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There was a post about this a while back but I wanted to resurrect the subject with something more to the point.
FIDE makes their rules available online. The fact that USCF doesn't do so irks me. I have always wished players who spend so much time playing would bother to spend a little time learning the rules. The USCF should be encouraging this. Instead they want to gouge $18.95 for something that is barely copyrightable.
I went to the USCF web site contact form and sent them the following:
The FIDE makes their official laws of chess available online.
Why don't you do that? Why do you have to gouge players who just want to learn the rules by just linking them to the bookstore?
FIDE understands that learning the rules by players should be facilitated and encouraged.
Why doesn't the USCF?
To say that the average player doesn't need to know the rules is just wrong. Will the "basic rules of chess" tell you what happens when your opponent is late and you are white? Black? Can you start the clock? What if you don't have one? What happens if you have a clock but no board under these circumstances? These are just a few examples that come up regularly. I am sure I could come up with many more. There should be an easy way to get the official answer.
The tournament director can answer any of those questions. You really don't need to buy the book.
His point is that the rules should be available online for free.
Why should you have to ask the TD about the rules. The ones mentioned seem very basic and I think every tournament player should know them. I don't know the answers, and I'm dissapointed that I would have to buy a book to figure it out.
As a tournament director myself, I can tell you that very little in the USCF rulebook would be useful for average tournament players.
Players don't need to know pairing rules, tiebreak rules, rules for computer tournaments, and things of that nature. Unfortunately, a lot of TDs don't even study the rulebook like they should, which results in shoddy directing sometimes.
The rulebook contains a lot of minutiae. As long as you know the playing rules (how the pieces move), and other basics that can be quickly picked up, you will be fine.
I'll list what a tournament player needs to know:
1. How each of the pieces moves and captures.
2. The special moves (castling, pawn promotion, en passant).
3. That the game is immediately drawn if one side has king and bishop OR knight against a lone king.
4. A draw can be claimed if 50 CONSECUTIVE moves are played without a pawn move OR a capture by either side.
5. A draw can be claimed by a player who, being on move, is about to make a move that would cause an IDENTICAL position to occur for the third time in the game. The occurrences need not be consecutive.
6. Notation is required until EITHER PLAYER has less than 5 minutes remaining on their clock in a given time control (or in Sudden Death).
7. Players should press the clock with the same hand that has moved a piece.
There may be a few others, but should cover the important stuff.
Now the OP doesn't need to buy the rulebook, or complain about being "gouged."
If someone wants to become a good tournament director, they should read the rulebook several times.
I meant to add my agreement to what many have said before me: when in doubt, ASK THE TD! That's what they are there for!
Seriously why there is any debate about this is mind boggling. They need to do what FIDE does and post the rules and we can decide for ourselves whether we want to take the time to get knowledgeable about them.
Personally I think anyone who actively competes in a game in which they are serious about, in which they invest great amounts of time, and doesn't even bother to learn tournament rules is a fool.
The USCF is a rip off.
Actually, the reason why the rulebook isn't free is somewhat mindboggling. It is hard to believe but the USCF does not own the copyrights to the rulebook but the publisher does. More knowledgeable minds can fill in the details but this has been a topic of discussion within the USCF forum on a regular basis.
Wow...reminds me of John Fogerty getting sued for ripping himself off...
There are other games like golf and poker which pretty much force you to buy a rulebook.
Come on, people. I personally know titled players (including GMs) who don't understand the fine points of the USCF rules. It's not that serious.
As a long-time club player and a local TD, having access to the Federation's rules has been vital on only a small number of occasions, thank goodness.
However, charging members to simply get access to those rules in this day and age of Internet capabilities is nothing short of lame, in my view; though charging for a printed copy is quite reasonable, as one has to recoup printing costs.
This is laughably wrong.
Go to this page to find the USGA's own instructions on how to browse the rules of golf online:
As far as poker, what exactly are you talking about? The only thing close to a universal "rules" collection is what is known as the "Tournament Director's" rules.
These are available online here:
I don't know exactly what is motivating some of the USCF apologists on this issue but at least get your facts somewhat straight.
I agree with the OP. While the minutia in the rules aren't necessary for most players to know, requiring players who want to read the rules in detail to purchase a book is misquided. The rules should be available on-line for USCF members.
I did a bit of digging and found this link: http://books.google.com/books?id=NTgfWTsAF6IC&pg=PA101&dq=subject:%22Games+/+Chess%22+/rules&hl=en&ei=evrmTLCFHIGcnwew9OmxDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=book-thumbnail&resnum=2&ved=0CCwQ6wEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
It isn't the whole rulebook but a significant portion of it. On the USCF Issues forum there is a thread called: "Rulebook - how can they do it?" that goes into the details of the rulebook saga. Unfortunately, you have to be USCF member to access it. In short, the background behind is that the publisher (Random House) holds electronic copyrights that was agreed to in the pre-digital era. For obvious reasons, the USCF is hesitant to test whether this contract provision from back then is enforceable. After all, lawsuits get expensive quickly especially for nom-profits. At any rate, this isn't about gouging members ..
The USCF is terrible. It's like they aspire to be FIDE.
There should be no overlap between the directing body of the USCF and CCA.
They should not need to spend the kind of money they do for the services they provide. Their core business model can be automated almost 100%, leaving only the 'extras' like organizing the US Championship. Yet somehow they lose tremendous amounts of money.
Don't support the USCF any more then you have to. Same goes for the CCA.
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