Chess player banned for using Pocket Fritz

11/9/2007 – Last Saturday, while playing a game for his club, a Dutch chess player was caught using a PDA with Pocket Fritz. He claimed he was not analyzing, but his game was declared lost, and yesterday the player was severely punished by the competition manager of the Dutch Chess Federation: a ban till the end of the season 2009-2010. Tough sentence.

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In the match Bergen op Zoom vs AAS, played in Dutch League 2C last Saturday, the arbiter caught the team captain of AAS (who was playing himself on board six), using a PDA outside the playing hall, which he had left , with permission, to "get some fresh air." The arbiter had followed him and caught him using Pocket Fritz. On the screen the current position of the game was shown.

The arbiter declared the game lost and informed the Dutch Federation about the incident. Yesterday the competition manager communicated a heavy penalty: the player has been banned from playing in the Dutch League and Cup matches, not only for this season, but also for next two seasons. The competition manager applied article 20.3 of the Federation’s competition regulations:

“When a player or captain breaks the rules of the FIDE or those of the Federation’s competition, the competition manager has the right to ban this particular person for a certain period for playing or being team captain in Dutch League matches. This period cannot be longer than till the end of the running season plus three more seasons.(…)”

In the Dutch chess forum Utrechtschaak the player in question said that he was not entering the game to analyse it, but to build an electronic database of his personal games. He was generally torn to pieces for this posting. In a telephone conversation with the editor of the Dutch blog Chess Vibes he admitted he had committed a “terrible mistake” which he deeply regretted. He said that it was probably the best that he is being s punished because of the signal that’s been given. “Of course I shouldn’t have done it, even though I wasn’t analysing the position. You just can’t use such a thing, it’s 180 degrees against the rules, so a big penalty is appropriate here.”

Chess Vibes asked the Dutch Federation’s competition manager, Ron Bleeker, to comment on the severity of the punishment. Bleeker: “For deciding on the penalty I used my intuition: I think it’s a very heavy offense and so a heavy penalty is needed. It is not the maximum penalty. That I can still use for even heavier offenses, like physical violence. Naturally I hope I won’t need this.”

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