Revised Laws of Chess – July 2014

The Laws of Chess have been revised and will come into force on 1 July 2014.   These revisions should have been effective in July 2013, but due to drafting problems their implementation has been delayed until next year.   It should be appreciated that the Laws of Chess that emanate from FIDE are not always fully implemented in the UK.   For example, the ‘zero tolerance’ rule, whereby a player is defaulted if he arrives at the board a few seconds late, never applies here.   Leagues and congresses usually stipulate the default time, say 30 minutes or an hour.

Anyway, the main changes for July 2014 are compared below with the existing (2009) rules.   Local leagues will need to consider if they are appropriate for evening chess.   FIDE-rated events, such as the 4NCL and the e2e4 Congresses, will probably need to take them all on board.

Article Subject matter 2009 version 2014 version
4.6 Promoting a pawn (New rule) The pawn does not have to be placed on the eighth rank; removing the pawn and putting the new piece on the arrival square can be done in any order.
6.2a Completed moves (Not specified) If an opponent makes his move before the first player has pressed the clock, the first player’s move is deemed to have been completed.
7.5b Illegal moves Three illegal moves automatically lose the game. Two illegal moves will lose the game.
9.5 Stopping the clocks If a player claims a draw as in Article 9.2 or 9.3 he may stop both clocks. The arbiter may stop the clocks if a player claims a draw but forgets to stop the clocks.   (Some arbiters refuse to discuss the claim if the player has forgotten to stop the clocks).
9.6 Draw claims (New rule) If no draw claim is made after five consecutive alternate moves, or after 75 moves have been completed by each player without any pawn being moved or any capture, then the arbiter will declare the game drawn.   (Games could in theory continue for ever if no claim is made).
10 (old) The ‘two-minute’ rule Claiming a draw with less than two minutes remaining if the opponent is not trying to win ‘by normal means’. This has been moved to a new Appendix G, but can still apply in games with a quickplay finish.
11.3b Mobile phones If a phone makes a sound during play, the game is lost for the player concerned. During play, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone and/or other electronic means of communication in the playing venue.   He shall lose the game if he does.   In certain circumstances, the arbiter may require the player to be searched.  This is a much more stringent rule, aimed at preventing suspected cheating.
12.2 Role of the arbiter (Additions to existing rule) The arbiter shall ensure fair play; and take special measures in the interests of disabled players and those who need medical attention.
Appendix A1 Rapidplay definition At least 15 minutes to less than 60 minutes. More than 10 minutes and less than 60 minutes.
Appendix A4a Board/Clock in RP Once three moves have been made by each player, board positions and clock settings remain, even if wrongly set at the start. Once ten moves have been made by each player, board positions and clock settings remain, even if wrongly set at the start.
Appendix A4b Calling an illegal move in RP The arbiter may not call an illegal move in Rapidplay. The arbiter can call an illegal move and declare the game lost, provided the opponent has not made his next move.
Appendix B1 Blitz times Blitz is a game where all moves must be completed in 10 minutes or less for each player. A game with allotted time plus 60 times any increment is still a Blitz game provided this is 10 minutes or less (eg 5 minutes + 5 second increment).
Appendix G4 Introduction of a time delay (New) If a player having the move has less than two minutes left on his clock, he may request a time delay of five seconds per move be introduced for both players (if possible)   The opponent is then awarded two extra minutes and the game continues.
Appendix G5 Appeals Under the old Rule 10.2 it was not possible to appeal an arbiter’s decision Appeals are now permitted.

Many other rules have been ‘tidied up’ by minor revisions to the wording.

The new Laws have been published on the FIDE website, with all changes conveniently highlighted in yellow.

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