Mobile phones and 10.2

Two issues arose this evening in matches at the Bury St Edmunds club.

In one game, where an adult was playing a junior, the latter’s phone rang.   He didn’t resign but showed his intention of playing on (perhaps he didn’t know the rule?)   His opponent took pity on him (he’s only 12) and allowed the game to continue.   He lived to regret that decision, as he eventually lost!

So, what is the correct procedure?   The rule (FIDE 12.3) says “If any (such) device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game.”   So that’s clear, but what if the player whose phone rang doesn’t react?   One thing is certain: if his opponent allows the game to continue, then he cannot claim the game later on.   It doesn’t really matter if the opponent is a junior, an old age pensioner, or an attractive young lady.   You have won, and you should not allow the game to carry on.   If the opponent protests, then inform the team captains.

Has this happened to you?   What did you do – did you take the tolerant route or did you insist that you had won?

The second issue was a 10.2 claim.   This is when a player claims a draw when he has less than two minutes left on the basis that his opponent is either unable to win by normal means, or is making no attempt to win (i.e. trying to run you out of time).   The problem with this claim was that it was made on a digital clock with just two seconds remaining.   If you want to claim under this rule, you must leave sufficient time for the arbiter (if there is one, or the two captains otherwise) to watch the game and confirm that the opponent is making no real attempt to win.   Obviously, this is impossible with two seconds left.   As it happens, the player with more time was losing in material terms and agreed a draw.   But my advice in this situation is to decline the draw (don’t forget, a claim of a draw is also an offer of a draw) and let your opponent’s time run out.   He has 90 minutes to complete the game and if he is unable to do so in that time, then that’s tough.   It doesn’t matter if the other player has a material deficit.

The lesson to be learnt here is that if you intend to claim under FIDE rule 10.2, then do so as soon as you have less than two minutes remaining.

Again, your comments on this issue will be welcomed.

4 thoughts on “Mobile phones and 10.2
  1. I have expressed my views on phones on here in the past, so for a bit of light relief, here's a novel idea.
    Perhaps we should apply the rules on phones dependant on the volume and quality of the ringtone!
    An awful ringtone would be an automatic default, a questionable tone would be at the discretion of the opponent and a quality tone would be ignored.
    Of course this would be very subjective and difficult to enforce but if you want to idle away a few hours at the next AGM…..

    On the subject of 10.2 I completely agree with Bob's views

  2. I had once travelled to a 4NCL match in the Midlands. Only one game per day. My opponent phone went during the opening. I had come to play chess so let home carry on. Fortunately I won anyway. But there is a conflict in wanting to play a game and gaining the result. Similar to declining a draw offer too early in the game.

  3. Suffolk rules are slightly more relaxed: 1.4 Should any mobile electronic equipment emit a sound during play, the player in possession of it must immediately offer to resign. His opponent may decline this offer.

    This seems a better solution in our local league.

  4. Hello Bob,

    I thought we had been through this in incredible detail at rules revision time. We argued for all sorts of restrictions and were worried about electronic cheating and all manner exemptions for those on call for their caring occupations. We eventually settled on the rule as Mike Clapham states it. I guess that allows the player whose opponent's phone does ring to decide if the game is over or not. If they decide not to claim the win for some possibly admirable motive then whingeing after they have subsequently lost is really unacceptable. Ignorance of the rules is no defence so be it a 12 year old or an 80 year old or anywhere in between, mobile phones need to stay silent during league chess games.

    I don't think that rule 10.2 is popular with anyone other than those who habitually find themselves in time trouble. Whatever the validity of the rule please don't wait until there are seconds to your doom before claiming the opponent is not "trying hard enough to win".
    My take, as I expressed at rules revision, is that in the league all games are played against both the opponent and the clock. If a player runs out of time because their opponent has set them problems during the game that have caused the time stressed player to use practically all of their allocated time assets trying to find solutions then there should be no reason for complaint if the player with time in hand uses that extra time asset as an additional weapon to win. Both players start with equal time so if either uses all their time they lose to the clock. If you win because you have an extra material asset remaining on the board then no-one would think of querying this situation, so why query the situation where the asset is one of time?

    Here lies the reason for the popularity of digital clocks and their increments which always allow a time stressed player some seconds to play each move.

    David Green

    P.s.Incidentally rule10.3 has a typo in the copy of the league rules you circulated. it says 13.2 and there is no rule 13.2, it should read 10.2

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