Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

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Matthew Turner
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Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:43 am

At recent 4NCLs there have been two incidents involving Grandmasters and their mobiles. Firstly, a Grandmaster's mobile rang, but ownership of the phone was claimed by someone else, who wasn't playing, so nothing happened. In all fairness, it is difficult for the arbitors to do anything about this, but does this show a weakness in the rules? Can I claim a phone in my pocket actually belongs to someone else and would this avoid a penalty?
This last weekend Nigel Davies' phone rang (or perhaps beeped is a better word) during his game. It was probably heard by 50+ people. Unsure of the rules (?) Nigel went to find an arbitor and returned with Roger Edwards who explained that as the phone had only beeped once that 'technically Nigel had not lost'. The game continued merrily on it's way and Nigel defeated Lorin D'Costa. I wonder if anyone can clarify Roger Edwards' clarification, or do Grandmasters get a special exemption from rules they don't like?

Ian Kingston
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Ian Kingston » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:10 am

Nigel Short lost when his phone gave out a 'battery low' warning at Liverpool 2008: see http://www.liverpoolchessinternational. ... ts_rd2.htm

At a much lower level, after obeying an instruction to turn his phone off, one of Nottinghamshire's Under 11s lost when the phone issued an alarm set for some long-forgotten purpose.

If Nigel Davies' phone simply beeped, I'm not sure how that's different from the beep of a digital watch. One of those sounded loudly near my game on Sunday. (I'd quite like a rule that allows one to smash such a watch if it beeps. Once it's happened, you know that you're going to hear it again in 60 minutes time.)

The wording of the current law (Article 12.2b: 'If a player's mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game') does seem to give the arbiter some discretion over the interpretation of 'rings'. However, in the laws that take effect on 1 July this year, this loophole has been closed; Article 12.3b says: 'If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game'. So Nigel was probably lucky: FIDE didn't really say what they intended to say in 2005.

The 'not my phone' defence seems very shaky to me. If it's in the player's possession, it's his or her responsibility, regardless of ownership.

Matthew Turner
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Matthew Turner » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:23 am

Ian,
Thank you for your comments. I have dug out the rule you mention,

It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic means of communication, not authorised by the arbiter, into the playing venue. If a player`s mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game. The score of the opponent shall be determined by the arbiter.

As you say it is very unclear, because if bringing a mobile into the Playing Hall is strictly forbidden, what is the penalty for doing so? or does the phone have to ring and as you say what does 'rings' actually mean?

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:35 am

A beep could of course be a text message which should equally be a forfeit I would have thought?
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Ian Kingston
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Ian Kingston » Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:54 am

Agreed - hence the change in wording. It's not really fair to ask the arbiter to try to determine the cause of the sound (call, text message, alarm etc.) before deciding on a penalty. If we have to have the rule, then any sound from the device should trigger the forfeit.

It will be interesting to see whether the march of technology will force another rule change in four years' time.

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Carl Hibbard
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Carl Hibbard » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:02 am

By accident I turned ON my Samsung phone at the start of a game at the Kidlington congress by leaning on the power switch on the front whilst it was inside my coat pocket - it plays a nice tune as it powers up :roll: but luckily I wasn't called for it :!:

A few people heard it, so I left the board and turned it off (again!!!) and then proceeded to lose anyway...
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E Michael White
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by E Michael White » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:01 am

Re Davies v D'Costa at the 4ncl, if thats what happened its a disgrace, which could bring the game into disrepute. I dont play in the 4ncl so in a sense should be unconcerned but poor decisions like this tend to spill over to other tournaments. The current FIDE rule is clear that a player loses the game if their mobile rings. In English the word "ring" means "emits a clear audible sound" it doesnt mean a "phone call is waiting".

Unfortunately too many arbiters like to make their own different decisions but the lack of consistency brings the game into disrepute. The arbiter is required under rule 13.1 to strictly enforce the rules and the FIDE code of ethics state penalties against arbiters and organisers who do not do this.

However as regards mobiles the July 2009 rules are clearer as they become:-
12.3 Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.

After July the arbiter cant say to a player "well you might not have won so I declare the game drawn" as has happened in at least one game. No doubt if a player drops a switched off mobile making a sound as it hits the floor the new rule opens up another potential debate.

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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Ian Thompson » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:17 am

My opponent at the 4NCL on Sunday was also using a mobile phone, but not to make calls. He was taking photographs with it.

Under the new rules, to be introduced on 1 July, I think he would lose the game for doing this (unless he got the arbiter's permission first), as it clearly wasn't "completely switched off."

Under the existing rules he has done nothing wrong, but presumably was taking a risk that it might have rung from a received call while he was taking the photographs.

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Richard Bates
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Richard Bates » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:38 am

Ian Kingston wrote:The wording of the current law (Article 12.2b: 'If a player's mobile phone rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game') does seem to give the arbiter some discretion over the interpretation of 'rings'. However, in the laws that take effect on 1 July this year, this loophole has been closed; Article 12.3b says: 'If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game'.
What happens if you drop it on the floor? ;)
Ian Kingston wrote: The 'not my phone' defence seems very shaky to me. If it's in the player's possession, it's his or her responsibility, regardless of ownership.
Even if it's been planted in their coat pocket without their knowledge?

I favour as much inconsistency in the application of the rules as possible and as many loopholes as possible.

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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:19 pm

As Grandmasters have exemption from drug-testing rules, presumably they have exemptions here as well. And the use of Monroi was "compulsory" at Gibraltar, unless you were a GM.

As far as I'm concerned, if the phone makes a sound, you lose. Once you start saying the Laws don't apply in some cases, it gets chaotic. I recall being harangued for playing P x P e.p., as this was unfair as my junior opponent had never seen it before!

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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Ian Kingston » Tue Mar 24, 2009 12:34 pm

Richard Bates wrote:
Ian Kingston wrote: The 'not my phone' defence seems very shaky to me. If it's in the player's possession, it's his or her responsibility, regardless of ownership.
Even if it's been planted in their coat pocket without their knowledge?
Hmmm... a whole new can of worms is opened.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:18 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:And the use of Monroi was "compulsory" at Gibraltar, unless you were a GM.

Kevin
No it wasn't. Monrois were optional for all. The actual problem was that there were not enough of them for all who wanted to use them.

Sean Hewitt

Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Sean Hewitt » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:22 pm

Matthew Turner wrote:This last weekend Nigel Davies' phone rang (or perhaps beeped is a better word) during his game. It was probably heard by 50+ people. Unsure of the rules (?) Nigel went to find an arbitor and returned with Roger Edwards who explained that as the phone had only beeped once that 'technically Nigel had not lost'. The game continued merrily on it's way and Nigel defeated Lorin D'Costa. I wonder if anyone can clarify Roger Edwards' clarification, or do Grandmasters get a special exemption from rules they don't like?
If this is correct (and I say if only because the facts presented to the arbiter may have been in dispute) then I believe the wrong decision was made. If the phone beeped (even once) then the player loses. I'm surpried Lorin or his captain didn't appeal the decision, unless he didn't actually want to win a game in this fashion.

Richard Thursby
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Richard Thursby » Tue Mar 24, 2009 2:58 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote: I recall being harangued for playing P x P e.p., as this was unfair as my junior opponent had never seen it before!
I hope you politely responded that if the junior is playing competitive chess then they should know all the rules. It reminds me of a match (Disclaimer: I wasn't present and only heard the story from people who were) played in a universities' League some years back where a player touched a piece and attempted to move another one. When challenged they said that they hadn't played touch-move in their other matches. If I had been there I would have pointed out it is in the rules of chess so if this is a chess league, the rules of chess apply.

Correct me if I'm wrong (not being a 4NCL player) but it seems probable that many players will have mobile phones on their person, as a safe place to keep it if nothing else (not having a hotel room to keep it in like in a GM tournament), so there are similar issues to that of weekend tournaments or evening leagues. There needs to be a rule that a player is responsible for any electronic sound produced by any equipment in their possession (so you don't get defaulted for dropping it on the floor, and can't use the excuse that "It's not mine"). Did anyone complain about watches beeping the hour before mobile phones came along? The rule should probably also state it is up to the opponent of the player concerned to claim the win if a mobile phone rings, beeps, vibrates or dances a jig.

Tim Spanton
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Re: Mobile Phones (and Grandmasters)

Post by Tim Spanton » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:09 pm

Richard Thursby wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote: I recall being harangued for playing P x P e.p., as this was unfair as my junior opponent had never seen it before!
I hope you politely responded that if the junior is playing competitive chess then they should know all the rules. It reminds me of a match (Disclaimer: I wasn't present and only heard the story from people who were) played in a universities' League some years back where a player touched a piece and attempted to move another one. When challenged they said that they hadn't played touch-move in their other matches. If I had been there I would have pointed out it is in the rules of chess so if this is a chess league, the rules of chess apply.

Correct me if I'm wrong (not being a 4NCL player) but it seems probable that many players will have mobile phones on their person, as a safe place to keep it if nothing else (not having a hotel room to keep it in like in a GM tournament), so there are similar issues to that of weekend tournaments or evening leagues. There needs to be a rule that a player is responsible for any electronic sound produced by any equipment in their possession (so you don't get defaulted for dropping it on the floor, and can't use the excuse that "It's not mine"). Did anyone complain about watches beeping the hour before mobile phones came along? The rule should probably also state it is up to the opponent of the player concerned to claim the win if a mobile phone rings, beeps, vibrates or dances a jig.
Could be a problem if two players merrily let each other accept phone calls all game to the annoyance of other players ...

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