Mobile phone penalties.

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.

What do you think the penalty should be for a player's mobile making a sound during a game?

Nothing
1
2%
A warning
1
2%
A warning for the first offence, and being defaulted for the second
14
23%
A time bonus for the opponent (as with an illegal move)
0
No votes
A time bonus for the opponent for the first offence, and being defaulted for the second
8
13%
Being defaulted
27
45%
Exclusion from the tournament
1
2%
The punishment should be left to the discretion of the arbiter
8
13%
 
Total votes: 60

Martin Benjamin
Posts: 248
Joined: Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:54 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Martin Benjamin » Sat Mar 06, 2010 8:47 pm

I voted to leave it to the arbiter's discretion in terms of the law relating to "distraction" generally on the grounds that a mobile phone ring is a distraction like any other. The arbiter would have to take into account the entire circumstances (intent of player, player's behaviour, state of play etc.). I realise this leaves a lot of scope open to interpretation, particularly in evening league chess where the captains are arbiters, but this is true of all the laws of chess, relating to distraction or otherwise. For example, an unscrupulous team could all prearrange to swear on oath that a mobile phone of the opposing Board One had emitted a sound after move 7. Or someone whose phone really had made a noise could then brazenly deny it with the support of his/her own team. Or someone could take back a move and then deny it ever happened. Or someone could be deliberately rocking the table to distract an opponent. You get my drift, I am sure. I have no wish to have matches constantly disrupted by mobile phone calls, but we don't have a law enforcing an immediate loss for other forms of distraction (eating hot food at the board, coughing over the board, sniggering at opponent's moves, halitosis etc. etc.) Yet none of these thankfully are commonplace despite no law proscribing them specifically.

Richard Bates
Posts: 3012
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:27 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:28 am

Sean Hewitt wrote:Interesting that everyone is saying they voted for time/warning then default - yet immediate default is heading the poll!

I voted for immediate default. I remember what used to happen before this law was introduced ; phones were going off left right and centre. That does not happen now for one reason alone - the existence of this rule - and I would not wish to see such chaos return.
Presumably you would be in favour of an immediate default for any individual player who emits any noise during a game? That happens all the time, far more regularly than mobile phones going off, and is usually far more distracting. Perhaps with a byelaw which allows players to order arbiters out of the room doing likewise!

Sean Hewitt

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:00 am

Richard Bates wrote: Presumably you would be in favour of an immediate default for any individual player who emits any noise during a game?
No.
Richard Bates wrote: That happens all the time, far more regularly than mobile phones going off,
True.
Richard Bates wrote:...and is usually far more distracting.
No it's not.

Ben Hague
Posts: 34
Joined: Thu Apr 05, 2007 6:59 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Ben Hague » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:07 am

When I first heard about this rule I thought it was ridiculous, but I am starting to come round to the idea. I think it depends what you compare it to. If you compare it to time controls then it starts to look more sensible. E.g. if I take 1 second too long to reach the time control then I lose, and everybody accepts that. However it very hard to claim that taking one extra second has had more of an impact on the game than a phone ringing.
Does anyone know what the reaction was when chess clocks were first introduced? I would've imagined that weren't universally popular.

Richard Bates
Posts: 3012
Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:27 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:08 am

Sean Hewitt wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:
Richard Bates wrote:...and is usually far more distracting.
No it's not.
Really? Well i suppose it's a matter of opinion. My experience is that a mobile phone ringing (and i assume you are only referring to fully blown ringtones, rather than text message beeps) is a distraction because of the noise, and a brief thought of "couldn't they have been thoughtful enough to turn it off?"

Whereas when you get people talking loudly at a crucial point, you get a distraction from the noise (often getting steadily louder), in addition to a distraction caused by a large portion of your thinking engaged in "can't someone shut them up?", followed by having to take time out from analysing to mull over whether to ask them to be quiet personally, and finally actually cut away from analysis completely to actually ask them to be quiet, often involving actually getting up from the board to ask them to do so... and then finding within two minutes of whispering the noise reaches the previous levels all over again!

I also think that turning the mobile phone off is now pretty well established etiquette, only breached by those being forgetful, and even if it could be argued that the draconian rule has played a part in that, i doubt you would get a serious deterioration were it to be relaxed.

Peter Rhodes
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Peter Rhodes » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:48 pm

I voted for default - but here are some other ideas although in some cases they are difficult to implement :


Alternative 1) Default if any player within the vicinity has 20 minutes or less on their clock. Otherwise a 15 minute time penalty to the player in question.

Alternative 2) A 15 minute penalty for the player in question AND a "Warning / Yellow Card". If that same player has a further incident in any match within a year, he gets a Red Card and is awarded a default loss.


I believe that if a player is not to be defaulted the game, then the penalty should be significant enough that it should serve as a meaningful deterrent against the introduction of a potential source of interruption into the playing area.
Chess Amateur.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Sean Hewitt » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:56 pm

Peter Rhodes wrote: I believe that if a player is not to be defaulted the game, then the penalty should be significant enough that it should serve as a meaningful deterrent against the introduction of a potential source of interruption into the playing area.
I agree with that sentiment. A 2 minute time penalty is no penalty and is certainly no deterrent. A penalty involving losing something like 30 mins or half the players remaining time might be sufficiently harsh to be a realistic alternative to default. But only if FIDE changes the laws to accommodate this.

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 3271
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:48 am

"Alternative 1) Default if any player within the vicinity has 20 minutes or less on their clock. Otherwise a 15 minute time penalty to the player in question."

Sadly, there is no SI unit of "vicinity", and when I am arbiter, I do not want to rush round the room looking at every clock. I could shout, "Anybody got less than 20 minutes?", I suppose.
"Kevin was the arbiter and was very patient. " Nick Grey

Anthony Taglione
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Anthony Taglione » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:05 am

I'm in agreement with Kevin in that any putative penalty need to be simple to apply. Having to keep track of red and yellow cards on a player by player basis is not ever likely to be implemented: you'd have some players wondering which league they might have transgressed in and you'll have other players attempting to keep records of anyone they're likely to encounter such that they might pounce like a hawk when someone uses up their card.

I also agree that a two-minute penalty to the offending player is rather trifling and would set the bar at a five minute minimum with ten minutes being a more-significant slap on the wrist. I think that fifteen minutes or more is maybe a shade too harsh. If the player has less than the penalty time remaining then he loses. I would also set it as a penalty to the player rather than as a bonus to other distracted players or to the opponent.

On the other hand, I'm very much in favour of players being able to keep their phones in silent mode and being able to leave the room to receive a call, the penalties only being invoked for the heinous crime of sharing one's choice in ring-tone or other relevant beeps and whistles or particularly noisy vibrates.

Alan Walton
Posts: 1258
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:33 pm
Location: Oldham

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Alan Walton » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:10 am

Hi,

Are we slightly missing the point around the default rule with mobile phones

Isn't the rule there predominantly to prevent cheating with electronic devices, nowadays mobile devices can have versions of Fritz running on them, text messages are very simple to send in a matter of seconds to a second party providing moves.

So when a phone goes off, the default is not really for the distraction, rather than proving you have a electronic device switched on, and therefore could be receiving assistance

Admittedly the majority play the game within the spirit of the game, but nobody will want to play a game with somebody who is receiving outside assistance, therefore if there is a rule there which reduces this risk, then we should be all for it

Alan

Anthony Taglione
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Anthony Taglione » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:25 am

No, we're not missing that particular point but I think that most of us have dismissed it as being an unreasonable supposition that one is cheating by having a common modern appliance. I have an old phone, for example, which doesn't even have a colour screen, much less the ability to run games or the processing power to display a chess board in reasonable time.

If someone is leaving the board to check his texts between every move after his opponent has moved then one might suspect cheating. To make a blanket assumption that phone equates to cheat is unreasonable. One can receive hints, tips and "good moves" without the use of a phone. Following the line of limiting all communication leads logically to having players bound to their chairs, only permitted to visit the toilet while supervised by an appointed official.

Is cheating known to be such an issue that telephone paranoia is warranted at all levels of play? I see it as something to be mandated on an event by event basis.

Alan Walton
Posts: 1258
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 8:33 pm
Location: Oldham

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Alan Walton » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:46 am

Regarding the cheating element, a person doesn't necessarily have to keep getting numerous tips to win a game, normally in a game where there is a critical decision results in an advantageous for the rest of the game, therefore one piece of advice is only needed. Unfortunately mobile phones (devices) have brought the cheating question to the forefront

I agree that these situations are more relevant during tournaments where there is a monetary gain from cheating, but I rather have one rule for everything, to get rid of any idea of cheating

With all the accusations flying around recently (some proven), cheating in chess is a increasing problem and we have to have more draconian methods to discourage that

It looks like generally in all forms of life that cheating the system for some kind of benefit is becoming more widespread, look at the current MP expenses problem, so if a small rule like having the phone switched off alleviates this, we should be for it

Peter Rhodes
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Peter Rhodes » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:47 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:Sadly, there is no SI unit of "vicinity"
Heheh, that's true.

When drafting that term I must admit I had in mind league games where there usually only a relatively small number of boards. Yes it would be impossible to deal with that in a tournament situation.

Although thinking about it, it's not above the wit of man to draft an addendum for that situation, given the start time of a tournament and the time controls that are known, one could say that "after such and such a time" a default is issued - although players can play at different rates, it would help those players who remember to turn their phones off in the first 5 or 10 minutes of a game - which I think is quite common - I've done it myself even.

The suggestion was just intended as a compromise to say that at the beginning of a game a mobile phone incident is much less intrusive than at the end of the game. Drawing a line between those phases is difficult, but in this case it had to be drawn somewhere.

Andrew wrote:any putative penalty need to be simple to apply. Having to keep track of red and yellow cards on a player by player basis is not ever likely to be implemented
Peter Rhodes wrote:they are difficult to implement
I had made that point, but don't you agree that in framing legislation you start with an ideal and then see how much of that can be translated into reality. I had made the implementation point already. There seems to be a small section of players who are concerned that they could get caught out on the one occasion they forget to turn off their mobile - and which Ernie Lazenby correctly points out they must take some personal responsibility. I wonder what they would suggest instead of Red and Yellow cards because clearly it is difficult to keep giving people "another chance" which does seem to be politically fashionable these days !
Chess Amateur.

Peter Rhodes
Posts: 246
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Peter Rhodes » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:04 am

Alan Walton wrote:Are we slightly missing the point around the default rule with mobile phones. Isn't the rule there predominantly to prevent cheating with electronic devices
You might be right Alan because yes, my own perspective is the intrusive element, and I worry about the slippery slope were the penalties to be lower.

I think the reason your point is important is because of the minatuisation of communication devices.

There was already the incident where some guy was wearing a cap that had a device sewed into the fabric.

I wonder what will happen as these devices get smaller. What happens when they are the size of a hearing aid, and someone cheats by claiming to be hard of hearing ? ! Perhaps that we will have to rely on faith and the sportsmanship of our peers just like when playing on the Internet.

Then again, perhaps "mobile phone jammers" will become cheaper. Will they cover all such potential devices ?

I don't know the answer to these questions, but I think Andrew introduces an important point. Maybe minaturisation itself will change the nature of these rules we are discussing.
Chess Amateur.

Anthony Taglione
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 12:43 pm

Re: Mobile phone penalties.

Post by Anthony Taglione » Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:19 am

On the aspect of cheating, I'd prefer, as with most laws in national legislation, that mandating away the possibility of cheating by imposing restriction on everyone's freedom is less appropriate than applying punishment to offenders.

More specifically, we're discussing removing simple communication ability from all players on the possibility that some few individuals might abuse that ability to cheat with. It's generally more reasonable to apply appropriate penalties to offenders than to restrict the liberty of all. Anyone caught cheating should simply be blacklisted, unable to play in any FIDE or ECF event for a minimum of two years. Thereafter, he should be unable to get an official grading, which would limit his opportunities for congress or tournament play. Maybe some would see that as draconian but better to punish a transgressor than to punish everyone for being a potential cheat.

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