Monday 10 February 2020

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

The 2020 Indian Team Championship saw a curious incident when GM Adhiban Baskaran was defaulted for wearing a watch during the game. After 9 moves of his game against IM CRG Krishna, the game was stopped after Krishna noticed Adhiban wearing a watch, which was against the competition rules.
What complicated the decision was that Adhiban's watch was a good old fashioned analog watch, and was incapable of receiving or producing information. Why this type of watch was also banned (in India at least) had more to do with the difficulty on telling the difference between smart and non-smart watches, rather than any problem with the watch itself.
There have been a few similar incidents in the recent past, although they have involved smart watches. A game in the 2019 NSW Championship was ended when a player was found to be wearing a smart watch, while in the 2018 Chess Olympiad, I turned up to at least two games wearing my Garmin fitness watch and had to hurriedly hand it off to an arbiter before I was forfeited.
It is important to note that the FIDE Laws of Chess specifically mention electronic devices, and that analog watches aren't considered in that category. Back in 2010 the Rules Commission discussed the technology behind watches in FIDE rated events, and not only were watches permitted (at that time), but having a watch that produced a noise (like an alarm or beep) was not enough to default a player.


Anonymous said...

It's not curious though, the Chief Arbiter and the AICF have both strictly put this rule into Indian events. Players ignore it, and cop the penalty.

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