Thursday, 18 September 2014

The saga of 11.3b

If you aren't a regular visitor to, you may have missed the following announcement concerning Article 11.3b in the Laws of Chess.

The Rules Commission reported that they have altered Law 11.3b in the Laws of Chess to reflect the request of the ACC. The new text reads: During a game, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone, electronic means of communication or any device capable of suggesting chess moves on their person in the playing venue. However, the rules of the competition may allow such devices to be stored in a player’s bag, as long as the device is completely switched off. A player is forbidden to carry a bag holding such a device, without permission of the arbiter. If it is evident that a player has such a device on their person in the playing venue, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty. The arbiter may require the player to allow his/her clothes, bags or other items to be inspected, in private. The arbiter or a person authorized by the arbiter shall inspect the player and shall be of the same gender as the player. If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9.

This new ruling came about as part of the work done by the FIDE/ACP Anti-Cheating Committee, and is a change from the previous, harsher version agreed to in 2013.
The only problem is that changes to the Laws of Chess need to be agreed to by the FIDE General Assembly, and this did not happen in Tromso. The reason for this was once all the excitement of the elections was over, a large number of delegates (including the PNGCF delegate) failed to turn up when this was supposed to be voted on, meaning the GA lacked the necessary quorum.
 Personally I found this very disappointing, especially I was one of the authors of this new rule, and 6 months of hard work looked to be going to waste. What has now been decided is that while the change is not official, tournament organisers can follow the new rule, without fear that events won't be rated or that they will fall foul of other anti-cheating regulations. The intention of course is the changes will be approved at the next General Assembly, but at his stage this not planned to occur until 2016. But while the solution to getting the new rule in place is not perfect, it at least is better than what it could have been.


Jim said...


An odd question I know but what is the situation if a player uses the mobile phone for medical alerts, eg time to take medication. Just curious.

Anonymous said...

A watch alarm maybe? But then could you be disqualified when it goes off?

Shaun Press said...

Jim, the Laws of Chess do give leeway for arbiters to modify the rules (and rulings) based on medical requirements of players. However I would investigate the possibility of using an alternative system before allowing a mobile phone to be used.