Proposed Chess Rule Changes

Proposed Chess Rule Changes

SonofPearl
SonofPearl
Jan 10, 2009, 8:00 AM |
40 | Chess Politics

Don't worry.  FIDE hasn't finally gone completely crazy and turned the royal game into a crazy chess variant.  Maybe next year...

For now, most of the proposed changes, due to take affect from 1 July 2009, simply clear up any ambiguity in the rules.  However, a few are more significant and controversial:

Arriving Late

The current wording of article 6.7 states:

Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.

There are 2 proposed changes to this clause:

Either:

Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game, unless the arbiter decides otherwise. Thus the default time is 0 minutes. The rules of a competition may specify a different default time.

or:

Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game.

Draw Offers

A new clause will come into force:

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

Mobile Phones

A new clause will come into force:

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.

The decision on the 'arriving late' rule is perhaps the most controversial, and has yet to be agreed.  The recent Chess Olympiad in Dresden tried to default players who arrived late for their games - even if only by a minute - and it quickly became impossible to enforce.

The 'draw offer' change simply allows organisers of FIDE events to do what some independent tournaments have been doing for some time.

The 'mobile phone' amendment makes it clear that ANY noise from a phone (or other electronic device) will result in a default.  This seems to be a direct result of an unfortunate incident involving GM Nigel Short last year.

A proposed change which would have created a new 'Elite Grandmaster' title was rejected, but the explosion in the number of GM's may eventually lead to this being accepted at some time in the future.  The official rating list will now be published more frequently - every 2 months, rather than every 3 months.  This is no doubt at least partly due to advent of the unofficial live rating list.

An official set of rules for the popular variant Chess960 may also be included in the final approved version.

The full draft of the new laws can be found here (downloadable rtf doc from the Dutch Chess Federation). 

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