Just The Rules: Bogus Chess Law?!

Have you ever stumbled across some off-the-wall unofficial rules of chess? You know the kind—rules that players think are really official, but are not. Check out these Facebook contributions to that list of bogus rules (edited to protect the guilty): Nicholas Sterling: A kid in a class tried to tell me about something called “spicing”, whereby the rules of a game could be changed midway through. He insisted US Chess and FIDE Rules did not explicitly forbid it, and refused to believe me when I said they did. Brenda Tramel Hardesty: My husband, Danny Hardesty, heard this one at a scholastic tournament: If I check my opponent seven times, I win, right? Louis Reed (and others): You have sixteen moves to checkmate a lone king or you lose. Tom Langland: Five illegal moves and you lose the game. Tom Langland: The false claim of a checkmate equals the loss of game. Rob Getty: I've had players claim a 50 move draw because they played 50 moves. Rob Getty: I had a scholastic player claim the triple repetition of position draw by just moving her king back and forth three times while her opponent was capturing what was left of her pieces. Rob Getty: My son was playing a non-rated tournament where a parent volunteer told kids that the game was a draw as soon as one player's clock ran out. Tom Langland: There is the “caging” touch-move rule. This is where if you hover your hand over a piece with all your fingers pointing down while you are thinking about moving it, you have “caged” it and must now move it. John Moldovan: The higher-rated player wins the tiebreak. Tom Langland: You are not allowed to press the clock with a chess piece—you have to use your finger. Sara Walsh: If both players have pieces on the board when time ran out, the game was a draw. Brad Crable: If you are only left with your King and can march it to your opponent’s last rank, then you can get your queen back! Neal Bellon: On two separate occasions at my club, a player thought "touch move" has to do with the clock. He touched a piece, changed his mind, and moved another. When his opponent correctly called him on it, the reply was, "But I didn't hit my clock." Rob Getty: I remember being involved in a touch move incident 30 years ago where my opponent claimed that touch move didn't apply because I hadn't said, "check.” Brian Karen: A player in my tournament covered his hands with his shirt sleeve when moving a piece. He learned the hard way this does not exempt him from touch move. Tim Mirabile: For beginners, capturing pieces that a knight jumps over. Tim Mirabile: I observed someone try to “en passant” capture with a bishop. Bryan B Leano: A player claimed that to promote a pawn to a queen, the player has to actually say "queen". Louis Reed: At the end of the clock time the pieces are counted and whomever had the most pieces on the board would win the game. Rulebook Rumors US Chess is the new publisher of the rulebook, starting with the 7th edition. The plan is to publish selected chapters—the actual rules of play, tournament rules, and Blitz rules—on-line on or before January 1, 2019. The paperback copy of the entire book should be available early in 2019. Tim Just is a National Tournament Director, FIDE National Arbiter, and editor of the 5th, 6th, and 7th editions of the US Chess Rulebook. He is also the author of My Opponent is Eating a Doughnut & Just Law, which are both available from US Chess Sales and Amazon/Kindle. Additionally, Tim recently revised The Guide To Scholastic Chess, a guide created to help teachers and scholastic organizers who wish to begin, improve, or strengthen their school chess program. Tim is also a member of the US Chess Rules Committee. His column, exclusive to US Chess, “Just the Rules” explores all aspects of rules and clarifies potentially confusing regulations.

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