it can be used as a way to gain extra thinking time. For example, in a difficult position in time trouble, you can claim a draw (even if you know there's no draw) and gain extra time while waiting for the arbiter.

Because the usual penalty for unreasonable claims is adding time to your opponent's clock, you may gain more advantage by the extra thinking time than you lose by the penalty. Needless to say, this is extremely unsportsmanlike, and will result in everyone hating you and possibly even point losses if the arbiter sees through it. Please don't ever do this.

  • ah.. it's a better one.. yeah.. I got this. Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 11:31

Penalty 2 is applied by adding time to your opponent's clock.

  • can you describe, 'kind of what' that will make Penalty 2 triggered?? Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 7:12
  • 1
    The actions that result in the penalties of section 12.9 being applied can be found in sections 11.1 through 11.5.
    – dfan
    Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 15:24
  • yeah.. I guess so.. may be the arbiter give me verse 2 after applied verse 1. Then give me more verses after applied verse 2. (just guessing). Commented Jul 8, 2014 at 15:31
  • 1
    This is factually true but it doesn't answer the question at all. Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 8:48
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby It answered the question at the time ("I just curious, how to apply those punishment, especially on verse 2"), but the question has been edited since then.
    – dfan
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 12:35

Just speculating.

Increasing the points scored by opponent. In a tournament (Swiss rounds) when players with equal points are ordered (all else being equal) by opponent's points, then you might want the game to be 1-1, not 1-0. Would this be a scenario?


I'm curious: Is there potentially a way to benefit yourself by being penalized?

Definitely, but it is high risk.

If you have a winning but very tricky position with only 20 or 30 seconds left on the clock while your opponent has 10 minutes then the extra 2 minutes is not going to immediately help your opponent and if it takes the arbiter 2 or 3 minutes to respond and change the clock settings then that could be all you need to calculate your way to victory.

But be aware that the arbiter is an intelligent human being with experience, knowledge and power. If the arbiter is watching the game he has a number of options he can follow:

1) He can tell you to play on. You must take back your move, make a legal move and warn you that another illegal move loses you the game. All this with your clock running. He will only stop the clocks to adjust the time when your opponent needs it by which time you may have already lost on time.

2) If he thinks you are deliberately cheating he can default you on the spot. He can even throw you out of the competition.

3) He can reduce your time.

If he is not watching then 2) is much less likely, at least for a first offence, but 1) and 3) are definite possibilities.


Yes, however, this has less to do with exploiting a penalty and more with exploiting the rules: a loss by forfeit. This includes receiving a phone call during a tournament game (for which, according to FIDE, the offending player is forfeited).

Now loss by forfeit technically doesn't lead to loss of rating points. One only loses rating points when the game has been played out and one loses....so should you ever find yourself in a most unfortunate situation from which you have no hope of extraction, and you're going to lose a bunch of rating points (if you've got a rating), then suddenly it won't seem like a bad idea to get a friend of yours to call your cell phone (be sure to turn up your ringtone so the arbiter can hear it). You only get one shot.

  • I'm not sure what you describe is true; once moves have been played in the game, I think one loses rating points whether a loss comes by forfeit or on the board. For instance, the recent example of Wesley So's forfeit at the 2015 US Championship saw him lose rating points for the game in question.
    – ETD
    Commented May 18, 2015 at 10:57
  • 2
    It's actually not true. Per the FIDE rating regulations (fide.com/fide/handbook.html?id=172&view=article), section 5.1, "Any game where both players have made at least one move will be rated".
    – patbarron
    Commented Jun 30, 2017 at 0:52

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