Nigel Short Forfeited By Cell Phone

The European Union Open Championships took place from September 9th to 18th September 2008 in Liverpool, England. Hometown hero and former world chess champion contender Nigel Short was penalized in this event for allowing his cell phone to ring. Before his game against Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Nigel Short turned off his brand new Nokia cell phone and placed it on top of a biography of Fidel Castro beside him on the table. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant admits that this occurred before the game. After receiving loss for that round, Short explained that his phone had had a low battery and played a theme to remind its owner to charge it. The offending phone had been a gift from a sponsor at a recent tournament and Nigel had just started using it. Below is the F.I.D.E. rule relating to such a disturbance:

“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.”

from Paragraph 12.2 in the Laws of Chess

I understand the need for chess tournaments to limit distractions and maintain an honest playing area, however I feel a warning should be issued on the first offense. Speaking as a regular attendee of the symphony, I know from experience how easy it is to make a call at intermission and then forget to switch the phone back to silent mode. The reason I have never been embarrassed by having my cell phone add to the music is due to the fact that the symphony makes a public service announcement reminding attendees to mute their cell phones. I wonder if the Chief Tournament Director for the European Union Open Championships delivered such a reminder.

The game Nigel Short lost because of his cell phone is below.

Short,N (2655) – Arakhamia,K (2448) [B45]
4th ch-EU Liverpool ENG (2), 10.09.2008
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 e6 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Nf6 7.f3 Be7 8.Qd2 0-0 9.g4 d5 10.g5 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Nh5 12.0-0-0 Bxg5 13.Kb1 Kh8 14.exd5 exd5 15.Bxg5 Qxg5 16.Rg1 Qf4 17.Qxd5 Nf6 18.Qg5 Qxg5 19.Rxg5 Be6 20.Bd3 h6 21.Rb5 b6 22.a4 Bd7 23.Rb4 Bc6 24.f4 Rad8 25.Rc4 Bf3 26.Re1


Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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