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New US Chess and FIDE Rules Effective January 1, 2018

Some new US Chess and FIDE rules came into effect on January 1, 2018. The US Chess rule changes only relate to the choice of piece when promoting a pawn while the FIDE Law changes affect the regulations on illegal moves. Here are the changes:

US Chess Rules Changes

Here are the main US Chess rule changes for January 1, 2018. There were also a couple of other minor variations created to pairings options and some changes to TD certification rules. All changes since the 6th Edition of the US Chess Rulebook can be found at http://www.uschess.org/docs/gov/reports/RulebookChanges.pdf.

9D. Pawn Promotion. New wording makes the procedure of promoting a pawn clearer. Now the pawn is considered touched and must be promoted to the unreleased piece touching the promotion square.

10H. Piece touched off the board. Wording change to be consistent with rule 9D. Once the piece off the board touches the promotion square the pawn must be promoted to that piece.

Here are the new rules in full, the emboldened part showing the new wording:

9D. Pawn Promotion. In the case of the legal promotion of a pawn, the move is determined with no possibility of change when the pawn has been removed from the chessboard and the player’s hand has released the new appropriate piece on the promotion square, and completed when that player presses the clock (5H). If the player has released the pawn on the last rank, the move is not yet determined, but the player no longer has the right to play the pawn to another square. The choice of piece is finalized when the piece has touched the square of promotion, regardless of whether the pawn has been physically touched or placed on the promotion square. Once a piece has touched the promotion square a pawn must be promoted to that piece on that square, provided that the move is legal. See also 8F6, Pawn promotion; and 10H, Piece touched off the board.

10H. Piece Touched Off the Board. There is no penalty for touching a piece that is off the board. A player who advances a pawn to the last rank and then touches a piece off the board is not obligated to promote the pawn to the piece touched until that piece touches the promotion square. See also 8F6, Pawn promotion; and 9D, Pawn promotion.

FIDE Law Changes

Only a few adjustments were made to the FIDE Laws for January 1, 2018. These relate to the new illegal moves and 7.5.5 is a condensed version of 7.7 and 7.8, which no longer exist. This hopes to clear up what was a very confusing original write of the illegal moves situations. Also, the number of illegal moves in rapid and blitz has been changed to match that of the regular competition rules meaning it is no longer one illegal move loses. Here are the complete new rules. Information can also be found at http://rules.fide.com/.

7.5.3 If the player presses the clock without making a move, it shall be considered and penalized as if an illegal move.

7.5.4 If a player uses two hands to make a single move (for example in case of castling, capturing or promotion) and pressed the clock, it shall be considered and penalized as if an illegal move.

7.5.5 After the action taken under Article 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3 or 7.5.4 for the first completed illegal move by a player, the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent; for the second completed illegal move by the same player the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

A.4.2 If the arbiter observes an action taken under Article 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3 or 7.5.4, he shall act according to Article 7.5.5, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the arbiter does not intervene, the opponent is entitled to claim a win, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the opponent does not claim and the arbiter does not intervene, the illegal move shall stand and the game shall continue. Once the opponent has made his next move, an illegal move cannot be corrected unless this is agreed by the players without intervention of the arbiter.

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