Just the Rules: New TD Tips For The Online Rulebook

Tim Just, CLO columnist

Major rules changes are made by the Delegates and then worm their way into the print (and e-book) editions every so often—about once per year at the current rate.

Some recent TD TIP changes, coupled with a handful of editorial fixes, recently were posted to the new on-line version of the rules (Chapters 1-2+11). The TIPS give valuable insights into a rule’s meaning and application for both TDs and players alike. A shout out goes to clock guru Micah Smith for his assistance in this update.

TD TIPS and other revisions to the on-line rules.

Revised TD TIP for variation rule 14h2.

Comment: There is updated wording referring to digital clocks—rather than delay clocks—plus a new reference regarding improperly set delay capable clocks.

TD TIP: Except for rule 5F5 there is no rule allowing players to ask for a properly set delay clock to be placed on their game, which would replace an analog or non-delay digital clock. For delay capable clocks not set with delay, see rule 16P1. Only the TD can initiate placing a clock with time delay capabilities on a game after a Variation 14H claim has been made and the steps of 14H2 have been applied. As a result, the player wishing to place a time delay clock on the game must first make a Variation 14H claim.

New TD TIP added to rule 16B2.

Comment: This TIP addresses the proper setting of increment time controls starting at move one.

TD TIP: Not all digital clocks correctly give the increment for move one when you set increment on the clock. For clocks that don't, the increment time in seconds should be added manually to the base time, if possible, so each player gets the increment for move one. For example, for G/3;inc2, each player gets 3.02 (three minutes and two seconds) to complete move one. If the clock only gives 3.00 for each player’s first move when the clock is set—with a base time of three minutes and increment of two seconds—then, if possible, two seconds should be added to each player’s base time when setting the clock. If a game is started without the increment applied for move one, it is recommended that the TD not allow the clock to be subsequently adjusted to add the increment for move one. This failure to adjust the clock initially should not be allowed as grounds to contest a later time forfeit claim.

Revised TD TIP for rule 16B2c.

Comment: A link reference to setting digital clocks was removed. That info is no longer available on the US Chess site. And the concept of TDs not knowing how to set clocks was expanded to ALL clocks. It is unrealistic to expect a TD to know how every digital clock is set.

TD TIP: Directors are not expected to know how to set all digital clocks 5F. 

New TD TIP for rule 30G.

TD TIP: Some TDs prefer to randomly assign pairing numbers by lot for Quads.

TD TIPS and other revisions to the print and e-book editions.

Revised the “see also” internal document hyperlinks for rule 39A.

Comment: Some link names were updated along with the addition of a new link.

See also  42, Chess Clocks; 42C, Standard clocks; 42D, Delay clock preferable in sudden death; and 42E, Increment clock preferable.

Revised TD TIP for rule 39A.

Comment: Extra wording was eliminated and a link was replaced.

TD TIP: Players of the black pieces sometimes misunderstand this rule when they want to use an analog clock. A properly set digital clock is preferred equipment and supersedes Black's choice in cases where White has such a clock and Black does not (5F).

Rule 42B is in italics—italic formatting removed.

Comment: The italic formatting was removed from the rule wording. Italic formatting is reserved for TD TIPS, not rules.

Revised TD TIP for 42E1.

Comment: The first two sentences of the TIP were replaced with more informative wording. The rest of the TIP—starting with “Either function…”—was left intact.

TD TIP: Check the clock manufacturer’s manual. Ideally clocks add the increment time to a player’s side of the clock once he has completed the move by pressing his clock (known as: add-after)—some clocks may work differently. The player’s total playing time, including the added increment, should now be displayed. Some clocks wait until their opponent presses their side of the clock for the increment time to be added to the player’s display (known as: add-before). The TD TIP for rule 16B2 explains the procedure to use if the increment time is not automatically given at the start of move one. Either function…

A new chapter 10 is coming soon!

Because online games are now rated by US Chess, the “powers that be” are working on a new chapter 10 (Internet Chess). It is expected to be available for posting at the US Chess site months before it can be incorporated into any print or e-book version. Of course, the Delegates must first approve the new language for this chapter.  

The free, updated as of 5-11-20, US Chess Rules (Chapters 1+2+11 from the 7th edition rulebook) are now downloadable and available on-line. Past “Just the Rules” columns can be viewed here.



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 new column, exclusive to US Chess, “Just the Rules” will help clarify potentially confusing regulations.