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Friday, July 10, 2009

FIDE Laws of Chess; Playing Venue

According to clause 12.2 of FIDE Laws of Chess (download here),

“…players are not allowed to leave the ‘playing venue’ without permission from the arbiter.

The playing venue is defined as the playing area, rest rooms, refreshment area, area set aside for smoking and other places as designated by the arbiter.

The player having the move is not allowed to leave the playing area without permission of the arbiter.”

This means that in any FIDE rated tournament, the arbiter must brief all players regarding the venue of the tournament which is considered as ‘playing venue’ because any players are not allowed to leave the playing venue without permission from the arbiter.

Normally, the playing venue are inclusive of playing area, rests rooms, refreshment area and area set aside for smoking. It is a great pleasure for me if prayer room also can be considered as playing venue and thus will enable Muslim players to go there without permission of the arbiter.

Nevertheless, if the prayer room is quite far from playing hall, I believe that it will not considered as playing venue and thus by virtue of the abovesaid clause, Muslim players have to get permission from arbiter to go to prayer room during the game is playing.

How about if a player ask to adjourn the game because he wants to go to the prayer room?

I’m not sure about this but I believe that any game can only be adjourned due to the reason that the game is not finished at the end of the time prescribed for play. The game will not easily adjourn simply because one player wants to go to the prayer room whether it is within the ‘playing venue’ or outside the ‘playing venue’. In FIDE Laws of Chess it mentions on the guidelines in case a game needs to be adjourned and I believe that not all arbiters of the game really know on the procedure of ‘sealed envelope’.

We can imagine that if it is allowed, how many games will be adjourned and how busy arbiters to proceed with the procedure for ‘sealed envelope’.

Due the above, I strongly believe that if a Muslim player wants to perform his prayer during the game is playing either;

i. he can go straightly to the prayer room without permission of the arbiter only if the prayer room is considered as playing venue; or

ii. he must get the permission from the arbiter to go to the prayer room if it is not considered as playing venue.

Both of the above situations are quite unfair to him because he will lose his time due to the reason that his clock will not be stopped.

The only fair practice is to ask for adjournment of the game which I believe quite rare to happen due to strict guideline and lack of knowledge from both arbiter and player on its procedure.

Thus, the only way to make sure that any tournament will comply with the conditions prescribed by Muslim scholars as ‘one should not get so absorbed in chess that he delays his prayer’ is the schedule of the tournament itself must be Islam-friendly. You may get more understanding about chess in Islam here.

This is only my 2 cents opinion to make sure that all of us (mostly chess lovers/fanatics/maniacs) remember that playing chess is just one of a game that make us enjoy most without forget that we have other responsibilities as God’s caliph on earth.

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