Official Chess Rules


Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - GraphicIf you want the full list of Official Chess Rules, FIDE's Handbook, Section E.I.01A. Laws of Chess, is where you want to be.

The Preface, of FIDE's Laws of Chess, does state that it is unable to provide a Rule for every possible outcome that might occur during a game of Chess.

They say, where there is a situation that hasn't been covered by an Article within their Laws, a person with sufficient power to judge the case - known as the Arbiter - should have the required ability to nail down a solution.

Once you've read their short preface, you'll find that FIDE has their Rules page split into two sections, each with their own sub-Articles ...

BASIC RULES OF PLAY

  • Article 1: The Nature And Objectives Of The Game Of Chess
  • Article 2: The Initial Position Of The Pieces On The Chessboard
  • Article 3: The Moves Of The Pieces
  • Article 4: The Act Of Moving The Pieces
  • Article 5: The Completion Of The Game

COMPETITION RULES


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

BASIC RULES OF PLAY

In this section, there are currently 5 Articles, each with their own sub-Laws/Rules ...


Article 1:
The Nature And Objectives Of The Game Of Chess

  • This Article states that the game of Chess is played between two opponents, who take it in turns to move their pieces across a square board known as the "Chessboard".

  • The player who controls the White pieces is the one who starts the game.

  • Regarding the 'objective' of the game, the aim is to attack your opponent's King so that it has no legal move to make.

  • And, should the situation arise that neither player can Checkmate their opponent, the game will end in a draw.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Article 2:
The Initial Position Of The Pieces On The Chessboard

  • This Article first mentions the profile of the Chessboard, which has a total of 64 squares, alternating between light and dark colors and arranged into an 8x8 square grid.

  • With the Chessboard situated between the players - who sit facing opposite one another - the correct board position is when there is a light square is in the bottom right corner.

  • Following on from mention of the Chessboard, this Article covers the Chess pieces, with both players having a total of 16 pieces on the board, at the beginning of the game.

  • The 16 Chess pieces are made up of:

    • A King (one each for White and Black)
    • A Queen (one each for White and Black)
    • Two Rooks (two each for White and Black)
    • Two Bishops (two each for White and Black)
    • Two Knights (two each for White and Black)
    • Eight Pawns (eight each for White and Black)

  • The Article continues by showing where the pieces go on the board, at the start of a game (with the image, below):
Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Chessboard

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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 3:
The Moves Of The Pieces

  • This Article begins with a warning that you are not allowed to move a piece to an occupied square that contains a piece of the same color.

  • If a piece is moved onto a square occupied by a piece of a different color, the latter piece will be captured and taken off the chessboard.

  • The Article then continues to show the legal moves of the 6 different chess pieces, given a clear board:

    Range of movement for the Bishop

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Bishop

    Range of movement for the Rook

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Rook

    Range of movement for the Queen

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Queen

    Range of movement for the Knight

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Knight

    Range of movement for the Pawn

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - Pawn

    Range of movement for the King

    Chess Glossary - Official Chess Rules - King

  • The Article begins by first mentioning the Bishop, Rook, and Queen, simply because these pieces are easier to explain.

  • The Knight, Pawn and King are slightly more complex pieces and they have more rules applied to them, so are mentioned in order to complexity of move options.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 4:
The Act Of Moving The Pieces

  • This Article applies to games played using a standard Chess Set - that is, a Chessboard with pieces you physically move by hand ...

  • The first of the Laws states that all moves are to be made with one hand only.

  • When it is your move, if you wish to adjust pieces on their respective squares - maybe some have been accidently nudged so they're over their square's boundary line - you can say "j'adoube" or "I adjust", which permits you to correct their position(s).

  • Other than with the case of "j'adoube", if you touch a piece and it has legal options available, that piece must be moved. Similar rules apply if you touch an opponent's piece, which is covered in FIDE's Handbook, Article 4.3.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Article 5:
The Completion Of The Game

  • This Article states that a game of Chess is won by whichever play Checkmates their opponent's King.

  • A game can also be won by a player if their opponent openly says that they wish to Resign.

  • Should no legal moves be available and the square which the King is currently on does not place that King in Check, the game will end in a Draw.

  • If each player makes 50 moves, but no Pawns have been moved, and if no capture has been made in those 50 moves, then the game will end in a Draw.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

COMPETITION RULES

In this section, there are a further 8 Articles, again, each with their own sub-Laws/Rules ...

Article 6:
The Chess Clock

  • This Article states that a "Chess Clock" refers to a clock that has two time displays, both connected to each other in such a way that only one clock can run at any given time.

  • A Competition Chess Clock will have a 'Flag' on each clock and when the Flag falls it means that the alloted game time for that particular player has run out.

  • It is up to the arbiter to decide where to place the Chess Clock.

  • They seem to like the flags, as they continue to labour the points from Article 6.8 to 6.11.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 7:
Irregularities

  • This Article begins by stating that should it be realised that one of the Chess pieces was positioned incorrectly, the game will be cancelled and a new game played.

  • Prior to the game starting, should it be found that the Chessboard is the wrong way up - i.e. a dark square is in the bottom right corner - then the pieces must be removed, the board rotated to the correct position and the pieces placed on the correct colored squares ... and then the game can continue.

  • Should the game have started and it is found that the Chessboard is the wrong way up, unless an Arbiter says otherwise, the game can continue.

  • Should any of the pieces be displaced during a game, the clocks can be stopped while the arbiter is informed. Be aware that the arbiter may penalise the player who caused the displacement of the pieces.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 8:
The Recording Of The Moves

  • During a game, it is the responsibility of the players to record their own moves, as well as the moves of their opponents, as clearly as possible, using Algebraic Notation.

  • Throughout the game, the scoresheet must be visible to the arbiter.

  • Be aware that it is the organizers of the event who are the property-holders of the scoresheets.

  • At the end of the game, both players must sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the match and, even if the result is incorrect, the score will remain as-is, unless decided otherwise by the arbiter.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 9:
The Drawn Game

  • This Article states that Competition Rules may decline the option that allows players to agree to a Draw.

  • When found to be unable to make a legal move, it is the player's responsibility to make claim for a Draw. If it is proved correct, the game will end in a Draw.

  • A game will be declared a Draw when a position is reached from which Checkmate cannot take place by any possible series of legal moves.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 10:
Quickplay Finish

  • This Article states that a "Quickplay Finish" is the phase of a game when all the remaining moves must be made in a limited time.

  • A player may claim a draw if he, having the move, has fewer than two minutes remaining on his clock, before the Flag falls. To call the draw, he must inform the arbiter, who will be responsible for stopping the clocks.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Article 11:
Points

  • One point (1) is scored by the winner of the game, unless announced otherwise in advance.

  • A score of Zero (0) goes to the loser of the game, unless announced otherwise in advance.

  • A Draw results in half a point (½) being awarded to both players.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
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COMPETITION RULES
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Article 12:
The Role Of The Arbiter

  • This Article starts with the blanket statement about not bringing the game into disrepute (i.e. don't be an arse).

  • If you wish to leave the playing venue, you must first seek permission from the arbiter.

  • Use of notes, sources of information, advice from others, or analysis with another chessboard ... These are all forbidden.

  • Mobile phones and other communications devices are also usually not allowed, unless the arbiter says otherwise.

  • If a player finishes all their games, they are then considered to be a spectator.

  • Distracting or annoying another player in any manner whatsoever is forbidden. Unreasonable claims/offers for a draw, or the "introduction of a source of noise" are such forbidden acts.

  • If a player refuses to comply with the Laws of Chess, they will be penalised by loss of the game - a matter which will be decided by the arbiter.


Jump to Official Chess Rules Article Section Overview:

BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Article 13:
FIDE

At the time of writing, the only point made by FIDE, in their Laws of Chess, is this:
  • Member federations may ask FIDE to give an official decision about problems relating to the Laws of Chess.


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BASIC RULES OF PLAY
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

COMPETITION RULES
6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13


So, that was a slightly condensed version of the Official Chess Rules.

If Interested, Check Out FIDE's Handbook For
The Full Official Chess Rules
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