Just the Rules: The Draw Offer Blues

Tim Just is a National Tournament Director, FIDE National Arbiter, and editor of the 5th & 6th edition 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 and his new column exclusive to US Chess, “Just the Rules” will help clarify potentially confusing regulations.

There you are, staring at the board. The position is stagnate, and it is your opponent’s turn to move. You offer a draw. Your adversary goes into a deep think and is trying to decide what to do about your draw offer. You continue to evaluate the position. Then it hits you: you see the winning move—for you! Your opponent can do nothing to stop it. Victory is in your sights. You inform your opponent that you are retracting your draw offer. Then, your adversary notices the same winning line that you just found for yourself, so they accept your draw offer. Of course you protest—you took your half-point offer off of the table. Besides your draw offer was made improperly—it was not even your move!? The TD rules that the game ends in a draw. There is nothing you can do about it. Why? You can’t rescind a draw offer after it is made—even if it is made improperly.

So how do you properly make a draw offer? What is the right sequence?

Make your move, offer the draw, and then press your clock—it’s the law.

Make your move—while it is still your turn—on the board before offering a draw, next offer the draw, and lastly press your clock. That is the correct procedure for you or your opponent when splitting the point by agreement. It does not matter whether you have tons of time left to play the game or are scrambling to beat the clock. Either way, these are the exact steps that should take place when you are offering a draw. And even if a draw offer does not follow these steps (an out of sequance draw offer), it can’t be taken back.

If you offer a draw while your clock is counting down without moving a piece, your opponent can compel you to make a move before they decide what to do with your offer. They get to see what was on your mind before making up theirs. Unfortunately for them, you may find a checkmate move that instantly ends the game; thus, the draw offer is moot.

And remember to say, “Thank you for agreeing to a draw.” That-a-way you are sure that your rival does not think your handshake is a sign of resignation. Handshakes really don’t mean a thing, though they are a nice gesture of sportsmanship.

Knowing how to offer a draw is only one part of the equation. Knowing how to reject a draw is the other part.

To reject a draw, let your opponents know—touch your piece or just say “no.”

You offer a draw. Your opponent mentions that the game indeed looks “drawish.” You both make a few more moves, and you checkmate your rival. Your opposing general claims that the two of you agreed to a draw and that you were just analyzing, not playing on. First, the two of you should not be analyzing in the tournament room. Once a game is over, stop the clocks and leave the tournament room. If there is a difference of opinion regarding the game result, get a TD to help both of you sort things out. Playing on after the game score is determined creates a lot of problems.

By the way, most TDs will probably rule this game a draw, because both of you said the magic word “draw.” So, be careful how you reject any draw offers.

If you want to reject a draw offer, you can just say, “No thanks,” or simply touch one of your own pieces before you move it. That draw offer is now gone. It does not stick around move after move.

But how can a draw offer turn into a loss?

Thinking about a draw offer may cause the blues: If your flag falls, you can still lose.

You and your opponent are both short on time. They offer you a draw. While you check over the position, your flag falls—you are out of time?! Your opponent claims a win. You accept their draw offer. After all, it took place before your time ran out. Sorry, you lose. You have no time left to accept the draw offer.

Next time, we will travel deeper into the maze of US Chess draw law.

Comments

  1. As always a very well written piece especially on the draw offer. This area is still a problem child for many players rated all the way to the top(even many TD’s). I had a 14B3 draw offer a few weeks back “player offering draw before moving”. Black offered white a draw immediately (without making a move on the board first), after white pressed his clock after moving (I was present). White just sat there in stony silence and said nothing while black’s clock is now ticking away to zero. Black then reoffered the draw the second time apparently thinking white never heard the draw offer (black’s clock running off a lot of time). White looked at me and claimed he had heard the draw offer the 1st time. I warned black your opponent knows you offered the draw you must therefore wait until white responds. White had listened the week previously as I explained to the club an opponent does not have to accept,or reject the 14B3 draw offer, nor does the opponent even have ask the player to make a move first if an offer of a 14B3 draw is made(the worst way to offer a draw). The fourth option allowed is the opponent may simply remain silent and just let the player’s clock run out and win on time. Which is exactly what happened to black. It may “seem” unfair but the law is the law and this 4th option of remaining silent was exercised legally. I think this article in particular concerning the draw offer is a very important one and needs to be understood correctly.

    • Well, black could just move, rather than waiting and letting his time run out, when it became clear that white wasn’t going to respond.

      • John Doe is correct. Just make the move, press the clock, and wait for the response on your opponent’s time (not your own). There is no stated penalty for offering the draw on your own time before making the move. There is no reason you cannot move after making the offer. You do not need to get a response before moving.
        “I warned black your opponent knows you offered the draw you must therefore wait until white responds.” This statement by a TD is misleading. It sounds like the TD is telling the person who offered he must wait and must do nothing (not even make his own move). That is not the case. Black may certainly make a move and press the clock.

  2. Way back in the early 80s when the Kaisha clock was becoming popular (the first countdown clock, if I recall correctly) I was playing GM Benko in a World Open-associated event (possibly the weekend before). When the time remaining went under 10 minutes, the clock would then show minutes and seconds. As always the GM was low on time and he panicked. “If I only have seven seconds left, I offer a draw,” he said. “You have nine minutes and seven seconds left, ” I said, “but I accept your offer”. He then attempted to retract the offer but the TD agreed with me that the offer could not be retracted and that my acceptance was valid. I subsequently drew with him another time in New York.

  3. I must disagree here with the 14B3 draw offer responses from Tim and Dave. Black has the move and all the rights of the chessboard since white just moved and pressed his clock. White just made his decision at the board and has now given that right back to black. Black then offers a draw to his opponent but does not move a piece first which is breaking the rules. Therefore anything done after this improper action is another breaking of the rules. At this point black abrogates his rights at the board to do anything but wait as he has given the rights of the chessboard and the next subsequent action to his opponent. Black cannot press his clock as he cannot make a move, he cannot make a move predicated on the fact he just offered his opponent a choice of action by his own action of offering a draw before moving. Allowing black to move as well in this type of draw offer (without penalty) gives black two separate and distinct actions in one move. That cannot be legal. Black has now taken himself out of the game after offering his opponent to make a decision about the game before even moving a piece on the board. This transfers control of the game to the opponent and must be answered before the player can make a move. White is in control of the game (even though black’s clock is running)as per the rule. Two players cannot have rights of action on the board at the same time. Since action can only belong to one player at a time, and, only one player can make a move or decision at a time. Black made his decision (action) by offering a draw without moving. White now has the decision making authority on the board. White has no obligation to do anything if so inclined as his clock is not running but the players.
    There is nothing inferred in this rule that the player is now allowed to also make a 2nd action of making a move after offering such a draw “before” moving, and then pressing his clock. This is a unique situation and demands a proper interpretation. Since “or remain silent” belongs to the opponent as an option this infers losing on time as well regarding the player.

    Rule 14B3- Draw offer before moving. Scott proposes a draw offer before moving, Scott must allow the offer to stand that Scott just offered to Tim until Tim either accepts or rejects it(states nothing about Scott being able to now arbitrarily make a move and press the clock). Such a proposal offered by Scott while unlikely to annoy Tim can be disadvantageous to Scott, as Scott may subsequently notice a strong move and regret the inability to withdraw the offer. Tim who was offered a draw in this manner by Scott “has the right” to require Scott to “make a move” (which Scott apparently has not done nor has the right to) before Tim decides to accept (or reject) the offer, and Tim “may” respond to Scott “make your move first” (once again no move has or can legally be made) , or words to that effect, “OR REMAIN SILENT” (a totally legal option in this 14B3 rule). A legal option proposes no penalty but a right to act or not to act.

    “or remain silent” means the continued state of a person to perform no verbal action toward a person, place , or thing which is his/her right.

    Four legal options allowed in this rule: 1) accept the draw
    2) reject the draw
    3) make the player move first
    4) or remain silent
    The first three require a verbal action by the opponent, the 4th does not. The opponent can simply sit there and do nothing. It is the player who blundered by offering a draw in this manner. The player may pay for the wrong action but not the opponent who decides to remain silent. In Rule 14B3 the opponent would not lose the game but win it by running the player out of time legally. The wording and structure of the rule is in favor of the opponent making any of the 4 allowable options. Therefore the opponent has the right to say and do nothing. It cannot be interpreted in any other manner.
    I think the rules committee is going to have to discuss this option in Rule 14B3 more thoroughly. I’m looking at this in a totally reasonable, logical, and objective manner.

    I’m presently running a 100+ player tournament in one of my other clubs. I asked players of all ratings and ages to read this rule and tell me what they believed it stated. Many players agreed with my ruling here or were simply confused by the “or remain silent part”. These are players not TD’s who were agreeing with me. This was also a blind exercise as no one knew of my interpretation at the time. Proof needs to be provided to show my interpretation as invalid. I will accept definitive proof to the contrary.

    • If a draw offer is made, but no move is made the proper response is tell the opponent that they need to make a move first. The draw offer is still on the table and can be accepted or rejected after the required move has been made.

      • Scott please read the rules as to what ends a game. For example if a 3 move repetition has been rule to be true that ends the game in a draw. Even if one of the players would prefer a 0 to the half point, the game is over and it is too late to resign rather than have a drawn game. And yes this did happen, but the player wanting to resign rather than take the draw still got a half point.

        How would you rule if checkmate [by white] is played on the board. The player who has played checkmate stops to admire the position and allows the flag to fall. The opponent [black] claims a win on time. So how do you rule on that game?

  4. Hi Larry,

    Obviously checkmate immediately ends the game, same as a stalemate. Nothing after the checkmate or stalemate matters as the game is forever over. In a 3 fold repetition of position the player on move must make the claim, then if correct the game is drawn. A player may resign the game anytime he/she chooses to do so. If the player who does not want the 1/2 point and sees the 3 fold repetition of position coming in time before it actually happens, that opponent may simply resign beforehand and receive the wanted 0 point.
    My explanation above regarding Rule 14B3 is valid. In the very least a penalty is warranted. Rule 14B1 is a proper draw offer; move, claim the draw, press the clock. Rule 14B2 offering a draw while the opponent’s clock is running can be penalized for distraction of the opponent. Rule 14B3 offering the draw 1st(wrong) before moving. Then as Dave says simply move, then press your clock is incorrect. At what point in time after the draw offer in this particular incorrect manner (without a possible penalty?) does the player on move get before moving a piece? 1 second? 10 seconds? I minute? So while the opponent is pondering the draw looking at the board the player just moves a piece anytime he/she wishes, pressing the clock, thereby distracting the opponent? One must read the rule entirely and see it was either written incorrectly or must be modified. In FIDE a player shall always offer a draw in the proper manner during play and must be penalized for not doing so. I’m simply shedding light on a very misinterpreted rule by most TD’s. I only brought this up because it happened in my tournament and I had to make a ruling on the claim. Player A offered his draw before moving; minutes passed by and Player B was simply not going to respond (correctly); does this mean that Player A can now just arbitrarily move after a significant amount of time has passed? No. that is wrong headed chess. All rule infractions must be correctly and fairly penalized if claimed properly. I use Rule 11H1 Director as witness to allow as little TD interference as possible in a game between the two players. A 14B3 rule claim violation was made and was obligated to rule fairly according to the wording of the rule. Long winded here but no one has proven my interpretation incorrect except to simply say I’m wrong. Why am I wrong? That is what’s important here with 14B3.

    • How do you say Player A [draw offer without moving] should be penalized? Most penalties are time penalties, yet by doing and saying nothing Player B is causing Player A to lose time on the clock. So, it could be argued that Player A is being penalized for not correctly making a draw in the proper and proscribed manner. You say it is “wrong headed chess” to allow player A to move after time has pass in the incorrectly offered draw, but that would be like saying Player A is banned from making a move on his turn! Another thing to remember is that the players do not always know all of the rules, which is why these articles by Tim are good and important. By your argument the Player making the incorrect draw offer loses the game, since you want to ban them from moving and then hitting the clock. Rather if the player can’t hit the clock they will obviously lose on time. Are your trying to claim that this rule [proper draw offer] infraction, and all rules infractions should be a lose for the player breaking the rule?? Also, please remember that rejecting the draw offer does not have to be a verbal action. If a player who is offered a draw makes a move, then they have rejected the draw; & possibly without having said anything. I agree that the 4th option should not really exist. Furthermore, it should be noted that for years as a player I had heard that if a draw was offered without a move the player should request his opponent to move. I had this occur a few days ago as a playing in a game, I requested that a move be made, and then I accepted the draw.

  5. Hi Larry,

    I emphatically agree that most chess players do not know the rules of chess. Sadly many TD’s I know don’t either. First I’m very careful about penalizing new and young chess players. They know nothing of chess and just getting them started and motivated to stay is a chore.
    Player A in your response is being penalized already with a time penalty by the sheer fact that his clock is running down as the Rule14B3 permits it. Player A simply cannot move unless Player B allows it by accepting or rejecting the draw offer, or asking Player A to make a move first. But his right “or remain silent” is in full force.
    This is the problem with this 14B3 rule; the “or remain silent” option gives Player B total control of Player A’s destiny in the game without even having to have to do anything. This has to be changed. By the way Player B cannot reject the offer by touching a piece, which would be illegal, as Player A’s clock is running and Player A cannot move unless Player B says make a move first. In Rules 14B1, and 14B2 it’s the opponent’s clock that is running and must accept, reject, or touch a piece before his own clock runs out of time. In Rule 14B3 Player A’s clock not the Player B’s clock is running out of time.
    I suggest the Rules Committee get rid of Rule14B3 and rewrite Rule 14B2 just like Fides Article 9.1.2.1 “A player wishing to offer a draw SHALL do so after having made a move on the chessboard and before pressing his clock……Article 11.5 Distracting the opponent must be applied to ALL incorrect draw offers” This Article applies thru the entire game. This also makes a lot more sense and covers all incorrect draw offers period. It’s an inherently unfair and unsporting way to lose a game to just sit there and watch your clock run down to zero.
    Unfortunately until the 14B3 rule is changed (like today already!) I will be forced to legally allow this to happen if it is claimed by a player who knows this rule. That is that players legal right. A mess.

    The TD never has the authority step in a game and say to any player “accept or reject the draw offer, ask the player to make a move, and don’t sit there and remain silent”.

    I was in a tournament years ago paired against the top seed and I was the lowest seed in the 1st round. Wrong of course but that’s what happened. Well we got to the endgame and I had the better game. I moved and pressed my clock. My opponent instantly offered me a draw before moving Johnny on the spot. I knew I could just run his clock out but chose not to. I asked him to move first which continued the game and I did win. I wanted to win, but, win with good sportsmanship and my own play.

    • Dear Scott C Hunt,

      Nothing in the rule 14B3 prevents Player A from moving, even though Player A made a draw offer before moving. There is no black-text that says Player A cannot move; this is your interpretation of the rules, which is incorrect.

      Notice, “…the opponent of a player who offered a draw in this manner has the RIGHT to require the player who offered the draw to move before deciding whether to accept the offer, and may respond, “make your move first,” or words to that effect, or remain silent. In any case, the offer may not be withdrawn.” (emphasis mine, Rule 14B3, Just, US Chess 6th edition Rulebook)

      The emphasis here is that the opponent has the right to see Player A’s move before deciding on the draw offer, but this does not prevent Player A from making a move. This would be a contradiction if Player B wants to see a move but then say Player A cannot make a move – i.e. bad logic. Yes, it is possible that Player A loses on time via Rule 14B4 but not by Player B and a TD intervening saying Player A cannot make a move after an improper draw offer sequence.

      Do note that Tim Just wrote this article for US Chess members following US Chess Rules, e.g. the 6th edition Rulebook. But since you have brought up the FIDE Laws of Chess (FLOC) with the Articles, please read the full text of the articles, not just the parts of the rules that support your incorrect interpretation.

      Article 9.1.2.1 states, “A player wishing to offer a draw shall do so after having made a move on the chessboard and before pressing his clock. An offer at any other time during play is still valid but Article 11.5 must be considered. No conditions can be attached to the offer. In both cases the offer cannot be withdrawn and remains valid until the opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, rejects it by touching a piece with the intention of moving or capturing it, or the game is concluded in some other way.”

      First, we see that nothing in Article 9.1.2.1 states Player A cannot make a move after making an improper draw offer. Therefore, using the Preface of the FIDE Laws of Chess and the US Chess 1A. Scope, this should tell you that Rule 14B3 does not prevent Player A from moving.

      Second, let’s see what Article 11.5 states to find out the penalty. FLOC Article 11.5 states, “It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.” Barring a lone king of Player A versus Player B’s entire army or something that is considered “unreasonable” draw offer, Player A’s incorrect draw offer sequence CANNOT be interpreted as a means to distract or annoy; simply just an incorrect draw offer sequence.

      Hence, there is no reason to exercise Arbiter’s option concerning penalties listed in FLOC Article 12.9.1-9 where the arbiter may give a “warning” to “exclusion from one or more rounds” to “expulsion from the competition”.

      Therefore, “Player A simply cannot move unless Player B allows it by accepting or rejecting the draw offer, or asking Player A to make a move first. But his right “or remain silent” is in full force,” (Hunt) is an incorrect interpretation of the rules. Rule 14B3 does not need to change; your interpretation of the rule 14B3 must change or players will be at a disadvantage to find out they are playing an different set of tournament rules.

      Sincerely,
      ~Ybriang
      Brian Yang

      • Hi Brian,

        I was only using the Fide rule as an example not trying to prove my point.

        I’m not disagreeing with you really except for the Player A being able to move. Player A has definitely broken Rule 14B1 Proper Draw Offer move, claim, press clock. Otherwise we are allowing an improper move order 14B3 claim, move, press clock to be equally correct with Rule 14B1 with zero repercussions of any kind for Player A.
        Now since player A implied a draw offer, it was predicated on the position of the board at that precise moment whether or not Player A intended to offer the draw correctly or not. Player B now looks at the board as it is and starts to analyze or think about the draw offer. Suddenly Player A says “whoops I forgot to move” and makes a move, presses the clock with a new position on the board for Player B to think about. What if Player A didn’t make that move until 5 minutes, or 10 minutes later, or whatever time Player A takes before making that move and then pressing the clock? How much time are you “legally” going to allot to Player A before making his out of proper draw offer sequence move? That is a broach of proper chess.
        Now that Player A decides to make a move, Player A’s clock which was ticking away, is now stopped, and Player B’s clock which was not ticking away is now ticking away(now Player B can no longer exercise his “or remain silent option). So which board position does Player B accept, reject? The first position before Player A moved , or the 2nd position after Player A moved? See the inconsistency?
        By the way where does the option “make your move first” even have any value if Player A can move any point in time after the draw was offered? Yes as I did in my game I chose to ask mu opponent to make his move first so we could continue the game.
        Consider also Player B is looking at the board thinking about the draw offer while Player A all of a sudden makes his move which is a mating move and declares the game over. Which is correct the draw offer which is still pending or the mate which just ended the game? There are other examples.
        I’m looking at fairness for the players of the game of chess.
        Another problem here is when Player A offered the draw as in my own game, it stops the game for Player A. Why? Because Player B must answer (or not) according to the position on the board the moment the draw was offered. Player A gave up his right to move or do anything by giving Player B the rights of the game thru breaking Rule14B1 and instead invoking Rule14B3.
        That is the simple reason Player B may simply remain quiet. Player A put himself in a very bad situation by “NOT” following the rules. No player must ever be allowed to gain an advantage when a rule infraction has occurred.
        I’m not trying to be correct but to interpret a difficult rule.

  6. First of all, I do not own a recent edition of the rulebook. I should probably fix that. So in advance, please pardon my ignorance… Tim Just writes: “If you want to reject a draw offer, you can just say, ‘No thanks,’ or simply touch one of your own pieces before you move it.” Does the current rulebook state as one of the rules(*) that touching a piece means rejecting the draw offer? Many years ago this came up in an appeal. Player A offered a draw. Player B touched a piece with the intention of moving it, then changed his mind and accepted the draw, which he said he was entitled to do before he had made his move. Player A then pointed to a completely different rule that said a player who touches a piece is required to move it. Regardless of which way the TD decided (I actually don’t remember), it inevitably ended up with the appeals committee. To repeat my question, does the rule on draw acceptance mention touch move? (*)I had to flag this because my old “rulebook” contains many things, such as advertisements, propaganda, friendly advice, “interpretations” (the worst, because they masquerade as rules), the laws, and finally the actual rules.

    • 14B1 “The opponent may accept the proposal or may reject it either orally or by deliberately touching a piece (10B).

  7. I *love* this “or remain silent” tempest in a teacup. The amazing thing about the rulebook is that any two TDs can look at a rule, both agree that *obviously* there is only one possible meaning of the rule, yet 180 degrees disagree with each other on what the meaning is…. The problem lies not with either TD(*), but with the fact that those who wrote the rules also believe that *obviously* there is only one possible meaning of what they wrote. Thus they are not precise enough with their wording. Hint: sometimes additional words make the problem worse. (*)Okay, some TDs are pretty far out, but the issue is so universal that the fault must lie with the rulebook.

  8. Under Section 14 Draw offers… touching any piece on the board of yours or the player’s who offered the draw while your clock is running is the same as saying no to the draw offer. You must also move the piece you just touched as well unless it is has no legal move. You still have said no to the draw regardless and now must move another piece legally.
    You should buy the 6th Edition of The Official Rules of Chess by Tim Just, and get the updates as well which are many at USChess.org.
    For us TD’s who really want to know the exact interpretation of the rules we have to really study. Sometimes we will find an inconsistency and then bring it to the light and hopefully it gets the proper interpretation or treatment.
    In my opinion anyone (player, TD) who just disagrees to a proven valid argument without providing any kind of refuting evidence is answering in a biased and unintelligent manner. A rule cannot contradict itself, or any other rule, and I agree with you that some of the rules have been poorly worded.
    Good luck in your chess.

  9. Scott Hunt’s comment of January 15 at 9:30 pm is absolutely ludicrous. His ludicrity continues in his posts of January 16 (4:32 pm), January 17 (5:02 pm), and January 18 (7:05 pm).

    Of course black can still make his move after offering the draw. And once he does so, he is entitled to press his clock.

    There is no reason to impose a time penalty on black for his out-of-sequence draw offer. Black has already penalized himself by letting his own clock run and not moving. Meanwhile, white is not harmed by any of this, as white’s clock is stopped and he is enjoying watching black dig his own grave.

    Any TD who would rule as Scott Hunt says he would rule, is a TD whose tournaments I would seriously considering staying away from. He badly needs to have a sit-down talk with an NTD (or at least an ANTD or a Senior TD) and get himself straightened out on this.

  10. Scott Hunt, your assertion that an improper draw offer compels the offeror to wait is simply incorrect, and it would be a disservice both to you and the players in events you direct not to tell you this as bluntly as others and I are telling you.

  11. I believe Mr. Hunt is just interpreting the wording of 14B3 differently from how I interpret it. Let’s read through the rule carefully:

    “14B3. Draw offer before moving.
    A player that proposes a draw before moving must allow the offer to stand until the opponent either accepts or rejects it. Such a proposal, while unlikely to annoy the opponent, can be disadvantageous, as the player may subsequently notice a strong move and regret the inability to withdraw the offer. See also 14, The Drawn Game.”

    This first part of the rule is pretty clear although it is only talking about the draw offer itself, e.g. “must allow the (draw) offer to stand until the opponent accepts it or rejects it.”

    “The opponent of a player who offered a draw in this manner has the right to require the player who offered the draw to move before deciding whether to accept the offer…”

    You have a right to make the player who offered the draw make a move. You can also just forego that right by just accepting the draw immediately.

    “…and may respond, “Make your move first,” or words to that effect, or remain silent.”

    These are two methods of enforcing your right to require the player who offered the draw to move before deciding whether to accept the draw offer, e.g you can say “make your move first” or words to that effect or just remain silent.

    If the player who offered the draw now makes a move then one would have to assume that the second method of enforcing your right to have them make a move, remaining silent, was chosen. Of course you are now free to accept their draw offer until you reject it.

    One thing to note is that just because rule 14B3 is in effect it does not mean that all the other rules become null and void. Rule 6B (A Player on Move) is still in place meaning the player who offered the draw on their own move still has the right to move.

  12. Since the purpose of this article is to clarify the rules, anyone reading the comments should note that several NTDs and ANTDs have expressed disagreement with Mr. Hunt’s misinterpretation while not a single TD has agreed with him. To be frank, he’s simply wrong.

  13. Mr. Just should perhaps have mentioned that talking to an opponent, even to offer a draw, while not on move is liable to be penalized for annoying the opponent. Of course a resignation is fine at any time because then the game is over so the opponent can not be annoyed.

  14. The point of the rule is that a draw offer should always be accompanied by a move, or to put it another way, that a draw offer is PART of a move. It’s as though you are simultaneously making your move and saying “With this move I offer a draw.” After you have done both, press the clock right away. Do not expect an immediate response from your opponent — he has the right to use all of his clock time deciding whether to accept your offer, and you are not allowed to retract your offer in the meantime. Your draw offer goes off the table only when your opponent declines your offer, either verbally or by making a move.

    Stating “I offer a draw” (declarative sentence) instead of asking “Draw?” — and then pressing your clock immediately — is also a good way to instill in your opponent the proper etiquette for a draw offer, He himself may understand the rule better as a result.

    The proper sequence is to play the move, state the draw offer, and press the clock, in that order, and without hesitation between. Any other method constitutes an out-of-sequence draw offer.

    There are two main types of out-of-sequence draw offers. We have been discussing the version where the offer precedes the move (or where the move is omitted altogether). This type of out-of-sequence offer does not harm the opponent, so there is no point in imposing a time penalty on the player making the offer. Just inform the player that he needs to make a move, and that the opponent can then wait for the move before deciding whether to accept or decline.

    The other type of out-of-sequence offer occurs when the player makes the move, presses the clock, and then (perhaps several seconds later) offers the draw. This type of out-of-sequence offer harms the opponent because it interrupts his thought process while his clock is running. So in this case a time penalty of some sort might be appropriate.

    In any case, the player who has offered the draw CERTAINLY has the right — indeed, the obligation — to make a move to go along with it, in order to legitimize the offer.

  15. I’m going to agree with Tim here that simply asking, stating , or whatever phrase you use in offering a draw is a legitimate draw offer period with or without moving.

    Wouldn’t as you stated above Bill “inform the player that he needs to make a move” be construed as giving unsolicited advice?
    The draw offer is legitimate immediately after it is offered.

    Rule 14B1 – absolutely correct (opponent’s clock running).
    Rule 14B2 – wrong (opponent’s clock running,) thereby a possible time penalty for the player on move.
    Rule 14B3 – absolutely incorrect (player’s clock is running) no penalty? Simply move and press your clock even though the player on move broke the rule?

    Is the premise here that 14B1 and 14B3 are the same legally, and therefore both constitute a legal draw offer?

    Case in point: Last Friday night after the tournament was concluded an FM and Master are playing a skittle game. The FM offered a draw without moving. The Master stated “let me think about it”. Does the FM have the right to now make a move anyway and press his clock while the Master is contemplating the draw offer, or does the Master have the right to think away the FM’s time on the clock? That is the penalty imposed on the FM for the improper draw offer “before” moving. The FM player cannot penalize himself but he can sure run out of time since the Master answered the FM by stating “let me think about it”. The FM has no choice but to wait unfortunately. To make a move and press the clock while the Master is thinking about the draw offer is legal how?

    I consistently repeat the proper way to offer a draw before every round so players don’t fall into this.

    premise 2.

    • 14B1 and 14B3 ARE quite definitely both legal.
      Last Friday night the FM most definitely did have the right to make a move on his time while the Master was deciding. If that move turned out to be checkmate then that would have negated the draw offer (game finished before the offer was accepted) while any other move would have left the draw offer still sitting on the table pending the Master deciding to accept or reject it (rejection automatic by the Master simply and silently making a move of his own).

    • Also, telling the offerer to make a move is not necessary but telling the offerer that he cannot make a move would wrongly violate the offerer’s right to move and be an erroneous and damaging statement.

  16. Apparently TD Hunt erroneously believes that the 14B3 phrase “must allow the offer to stand until the opponent either accepts or rejects it” means that not just the offer, but also the position, must stand. There is a huge difference between the offer and the position. A draw offer is not rejected until the opponent of the offerer touches a piece. Per 14B1 it is the oponent’s touch of a piece that rejects the offer, not the offerer’s touch of a piece.

    A player making an offer on the player’s move and before moving is NOT violating the rules. It is 14B2 (making an offer while the opponent’s clock is running) that can be treated as possibly annoying the opponent.

    Any TD stating that a player has to wait for the opponent’s response, and has to flag if the opponent does not respond, must expect to eventually be appealed, and should have the phone numbers of the special arbiters to handle that appeal (or have at least three uninvolved people for an on-site appeals committee while adhering to the requirement that all three be TDs of at least the level of the TD being appealed – no letting three Club TDs rule an the appeal of a Senior TD.

    • Draw offers must stand means must stand. The player who offered the draw improperly can negate the draw by checkmating the opponent who “is” considering the draw offer that must stand? There is really a fine of demarcation here where the rules are concerned and the right of which player can do what when.

      Now how is it legal Jeff that I offered you a draw without moving, you state to me I’ll think about it. Have you not the right to the chess game at this point (which is what this discussion is all about)? The ball is now in your court to accept or reject the draw offer. You are saying that the both of us now have equal rights at the board at the same time, and that I can just move a piece now and checkmate you thereby negating the draw offer?
      You are predicating your statements on the premise that the player’s clock is running I believe. I just want to get your thinking straight here. How can you even touch a piece as you stated above to negate the draw offer when that is not even legal to do so as your clock is not running. The only clock running is the player who offered an improper draw offer.
      Since there is only one way to properly offer a draw, how do you to rectify the improper draw offer of 14B3. You apparently don’t and consider a draw offer in the proper and only legal sequence equal to offering a draw out of proper legal sequence.

      My only question lies with 14B3. Yes the player who’s clock is running is the player on move. That precludes the normal play of the game. White moves, presses the clock, now the game belongs to black who may do as he wishes then presses his clock, etc.,etc. Now when something illegal happens the normal play of the game is stopped until the penalty is assessed (if any) even though the player is still on move.

      Here’s the short and long of it. Offering a 14B3 draw offer is illegal, by not moving a piece 1st, offering the draw 2nd, then pressing the clock 3rd. The opponent by stating let me think about it stops the player from doing anything. It is the offering of a draw 1st and not moving 1st (as is always correct)that is causing the problem and must be cleared up.

      I stated earlier in this post to get rid of 14B2 and 14B3 and rewrite 14B2 to include all incorrect draw offers as illegal, state a time penalty (warning 1st). This then should induce the player to make his/her move and the game will then continue with the opponent able to accept or reject the draw offer.

      Since even chess players agree with me about Rule13B without my approaching them on it shows something should be done.

      • So in your events….

        1) My opponent offers a draw on my move and distracts me. He gets a warning or time penalty.
        2) Later in the game, I offer my opponent a draw on my move and I effectively lose all of my time because I haven’t moved yet.

        In what world does that make sense?

      • I agree that offering a draw while your opponent’s clock is running is improper. The opponent still has the option to accept it even though it is improper. It may resulting in a warning or time penalty for annoying the opponent. It does NOT automatically result in loss of game.

        I firmly disagree about your interpretation of offering a draw on your time before making a move. It is quite legal and it would be ridiculous to punish a legal offer by forcing a player to flag if the opponent does not respond. The ONLY penalty is that if the offerer notices a strong move (other than checkmate) and plays it then the draw offer is still on the table (as long as the opponent has not rejected it) and can be accepted even though the offerer now has a stronger position. If the strong move that is played (prior to accepting the offer) happens to be checkmate then that ends the game immediately and the draw can no longer be accepted.

        If chess players in your area agree with you then that means that you and those players should learn the correct way to apply the rule.

      • I have another concern about your phrase “Now when something illegal happens the normal play of the game is stopped until the penalty is assessed (if any) even though the player is still on move.”
        When normal play of the game is stopped until a penalty is assessed the clock should also be stopped. If the clock is stopped then the player will not flag. Please don’t tell me that you leave the clock running while you are determining how to handle various claims.

  17. I’m sorry, but players are often ignorant of the rules. In this particular issue, 3 ANTDs and 4 NTDs (including two special referees and the former chair of the TDCC) have commented and disagree with your interpretation.

    • My comment didn’t nest as I expected. If it’s not clear, I was referring to Scott Hunt’s misinterpretation of 14B3 and his statement that “even chess players agree” with him so the rule needs rewritten.

    • If you want to be picky then it is two former chairs of the TDCC, one of whom wrote both the fifth and sixth edition of the rulebook (and Scott still thinks his interpretation is more correct than the writer’s interpretation).

  18. Since this did come up in the real world of chess just a short time ago with some players making claims I was obliged to look much deeper into the rules. I studied this from many angles and then brought it to you thru Tim’s article. Chris Bird is the only person who gave me a valid argument which I really appreciate. Larry Cohen agreed that “or remain quiet” 14B3 should not be in there (which is the only I’m contending). I’m willing to stand up though and bring light to a problem and not respond unkindly but as judicially as possible.
    Look at Rule 9G3 and 14B1 as they agree. 14B3 does not agree, therefore an inconsistency remains. In all other USCF rules I am in total agreement with most all TD’s. I have never been overruled by the Rules committee although appeals have been made on my rulings.
    Just this one phrase “or remain quiet” in Rule 14B3 has not even been moderately explained in this post. Just comments like “that’s what I was always told”, “that’s how it is”, “simply do this or that” doesn’t cut it. Proof ladies and gentleman not opinions. Consensus also does not mean a thing is right.
    Change the wording of Rule 14B3 and we are all getting along just fine.

    One last example: I’m playing my opponent in a large open and he did offer me a draw before moving. We were both only 1600 players. I knew instinctively I could run his clock out. I did not but asked him to move first. He did and I did win my game. Afterwards he told me that he realized his mistake and that I could have just ran his clock out. I told him where’s the sport in that.

    • Correction, you “thought” you could run his clock out.

      A good TD has to understand the intent of the rule and have an appropriate sense of what is fair. Ask yourself…is it fair for someone to lose his game for offering a draw on his move while the penalty for offering a draw on the opponent’s move is a warning or time penalty?

      “Or remain quiet” is simply saying the person offered the draw can ask his opponent to make a move or he can remain silent. It has NOTHING to do with who is on move and can rightfully make a move on the board. It’s saying he’s not obligated to to say “make your move.”

      I agree consensus does not necessarily mean a thing is right. However, when that consensus comes from experts in a given field and I’m the only person who disagrees, I might need to re-evaluate my position.

    • For some reason you have erroneously decided that “the offer stands until the opponent either accepts or rejects it” to also mean that the offerer cannot move until that decision. There is nothing in the rule that says the offerer cannot move. If the offerer does move then the offer still stands until the opponent accepts or rejects it.
      Your 1600 opponent was just as wrong as you are if he thought you could just run his clock out.
      Many games have ended when a player makes an obvious drawing move and the opponent shrugs and says “draw?”. The reason that still happens is NOT because every player will be honorable with nobody unscrupulously forcing the opponent to flag, but rather because the opponent still has every right to make a move after saying “draw?”.

  19. I’m going to sincerely thank all of those who wrote and explained to me their opposing view points to mine, and of course put up with a stubborn individual as myself (which I regard as a real necessity ). I will compile all the explanations and go over them thoroughly along with the rules. Maybe I’ll come back a covert or not. Either way to be honest I did enjoy this debate immensely.

    Good Chess,
    Scott

  20. Scott Hunt, you said:

    “Wouldn’t as you stated above Bill ‘inform the player that he needs to make a move’ be construed as giving unsolicited advice?”

    You took this quote a little out of context, or perhaps I didn’t quite make myself clear.

    I was referring to a situation where a TD has been called over by the player(s) to resolve a dispute. If white is claiming that he can win on time just by being silent because black is not allowed to move even though black’s clock is running, and black is claiming that white must either accept or decline black’s draw offer even before seeing black’s move, then if I’m the TD I’m certainly going to set BOTH players straight by informing them that black can move any time he wants, and that white can still accept black’s draw offer even after black moves.

    For that matter, if I’m the TD and I just happen to walk past a game where one player is trying to bully the other by insisting that a non-existent rule is the rule, I’m not about to let him get away with it. There are limits to this “the TD should not intervene” philosophy.

    Rule 14B3 may not be the best-written rule in the world, but it’s clear to most of us that if black offers a draw without moving, then white has several options, including:
    [1] accepting the draw offer anyway
    [2] asking black to make his move first
    [3] saying “I’ll think about it”
    [4] saying nothing

    — and in cases [2]-[4], black still has the right to move, and white has the right to wait for black’s move before deciding whether to accept black’s draw offer. White definitely does NOT have the right to tell black that black cannot move until white responds to the offer.

    Scott, you really need to give up on this one. Everybody disagrees with you, including people that were involved in the writing of the 5th and 6th edition rulebooks. I’m also concerned that you apparently have brainwashed some of the players in your area regarding this rule.

  21. I thought that Local TD certification was required to run tourneys of 100+ players, and I certainly would hope that any Local TD would know better than to force a player to not move on a draw offer and lose on time. As a TD back in the dark ages, I had this come up before (it comes up a lot, honestly — great article, Tim!) and it’s a very easy situation to handle. You simply advise the player who made the offer that he should have made it after his move and before pressing his/her clock, but that the draw offer will stand until the opponent makes a move or touches a piece (or verbally declines). This compels the player who made the offer to make a move. It’s not a giant secret, and as a Local TD one of your jobs is to hold up the spirit of the rules, and that’s in the spirit of the rule — running a clock out for an improper draw offer is not.

    Scott keeps asking whether two players can be in control of the board at the same time. I’m not sure why this is asked (a player can resign off turn as well), but let’s break it down to the simplest form:

    If you clock is running, and it is your move, then you are *always* in control of the board, and able to make a move. Period. This is the most basic principle of all.

    • I was not going to make anymore replies but I am now. I in reference to the badly written rule of 13B#, used the exercise of interpretation ONLY to show that the RULE is badly written, and can be interpreted incorrectly.

      I never have said it was fair in chess for a player to lose on time for offering a draw before moving. You assumed that position of me.

      In the example where the player did offer the draw in the improper manner himself did not move and he let his own clock run down. I am not going to tell a player he must move his piece first, that is basic draw offer 101.
      Let the players play, TD’s keep your nose out of the game unless a claim is made.

      All of you have turned my responses around and changed the meanings of what I was truly truing to get at. That is “THE RULES COMMITTEE ALLOWS AN IMPROPERLY WRITTEN RULE TO EXIST AND THAT IN RETURN CAUSES IMPROPER INTERPRETATION, CHANGE THE WORDING TO RELECT PROPER CHESS”.

      Except for Chris Bird who gave a correct dissertation on a badly written rule, no one else in this entire article has. All I did was bring to light the BADLY WRITTEN MISLEADING RULE into the open. I am actually in agreement about the responses given here. I kept playing DEVILS’S ADVOCATE because no was able a clear proper interpretation of refutation to my DEVIL’S ADVOCATE RESPONSES TO YOUR WEAK ARGUMENTS (except to say I was wrong, and I did ask why??). I DON’T CARE IF 200 NTD’S DISAGREE WITH ME prove your argument thru proper valid argumentation. You all failed in that respect, and did a disservice in the spirit of chess by demeaning, and insulting a fellow TD.

      The insults I received here have zero affect on me by the way (just ask my wife). Sadly all you NTD’s never even knew I wrote my little article just to see where I could lead this. I was not disappointed. You used emotionalism mixed with your claims of me being wrong with very poor interpretation. I can give as well as receive. I prefer not to but stay on a professional level. I can’t even begin nor do I want to, to tear your responses apart where you literally turned my sentences and phrases around.

      I’m already reading thru my 4th edition of the 6th edition of the rules of chess along with all the updates. I can argue with any TD of any certification level and you will see that I agree with the interpretation of the rules as they exist.

      No one has the right to say your wrong without proof to the contrary. I have showed that you have failed to prove my point on a VALID interpretation consisting on the words in a poorly written rule which you also agreed was a poorly written rule. You assumed my position was contrary to yours.

      I probably run the most professional tournaments extant with 3 clubs every week, and in many large events. Why do you think I have one of the largest chess clubs around. Maybe because I am a very good TD who truly cares for the need of the players?

      No more replies are needed from me.

      Good Chess

      • I agree with Mr. Hunt about intervention in a game. It would be extremely improper to remind the player that he can move after an improper draw offer. However, he is completely wrong about the Rules Committee. The most Rules can do is propose rules (changes) to the delegates. Any delegate can do that, though sometimes when they get to the floor horrible compromises creep in and we’re left with very bad rules.

    • Scott Hunt is a Senior TD (based on the expiration of the certification’s five-year [renewable] term, he’s been a SrTD since September of 2016). SrTDs are readily allowed to handle tournaments expecting up to 300 (360 with an assistant and pairing program). The largest that listed him as the chief is a tournament of 220 players. The largest that listed him anywhere in MSA had 243 players.

  22. I’m sorry I could not edit my post above (spelling mistake), so I will try to be more careful here.

    Scott, your response has lots of caps, but it still doesn’t address a very basic issue here. You stated the following: “I warned black your opponent knows you offered the draw you must therefore wait until white responds.”

    So, you indeed did intervene, and you actually told the player offering the draw that he/she must wait for a response. I as a player would take that to mean that I have to wait for a response before doing anything, including making a move. You infer as much later in your posts, so I’m not misunderstanding the intent here. This intervention led to a player losing on time. This was not fair to that player.

    Next time you intervene, at least state the rule properly, instead of telling a player that a response is required before proceeding with the game. That player didn’t even understand that making a move would not negate the draw offer. Educating new players is part of the job of a TD. Interpreting abstractions in the rules in the spirit of what the rules were intended to be is another function of a high level TD such as yourself.

    Again, these were your words in your original post that are quoted. Many of us disagree with your interpretation. And, to call my argument weak is really not valid. I gave you the basic reason why the player should be allowed to move, and you did not address my response. I will reiterate with correct spelling:

    If your clock is running, and it is your move, then you are *always* in control of the board, and able to make a move. Period. This is the most basic principle of all.

  23. Yes I have already stated that I have always agreed to the fallacy of a player losing simply because he/she offered a draw on their time. No need to rehash why I went after this poorly written 14B3 misleading rule.

    I told the player (above) he must wait for a response from his opponent “regarding the draw offer” never that he could not make a move on the board after his opponent “claimed” he had heard the draw offer the first time (I did not and will not intervene in a game improperly). I would not have told the player to make a move either as that is unsolicited advice. The player could have moved anytime he wished. The player ran out of time waiting for the opponent to reject or accept the offer of the draw.

    Read the post carefully. By the way since these were both A and B players and heard the rules many times that are posted before every round is started they are responsible to know those rules. I especially verbally state before every round that whoever’s clock is running, then that is the “player on move” or “has the move” and the consequences for not remembering that. The nucleus of the main rules I hammer into the heads of the players constantly even though they sometimes complain but then are glad when they say “I’m really glad I read the rules or that I keep explaining them. I do have another Senior TD in my club who complains to me that I was spend to much time explaining the rules. I disagree as teaching is part of a good TD as you have stated yourself.

    To explain a procedure of a rule to a player who is a very well seasoned player while play is still going on is one thing, but very different from a new or beginning player whom I take extra caution and time to make sure they do understand the rules. My position is if you have heard the rules over and over and do not employ them in your chess play then whatever happens in your game is ultimately your responsibility.

    I’ll have to make sure though that when I post my own examples I am much more clear than I thought I was. Thanks for the response.

    • Scott, it does not matter how clear you are when posting this examples. Your interpretation is simply not correct, and is in fact so badly incorrect that it is a disservice not to tell you so.

  24. So now you are claiming that this whole conversation was a set-up by you, that the incident may never have occurred as described, that your intent was to point out that the rule is badly written, and that your purpose was to see if anybody else agreed with you about the rule being badly written.

    All I can say is, that’s quite a stretch. Methinks you doth protest too much.

    I will concede, however, that the wording of the rule could be improved. The present wording is:

    “14B3. Draw offer before moving. A player that proposes a draw before moving must allow the offer to stand until the opponent either accepts or rejects it. ….”

    I would propose (suggested changes are displayed here in caps):

    “14B3. Draw offer before moving. IF a player proposes a draw before moving, THE OFFER STANDS until the opponent either accepts or rejects it. ….”

    — and the rest would stay the same.

    Would that change satisfy you?

    • It looks like that would allow the exact same misinterpretation (somehow thinking that the position has to remain untouched while the offer stands).

      • “Must allow the offer to stand” sounds as though it is imposing a restriction on the offerer. “The offer stands” merely spells out the status of the offer.

        • The erroneous logic stated was “Now since player A implied a draw offer, it was predicated on the position of the board at that precise moment whether or not Player A intended to offer the draw correctly or not. Player B now looks at the board as it is and starts to analyze or think about the draw offer. Suddenly Player A says “whoops I forgot to move” and makes a move, presses the clock with a new position on the board for Player B to think about.” and “Here’s the short and long of it. Offering a 14B3 draw offer is illegal, by not moving a piece 1st, offering the draw 2nd, then pressing the clock 3rd. The opponent by stating let me think about it stops the player from doing anything. It is the offering of a draw 1st and not moving 1st (as is always correct)that is causing the problem and must be cleared up.”

          The new wording doesn’t prevent that erroneous logic.

          If you are going to change the wording then try
          “14B3. Draw offer before moving. A player that proposes a draw before moving is still allowed to move but the offer remains until the opponent either accepts it, rejects it or the game otherwise ends.”

          That allows the other player to flag and not claim the draw (because the offer still stands) and it allows the move made to be checkmate and end the game prior to an acceptance or rejection.

          Personally I thought the original wording was clear and you had to really reach to try to misinterpret it, but it is misintrepretations like this (willful, clueless or something else) that has caused the rulebook to be so gosh-awful long in comparison to other chess rulebooks.

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