The Retrograde Analysis Corner
As a special service of the retro Corner, you will find
a version of these ruled with change marks (insertions,
The 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 75th FIDE Congress at Calvia (Mallorca), October
2004, coming into force on 1 July 2005.
In these Laws the words 'he', 'him' and 'his' include 'she' and
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
The game of chess is played between two opponents who move their 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 made.
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. The player
who achieves this goal is said to have 'checkmated' the opponent's king
and to have won the game. Leaving one's own king under attack, exposing
one's own king to attack and also 'capturing' the opponent's king are
not allowed. The opponent whose king has been checkmated has lost the
It is not allowed to capture the King
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): These pieces are as follows:
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'.
It is not permitted to move a piece 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 it can capture
an opponent’s piece on that square even if this piece cannot itself
A piece is considered to attack a square, even if such a piece is
constrained from moving to that square because it would then leave or
place the king of its own colour under attack.
The bishop may move to any square along a diagonal on which it stands.
The rook may move to any square along the file or the rank on which
The queen may move to any square along the file, the rank or a diagonal
on which it stands.
When making these moves the bishop, rook or queen may not move over
any intervening pieces.
The knight may move to one of the squares nearest to that on which
it stands but not on the same rank, file or diagonal.
The pawn may move forward to the unoccupied square immediately in
front of it on the same file, or
on its first move the pawn may move as in (a); alternatively it may
advance two squares along the same file provided both squares are unoccupied,
the pawn may move to a square occupied by an opponent's piece, which
is diagonally in front of it on an adjacent file, capturing that piece.
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 is only legal on the move following this advance and is
called an 'en passant' capture. This move must be made in the event
that no other legal move is possible
When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position
it must be exchanged as part of the same move for a new 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
There are two different ways of moving the king, by:
moving to any adjoining square not attacked by one or more of the
opponent's pieces. The opponent's pieces are considered to attack a
square, even if such pieces are constrained from moving to that square
because they would then leave or place their own king in check.
The opponent's pieces are considered to attack a square, even if such
pieces cannot themselves move.
'castling'. This is a move of the king and either rook of the same
colour on the same rank, counting as a single move of the king and
executed as follows: the king is transferred from its original square
two squares towards the rook, then that rook is transferred to the
square the king has just crossed.
(1) The right for castling has been lost:
if the king has already moved, or
with a rook that has already moved
(2) Castling is prevented temporarily
if the square on which the king stands, or the square which it must
cross, or the square which it is to occupy, is attacked by one or
more of the opponent's pieces.
if there is any piece between the king and the rook with which castling
is to be effected.
The king is said to be 'check' if it is attacked by one or more
of the opponent's pieces, even if such pieces are constrained from
moving to that square because they would then leave or place their
own king in check.
No piece can be moved that will either expose the king of the same
colour to check or leave that 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"
or "I adjust"), 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
one or more of his own pieces, he must move the first piece touched
that can be moved, or
one or more of his opponent's pieces, he must capture the first piece
touched, which can be captured, or
one piece of each colour, he must capture the opponent's piece with
his piece or, if this is illegal, move or capture the first piece touched
which can be moved or captured. If it is unclear, whether the player's
own piece or his opponent's was touched first, the player's own piece
shall be considered to have been touched before his opponent's.
If a player touched more than one piece simultaneously without a
note for J'adoube, , and it wasn’t known what piece he touched first,
then he must move one of these touched pieces. I.e. he is given the
choice to choose which of them he wants to move.
If a player deliberately touches his king and rook he must castle
on that side if it is legal to do so.
If a player deliberately touches a rook and then his king he is not
allowed to castle on that side on that move and the situation shall
be governed by Article 4.3(a).
If a player, intending to castle, touches the king or king and rook
at the same time, but castling on that side is illegal, the player
must make another legal move with his king which may include castling
on the other side. If the king has no legal move, the player is free
to make any legal move.
If a player promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised,
when the piece has touched the square of promotion.
If none of the pieces touched can be moved or captured, the player
may make any legal move.
A player forfeits his right to a claim against his opponent's violation
of Article 4.3 or 4.4, once he 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 have been made when all the relevant requirements of Article
3 have been fulfilled.
in the case of a capture, when the captured piece has been removed
from the chessboard and the player, having placed his own piece on
its new square, has released this capturing piece from his hand;
in the case of castling, when the player's hand has released the
rook on the square previously crossed by the king. When the player
has released the king from his hand, the move is not yet made, but
the player no longer has the right to make any move other than castling
on that side, if this is legal;
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 made, but the player no longer has the right to play the
pawn to another square.
The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent's king.
This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the
checkmate position was a legal move.
The game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns.
This immediately ends the game.
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, provided that the move producing the stalemate
position was legal.
The game is drawn when a position has arisen in which neither player
can checkmate the opponent's king with any series of legal moves. The
game is said to end in a 'dead position'. This immediately ends the
game, provided that the move producing the position was legal.
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 any identical position is about to appear
or has appeared on the chessboard at least three times. (See Article
The game may be drawn if each player has made at least the last 50
consecutive moves without the movement of any pawn and without any
capture. (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 expiration of the allotted time for a player.
When using a chess clock, each player must make a minimum number
of moves or all moves in an allotted period of time and/or may be allocated
an additional amount of time with each move. All these must be specified
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 allotted 'main thinking
time'. Each player also receives a 'fixed extra time' with every move.
The countdown of the main time only commences after the fixed time
has expired. Provided the player stops his clock before the expiration
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 6.2(a) must be checked.
Before the start of the game the arbiter decides where the chess clock
At the time determined for the start of the game the clock of the
player who has the white pieces is started.
If neither player is present initially, the player who has the white
pieces shall lose all the time that elapses until he arrives; unless
the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise..
Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after
the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules
of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.
During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard,
shall stop his own clock and start his opponent's clock. A player must
always be allowed to stop his clock. His move is not considered to
have been completed until he has done so, unless the move that was
made ends the game. (See Articles 5.1, and 5.2)
The time between making the move on the chessboard and stopping his
own clock and starting his opponent's clock is regarded as part of
the time allotted to the player.
A player must stop his clock with the same hand as that with which
he made his move. It is forbidden for a player to keep his finger on
the button or to 'hover' over it.
The players must handle the chess clock properly. It is forbidden
to punch it forcibly, to pick it up or to knock it over. Improper clock
handling shall be penalised in accordance with Article 13.4.
If a player is unable to use the clock, an assistant, who is acceptable
to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to perform this operation.
His clock shall be adjusted by the arbiter in an equitable way.
A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the
fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect.
Except where Articles 5.1 or one of the Articles 5.2 (a), (b) and
(c) 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's king by any possible series of legal moves, even with 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 replace the clock and use
his best judgement when determining the times to be shown on the replacement
If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which
flag fell first, then
the game shall continue if it happens in any period of the game except
the last period.
the game is drawn in case it happens in the period of a game, in
which all remaining moves must be completed.
If the game needs to be interrupted, the arbiter shall stop the clocks.
A player may stop the clocks only in order to seek the arbiter's
assistance, for instance when promotion has taken place and the piece
required is not available.
The arbiter shall decide when the game is to be restarted in either
If a player stops the clocks in order to seek the arbiter's assistance,
the arbiter shall determine if the player had any valid reason for
doing so. If it is obvious that the player has no valid reason for
stopping the clocks, the player shall be penalised according to article
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. He shall also, if necessary, adjust
the clock's move counter.
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 relying solely on information
shown in this manner.
If during a game it is found by the arbiter or one of the players
that the initial position of the pieces was incorrect, the game shall
be cancelled and a new game played.
If during a game it is found that the only error is that the chessboard
has been placed contrary to Article 2.1, the game continues but the
position reached must be transferred to a correctly placed chessboard.
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, either the player or
his opponent shall stop the clocks and ask for the arbiter's assistance.
The arbiter may penalise the player who displaced the pieces.
If during a game it is found by the arbiter or one of the players
that an illegal move, including not exchanging a pawn who reached the
last rank for a queen rook, bishop or knight and capturing the opponent’s
king, has been completed, the position immediately before the irregularity
shall be reinstated. If the position immediately before the irregularity
cannot be determined, the game shall continue from the last identifiable
position prior to the irregularity. The clocks shall be adjusted according
to Article 6.14. Article 4.3 applies to the move replacing the illegal
move. The game shall then continue from this reinstated position.
After the action taken under Article 7.4(a), for the first two illegal
moves by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to
his opponent in each instance; for a third illegal move by the same
player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. If
the opponent cannot checkmate the player by any possible series of
legal moves even with the most unskilled counterplay, the arbiter shall
decide the result of the game.
If during a game it is found 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 determined,
the game shall continue from the last identifiable position prior to
the irregularity. The clocks shall be adjusted according to Article
6.14. The game shall then continue from this re-instated position.
In the course of play each player is required to record his own moves
and those of his opponent in the correct manner, move after move, as
clearly and legibly as possible, in the algebraic notation (Appendix
E), on the 'scoresheet' prescribed for the competition. It is forbidden
to write the moves in advance, unless the player is claiming a draw
according to Article 9.2 or 9.3.
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.
Both players must record the offer of a draw on the scoresheet. (Appendix
If a player is unable to keep score, an assistant, who is acceptable
to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to write the moves. His
clock shall be adjusted by the arbiter in an equitable way.
The scoresheet shall be visible to the arbiter throughout the game.
The scoresheets are the property of the organisers of the event.
If a player has less than five minutes left on his clock at some stage
in a period 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 before moving a piece on the chessboard.
If neither player is required to keep score under Article 8.4, the
arbiter or an assistant should try to be present and keep score. In
this case, immediately after one flag has fallen, the arbiter shall
stop the clocks. Then both players shall update their scoresheets,
using the arbiter's or the opponent's scoresheet.
If only one player is not required to keep score under Article 8.4
he must, as soon as either flag has fallen, update his scoresheet completely
before moving a piece on the chessboard. Provided it is the player's
move, he may use his opponent's scoresheet, but must return it before
making a move
If no complete scoresheet is available, the players must reconstruct
the game on a second chessboard under the control of the arbiter or
an assistant. He shall first record the actual game position, clock
times and the number of moves made, if this information is available,
before reconstruction takes place.
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.
At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets,
indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall
stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.
A player wishing to offer a draw shall do so after having made a
move on the chessboard and before stopping his clock and starting the
opponent's clock. An offer at any other time during play is still valid,
but Article 12.6 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 touching a piece with the intention of moving or capturing it, or
the game is concluded in some other way.
The offer of a draw shall be noted by each player on his scoresheet
with a symbol (See Appendix E13).
A claim of a draw under 9.2, 9.3 or 10.2 shall be considered to be
an offer of a draw.
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 a repetition of moves)
is about to appear, if he first writes his move on his scoresheet
and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or
has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move.
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 that could have been captured
en passant can no longer in this manner be captured or if the right
to castle has been changed temporarily or permanently.
The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move,
he writes his move on his scoresheet, and declares to the arbiter
his intention to make this move which shall result in the last 50 moves
having been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and
without any capture, or
the last 50 consecutive moves have been made by each player without
the movement of any pawn and without any capture.
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.
If the claim is found to be correct the game is immediately drawn.
If the claim is found to be incorrect, the arbiter shall add three
minutes to the opponent's remaining time. Additionally, if the claimant
has more than two minutes on his clock the arbiter shall deduct half
of the claimant's remaining time up to a maximum of three minutes.
If the claimant has more than one minute, but less than two minutes,
his remaining time shall be one minute. If the claimant has less than
one minute, the arbiter shall make no adjustment to the claimant's
clock. Then the game shall continue and the intended move must be made.
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, provided that the move
producing this position was legal.
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, having the move, 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.
If the arbiter agrees the opponent is making no effort to win the
game by normal means, or that it is not possible to win by normal means,
then he shall declare the game drawn. Otherwise he shall postpone his
decision or reject the claim.
If the arbiter postpones his decision, the opponent may be awarded
two extra minutes and the game shall continue in the presence of an
arbiter, if possible. The arbiter shall declare the final result later
in the game or after a flag has fallen. He shall declare the game drawn
if he agrees that the final position cannot be won by normal means,
or that the opponent was not making sufficient attempts to win by normal
If the arbiter has rejected the claim, the opponent shall be awarded
two extra minutes thinking time.
The decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to 10.2 a, b,
Unless announced otherwise in advance, a player who wins his game,
or wins by forfeit, scores one point (1), a player who loses his game,
or forfeits scores no points (0) and a player who draws his game scores
a half point (1/2).
The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess
During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources
of information, advice, or analyse on another chessboard.
It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic
means of communication, not authorised by the arbiter, into the playing
venue. If a player's mobile phone rings in the playing venue during
play, that player shall lose the game. The score of the opponent shall
be determined by the arbiter.
The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times
of the clocks, the offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and
other relevant data.
Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be spectators.
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 unreasonable claims or unreasonable offers of a draw.
Infraction of any part of the Articles 12.1 to 12.6 shall lead to
penalties in accordance with Article 13.4.
Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall
be penalised by loss of the game. The arbiter shall decide the score
of the opponent.
If both players are found guilty according to Article 12.8, 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
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.
The arbiter can apply one or more of the following penalties:
increasing the remaining time of the opponent,
reducing the remaining time of the offending player,
declaring the game to be lost,
reducing the points scored in a game by the offending party,
increasing the points scored in a game by the opponent to the maximum
available for that game,
expulsion from the event.
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 except in cases described
by the Laws of Chess. He shall not indicate the number of moves made,
except in applying Article 8.5 when at least one flag has fallen. The
arbiter shall refrain from informing a player that his opponent has
completed a move or that the player has not pressed 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 venue.
It is forbidden for anybody to use a mobile phone in the playing
venue by the arbiter
Member federations may ask FIDE to give an official decision about
problems relating to the Laws of Chess.