FIDE Laws of Chess 1977/1978

Many thanks to Valery Liskovets who scanned the following text to be included on the Retro Corner.

Part I. General Laws


The game of chess is played between two opponents by moving pieces on a square board called a "chessboard."

FIDE Interpretation Art. 1 (1959)

General Observations. The Laws of Chess cannot, and should not, regulate all possible situations that may arise during a game, nor can they regulate all questions of organization. In most cases not precisely regulated by an Article of the Laws, one should be able to reach a correct judgment by applying analogously stipulations for situations of a similar character. As to the arbiters' tasks, in most cases one must presuppose that arbiters have the competence, sound judgment, and absolute objectivity necessary. A rule too detailed would deprive the arbiter of his freedom of judgment and might prevent him from finding the solution dictated by fairness and compatible with the circumstances °t a particular case, since one cannot foresee every possibility.

The decisions of the Commission [The FIDE Rules Commission, which proposes Interpretations of the Laws] are founded on the above general principles.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 1 (1974)

During recent years Commission has been more or less overwhelmed by a steadily growing number of proposals and questions. That, of itself, is a good thing.

However, there is a marked tendency in those many questions and proposals to bring more and more refinements and details into the Laws. Clearly the intention is to get more and more detailed instruction concerning "how to act in such and such a case." This may be profitable for a certain type of arbiter, but at the same time may be a severe handicap for another, generally the best, type of arbiter.

The Commission in its entirety takes the firm position that the Laws should be as short and as clear as possible. The Commission strongly believes that minor details should be left to the discretion of the arbiter. Each arbiter should have the opportunity, in case of a conflict, to take into account all the factors of the case and should not be bound by too detailed sub-rules which may not be applicable to the case in question. According to the Commission, the Laws of Chess must be short and clear and leave sufficient scope for the arbiter to deal with exceptional or unusual cases.

The Commission appeals to all chess federations to accept this view, which is in the interest of the hundreds of thousands of chess players, as well as of the arbiters, generally speaking. If any chess federation wants to introduce more detailed rules, it is perfectly free to do so, provided –

(a) they do not in any way conflict with the official FIDE Laws;

(b) they are limited to the territory of the federation in question; and

(c) they are not valid for any FIDE tournament played in the territory of the federation in question.


2.1. The chessboard is composed of 64 equal squares alternately light (the "white" squares) and dark (the "black" squares).

2.2. The chessboard is placed between the players in such a way that the corner square to the right of each player is white.

2.3. The eight rows of squares running from the edge of the chessboard nearest one player to that nearest the other player are called "files."

2.4. The eight rows of squares running from one edge of the chessboard to the other at right angles to the files are called "ranks."

2.5. The rows of squares of the same color, touching corner to corner, are called "diagonals."


3.1. At the beginning of the game, one player has 16 light-colored pieces (the "white" pieces), the other has 16 dark-colored pieces (the "black" pieces).

3.2. These pieces are as follows:

A white king: K   A black king: k
A white queen: Q   A black queen: q
Two white rooks: R   Two black rooks: r
Two white knights: N   Two black knights: n
Two white bishops: B   Two black bishops: b
Eight white pawns: P   Eight black pawns: p

3.3. The initial position of the pieces on the chessboard is as follows:


4.1. The two players must alternate in making one move at a time. The player with the white pieces commences the game.

4.2. A player is said to "have the move" when it is his turn to play.


5.1. With the exception of castling (Article 6.1), a move is the transfer of a piece from one square to another square which is either vacant or occupied by an enemy piece.

5.2. No piece except the rook when castling, and the knight (article 6.5) may cross a square occupied by another piece.

5.3. A piece played to a square occupied by an enemy piece captures it as part of the same move. The captured piece must be immediately removed from the chessboard by the player making the capture. See Article 6.6b for capturing "en passant."


6.1. The King. Except when castling, the king moves to any adjoining square that is not attacked by an enemy piece.

Castling is a move of the king and either rook, counting as a single move (of the king), executed as follows: the king is transferred, from its original square, two squares toward either rook on the same rank; then that rook toward which the king has been moved is transferred over the king to the square immediately adjacent to the king.

Castling is impossible –

(a) if the king has already been moved, or

(b) with a rook that has already been moved.

Castling is prevented for the time being –

(a) if the king's original square or the square which the king must cross or that which it is to occupy is attacked by an enemy piece, or

(b) if there is any piece between the king and the rook toward which the king is to be moved.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.1 (1971)

If a player in castling starts by touching the rook, he should receive a warning from the arbiter, but the castling shall be considered valid.

If a player, intending to castle, touches king and rook at the same time and it then appears that castling is illegal, the player has to move his king. If the king has no legal move, the fault has no consequences.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.1 (1974)

The Commission regards the warning by the arbiter an adequate means of dealing with those who castle in the wrong manner.

The Commission disagrees with the principle that if the king has no legal move, then a move with the rook shall be made, which would apply if the move was initially one with the rook alone.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.1 (1975)

Question: If a player moves his king two squares, intending to castle with the king's rook, and it then appears that castling is illegal, can the player castle on the other side (provided, of course, that castling on that side is legal)?

Answer: The answer is yes. The player has to make any legal move he chooses with his king, from its original square. There is no reason why that legal move should not be castling on the queen's side.

6.2. The Queen. The queen moves to any square (except as limited by Article 5.2) on the file, rank, or diagonals on which it stands.

6.3. The Rook. The rook moves to any square (except as limited by Article 5.2) on the file or rank on which it stands.

6.4. The Bishop. The bishop moves to any square (except as limited by Article 5.2) on the diagonals on which it stands.

6.5. The Knight. The knight's move is composed of two different steps; first, it makes one step of one single square along the rank or file and then, still moving away from the square of departure, one step of one single square on a diagonal.

6.6. The Pawn. The pawn may move only forward.

(a) Except when making a capture, it advances from its original square either one or two vacant squares along the file on which it is placed, and on subsequent moves it advances one vacant square along the file. When capturing, it advances one square along either of the diagonals on which it stands.

(b) A pawn attacking a square crossed by an enemy pawn which has been advanced two squares in one move from its original square may capture this enemy pawn as though the latter had been moved only one square. This capture may be niade only on the move immediately following such an advance and is called capturing "en passant."

(c) On reaching the last rank, a pawn must be immediately exchanged, as part of the same move, for a queen, a rook, a bishop, or a knight of the same color as the pawn, at the player's choice and without taking into account the other pieces still remaining on the chessboard. This exchanging of a pawn is called "promotion" and the action of the promoted piece is immediate.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.6c (1971A)

In a game between Player A (White) and Player B (Black), B played on the 45th move . . . cl. However, he neglected to exchange the pawn immediately for a queen. On his scoresheet he had written 45 . . . clQ and stopped his clock afterwards. Then he left the board. At the time, his opponent was not present. When A returned to the board, he protested because B had not immediately exchanged the pawn on cl, though B told him the piece on cl was a queen. The arbiter decided as follows: A's clock was restored to the position it had before the move . . . cl was made. B had to make his move 45 . . . clQ again, as it was obvious that he intended to promote that pawn to a queen. Then the game was resumed in the normal way.

The Commission confirms the decision of the arbiter. FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.6c (1971B). In a competition, if a new piece is not immediately available, the player must ask for the assistance of the arbiter before making his move. If this request is made and there is any appreciable delay in obtaining the new piece, the arbiter must stop both clocks until the required piece is given to the player having the move. If no request is made and the player makes his move and stops his clock without exchanging the promoted pawn for a new piece, he is breaking the Laws and must be given a warning or a disciplinary penalty, such as the advancement of the time on his clock. In any case, the opponent's clock must be set back to the time it registered immediately before the player stopped his clock, the position on the chessboard must be reestablished to what it was before the player moved his pawn, and the clock of the player having the move must be started. FIDE Section The player must then make his move correctly, in the manner specified in Article 6.6c.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.6c (1973)

The penalty referred to in FIDE Interpretation Art. 6.6c (197IB) is meant to be indefinite. The penalty should depend on the circumstances.


A move is completed –

1. in the case of the transfer of a piece to a vacant square, when the player's hand has released the piece;

2. in the case of a capture, when the captured piece has been removed from the chessboard and the player, having placed on its new square his own piece, has released the latter from his hand;

3. in the case of castling, when the player's hand has released the rook on the square crossed by the king; when the player has released the king from his hand, the move is not yet completed, but the player no longer has the right to make any other move than castling; or

4. in the case of the promotion of a pawn, when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard and the player's hand has released the new piece after placing it on the promotion square; if the player has released from his hand the pawn that has reached the promotion square, the move is not yet completed, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square.


8.1. Provided that he first warns his opponent, the player whose turn it is to move may adjust one or more pieces on their squares.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.1 (1974)

A player who wishes to adjust one or more pieces when his opponent is absent may make the adjustment after warning the arbiter of his intention.

8.2. Except for the above case, if the player having the move touches –

(a) one or more pieces of the same color, he must move or capture the first piece touched that can be moved or captured; or

(b) one of his own pieces and one of his opponent's pieces, he must capture his opponent's piece with his own piece; or, if this is not possible, move his own piece; or, if even this is not possible, capture his opponent's piece.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.2 (1972)

In a recent game the player with the white pieces claimed that his opponent violated Article 8.2 by touching a piece, then moving a different piece. Black denied the accusation, and an arbiter was called to the board. There was no independent witness of any kind to the alleged violation, so the arbiter rejected the claim for lack of evidence.

The Commission declares that the arbiter was correct. As in the case of all other Laws, unbiased evidence is required to support any claim by a player that his opponent violated a Law. If the accused player denies the allegation and it is impossible to prove otherwise by the testimony of an arbiter or other disinterested witness, it is just a question of one player's word against that of his opponent. An unsubstantiated claim would have to be rejected.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.2 (1974A)

A player who touches more pieces than those indicated in this Article may be penalized at the discretion of the arbiter.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.2 (1974B)

Question: If a player reaching for a piece to make a move (but not having touched it yet) touches another piece with his arm in passing, is this grounds for the opponent to claim that the player must move that piece?

Answer: A piece is considered to be touched under this Article only when a player touches it with the intention of making a move with it. Doubtful cases are left to the discretion of the arbiter.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.2b (1975)

Question: White has a pawn on c5 and a queen on c4, and Black has a rook on d6. White intends to play cxd6. Many players are used to touching first the piece to be captured and, with the same hand, at (nearly) the same time, the capturing piece. In this example White touches the black rook, and in the following fraction of a second, he reconsiders his intended move and touches the white queen. According to Article 8.2b he can play any move he likes with the queen, and the fact that he touched the black rook does not count any more. The Article gives priority to a move with the player's own piece over the capture of an opponent's piece. In most cases, would it not better correspond to the original intention of the player to give priority to the capture?

Answer: The Commission declines to give an Interpretation on the basis of hypothetical cases alone. It should be remarked, however, that the seemingly "obvious" solution (changing the order of possibilities in Article 8.2b) is no good, because in that case another hypothetical case could be constructed, in which the reverse could happen.

8.3. If the move or capture is not possible, the player is free to make any legal move he chooses.

8.4. If a player wishes to claim a violation of this rule, he must do so before he touches a piece himself.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 8.4 (1974)

The enforcement of this Article by the arbiter does not require a claim to be made.


9.1. If, during a game, it is found that an illegal move was made, the position shall be reinstated to what it was before the illegal move was made. The game shall then continue by applying the rules of Article 8 to the move replacing the illegal move. If the position cannot be reinstated, the game shall be annulled and a new game played.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.1 (1963).

Question: How are the words "during a game" to be interpreted if a game has been submitted for adjudication? Specifically, is the game considered to be still in progress for the purposes of Article 9.1 if, before the arbiter has registered the result of the game after adjudication, it is established that an illegal move was made or that one or more pieces were accidentally displaced and incorrectly replaced?

Answer: The Commission declares that in such cases a game submitted for adjudication is considered to be still in progress for the purposes of Article 9.1.

9.2. If during a game, one or more pieces have been accidentally displaced and incorrectly replaced, the position shall be reinstated to what it was before the displacement took place, and the game shall be continued. If the position cannot be reinstated, the game shall be annulled and a new game played.

9.3. If after an adjournment, the position is incorrectly set up, the position as it was on adjournment must be set up again and the game continued.

9.4. If, during a game, it is found that the initial position of the men was incorrect, the game shall be annulled and a new game played.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.4 (1958)

Question: What is the procedure when it is established in the course of a game that the game began with colors reversed?

Answer: The Commission declares that this is a situation of the kind indicated in Article 9.4.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.4 (1960)

In a Swiss-System tournament, the arbiter made a mistake by giving to Player X the white pieces and to Player Y the black pieces instead of the opposite. After detecting the mistake some days later, Player Y claimed that the game should be annulled and a new game played in its stead, with Player Y having the white pieces.

The Commission declares that in accordance with the fundamental principles of Articles 9.4 and 9.5, the claim, since it was submitted after the end of the game, must be rejected.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.4 (1973)

The Commission states that in the case of FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.4 (1958) it does not matter who made the mistake (even if it was the arbiter as well as both players). The rules must be obeyed in any case.

9.5. If, during a game, it is found that the board has been wrongly placed, the position reached shall be transferred to a  board correctly placed and the game continued.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 9.5 (1973)

This Article applies only in the case where the initial position of the pieces on the chessboard accorded with that specified in Article 3.3 except that each of the squares on which the pieces rested was of the opposite color. Otherwise, Article 9.4 applies.


10.1. The king is in check when the square it occupies is attacked by an enemy piece; in this case the latter is said to be "checking the king."

10.2. Check must be parried by the move immediately following. If the check cannot be parried, it is said to be "mate." (See Article 11.1.)

10.3. A piece blocking a check to the king of its own color can itself give check to the enemy king.


11.1. The game is won by the player who has mated his opponent's king.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 11.1 (1976)

Question: (1) Player A makes a move that gives stalemate. This move is so menacing (e.g., a threatened mate in one) that his opponent, Player B, resigns. It is subsequently noticed, either by the player or by a spectator or the arbiter, that the last move was a stalemating move. What is the result?

(2) Is the situation affected in any way by the nature of the person who points out the stalemate? For example, if it is a spectator who points it out, is the result of the game any different?

(3) If Player A gives checkmate without realizing it and then Player A resigns, possibly after one move or more has been made, and afterwards it is pointed out or noticed by Player A that mate was given, what is the result of the game?

(4) Is this situation affected by who points out the mate?

Answer: The Commission reiterates the principle that what happens in consequence of an action or of an omission after the termination of a game is without importance. A checkmating or stalemating move ends the game regardless of subsequent actions or omissions.

Spectators are not to speak or otherwise to interfere in the games. However, if a spectator points out an irregularity, the arbiter may initiate action on his own, but should severely warn the spectator against future interference or even expel him from the tournament room.

11.2. The game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 11.2 (1971)

If a player shakes hands with his opponent, this is not to be considered as equal to resigning the game as meant in Article 11.2.


The game is drawn –

1. when the king of the player whose turn it is to move is not in check and the player cannot make any legal move. The king is then said to be "stalemated."

2. by agreement between the two players.

3. upon a claim by one of the players when the same position (a) is about to appear or (b) has appeared, for the third time, the same player having the move each time. The position is considered the same if pieces of the same kind and color occupy the same squares and if the possible moves of all the pieces are the same.

The right to claim the draw belongs exclusively to the player –

(a) who is in a position to play a move leading to such a repetition of the position, if he first declares his intention of making this move, or

FIDE Interpretation Art. 12.3a (1960)

If the claim turns out to be incorrect (Article 18.2) and the game continues, the player who has indicated a move according to (a) is obliged to execute this move on the chessboard.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 12.3a (1974)

A requirement to the effect that a player should not only declare his intention of making a move leading to the repetition of the position but also execute the declared move on the board is not necessary. It is clear that the player who claims the draw has to make the intended move in any case, but the Commission is of the opinion that the declared move should not be immediately executed on the board.

(b) whose turn it is to reply to a move that has produced the repeated position.

If a player executes a move without having claimed a draw in the manner prescribed in (a) and (b), he loses the right to claim a draw; this right is restored to him, however, if the same position appears again, the same player having the move.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 12.3 (1964)

Concerning the repetition of a position on the chessboard, a position should not always be considered the same if pieces of the same kind and of the same color occupy the same squares (static identity), but only on the additional condition that the possibilities for moving these pieces are also the same (that is to say, that there is also dynamic identity). If one adds this last stipulation, a player would thus no longer be entitled to demand a draw if, after the repetition of a position, the right to castle or to take a pawn "en passant" had been lost.

4. when a player having the move demonstrates that at least fifty consecutive moves have been made by each side without me capture of any piece or the movement of any pawn.

This number of fifty moves can be increased for certain positions, provided that this increase in number and these positions nave been clearly established before the commencement of the game.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 12.4 (1958A)

Question: Can a player lose the game by exceeding the time-limit when the position is such that no mate is possible, whatever continuation the players may employ (this concerns Part II of the Laws)?

Answer: The Commission declares that the Laws must be interpreted in such a way that in this case, as in the case of perpetual check, a draw cannot be decreed against the will of one of the players before the situation foreseen in Article 12.4 is attained.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 12.4 (1958B)

The Commission declares that this Article concerns only the possibility of indicating in the regulations for a certain tournament or match certain positions for which the number of fifty moves may be increased.

FIDE should not assume the responsibility for inserting into the Laws details which might be revealed as incorrect as a result of future investigations. 


A game is lost by a player –

1. who has not played the prescribed number of moves in the given time,

FIDE Interpretation Art. 17.1 (1970)

With reference to the General Observations (FIDE Interpretation Art. 1 [1959]), the Commission expresses the opinion that special regulations should be allowed insofar as they are required for conducting tournaments in which the number of players is large and the number of arbiters is rather small, so that the procedure to determine whether a player has lost a game under Article 17.1 cannot be observed.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 17.3 (1975)

Question: In a recent tournament Player A was asked to seal a move of adjournment. Player A subsequently handed his sealed-move envelope to the arbiter, who kept it in his custody. When the adjourned game was resumed, the envelope was opened, but only the scoresheet of Player B was found in the envelope. The arbiter ruled that Player A's failure to seal his move automatically entailed the loss of the game under Article 17.3. Was the arbiter's ruling correct?

Answer: Yes. It should be remarked, however, that the arbiter (or one of his assistants) should be blamed, as he did not make sure that the scoresheet of Player A was in the envelope, even though it was his duty to do so.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 17.3 (1976)

Question: According to FIDE Interpretation Art. 17.3 (1958), the arbiter has the duty of deciding the real significance of a sealed move. This is undesirable, as the arbiter should interfere as little as possible in the game and should serve only to see that neither player gains an unfair advantage from his mistakes. What is the opinion of the Commission?

Answer: The player sealing a move should be aware that the responsibility for sealing a correct move is entirely his and that if he seals an illegal or ambiguous move, he may lose the game.

4. who during the game refuses to comply with the Laws.

If both players refuse to comply with the Laws or if both players arrive at the chessboard more than one hour late, the game shall be declared lost by both players.


18.1. A proposal of a draw under the provisions of Article 12.2 may be made by a player only at the moment when he has just completed a move. On then proposing a draw, he starts the clock of his opponent. The latter may accept the proposal or, either orally or by completing a move, he may reject it; in the interval the player who has made the proposal cannot withdraw it.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1974A)

A proposal to draw not made in accordance with Article 18.1 is treated as follows –

(a) if a player proposes a draw while his opponent's clock is running, the opponent may agree to the draw or reject the offer; or

(b) if a player proposes a draw while his own clock is running, the opponent may accept or reject the offer, or he may postpone his decision until after the player has completed a move.

In these situations the opponent may reject the proposal orally or by completing a move at his first opportunity. In the interval between the offer of a draw and the opponent's acceptance of it, the player who made the proposal cannot withdraw it.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1974B). A player proposed a draw and made his move on the board before his opponent had replied to the offer. The opponent, after some minutes' consideration, accepted the offer. The arbiter rendered the player's proposal valid and thus proclaimed the game drawn. One of the arguments for this decision was that the proposal maintained its validity since the proposal itself is more important than the form.

The Commission disagrees with the last-mentioned argument, since here the way the draw is offered is the thing that matters. In spite of the reasoning offered, the Commission approves the actual decision taken in this particular case.

The Commission thinks that this matter has adequately been covered by FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1974A).

FIDE Interpretations Art. 18.1 (1959, 1960, 1963, 1964). The Question of Premature Draws.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1959)

From a sporting point of view, it is quite inappropriate that a game be finished before a real fight has commenced; competition ought to imply that every player should try to fight in order to win his game until the moment when the situation does not afford any further hope of victory.

Attention is drawn in particular to the fact that in this respect the International Grandmasters and the International Masters of FIDE ought to serve as examples to the other players. Players who repeatedly act without respecting their duty to the organizers and to the chess public may be subject to disciplinary measures taken by the arbiter.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1960)

It is hardly possible to establish prescriptions sufficiently detailed to be directly applicable to each particular case. On the basis of the general principle that the players may not ignore the necessity of an honest fight, the examination of each particular case ought, according to the opinion of the Commission, to devolve upon the person who is in charge of the tournament in which the game in question has been played. At this examination it must not be forgotten that a player may have quite legitimate reasons— his actual situation in the tournament table, his state of health, etc.—for desisting from whatever prospects he has in a given situation for continuing the game to a victory and that he may therefore be considered entitled to make or accept an offer of a draw.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1963)

It seems necessary to stipulate clearly and in writing certain moral principles which should guide the game, but are not incorporated in the Laws, in order to enable the arbiter to secure as far as possible a fair, sportsmanlike contest.

The Commission emphasizes the following points.

(a) Every agreement to draw should, as a matter of principle, be based on a position on the chessboard which, in the opinion of each of the two players, offers no tangible possibility of pursuing the game to a victorious conclusion without running an obvious risk of defeat.

(b) Particular circumstances may exist, however, which would authorize a player to propose or accept a draw in cases differing from those mentioned in (a). It is not possible to define these particular circumstances in a complete manner, just if the official regulations the stipulations governing agreements to draw should, in the opinion of the Commission, be so conceived as to comprise only basic principles and goals, as competent arbiters must be presumed to know how to apply them to concrete cases in an equitable manner.

The principles so formulated relate to a basic principle, according to which each player should conduct his whole game gg a fight for the best possible result. Voluntary measures to evade the fight or to favor the opponent or a third player should 'be held contemptible for reasons of sport and be judged accordingly.

It is easy to establish that it is difficult, in certain cases even impossible, to judge correctly the measures to be taken in situations varying in character, and the arbiter should impose penaltics only in cases which clearly constitute contraventions of the moral principles involved.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.1 (1964)

An agreement to draw a game before the 30th move in many cases involves an act which rightly could be deemed contradictory to the stated principles on premature draws. Arbiters are requested to impose, in cases where clear contraventions of the moral principles of the game are demonstrated, penalties as severe as loss of the game.

18.2. If a player claims a draw under the provisions of Article 12.3, his clock must continue to run until the arbiter has verified the legitimacy of the claim.

If the claim is found to be correct, the game shall be declared drawn, even if the claimant, in the interval, has overstepped the time-limit.

If the claim is found to be incorrect, the game shall continue, unless the claimant has, in the interval, overstepped the time-limit, in which case the game will be declared lost by the claimant.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.2 (1974)

Question: What happens when an arbiter –

(a) accepts a claim of a draw, but then is proved to have made a mistake; or

(b) turns down a claim of a draw which afterwards proves to have been correct?

Answer: If a claim of a draw has been mistakenly accepted by the arbiter and a higher authority subsequently rejects the claim, then the player who has not claimed the draw is entitled to resume the game.

If a claim of a draw has been refused by the arbiter, then the player who has made the claim is entitled to stop playing and appeal to a higher authority. If then the player's claim is proved to be incorrect, the game shall be declared lost for that player.

FIDE Interpretation Art. 18.2 (1976)

Question: A player who claims a draw by repetition under Article 12.3 and asks the arbiter to verify the legitimacy of the claim while the clock continues to run in accordance with Article 18.2 is dependent upon the chess-playing ability of the arbiter as to the time taken for the verification. The outcome of the game may thus be determined by the arbiter's ability, yet no arbiter is required to have such ability. What is the opinion of the Commission?

Answer: The Commission agrees that in order to make consistent for all players the time taken to verify the legitimacy of the claim of a draw by repetition of position under Article 12.3, put at the same time to discourage frivolous claims of such a type the clamant is charged exactly five minutes on his clock for the verification. If the claim is found to be incorrect, the Divisions of Article 18.2 for this case apply after the five minutes have been charged.

The above "Laws of Chess" are an excerpt of:



Copyright © 1975 by United States Chess Federation


Copyright © 1978 by United States Chess Federation

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or parts thereof, in any form, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.


First Edition, June 1975

Second Corrected Printing, November 1975

Second Edition, February 1978

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Main entry under title:

Official rules of chess.

Includes index.

CONTENTS: Abbott, W. B. et al. United States Chess Federation section: official 1977 edition.– Golombek, H. et al. World Chess Federation (FIDE) section: official FIDE publication, authorized English edition, 1977.

1. Chess-Rules. I. Morrison, Martin E. II. United States Chess Federation. III. World Chess Federation. GV1457.033 1977 794.1 77-20237

ISBN 0-679-13053-5 ISBN 0-679-14043-3 pbk.

Manufactured in the United States of America

10 987654321

Official Rules of Chess

Second Edition

Edited By

Martin E. Morrison

USCF Executive Director
Chairman, USCF Tournament Direction Committee
Chairman, FIDE Rules Commission



Official 1977 Edition

William B. Abbott Stephan C. Gerzadowicz Joseph W. Lux John M. Osness of the USCF Tournament Direction Committee Collaborators



Official FIDE Publication Authorized 1977 English Edition

Harry Golombek
A. Kiprov
Philip G. Haley
Paul Klein
Armin Heintze
Ole Sch0ller-Larsen

of the FIDE Rules Commission


This edition supersedes the preceding (1974) edition and becomes effective January 1, 1978.

David McKay Company, Inc.


Expanded Table of Contents

FIDE Section

Preface to the FIDE Section

Laws of Chess, Including FIDE Interpretations of the Laws of Chess and Tournament Rules of the United States Chess Federation

Part I. General Laws

Article 1. Introduction

Article 2. The Chessboard and Its Arrangement

Article 3. The Pieces and Their Arrangement

Article 4. The Conduct of the Game

Article 5. The General Definition of the Move

Article 6. The Moves of the Individual Pieces

Article 7. The Completion of the Move

Article 8. The Touched Piece

Article 9. Illegal Positions

Article 10. Check

Article 11. The Won Game

Article 12. The Drawn Game

Part II. Supplementary Laws for Competitions

Article 13. The Recording of Games

Article 14. The Use of the Chess Clock

Article 15. The Adjournment of the Game

Article 16. The Resumption of the Adjourned Game

Article 17. The Loss of the Game

Article 18. The Drawn Game

Article 19. The Conduct of the Players

Article 20. The Arbiter of the Competition

Article 21. The Interpretation of the Laws

Supplements to the Laws

Supplement No. 1.

The Notation of Chess Games

Preface to the FIDE Section

This section contains the Laws of Chess of the World Chess Federation (commonly known as FIDE, the acronym of its original name in French, Federation Internationale des Echecs). Included with the Laws are the FIDE Interpretations, which have the same validity as the Laws themselves. This book contains the only authorized English text of the FIDE Laws and Interpretations.

The FIDE material in this section is current through the FIDE Congress of 1977. To keep the material in this section current, a supplement containing any changes in the Laws or Interpretations will be issued by the publisher in odd-numbered years, and a revised edition, in even-numbered years. This book and any supplements issued will be available from the U.S. Chess Federation, 186 Rt. 9W, New Windsor, N.Y. 12550, U.S.A., and the World Chess Federation, Passeerdersgracht 32, Amsterdam-Centrum, Netherlands.

As the authorized English edition is being published in the United States, the United States Chess Federation has published its own supplementary Tournament Rules together with the FIDE Laws and Interpretations in a different typeface. These rules are the sole responsibility of the USCF and do not conflict with, but supplement, the FIDE Laws and Interpretations. Each article of the Laws is followed by its Interpretations (if any) and then by its supplementary USCF Tournament Rules (if any)- To facilitate reference, each Law, Interpretation, and Tournament Rule has been given its own reference code.

Any comments on the contents of this book may be addressed to the editor, Martin E. Morrison, at the U.S. Chess Federation, who will be happy to reply to them.