General Sep 3, 2016 | 11:06 PMby chess24 staff

Olympiad protest at “anti-cheating” toilet rule

Judit Polgar talks to Yasser Seirawan at the Captains Meeting | photo: Anastasiya Karlovich

Judit Polgar, Jon Speelman and Malcolm Pein are leading a petition to remove the new anti-cheating rule that requires players to inform an arbiter when they want to go to the toilet. The petition argues the rule is absurd, humiliating, unworkable and can help opponents while penalising players who are nervous, older or may have a medical condition. They invite captains and players to sign the petition.

While the venue, accommodation and general organisation of the 42nd Chess Olympiad in Baku have met with almost universal praise, the new anti-cheating regulations introduced by FIDE have proven controversial.

A number of team captains and players have launched a petition to call for the rules to be changed:


We, the undersigned captains and players at the Baku Olympiad (Open and Women’s sections), wish to protest at the new rule regarding notifying arbiters when players need to go to the lavatory, noting that:

1. The lavatories have always been considered part of the Playing Area, rendering the rule absurd.

2. This is humiliating to the players who should not have to discuss their bodily functions with FIDE officials. 

3. In order for the process to work the arbiters will have to remain at their stations at all times, presuming that FIDE doesn’t intend that players become unwell in the Playing Area.

Even the arbiters may have to go to the lavatory themselves at some stage and it is quite unacceptable that players under great stress should have to await their return.

4. Indeed, under the stress of chess, many players go to the lavatory repeatedly during their games.  This in no way implies that they are cheating, merely nervous. Older players and those with a medical condition may also frequently have to visit the lavatories.

5. Informing the arbiter may give information to the opponent, who may decide to make a move quickly to run down the clock. A player should not be required to perform an action which may aid their opponent.

We respectfully suggest that it is not FIDE’s role to penalise players for their nervousness, age or a medical condition and trust that this noxious rule will be rescinded.

  • Judit Polgar (Hungary Open Team Captain)
  • Jon Speelman (England Women’s Team Captain)
  • Malcolm Pein (England Open Team Captain)
  • Werner Hug (Switzerland)
  • Oleksandr Sulypa (Ukraine Open Team Captain)
  • Gabor Papp (Hungary Women’s Captain)
  • Anna-Maria Botsari (Greece Women’s Team Captain)
  • Mark Berkovich (Israel Open Team Captain)
  • Jonathan Tisdall (Norway Open Team Captain)
  • Goran Dizdar (Croatia Open Team Captain)
  • Martin Ballmann (Switzerland Open Team Captain)
  • Arthur Kogan (Italy Open Team Captain)
  • Michal Krasenkow (Turkey Open Team Captain)
  • Adrian Mikhalchishin (Turkey Women’s Team Captain)
  • Davit Lobzhanidze (Germany Women’s Team Captain)
  • Sami Khader (Jordan Player)
  • Ivan Sokolov (Iran Open Team Captain)
  • Maurice Ashley (Ivory Coast Open Team Captain)
  • Jordi Magem (Spain Open Team Captain)
  • Bartosz Socko (Poland Open Team Captain)
  • Elton Mhangaryi (Zimbabwe Open Team Captain)
  • David Martinez (Spain Women’s Team Captain)
  • Zoltan Ribli (Austria Open Team Captain)
  • Svetlana Gerasimova (IPCA Women’s Team Captain)
  • Yasser Seirawan (US Women's Team Captain)
  • Andrew Burnett (Scotland Open Team Captain)
  • Aloyzas Kveinys (Latvia Women's Team Captain)
  • Nick De Firmian (Bermuda Open Team Captain)
  • Roberto Hernandez (Palau Open Team Captain)
  • Lyndon Bouah (South Africa Open Team Captain)
  • Song Jinwoo (South Korea Women's Team Captain)
  • Robert Bellin (Guernsey Open Team Captain)
  • Manuel Weeks (Australia Open Team Captain)
  • Ian Rogers (Australia Women's Team Captain)
  • Bjorn-Ivar Karlsson (Iceland Women's Team Captain)
  • Fiona Steil-Antoni (Luxembourg Player)
  • Eduardas Rozentalis (Lithuania Player)
  • Gregory Lau (Malaysia Women's Team Captain)
  • Morteza Mahjoob (Fiji Open Team Captain)
  • Buenaventura Villamayor (Singapore Open Team Captain)
  • Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kazakhstan Player)
  • Aljosa Grosar (Slovenia Women's Team Captain)
  • Wendell Meusa (Guyana Open Team Captain)
  • Dhamir Jabar Mossa Al Yhya (Iraq Open Team Captain)
  • Mihaljo Stojanovic (Japan Open Team Captain)
  • Adan Mazara (Dominican Republic Open Team Captain)
  • Carlos Garcia Palermo (Bolivia Open Team Captain)
  • Pavel Tregubov (Luxembourg Open Team Captain)
  • Diego Valerga (Argentina Open Team Captain)
  • Carlos Del Rosario Moreno (Dominican Republic Women's Team Captain)
  • Vladimir Tukmakov (Netherlands Open Team Captain)
  • Twan Burg (Netherlands Player)

You can see the original petitions and some of the signatures below:

We will be updating the list of signatures above (and many remain to be deciphered). If you are a captain or player at the Baku Olympiad you can add your name by signing a list in person in Baku, write to (David Martinez) or, if you have a verified title here at chess24 (e.g. GM next to your name), you can simply leave a comment below this article. To verify your title you can write to, though some form of identification – e.g. a FIDE certificate, will be required.    

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