Statement of Arbiters’ Commission and Rules Commission for the Wesley So case

According to the decision of the last FIDE Presidential Board in Chengdu, China, the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission and Rules Commission make the following statement, regarding the Wesley So case that happened during the US Chess Championship 2015.

The Chief Arbiter of the event IA Tony Rich (USA) had the right to take such a decision to forfeit GM Wesley So during the game W. So – V. Akobian of the 9th round of the Championship, as W. So was using notes he had written on a paper and in previous rounds on his scoresheets.

The decision of the Arbiter was based on the following articles of the current Laws of Chess:

8.1. b The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.

According to the Chief Arbiter and other witnesses, W. So was writing notes on his scoresheet during the previous rounds in order to encourage himself. The Chief Arbiter had warned him twice and had informed him that if it would be a third time he would forfeit him.

11.3. a During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyze any game on another chessboard.

During his game of the 9th round W. So had written again notes on a separate paper that he had put under his scoresheet and was using them.

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.

Akobian complained to the Chief Arbiter that he was distracted by So’s behavior, because he was using his notes.

11.7. Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game. The arbiter shall decide the score of the opponent.

The Chief Arbiter had warned him twice and had informed him that if it would be a third time he would forfeited him.

The above Laws of Chess have been approved by the Rules Commission long ago and is a result of serious and all-round discussions by the specialists. They are directed to avoid different violations, including cheating.

For the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission For Rules and Tournament Commission
Takis Nikolopoulos Ashot Vardapetyan
Chairman Chairman
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