Electronic Device Policy

Except as otherwise stated by a tournament director at a specific event, players may not possess any device that is capable of communication or chess analysis. These devices include cell phones, smart watches, dedicated chess computers, Bluetooth devices, and wireless speakers/earphones.

Electronic notation devices are not allowed unless specifically approved or provided by the tournament director.

Electronic devices used for medical reasons may be used provided that they are not capable of chess analysis and have been approved in advance by the tournament director.

If a player brings any of these devices into the tournament room, they must be completely powered down (not silent, on airplane mode, etc.) and stored in a bag. If a player does not have a bag, a cell phone may be placed on the table next to the board. Under no circumstances may the player touch the phone during the game.

Spectators and parents may not have electronic devices visible in the playing area. Pictures will generally be allowed before games start and during the first five minutes of each round with the prior approval of a TD. Repeated violations by spectators or parents may result in expulsion from the tournament or sanctions against the related player. Players who have finished their games are considered spectators and must wait until they have left the playing area to turn on any electronics.

Any possession of a device will result in penalties, up to and including loss of the current game. It is the responsibility of each player to ensure that phones are not left in pockets and smart watches are removed before play begins.

Players must submit to a search for electronic devices if requested by a TD. Failure to do so will result in disqualification as if a player had such a device.

Cheating is a more serious offense. Players accessing a phone or other communication device outside of the playing room, and especially in bathrooms, will be presumed cheating. The purpose of this presumption is that it is impossible for a TD to explicitly demonstrate cheating under these conditions, nor is it possible for the player to explicitly demonstrate innocence. Thus, the presumption applies even if the player was not using the electronic device to cheat, and sanctions may be imposed, including expulsion from the tournament, adjustment of previous results, and an ethics complaint with the USCF.

TDs will make an effort to remind players of these rules to avoid errors of omission, but as always, it is solely the responsibility of players to remove phones and other electronics from their person before play begins.