When I attended the FIDE Arbiter's seminar back in 2011, I did so with the intention of better knowing the rules of chess. As things transpired, it turned into the start of fairly regular arbiting work, including the Chess Olympiad in Norway last year, as well as the 2013 Australian Open & 2014 Australian Championships.
The thing that still surprises me is how many players simply don't know the rules!
The most high profile of these was super-GM Wesley So, who was forfeited in round 9 of the recent US Championships for taking notes at the board! Although these notes were not chess analysis (as I have seen some newcomers to chess do on occasion), but rather motivational notes, such as 'Use your time'. These are also against the rules of chess.
The particular rule in question is 8.1 b:
Article 8: The recording of the moves
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.
So had been warned about taking notes in both rounds 2 & 3, so the tournament arbiter Tony Rich was well within his rights to call the game in round 9 lost for So when he once again took notes at the board.
The other thing that surprises me about this is the reaction of former world champion Garry Kasparov, who it seems also does not know the rules.
The other reason for writing this post about the rules is an incident that occurred in the final round of the recently completed Melbourne Chess Club Championship. The results of the tournament, convincingly won by IM James Morris, can be found on ChessChat.
The incident in question involved the board 2 clash between Carl Gorka & Hoai Nam Nguyen. Carl blogged about the incident which involved an incorrect draw claim.
The rule in question this time is 9.2:
Article 9: The drawn game
9.2 The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a player having the move, when the same position for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves):
a. is about to appear, if he first writes his move, which cannot be changed, on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or
b. has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move.
In the game in question, although there was in fact a triple repetition of the position, on the third occasion that the position occurred, Carl played the move Ke2 on the board & then claimed the draw, rather than following the correct procedure outlined above, which would involve writing the move Ke2 on his scoresheet & then stopping the clock & calling the arbiter. Unfortunately for Carl, after I denied his draw claim, Hoai then went on to win the game, which gave him a share of second place (if the game had been drawn, then Carl would have shared second place).
Again, it surprised me that Carl did not know the correct procedure for claiming a draw, as he is an experienced player, having played for a number of years both in Australia as well as his native England.
The same sort of thing also occurred recently in the NRL, with a number of Bulldogs players rather unfairly accosting the referee for making a correct decision late in their game against South Sydney.
You can see referee Gerard Sutton explaining his decision on the Footy Show.
In short ... if you're going to play a game or sport, make sure you know the rules!