British Grandmaster Nigel Short has become the latest player to lose as a result of his mobile phone ringing during a chess game.
Bringing a phone into the playing area of a chess tournament has been illegal under the official FIDE rules for some time, but in reality - and especially at big open events - phones are allowed, as long as they are switched off before play starts.
The relevant clause of the official rules is 12.2 (b):
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.
Since the introduction of the ban quite a few players have been caught out, notably Ruslan Ponomariov. Nigel Short now adds his name to the list of shame. The incident occurred in the second round at the European Union Individual Open* currently being held in Liverpool.
There was a twist in this instance however, as it has been reported that Short's phone was off and didn't ring - but it beeped because it was low on battery power! This may have been a technicality which could have been argued upon, but Short decided to take his punishment on the chin and his opponent Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (pictured) from Scotland, rated 2448 Elo was the beneficiary.
Players at all levels will need to take care to learn from Short's misfortune. If you must take a mobile phone with you into a tournament hall, make sure that it's switched off AND that it's well charged AND that it doesn't have any other fancy features which will cause it to burst unexpectedly into life during your game!
* A very interesting tournament and a nice tournament website - well worth a look.