As a special service of the retro Corner, you will find a version of these ruled with change marks (insertions, deletions) HERE.
FIDE Laws of Chess cover over-the-board play.
The English text is the authentic version of the Laws of Chess which was adopted at the 67th FIDE Congress at Yerevan September-October 1996, coming into force on 1 July 1997.
In these Laws the words 'he', 'him' and 'his' include 'she' and 'her'.
The Laws of Chess cannot cover all possible situations that may arise during a game, nor can they regulate all administrative questions. Where cases are not precisely regulated by an Article of the Laws, it should be possible to reach a correct decision by studying analogous situations which are discussed in the Laws. The Laws assume that arbiters have the necessary competence, sound judgement and absolute objectivity. Too detailed a rule might deprive the arbiter of his freedom of judgement and thus prevent him from finding the solution to a problem dictated by fairness, logic and special factors.
FIDE appeals to all chess players and federations to accept this view.
A member federation is free to introduce more detailed rules provided they:
The game of chess is played between two opponents who move pieces alternately on a square board called a 'chessboard'. The player with the white pieces commences the game. A player is said to 'have the move', when his opponent's move has been completed.
The objective of each player is to place the opponent's king 'under attack' in such a way that the opponent has no legal move which would avoid the 'capture' of the king on the following move. The player who achieves this is said to have 'checkmated' the opponent and to have won the game. The opponent who has been checkmated has lost the game.
If the position is such that neither player can possibly checkmate, the game is drawn.
The chessboard is composed of an 8x8 grid of 64 equal squares alternately light (the 'white' squares) and dark (the 'black' squares). The chessboard is placed between the players in such a way that the near corner square to the right of the player is white.
At the beginning of the game one player has 16 light-coloured pieces (the 'white' pieces); the other has 16 dark-coloured pieces (the 'black' pieces).
|A white king, usually indicated by the symbol|
|A white queen, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two white rooks, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two white bishops, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two white knights, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Eight white pawns, usually indicated by the symbol|
|A black king, usually indicated by the symbol|
|A black queen, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two black rooks, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two black bishops, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Two black knights, usually indicated by the symbol|
|Eight black pawns, usually indicated by the symbol|
The initial position of the pieces on the chessboard is as follows:
The eight vertical columns of squares are called 'files'. The eight horizontal rows of squares are called 'ranks'. A straight line of squares of the same colour, touching corner to corner, is called a 'diagonal'.
No piece can be moved to a square occupied by a piece of the same colour. If a piece moves to a square occupied by an opponent's piece the latter is captured and removed from the chessboard as part of the same move. A piece is said to attack a square if the piece could make a capture on that square according to Articles 3.2 to 3.5.
(a) The queen moves to any square along the file, the rank or a diagonal on which it stands.
(b) The rook moves to any square along the file or the rank on which it stands.
(c) The bishop moves to any square along a diagonal on which it stands.
When making these moves the queen, rook or bishop cannot move over any intervening pieces.
The knight moves to one of the squares nearest to that on which it stands but not on the same rank, file or diagonal. It does not pass directly over any intervening square.
A pawn attacking a square crossed by an opponent's pawn which has
advanced two squares in one move from its original square may capture
this opponent's pawn as though the latter had been moved only one square.
This capture can be made only on the move following this advance and
is called an 'en passant' capture.
When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position it must be exchanged as part of the same move for a queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour. The player's choice is not restricted to pieces that have been captured previously. This exchange of a pawn for another piece is called 'promotion' and the effect of the new piece is immediate.
a. The king can move in two different ways, by:
moving to any adjoining square that is not attacked by one or more
of the opponent's pieces,
(1) Castling is illegal:
(2) Castling is prevented for the time being:
b. The king is said to be 'in check', if it is under attack by one or more of the opponent's pieces, even if such pieces cannot themselves move.
Declaring a check is not obligatory.
A player must not make a move which places or leaves his own king in check.
Each move must be made with one hand only.
Provided that he first expresses his intention (e.g. by saying "j'adoube"), the player having the move may adjust one or more pieces on their squares.
Except as provided in Article 4.2, if the player having the move deliberately touches on the chessboard
If none of the pieces touched can be moved or captured, the player may make any legal move.
If the opponent violates Article 4.3 or 4.4 the player cannot claim this after he himself deliberately touches a piece.
When, as a legal move or part of a legal move, a piece has been released on a square, it cannot then be moved to another square. The move is considered to be made when all the relevant requirements of Article 3 have been fulfilled.
The game is drawn when the player to move has no legal move and his king is not in check. The game is said to end in 'stalemate'. This immediately ends the game.
The game is drawn upon agreement between the two players during the game. This immediately ends the game. (See Article 9.1)
The game may be drawn if the identical position is about to appear or has appeared on the chessboard three times. (See Article 9.2)
The game may be drawn if the last 50 consecutive moves have been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without the capture of any piece. (See Article 9.3)
'Chess clock' means a clock with two time displays, connected to each other in such a way that only one of them can run at one time. 'Clock' in the Laws of Chess means one of the two time displays.
'Flag fall' means the expiry of the allotted time for a player.
When using a chess clock, each player must make a certain number or all moves in an allotted period of time; or may be allocated an additional amount of time after each move. All this must be specified in advance. The time saved by a player during one period is added to his time available for the next period, except in the 'time delay' mode.
In the time delay mode both players receive an alloted 'main thinking time'. They also receive a 'fixed extra time' for every move. The count down of the main time only commences after the fixed time has expired. Provided the player stops his clock before the expiry of the fixed time, the main thinking time does not change, irrespective of the proportion of the fixed time used.
Each time display has a 'flag'. Immediately after a flag falls, the requirements of Article 8.1 must be checked.
The arbiter decides where the chess clock is placed.
At the time determined for the start of the game the clock of the player who has the white pieces is started.
The player shall lose the game if he arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session (unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise).
A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when a valid claim to that effect has been made by either player.
Except where Articles 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 apply, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player. However, the game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player by any possible series of legal moves ( i.e. by the most unskilled counterplay).
Every indication given by the clocks is considered to be conclusive in the absence of any evident defect. A chess clock with an evident defect shall be replaced. The arbiter shall use his best judgement when determining the times to be shown on the replacement chess clock.
If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which flag fell first, the game shall continue.
If an irregularity occurs and/or the pieces have to be restored to a previous position, the arbiter shall use his best judgement to determine the times to be shown on the clocks.
Screens, monitors, or demonstration boards showing the current position on the chessboard, the moves and the number of moves made, and clocks which also show the number of moves, are allowed in the playing hall. However, the player may not make a claim based on anything shown in this manner.
If a game has begun with colours reversed then it shall continue, unless the arbiter rules otherwise.
If a player displaces one or more pieces, he shall re-establish the correct position on his own time. If necessary the opponent has the right to restart the player's clock without making a move in order to make sure the player re-establishes the correct position on his own time.
If during a game it is found that an illegal move has been made, or that pieces have been displaced from their squares, the position before the irregularity shall be re-instated. If the position immediately before the irregularity cannot be identified the game shall continue from the last identifiable position prior to the irregularity. The clocks shall be adjusted according to Article 6.13 and, in the case of an illegal move, Article 4.3 applies to the move replacing the illegal move. The game shall then continue.
In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves and those of his opponent, move after move, as clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix E), on the scoresheet prescribed for the competition.
A player may reply to his opponent's move before recording it, if he so wishes. He must record his previous move before making another. The offer of a draw must be recorded on the scoresheet by both players. (Appendix E.12) If a player due to physical or religious reasons, is unable to keep score, an amount of time, decided by the arbiter, shall be deducted from his allotted time at the beginning of the game.
The scoresheet shall be visible to the arbiter at all times.
The scoresheets are the property of the organisers of the event.
If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock and does not have additional time of 30 seconds or more added with each move, then he is not obliged to meet the requirements of Article 8.1. Immediately after one flag has fallen the player must update his scoresheet completely.
If the scoresheets cannot be brought up to date showing that a player has overstepped the allotted time, the next move made shall be considered as the first of the following time period, unless there is evidence that more moves have been made.
A player can propose a draw after making a move on the chessboard. He must do so before stopping his own clock and starting his opponent's clock. An offer at any other time during play is still valid, but Article 12.5 must be considered. No conditions can be attached to the offer. In both cases the offer cannot be withdrawn and remains valid until the opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, rejects it by making a move, or the game is concluded in some other way.
The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his scoresheet with the symbol (=).
The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by repetition of moves)
Positions as in (a) and (b) are considered the same, if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares, and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same. Positions are not the same if a pawn could have been captured en passant or if the right to castle immediately or in the future has been changed.
The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, if
If the player makes a move without having claimed the draw he loses the right to claim, as in Article 9.2 or 9.3, on that move .
If a player claims a draw as in Article 9.2 or 9.3 he shall immediately stop both clocks. He is not allowed to withdraw his claim.
The game is drawn when a position is reached from which a checkmate cannot occur by any possible series of legal moves, even with the most unskilled play. This immediately ends the game.
A 'quickplay finish' is the last phase of a game, when all the remaining moves must be made in a limited time.
If the player has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may claim a draw before his flag falls. He shall stop the clocks and summon the arbiter.
Illegal moves do not necessarily lose. After the action taken under Article 7.4, for a first illegal move by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent; for a second illegal move by the same player the arbiter shall give another two minutes extra time to his opponent; for a third illegal move by the same player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by the player who played incorrectly.
If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which flag fell first the game is drawn.
A player who wins his game scores one point (1), a player who loses his game scores no points (0) and a player who draws his game scores a half point (½).
Article 12: The conduct of the players
High standards of etiquette are expected of the players.
During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information, advice, or to analyse on another chessboard.
The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offer of a draw, and matters relating to a claim.
No analysis is permitted in the playing room when play is in progress, whether by players or spectators. Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be spectators.
The 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.
It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever; this includes the persistent offer of a draw.
Infraction of any part of the Articles 12.2 to 12.5 shall lead to penalties in accordance with Article 13.4.
The game is lost by a player who persistently refuses to comply with the Laws of Chess. The opponent's score shall be decided by the arbiter.
If both players are found guilty according to Article 12.7, the game shall be declared lost by both players.
The arbiter shall see that the Laws of Chess are strictly observed.
The arbiter shall act in the best interest of the competition. He should ensure that a good playing environment is maintained and that the players are not disturbed. He shall supervise the progress of the competition.
The arbiter shall observe the games, especially when the players are short of time, enforce decisions he has made and impose penalties on players where appropriate.
Penalties open to the arbiter include:
The arbiter may award either or both players additional time in the event of external disturbance of the game.
The arbiter must not intervene in a game to indicate the number of moves made, except in applying Article 8.5, when at least one player has used all his time. The arbiter shall refrain from informing a player that his opponent has made a move, or that he has failed to press his clock.
Spectators and players in other games are not to speak about or otherwise interfere in a game. If necessary, the arbiter may expel offenders from the playing room.
Member federations may ask FIDE to give an official decision about problems relating to the Laws of Chess.
The following shall be indicated upon the envelope:
The arbiter shall check the accuracy of the information on the envelope and is responsible for the safe-keeping of it.
If a player proposes a draw after his opponent has sealed his move, the offer is valid until the opponent has accepted it or rejected it as in Article 9.1.
Before the game is to be resumed, the position immediately before the sealed move shall be set up on the chessboard, and the times used by each player when the game was adjourned shall be indicated on the clocks.
If prior to the resumption the game is agreed drawn, or if one of the players notifies the arbiter that he resigns, the game is concluded.
The envelope shall be opened only when the player who must reply to the sealed move is present.
Except in the cases mentioned in Article 6.9 and 9.6, the game is lost by a player whose recording of his sealed move
If, at the agreed resumption time
The game is lost by the player who arrives more than one hour late for the resumption of an adjourned game. However, if the player who made the sealed move is the late player, the game is decided otherwise, if:
If, upon resumption of the game, either player points out before making his first move, that the time used has been incorrectly indicated on either clock, the error must be corrected. If the error is not then established the game continues without correction unless the arbiter feels that the consequences will be too severe.
The duration of each resumption session shall be controlled by the arbiter's time piece. The starting time and finishing time shall be announced in advance.
A 'rapidplay game' is one where all the moves must be made in a fixed time between 15 to 60 minutes.
Play shall be governed by the FIDE Laws of Chess, except where they are overridden by the following Laws.
Players do not need to record the moves.
Once each player has made three moves, no claim can be made regarding incorrect piece placement, orientation of the chessboard or clock setting.
The arbiter shall make a ruling according to Articles 4 and 10, only if requested to do so by one or both players.
The flag is considered to have fallen when a valid claim to that effect has been made by a player. The arbiter shall refrain from signalling a flag fall.
To claim a win on time, the claimant must stop both clocks and notify the arbiter. For the claim to be successful, the claimant's flag must remain up and his opponent's flag down after the clocks have been stopped.
B8. If both flags have fallen, the game is drawn.
A 'blitz game' is one where all the moves must be made in a fixed time less than 15 minutes.
Play shall be governed by the Rapidplay Laws as in Appendix B except where they are overridden by the following Laws.
An illegal move is completed once the opponent's clock has been started. The opponent is then entitled to claim a win before making his own move. Once the opponent has made his own move, an illegal move cannot be corrected.
In order to win, a player must have 'mating potential'. This is defined as adequate forces eventually to produce a position legally, possibly by 'helpmate', where an opponent having the move cannot avoid being checkmated in one move. Thus two knights and a king against a lone king is insufficient, but a rook and king against a knight and king is sufficient.
Article 10.2 does not apply.
Where games are played as in Article 10, a player may claim a draw when he has less than two minutes left on his clock and before his flag falls. This concludes the game. He may claim on the basis
In (a) the player must write down the final position and his opponent verify it.
In (b) the player must write down the final position and submit an up-to-date scoresheet which must be completed before play has ceased. The opponent shall verify both the scoresheet and the final position.
The claim shall be referred to an arbiter whose decision shall be final.
FIDE recognizes for its own tournaments and matches only one system of notation, the Algebraic System, and recommends the use of this uniform chess notation also for chess literature and periodicals. Scoresheets using a notation system other than algebraic may not be used as evidence in cases where normally the scoresheet of a player is used for that purpose. An arbiter who observes that a player is using a notation system other than the algebraic should warn the player in question of this requirement.
Description of the Algebraic System
Each piece is indicated by the first letter, a capital letter, of its name. Example: K = king, Q = queen, R = rook, B = bishop, N = knight. (In the case of the knight, for the sake of convenience, N is used.)
For the first letter of the name of a piece, each player is free to use the first letter of the name which is commonly used in his country. Examples: F = fou (French for bishop), L = loper (Dutch for bishop). In printed periodicals, the use of figurines for the pieces is recommended.
Pawns are not indicated by their first letter, but are recognized by the absence of such a letter. Examples: e5, d4, a5.
The eight files (from left to right for White and from right to left for Black) are indicated by the small letters, a, b, c, d, e, f, g and h, respectively.
The eight ranks (from bottom to top for White and from top to bottom for Black) are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, respectively. Consequently, in the initial position the white pieces and pawns are placed on the first and second ranks; the black pieces and pawns on the eighth and seventh ranks.
As a consequence of the previous rules, each of the sixty four squares is invariably indicated by a unique combination of a letter and a number.
Each move of a piece is indicated by (a) the first letter of the name of the piece in question and (b) the square of arrival. There is no hyphen between (a) and (b). Examples: Be5, Nf3, Rd1. In the case of pawns, only the square of arrival is indicated. Examples: e5, d4, a5.
When a piece makes a capture, an x is inserted between (a) the first letter of the name of the piece in question and (b) the square of arrival. Examples: Bxe5, Nxf3, Rxd1.
When a pawn makes a capture, not only the square of arrival but also the file of departure must be indicated, followed by an x. Examples: dxe5, gxf3, axb5. In the case of an "en passant" capture, the square of arrival is given as the square on which the capturing pawn finally rests and "e.p." is appended to the notation.
If two identical pieces can move to the same square, the piece that is moved is indicated as follows:
If a capture takes place on the square f3, the previous examples are changed by the insertion of an x: (1) either Ngxf3 or Ndxf3, (2) either N5xf3 or N1xf3, (3) either Nhxf3 or Ndxf3, as the case may be.
If two pawns can capture the same piece or pawn of the opponent, the pawn that is moved is indicated by (a) the letter of the file of departure, (b) an x, (c) the square of arrival.
Example: If there are white pawns on squares c4 and e4 and a black pawn or piece on the square d5, the notation for White's move is either cxd5 or exd5, as the case may be.
In the case of the promotion of a pawn, the actual pawn move is indicated, followed immediately by the first letter of the new piece. Examples: d8Q, f8N, b1B, g1R.
|0-0||castling with rook h1 or rook h8 (kingside castling)|
|0-0-0||castling with rook a1 or rook a8 (queenside castling)|
|++ or #||checkmate|
|e.p.||captures "en passant"|
Sample game: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 0-0 5.e4 d5 6.exd5 exd5 7.cxd5 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Nxd5 9.Nf3 b6 10.Qb3 Nxc3 11.bxc3 c5 12.Be2 cxd4 13.Nxd4 Re8 14.0-0 Nd7 15.a4 Nc5 16.Qb4 Bb7 17.a5 ... etc.
The offer of a draw shall be marked as (=).