Bad Behaviour at the board

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  • Bad Behaviour at the board

    I am frequently asked, either via the CFC office (by email or phone) by players and TD's/organizers, or as a TD or club official, what constitutes bad behaviour at the board, and what can be done about it. I recently sent this message to a concerned member,

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The FIDE handbook on the rules of chess and tournament play has the following regulation.
    ...
    11.5 It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.
    ...
    I believe this regulation is purposefully designed to be vague. I think trying to codify all potential bad behaviour at the board as to if it could be characterized as “distracting or annoying” would be a pointless exercise in futility. So it is left to the discretion of the TD’s/ Arbiters.

    We are all faced with opponents with various annoying habits, conscious or not, things that just annoy us. Do we complain or do we just suffer in silence, are we being to picky? We have all been there.

    My suggestion.

    Tell your opponent that his/her behaviour is distracting, and could they please stop it. Ask politely. They are likely unaware of your suffering.

    If you prefer not to confront your opponent, have a quiet word with the TD/Arbiter. They could then observe the bad behaviour themselves and determine if remedial action is required.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I thought maybe a thoughtful discussion here may serve useful.
    But let's NOT turn this into a gripe session. If you have an instructive story to share, let's keep the names out of it.

    Thoughts?

  • #2
    Hello Bob,

    I'd suggest NOT talking to/asking the opponent for anything. Go directly to the arbiter. Contrary to "illegal moves" there is no limit to what the arbiter can do with the Preface or 12.9. In fact, talking to the opponent first could backfire !!

    Comment


    • #3
      A couple of things I have noticed recently at club (rated) tournaments I have been in:

      at an adjacent board a young player was constantly tantalizing his opponent (who was probably a few years older) - at one point - not on his move - he "adjusted" every one of his pieces announcing "adjust" for EVERY piece/pawn. At that point *I* asked him to settle down and stop irritating both his opponent AND me... his behaviour improved somewhat but only for a short while...

      Another adjacent incident: the young player next to me got up to wander after EVERY single move he made (with few exceptions)... his opponent was exasperated by this and I believe he was so rattled that he blundered slightly and that lead to later worse blunders.

      At the risk of inviting "OK BOOMER", I think TDs might consider announcing some obvious rules before each round? I don't mind minor distractions if they are unintentional. In tight quarters I understand that even getting out of one's chair might cause a huge ruckus but in club swiss tournaments there might need to be some better oversight - I should have gone to speak to the TD for the first incident but the second one I think was just a case of the young player being restless and going to observe his friends' games - but not after every move.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bob Gillanders View Post
        My suggestion.

        Tell your opponent that his/her behaviour is distracting, and could they please stop it. Ask politely. They are likely unaware of your suffering.

        If you prefer not to confront your opponent, have a quiet word with the TD/Arbiter. They could then observe the bad behaviour themselves and determine if remedial action is required.
        Unless it is a friendly game, communications more than resigning, draw offer, "adjust" shall be avoided. Even the draw offer shall be done on YOUR own time.
        The arbiter shall try to resolve the conflict. Yes, the rule is broad as all kind of situations could happen.

        The worth part is to take a problem home. Then it is too late to do anything for that game, and the case becomes only educational.



        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Kerry Liles View Post
          At the risk of inviting "OK BOOMER", I think TDs might consider announcing some obvious rules before each round? I don't mind minor distractions if they are unintentional. In tight quarters I understand that even getting out of one's chair might cause a huge ruckus but in club swiss tournaments there might need to be some better oversight - I should have gone to speak to the TD for the first incident but the second one I think was just a case of the young player being restless and going to observe his friends' games - but not after every move.
          This is not only a youth property (not an issue). Many players don't like to sit when it is not their move including me :) Probably it is more organizational issue that players are sitting too close to each other.

          Comment


          • #6
            I had one player complain about the fact that I was blinking when looking at the board and calculating variations. He asked me during my move whether I had to do that and I said yes, I did.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Vlad Drkulec View Post
              I had one player complain about the fact that I was blinking when looking at the board and calculating variations. He asked me during my move whether I had to do that and I said yes, I did.
              That's the funniest two sentences I have ever read about chess! Thanks!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kerry Liles View Post
                ...

                at an adjacent board a young player was constantly tantalizing his opponent (who was probably a few years older) - at one point - not on his move - he "adjusted" every one of his pieces announcing "adjust" for EVERY piece/pawn. At that point *I* asked him to settle down and stop irritating both his opponent AND me... his behaviour improved somewhat but only for a short while...
                I would have complained to the TD, even if I were at the next board.

                If I were his opponent I would have asked the TD to give him a warning and that he be forfeited for any future infractions, particularly as he is doing this on my time.
                "Knowledge illuminates visible possibilities" - http://wisdomofchopra.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I had a student once who was in a tournament game with minimal time on his clock (no increment) in an absolutely drawn rook endgame (textbook philidor defence). When he got down to about two minutes he stopped the clock to go get a TD and argue that his opponent was clearly just trying to flag him. When he returned with the TD his flag had fallen. ******* opponent started his clock while we was away from the board. The less than competent TD decided to "not get involved" and awarded the win to the cheater. I'm still mad lol.

                  In terms of annoying behaviors, I have issued a standing warning to one player at any of my tournaments that he can't resign by throwing his king across the room or at someone. I swear to God if he does it again I'll ban him for life.

                  ​​​

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Back when I was masters rep I recall one kid being very annoying repeatedly picking up pieces and then holding them over the board in the air for five minutes at a time. I saw he was trying to get my goat but I declined to be bothered by his antics. My neighboring player on the next board just exploded and started yelling at him for being annoying.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Wasnt it Nigel Fullbrook who once resigned by throwing the clock out the window? Sometime in the 70s.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bad Behaviour at the Board

                        November 9, 2019

                        In 2018 there was a thread on the EC Forum entitled “Irritating habits of juniors – a brief list”

                        Some quotes from that:

                        I know they’re kids, so one has to cut them some slack, but why are so many junior players so downright bad mannered at the board?

                        1. Banging the clock on every move
                        2. Staring at you when it’s your move
                        3. Standing behind you in your field of vision when it’s your move.
                        4. Constantly sniffing instead of blowing their nose
                        5. Sighing in boredom when you’re thinking.
                        6. Not shaking hands properly
                        7. Repeatedly offering draws in a losing position

                        I’m afraid to say that this behaviour is now the norm, rather than the exception.

                        ________

                        The most irritating behaviour I have encountered was from one junior who left the board immediately after making his move. Upon his return he would ask "What did you move?". After about 15 or so instances of this, I said "If you sit at the table you will see it", and refused to tell him. He almost burst into tears, but repeated this behaviour several more times. I have not seen his name in any event for the last few years.

                        _________

                        Come on folks, let's be a bit more charitable here. We were all young once, even if some of us need exceptionally good memories to recall this. No doubt we all had habits that infuriated our elders. My most annoying experiences have been with adult opponents - and at least they were old enough to know better. We need junior players and, more importantly, not discourage them from continuing to play into adolescence and adulthood.

                        _________

                        However, this bad behaviour has been more the norm than not in my experience and I think it’s more the parents than anything, teaching the kids to push the boundaries and seeing what they can get away with to gain an edge. I’ve also once had a kids father give me a full on 30 second death stare when I refused a draw against his son (who was a piece and 2 pawns down) - the problem was easily solved though - I simply stood up to stretch my legs next to the father, simultaneously demonstrating I was a clear foot taller, he quickly scuttled off back to his laptop.

                        ________

                        Eating at the board - If it’s a kit kat with a cup of coffee, I don't particularly object - if it’s a burger and a pile of chips, well, it’s not like you didn't just have 3 hours to kill in the break between rounds

                        _________

                        Interesting comments from everyone.

                        I should append that a few years back I played in a big tournament in the US and the behaviour of the junior players there was very different. It was a pleasure to play them. I found myself wondering whether it's a cultural thing.

                        Incidentally, I have given some thought as to why juniors look at you when it's your move. I concluded there are two reasons.

                        Firstly, since children have relatively little experience of reading non-verbal clues in others, when they do try to look for 'tells' it is very poorly nuanced. An adult does not need to employ such a crude method as staring at someone's face because he or she is much more finely attuned to others' mental states. The second reason is that most adults know that to look a stranger in the eyes for too long communicates either aggression or desire, and to communicate these falsely is a potentially dangerous action. Children do not yet understand this.

                        https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic...viour&start=45

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
                          Bad Behaviour at the Board

                          I should append that a few years back I played in a big tournament in the US and the behaviour of the junior players there was very different. It was a pleasure to play them. I found myself wondering whether it's a cultural thing.

                          Incidentally, I have given some thought as to why juniors look at you when it's your move. I concluded there are two reasons.

                          Firstly, since children have relatively little experience of reading non-verbal clues in others, when they do try to look for 'tells' it is very poorly nuanced. An adult does not need to employ such a crude method as staring at someone's face because he or she is much more finely attuned to others' mental states. The second reason is that most adults know that to look a stranger in the eyes for too long communicates either aggression or desire, and to communicate these falsely is a potentially dangerous action. Children do not yet understand this.

                          https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic...viour&start=45
                          Good post Wayne, a couple of thoughts on the points quoted above:

                          1) This is anecdotal, but I've also sensed a difference in the States. At my last World Open a few years ago, I had one player try to intimidate me before the game. I gave the "Vlad look", and it stopped immediately. Then in another round, a neighbouring player was "adjusting" every move. I finally snapped at him, loud enough for the whole row to hear, and again, he never did it again. In both cases, I sensed a certain "comfort" of everyone with someone putting someone else in their place. It was like "if you wanna start something, someone's gonna finish it". In Canada, and Europe, there's more of "Arbiter, please help me". Again, all of this is completely anecdotal. I should also point out that under U.S. chess laws, TDs generally don't get involved unless requested.

                          2) Regarding children learning this and that, in my humble opinion, there's no advantage in deferring them understanding something as simple as maintained eye contact. As a father of three boys (two now men), things like this should be imbued to children from an early an age as possible. Heck, I've seen practically young men being lunged at by dogs they just kept staring at lol.

                          Now, even having just written what I have, I caution that Serge in one of the original posts is still the most correct. Under the laws of chess, summoning the Arbiter is the better proper option.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            In this category, I would include:
                            a) eating at the board; IA Hal Bond expressly forbids this at events he organizes / directs, as do many other TDs and arbiters, including myself; drinking non-alcoholic beverages at the board is generally accepted, provided it is done in a non-distracting fashion.
                            b) gesturing over the board; that is, hovering one's hand over a piece, then withdrawing it; also, picking up a piece and then taking time to decide where it will go, instead of placing it directly for a move in a forthwith manner.
                            c) tapping one's feet, or hands; self-explanatory.
                            d) talking to one's opponent, in a repeated manner, during play, on matters not specifically involving the game. This is more common than many realize.
                            These are examples of distracting the opponent.
                            Another, more serious category would be the outright harassment of an opponent or neighbouring player(s). Some items from posts above would be included here.
                            Overall, it's a very important topic, and one for which chess clubs and organizers could improve Canadian chess by making regulations more clear, and enforcement more standardized!!
                            I suggest a national one-page information sheet be created, by the CFC / FQE / CMA, in a collaborative manner, to deal with this, in specifics, and then adopted throughout Canada by all clubs and tournaments.
                            Frank Dixon
                            NTD, Kingston

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
                              Bad Behaviour at the Board

                              November 9, 2019

                              In 2018 there was a thread on the EC Forum entitled “Irritating habits of juniors – a brief list”

                              Some quotes from that:

                              I know they’re kids, so one has to cut them some slack, but why are so many junior players so downright bad mannered at the board?

                              1. Banging the clock on every move
                              2. Staring at you when it’s your move
                              3. Standing behind you in your field of vision when it’s your move.
                              4. Constantly sniffing instead of blowing their nose
                              5. Sighing in boredom when you’re thinking.
                              6. Not shaking hands properly
                              7. Repeatedly offering draws in a losing position

                              I’m afraid to say that this behaviour is now the norm, rather than the exception.

                              ________

                              The most irritating behaviour I have encountered was from one junior who left the board immediately after making his move. Upon his return he would ask "What did you move?". After about 15 or so instances of this, I said "If you sit at the table you will see it", and refused to tell him. He almost burst into tears, but repeated this behaviour several more times. I have not seen his name in any event for the last few years.

                              _________

                              Come on folks, let's be a bit more charitable here. We were all young once, even if some of us need exceptionally good memories to recall this. No doubt we all had habits that infuriated our elders. My most annoying experiences have been with adult opponents - and at least they were old enough to know better. We need junior players and, more importantly, not discourage them from continuing to play into adolescence and adulthood.

                              _________

                              However, this bad behaviour has been more the norm than not in my experience and I think it’s more the parents than anything, teaching the kids to push the boundaries and seeing what they can get away with to gain an edge. I’ve also once had a kids father give me a full on 30 second death stare when I refused a draw against his son (who was a piece and 2 pawns down) - the problem was easily solved though - I simply stood up to stretch my legs next to the father, simultaneously demonstrating I was a clear foot taller, he quickly scuttled off back to his laptop.

                              ________

                              Eating at the board - If it’s a kit kat with a cup of coffee, I don't particularly object - if it’s a burger and a pile of chips, well, it’s not like you didn't just have 3 hours to kill in the break between rounds

                              _________

                              Interesting comments from everyone.

                              I should append that a few years back I played in a big tournament in the US and the behaviour of the junior players there was very different. It was a pleasure to play them. I found myself wondering whether it's a cultural thing.

                              Incidentally, I have given some thought as to why juniors look at you when it's your move. I concluded there are two reasons.

                              Firstly, since children have relatively little experience of reading non-verbal clues in others, when they do try to look for 'tells' it is very poorly nuanced. An adult does not need to employ such a crude method as staring at someone's face because he or she is much more finely attuned to others' mental states. The second reason is that most adults know that to look a stranger in the eyes for too long communicates either aggression or desire, and to communicate these falsely is a potentially dangerous action. Children do not yet understand this.

                              https://www.ecforum.org.uk/viewtopic...viour&start=45
                              I agree with the a parents thing, Ive had countless experiences with the parents being worse then the kid I was playing. I remember one tournament years ago for about quarters of the game the Dad would stand almost directly behind me at the board after awhile I got fairly frustrated with him and called the td. the parent then proceeded to get defensive about it

                              another annoying instance with an elder player who I played sometime last year was his about 10-15 complaints a game. anything from me opening/closing my water bottle to not say adjust in French.
                              I agree also Frank there should be a standardized list of problems that TDs and arbiters are allowed to enforce things on as they see fit and maybe even protocols for continuous offences

                              Comment

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