National Chess Federation of the Philippines

"Make the Right Move, Play Chess"




6th Column - Chess
Arbiter's Guide
(Part 1)

5th Column - The New FIDE Laws of Chess
(Part 2 of a series)

4th Column - The New FIDE Laws of Chess
(First of a series)

3rd Column - The Responsibilities of Arbiters in Chess Games

2nd Column -
Arbiters who applied for FIDE License

1st Column -
About Arbiter's Corner



February 9, 2013


By: I.A. Gene Poliarco


The New FIDE Laws of Chess (First of a series)


From September 1-9, 2012, along with the Chess Olympiad, the FIDE Congress was held in Istanbul. Once every four years the Laws of Chess may be revised, and this was done in this Congress.

With this column, I will try to highlight the most important decisions that were taken during the Congress. These laws take effect on July 1, 2013.


Article 3.7e

When a pawn reaches the rank furthest from its starting position, it must be exchanged as part of the same move on the same square for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same color. 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.

This is the actual text of Article 3.7e. The practice how players promote is done in two different ways.

  • The pawn is moved to the last rank, then removed from the board and finally the new piece is put on the same square.
  • The pawn is removed from the penultimate rank and a new piece is put on the square of promotion.

There are arbiters who consider the second way of promotion illegal, and in a Blitz game, even declare the game lost for the player who promotes a pawn in this way. In fact there is nothing wrong with this kind of promotion, because in both cases we have the same position.


I can imagine that someone will ask “And what about castling? If a player starts to move his rook and then his king, we have also reached the same position.” This is true, but for example, Rh1-f1 is also a legal move, and it is possible to confuse the opponent by playing Rf1 and after one minute or even more to play the king from e1 to g1. To avoid the situation I described above, the following sentence has been added to Article 3.7e:

The pawn can be removed from the board and the new piece be put on the appropriate square in any order.

Article 5


This Article deals with the completion of the game. In the Articles about checkmate, stalemate, and positions that cannot be won by any player it was mentioned that the last move must be legal. To these Articles has been added that the last move must also be played in accordance with the Article 4.2 – 4.6 inclusive. These Articles describe how to move the pieces.


At present, there are only 19 National Arbiters, one FIDE Arbiter, and two International Arbiters who have acquired their licenses from CAUP. Those who want to apply for licensing may contact the union's secretary-general Miles Samaniego.


Article 6.2


Article 6.2 is the “old” Article 6.7. The additions are bold and italic.

During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent’s clock (that is to say, he shall “press” his clock). This “completes” the move. A move is also completed if:
  1. The move ends the game (see Articles 5.1a, 5.2a, 5.2b, 5.2c and 9.6) or
  2. The player has made his next move, in case his previous move was not completed.
A player must be allowed to press his clock after making his move, even after the opponent has made his next move. The time between making the move on the chessboard and pressing the clock is regarded as part of the time allotted to the player.

New is a move is also completed if the player has made his next move, in case his previous move was not completed.


Short explanation: If White made his twentieth move and Black answers immediately, then White has still the possibility to complete his twentieth by pressing his clock. However, if instead of pressing his clock, White makes his twenty-first move, then his twentieth move is considered to be completed.


Article 6.2d


This Article is new, but does not need explanation:

Only the player whose clock is running is allowed to adjust the pieces.
In case a disabled player cannot press his clock or cannot record the moves, his clock will not be adjusted.

Article 6.7a


Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game unless the arbiter decides to postpone the start of that game due to unforeseen circumstances. Thus the default time is 0 minutes. The rules of a competition may specify a different default time.


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