This is a summary of important tournament rules which players should be aware of.

Please consult the full Laws of Chess for more information.

If there is a dispute or problem at your board, or someone is disturbing you, notify a tournament official IMMEDIATELY - DO NOT WAIT until the end of the game (there is very little we can do once a game is over).

There is one golden rule that underlies many of the Laws of Chess - here it is:

It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims or offers of a draw.

Some examples: incorrect draw offers, finger drumming, playing with captured chessmen, sighing loudly, using a Walkman with the volume turned up too high, talking to your opponent, talking to friends after your game is over but disturbing others who are still playing, cell phones, candy wrappers, chip bags, etc.

When your opponent is thinking, you should not disturb her. If you want to say anything to your opponent, you should do so when it is YOUR move:

If you wish to adjust a piece, do so when it is YOUR turn to move.

If you wish to offer a draw, do so when it is YOUR turn to move.

If you wish to claim a draw (see below), do so when it is YOUR turn to move.

You are NOT required to say "check" when you attack your opponent's king. You may do so if you wish, but keep in mind this might be disturbing to your opponent or other players.


If you touch a chessman, you must move it (if possible).

If you touch one of your opponent's men, you must take it (if possible).

When you release a chessman on a square, you cannot change your move.

Please DO NOT move a chessman to a square, then keep you finger on the man for 10 or 20 seconds while you look round to see if the move is safe - this is disturbing to the opponent. Do all your thinking first, then make the move quickly and firmly.

If you wish to adjust a chessman on a square, announce so BEFORE touching the man.

Note: when castling, you should touch/move the king first.


Players should realize that during clock play they normally have a certain amount of time to complete a given number of moves (or the game). If they use up all their time, they lose the game (unless the opponent has no means of delivering checkmate, in which case the game is a draw).

If you are playing with a clock, you must press the clock with the same hand that you use to make your move (chess is played with one hand!).


When an illegal move is noticed, the game returns to the position immediately before the illegal move was made, 2 minutes is added to the opponent's clock, and the game continues (N.B. touch move still applies!). The player who commits three illegal moves in a game loses.


Agreeing to a draw: if you wish to offer a draw, do so when it is YOUR turn to move. Make your move, offer the draw, [press the clock,] then let your opponent think about it.

DO NOToffer several draws in a row - this is disturbing to your opponent. The normal convention is if you offer a draw and your opponent rejects it, wait until your opponent offers you a draw back before you make another offer.

Draws you claim:

Triple Repetition - if the same position (not necessarily the same moves) is repeated three times, the game is a draw.

50-Move Rule- if 50 moves go by without a pawn move or a capture, the game is a draw.

Quickplay Finish - when you have less than two minutes left for the entire game, you may claim a draw if your opponent is not trying to win by normal means or the position cannot be won by normal means.

If you wish to claim a draw under one of the above, stop the clock when it is YOUR move, call for the arbiter, and state under which rule you are claiming a draw; the arbiter will decide whether your claim is valid or not. YOU MUST CLAIM THESE DRAWS, THE ARBITER WILL NOT STEP IN AND DO IT FOR YOU.


If you are recording a game, you should stop recording when you have less than five minutes remaining on your clock for the rest of the game.