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 25, 2013


By: I.A. Gene J. Poliarco


The New FIDE Laws of Chess (Part 2 of a series)


Article 7.1


If an irregularity occurs and the pieces have to be restored to a previous position, the position 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 game then shall continue from this reinstated position. The arbiter shall use his best judgement to determine the times to be shown on the chess clock. This includes the option not to change the clock times. He shall also, if necessary, adjust the clock's move-counter.


During the meeting of the Rules Commission, there was a proposal that an illegal move stands if it is not found within ten moves. This is a rule that is applied in USC tournament. Finally, the meeting decided not to accept this proposal. The new sentence was added to the "old" Article. The arbiter now has the possibility not to change the clock times. The advantage is that the schedule of the tournament can be maintained. This is especially important when two rounds on the same day shall be played.


Article 8.4


If the increment to each move is less than thirty seconds, and a player has less than five minutes left to the next time control, this player does not have to record the moves. There was a proposal that in this situation the opponent also does not the obligation to record the moves. This is a very logical proposal. Why create a situation where two players in the same game are playing under different conditions? Nevertheless, for practical reasons, the decision was not to change this Article.


Article 9.1.a


The rules of a competition may specify that players cannot agree a draw in less than a specified number of moves, or cannot agree a draw at all, without the permission of the arbiter.


The Rules Commission had no intention to change this Article. Everybody seems to be happy with this Article, because the actual text gives each organizer the possibility to make his own choice.

  • To allow draw offers at any moment during the game
  • To specify that draw offers are only possible after the players have completed a certain number of moves, for instance thirty or forty. (In the Olympiad in Istanbul it was possible to agree to a draw only after thirty completed moves).
  • All draw offers are forbidden.

But in the meeting of the General Assembly the situation was different. There was a proposal to ban all draw offers. Nevertheless, after a long debate it was decided to keep the Article as it is.


Article 9.2


The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a 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, which cannot be changed, 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.

There was a proposal that a player does not have to write his move first if the intended move produces the same position for the third time. After he had move his move, he should stop the chess clock (this means both clocks), call the arbiter, and claim a draw. It was decided not to change this Article.


Article 9.5


If a player claims a draw under Article 9.2 or 9.3 he or the arbiter shall stop the chess clock (see Article 6.12.b). 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 two minutes to the opponent's remaining thinking time. Then the game shall continue. If the claim was based on an intended move, this move must be made, in accordance with Articles 3 and 4.

There are two changes in this Article, both bold and italic. Some background regarding the first change for a very long time Article 9.5 began as follows:


If a player claims a draw under Article 9.2 or 9.3 he shall stop the chess clock.


But there were arbiters who declared the claim incorrect when a player had not stopped the chess clock. Therefore, this Article was changed.


If a player claims a draw under Article 9.2 or 9.3 he may stop the chess clock.


There was a proposal to revert back to the original version with "shall", "should", or "must"


The solution was in fact very easy. The player or the arbiter shall stop the chess clock.


The second change was that instead of three minutes, only two minutes shall be added in case of an incorrect claim. This means that the penalty for an incorrect claim and an illegal move are the same.


(to be continued)


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