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Object of the Game

Chess rules may appear complex at first glance, but they are actually fairly easy. Chess is a board game in which two players, White and Black, take turns playing. White moves first, and the players take turns moving one piece at a time until one side takes the other’s king.


Chess is played with six pieces, each of which moves in a distinct manner. All of the artworks have some characteristics in common. A friendly piece cannot land on a square inhabited by an enemy piece. If a piece lands on an enemy piece’s square, that enemy is captured and removed off the board. Pieces, with the exception of the knight, cannot jump over other pieces.

  • The rook is frequently shown as a tiny tower. It moves in a straight line for any number of squares, horizontally or vertically.
  • The bishop moves in a straight path diagonally, for whatever number of squares.
  • The queen, chess’ most powerful piece, can move any number of squares horizontally, vertically, or diagonally in a straight line.
  • The king has the ability to move in any direction, including diagonally, but only one square at a time.
  • The knight moves in an uneven, L-shaped fashion, commonly resembling a horse. The knight can move to eight different squares from the middle of the board. The knight can leap over other pieces, but it doesn’t catch them; it only captures a piece on the square it lands on.
  • The pawns are the shortest and most vulnerable pieces in chess. Pawns are also the only pieces that can travel in one direction but not capture in another. Pawns, unlike other pieces, can only move forward and cannot go backward. Unless it is still on the square where it started the game, a pawn can only move one square forward at a time; if it is the pawn’s first move, it can travel one or two squares directly forward. A pawn can’t take a piece that’s right in front of it. Pawns can only capture a piece by diagonally moving one square forward. Castling is a move in which the king and a rook both advance at the same time; en passant is an unusual pawn capture; and pawn promotion is a circumstance in which a pawn reaches the end of the board and can “promote” to a stronger piece.


Ensure that each player has a light-colored square in the bottom right-hand corner before beginning the game. Place the rooks on the bottom-left and bottom-right squares, then the knights on the first row, directly adjacent to the rooks. The bishops take the next two squares, which are in the rear row’s center. In the center of your rear row, leave two vacant squares – these are the king and queen’s squares. The white queen goes on the light square, whereas the black queen goes on the dark square, according to the queen-on-color rule. The other square is taken by the king. Place your pawns in the second row, just in front of your larger pieces.


Each maneuver can only be made with one hand.

The player with the move may change one or more pieces on his squares if he first indicates his intention (for example, by stating “I adjust”).

Unless otherwise specified, if the person making the move intentionally touches the chessboard:

  • He must move the first piece he touches that can be moved, whether it is one or more of his own pieces.
  • He must capture the first piece touched that can be captured by one or more of his opponent’s pieces.
  • He must use one piece of each color to capture the opponent’s piece or, if that is not possible, move or capture the first piece touched that can be moved or captured. If it’s unclear whether the player’s own piece or his opponent’s piece was touched first, the player’s own piece is assumed to have been touched first.

If a player has the following move:

  • intentionally touches his king and rook, he must castle on that side if it is legal.
  • intentionally touches a rook and then his king, he is not allowed to castle on that side on that move, and the issue will be controlled by Article 4.3a.
  • intends to castle, he or she touches both the king and the rook at the same moment, but this is prohibited, thus the player must make another legal move with his king (which may include castling on the other side). If the king has no legal moves, the player is free to make any legal move that promotes a pawn.
  • When the piece reaches the promotion square, the player’s choice of piece is finalized.

If none of the pieces that have been touched may be moved or captured, the player is free to make any legal move.

On this move, a piece that has been released on a square as part of a legal move or as part of a legal move cannot be transferred to another square. After then, the action is regarded completed:

  • When the captured piece has been taken from the chessboard and the player has put his own piece on its new square, the capturing piece is released from the player’s grip.
  • When the player’s hand has released the rook on the square previously passed by the king in the situation of castling. The move is not yet made when the player releases the king from his grip, but the player no longer has the option of castingling on that side, if this is legal.
  • When a pawn is promoted, the pawn is taken from the chessboard and the player’s hand releases the new piece once it has been placed on the promotion square. The move is not yet made if the player has released the pawn that has reached the promotion square from his hand, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square.

Once a player intentionally touches a piece, he loses his right to sue his opponent for violating this provision.


  • The player who has checkmated his opponent’s king wins the game. This quickly ends the game, assuming the move that resulted in the checkmate position was valid.
  • The player whose opponent declares resigning wins the game. This puts a stop to the game right away.
  • When the player who is to move has no lawful move and his king is not in check, the game is drawn. The game is said to come to a halt. This terminates the game instantly, assuming the move that resulted in the stalemate was legal.
  • When neither player can checkmate the opponent’s king with any set of legal moves, the game is declared a draw. The game is believed to end with the player in a ‘dead position.’ This terminates the game immediately, assuming the move that created the situation was lawful. (For more information, see Article 9.6)
  • The game is based on the two players’ agreement during the game. This puts a stop to the game right away.
  • If any identical position is likely to arise or has been on the chessboard at least three times, the game may be drawn.
  • If each player has made at least 50 consecutive moves without moving any pawns or capturing any pieces, the game may be drawn.


The Chess Clock is a timepiece for chess players.

  • The term “chess clock” refers to a clock with two-time displays that are connected in such a way that only one of them can function at any given moment.
  • In the Chess Laws, the term “clock” refers to one of the two-time displays.
  • Each time display has a ‘flag’.
  • The term “flag fall” refers to a player’s allotted time running out.
  • When utilizing a chess clock, each player must make a minimum number of moves or all moves in an assigned period of time and/or maybe allocated an additional amount of time with each move. All of this must be defined ahead of time.
    • Except in the ‘time delay’ option, a player’s time saved during one period is added to his time available for the next period. In the time delay option, each participant is given a certain amount of ‘main thinking time.’ Every move also comes with a ‘fixed extra time’ for each player. The primary time countdown begins only once the fixed time has passed. The main thinking time does not alter if the player stops his clock before the fixed time expires, regardless of the fraction of the fixed time used.
  • The requirements listed below must be checked immediately after a flag is dropped.
  • The arbiter decides where the chess clock will be placed before the game begins.
  • The clock of the player who has the white pieces is begun at the time set for the game to begin.
  • Any player who comes to the chessboard after the session has begun will be eliminated from the game. As a result, the default time is zero minutes. A competition’s rules may state otherwise.
    • If a competition’s rules specify a different default time, the following applies. If neither player is present at the start, the player with the white pieces loses all time until he arrives, unless the competition rules state otherwise or the arbiter decides otherwise.
  • During the game, each player must stop his own clock and start his opponent’s clock after making a move on the chessboard. A player must be able to stop his clock at any time. Unless the move he made finishes the game, his move is not regarded complete until he has finished it. The period between making a chessboard move and stopping his own clock and beginning his opponent’s clock is considered part of the player’s time limit.
    • A player must use the same hand to stop his clock that he used to make his move. A player is not allowed to keep his finger on the button or ‘hover’ over it.
    • The chess clock must be handled correctly by the players. It is banned to forcefully punch it, pick it up, or knock it over. Improper clock handling will be punished according to the guidelines outlined below.
    • If a player is unable to operate the clock, the player may supply an assistant who must be acceptable to the arbiter to complete this action. The arbiter will change his clock in an equitable manner.
  • When the arbiter notices the fact or when either player makes a proper claim to that effect, the flag is judged to have fallen.
  • If a player does not finish the necessary amount of moves in the allotted time, the game is lost by the player, unless one of the exceptions listed in the Completion of Games section above applies. If the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king with any legal series of moves, the game is drawn.
  • In the absence of any obvious flaw, every signal offered by the clocks is regarded conclusive. A chess clock with a visible flaw must be replaced. When determining the timings to be displayed on the replacement chess clocks, the arbiter will use his best discretion.
    • If it is discovered during a game that one or both clocks have been set incorrectly, the clocks must be stopped immediately by either player or the arbiter. The arbiter is responsible for installing the proper settings, as well as adjusting the times and moving the counter. When establishing the proper settings, he will rely on his best judgment.
  • If it’s hard to tell which flag fell first after both have fallen, then:
    • If it occurs during any time of the game except the last period, the game is drawn.
    • If it occurs during a period in which all remaining moves must be completed, the game is drawn.
  • The arbiter must halt the clocks if the game must be interrupted.
    • A player may only halt the clocks to request the arbiter’s intervention, such as when promotion has occurred and the required piece is unavailable.
    • In any instance, the arbitrator will decide when the game will be restarted.
    • If a player requests the arbiter’s assistance by stopping the clocks, the arbiter must decide whether the player had a valid basis for doing so. The player will be penalized if it is clear that he or she had no valid justification to stop the clocks.
  • If there is an inconsistency and/or the pieces must be restored to their original positions, the arbiter will use his best judgment to determine the times to be displayed on the clocks. He will also, if necessary, change the move counter on the clock.
  • In the playing hall, screens, monitors, or exhibition boards that display the current position on the chessboard, the moves, and the number of moves made, as well as clocks that display the number of moves, are permitted. The player, however, may not make a claim based only on the information displayed in this manner.


  • If it is discovered during a game that the original location of the pieces was wrong, the game will be stopped and a new one will be played.
    • If it is discovered during a game that the chessboard has been set up differently than stated in the Setting up the Chessboard section, the game will continue, but the position obtained will have to be moved to a properly set up chessboard.
  • Unless the arbiter determines differently, a game that started with the colors reversed will continue.
  • If a player moves one or more pieces, he must reposition them in the correct order on his own time. If required, either the player or his opponent may request the intervention of the arbiter by stopping the clocks. The player who misplaced the pieces may be penalized by the arbiter.
  • If an illegal move, such as failing to meet the requirements of a pawn promotion or capturing the opponent’s king, is discovered during a game, the position immediately before the irregularity shall be reinstated. If the position immediately before the irregularity cannot be ascertained, the game will resume from the last known position before the irregularity. It is necessary to adjust the clocks. The act of changing pieces refers to a legal move that replaces an illegal one. The game will then resume from this newly restored position.
  • Following the action taken, the arbiter shall award his opponent two minutes extra time for each of the first two illegal movements made by a player; for a third illegal move by the same player, the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. The game is drawn, however, if the position is such that the opponent’s king cannot be checkmated by any lawful series of moves.
  • If it is discovered that pieces have been displaced from their squares during a game, the position before to the irregularity must be restored. If the position immediately preceding the irregularity cannot be recognized, the game will resume from the last identifiable position preceding the irregularity. It is necessary to adjust the clocks. The game will then resume from this newly restored 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, on the score-sheet prescribed for the competition.

It is forbidden to write the moves in advance unless the player is claiming a draw according to the Drawn Game Section below or adjourning a game according to the Guidelines of Adjourned Games point.

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 score sheet.

If a player is unable to keep score, an assistant, who must be 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 score sheet shall be visible to the arbiter throughout the game.

The score sheets are the property of the organizers 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 an additional time of 30 seconds or more added with each move, then for the remainder of the period he is not obliged to meet the requirements above. Immediately after one flag has fallen the player must update his score-sheet completely before moving a piece on the chessboard.

If neither player is required to keep score, 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 score sheets, using the arbiter’s or the opponent’s score-sheet.

  • If only one player is not required to keep score as described above, he must, as soon as either flag has fallen, update his score-sheet completely before moving a piece on the chessboard. Provided it is the player’s move, he may use his opponent’s score-sheet, but must return it before making a move.
  • If no complete score-sheet 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 score-sheets 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 score sheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.


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

  • If the rules of a competition allow a draw agreement the following apply:
  • 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 Conduct of the player 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 score-sheet with a symbol.
  • A claim of a draw under the sections above 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 score-sheet 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 color 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 be captured in this manner. When a king or a rook is forced to move, it will lose its castling rights, if any, only after it is moved.

The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by the player having the move, if:

  • he writes his move on his score-sheet 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 touches a piece as described in Act of Moving Pieces section above without having claimed the draw he loses the right to claim, as mentioned above, on that move.

If a player claims a draw he may 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 thinking time. Then the game shall continue. If the claim was based on an intended move, this move must be made as according to Act of Moving Pieces above.

The game is drawn when a position is reached from which a checkmate cannot occur by any possible series of legal moves. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing this position was legal.


A ‘quickplay finish’ is the 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 summon the arbiter and may stop the clocks.

  • 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, if possible in the presence of an arbiter. The arbiter shall declare the final result later in the game or as soon as possible 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 means.
  • If the arbiter has rejected the claim, the opponent shall be awarded two extra minutes time.
  • The decision of the arbiter shall be final relating to (a), (b) and (c).

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 (½).


The players shall take no action that will bring the game of chess into disrepute.

Players are not allowed to leave the ‘playing venue’ without permission from the arbiter. The playing venue is defined as the playing area, restrooms, 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 the permission of the arbiter.

  • During play the players are forbidden to make use of any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse on another chess board
  • Without the permission of the arbiter a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue, unless they are completely switched off. If any such device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, his score shall be a draw.
  • Smoking is permitted only in the section of the venue designated by the arbiter

The score-sheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, the offers of a draw, and matters relating to a claim and other relevant data.

Players who have finished their games shall be considered to be spectators.

It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw, or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.

Infraction of any part of the ones mentioned above shall lead to penalties.

Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalized by loss of the game. The arbiter shall decide the score of the opponent.

If both players are found guilty as above, the game shall be declared lost by both players.

In the case of QuickPlay Finish, a player may not appeal against the decision of the arbiter. Otherwise, a player may appeal against any decision of the arbiter unless the rules of the competition specify otherwise.


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.

The arbiter can apply one or more of the following penalties:

  • warning
  • 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 the game by the offending party
  • increasing the points scored in the 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 an 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 point 5 under the Recording the Moves section, 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. If someone observes an irregularity, he may inform only the arbiter.
  • Unless authorized by the arbiter, it is forbidden for anybody to use a mobile phone or any kind of communication device in the playing venue and any contiguous area designated by the arbiter.