Taiwan Nationals 2013: part 7 -- on electronic devices

Apr 2, 2013, 2:46 PM |

There seems to be no enforcement regarding electronic devices in the game area. Every year I see people running a chess engine only a few meters from the games (in the game room). On laptops, tablets, and cell phones. This year I stood behind someone who was running a Fritz 11 engine on some of the competition games (not mine) and stared at him. When he noticed me, he quickly started making random moves ... appearing a little nervous. No idea who the dude is.

Last years finals, when I return from the restroom I noticed a laptop (without anyone nearby) in the game area with an earlier position from my ongoing game on the screen. There was no arbiter in the room to alert, so I just went ahead and finished my game. 

However, the no cell-phone rule is enforced strictly. We had a guy in last years finals whose cell phone went off the moment he played his first move in a game, and he was declared loser. (According to the rumour, it was his mother calling to wish him luck in the important game! If he had won it, he might have been the Taiwan champion instead).

Spectators are allowed to have their phones on. And they do ring and run chess engines.

This shows a huge difference between here and west. Back in Europe the intent of the rule matters at least as much as the letter of the rule. The no cell-phone rule is there to avoid cheating, so nobody can call a players' cellphone during a game -- and where the call itself is a signal of something. However allowing spectators phones on, anyone wishing to cheat using "a call as signal trick" could just call a spectator here instead. And with all the chess engines around, there must be a bazillion ways to communicate moves...

Just to clarify: I do not suspect any of my opponents of cheating. They pretty much never leave the table and just stare at the board anyway... 

My suggestion is to disallow all electronic devices, including cell phones and cameras, in the game room. Dedicate a separate area as "analysis room", and allow engines there. But do not allow players who have not finished their game into that room.