I read with interest the thread North American Youth no Monroi permitted as timesheet listed under All Things Chess. I mentioned the post to Michael Johnson, who was at the Barnes & Noble when I arrived for the small tournament I direct. Michael enjoys studying the game immensely, as do I. He has used the Monroi for some time, and I found what he had to say extremely interesting. He said the device has given him an advantage, especially at the start of the game, as he has noticed he uses very little time, while his opponent must write down the score, which takes more time. He also said the advantage he receives is much more pronounced at the faster time controls, such as G/30.
I also found it interesting, when, during a discussion with a former player, who has not played in over two decades, the first thing he asked in relation to the Monroi, was, "Can it not be used for cheating?"
One of the things I have always liked about chess is that the playing field is level for all players. I have played chess with people from all walks of life. The game has brought to the table blue and white collar workers. I have broken bread with, while discussing the Royal game, doctors, lawyers, dump truck and cab drivers. Chess brings people from all walks of life together. I had one lower rated player, who had made a great deal of money tell me he would give it all up if he could play chess like me. I wondered what he would be willing to give up to play like a titled player!
While on duty at the House of Pain I said I thought there should not be any private schools. "What? Are you some kind of socialist!" I explained that if there were no private schools for the children of politicians they would be more inclined to put money into the public schools, giving all children an equal chance in life.
It is only natural for parents to want the best for their children. So when it comes to chess, parents naturally want their children to have the best. They also want them to have the new-new thing. If it is true that the Monroi confers an advantage to one player, does that not violate the level playing field? I have played on very expensive sets I could not afford, but my opponent did not receive an advantage, as we both played on the same set.
One remedy would be for all organizers to provide a Monroi to any player without one who wishes to use the device. Because the Georgia Chess Association used the FIDE time control of G/2, called an 'abombination' by GM Yasser Seirawan, they footed the bill for enough clocks so that all players could have one with the 30 seconds added feature.
The other course of action would be to disallow all devices not necessary to playing, keeping time, and score. All moves should be recorded with a pen on a scoresheet.
At the Supernationals this year a lady with her children saw my USCF hat as I was limping around, and asked me if I were a TD. I told her I was there to help, but was not directing, and asked her what she needed. She explained her son had just lost a game to a young player in the K-3 section who continued to look down at some kind of electronic device in his lap and wanted to know if that were legal! I told her that, without knowing exactly what kind of device it was, I could not say, and told her she should have told the TD's immediately, but, since she did not, she should do so now.
I have said it before and will say it again: The tournament hall is no place for any kind of electronic device, be it a cell-phone (How do you know your opponent is just checking to see who made the last call and not receiving a text-message with his next move!); a P-Pod; or BlueBerry, or any other 'gizmo'!