Rulebook Changes

Compiled by Tim Just


Since the publication of the 7th edition of the US Chess rulebook, changes have been made in US Chess rules. Below is a collection of those changes. Any additions or corrections can be sent to US Chess.



Summary of 2021 - 2022 US Chess Rules Changes



5Bc1: Added TD TIP.


14G: Added TD TIP.


Chapter 8 Rule 4a Matches: Updated wording to include blitz ratings.


Chapter 9 Correspondence Chess: All new.


Chapter 10 Rule 15B: Added two new TD TIPs.


Chapter 11 Rule 17: Added wording to the TD TIP.


Summary of 2020 US Chess Rules Changes


11D: Illegal move.


11D1: Illegal move in time pressure


Chapter 7 TD Certification: Added online experience rules.


Chapter 10 Internet Chess: All new.


Rules Changes 2020-2022



If no delay or increment…


TD TIP: There are two forms of delay, "simple" (or "US") delay and "Bronstein" delay. Both are mathematically equivalent, equally acceptable for use under the rules, and just differ in how the delay is displayed on the clock screen. Simple delay separates the delay time from the main time, often by showing the delay countdown in digits or having something like the colons or the word "delay" flash each second during the delay countdown. Bronstein delay, by contrast, combines the delay time and the main time into a single display. If a player uses the entire delay time or more for a move, the clock will add the delay time to the main time. If a player uses less than the delay time for a move, the clock will go back to the time it had at the beginning of the move. The fact that the main time will never go above what it was at the beginning of a move with delay is what makes it different from increment. With increment, (also commonly known as "Fischer" and "bonus"), the increment time is added to the main time each turn, regardless of the amount of time it took the player to move.




Illegal Move.


If a player completes an illegal move by pressing the clock, in addition to the usual obligation to make a legal move with the touched piece if possible, the standard penalty specified in rule 1C2a applies (i.e. two minutes added to the opponent’s clock). If the opponent has completed a move subsequent to the illegal move, the standard penalty shall not apply. See also 11J, Deliberate illegal moves and 16D1, Illegal moves.


TD TIP: A player should make sure to claim an illegal move made by his opponent before completing his next move, in order to be eligible to receive the additional time.



Illegal move in time pressure.


Time pressure is defined as a situation where either player has less than five minutes left in a time control and the time control does not include an increment or delay of 30 seconds or more. A director should not call attention to illegal moves in time pressure, only the players may make that claim. If, during the game, in time pressure, a player’s claim that one of either player’s last two moves was illegal is upheld by the TD, the position shall be reinstated to what it was before the illegal move and the procedure in rule 11A shall be followed with no adjustment to the time on the clocks. See also 16D1, Illegal moves; 11H, Director corrects illegal move in non-sudden death; and 11J, Deliberate illegal moves.



Both flags down in sudden death.


TD TIP: If both flags are down some clocks indicate which flag fell first. At this point that information cannot be used to make a time claim win. The claim of a win must be properly made by a player before his own flag falls.



Chapter 7

TD Certification.


Added online experience rules. Check online for updates.


Chapter 8 Rule 4a



  1. Matches can be as short as one game or as long as 32 games. They can be rated under the regular US Chess rating system, quick rated, rated under both those systems, or blitz rated, depending upon the time control.



Chapter 9

Correspondence Chess: All new as of 10-1-21.



Chapter 10

Internet Chess: All new.


Chapter 10 Rule 15B

Prepare and submit the rating report. Added two new TIPs.


TD TIP: Neither players expelled for a “fair play” violation, nor their opponents, should have any of their games reported for rating purposes.

TD TIP: Players removed from a tournament for a “fair play” violation by the host platform are not automatically reported to US Chess by that platform. TDs need to report that violation.



Chapter 11 Rule 17

Added wording to the TD TIP.


TD TIP: A completed illegal move for any reason loses instantly if claimed correctly. The one-minute penalty does not apply to illegal moves. The standard penalty of one minute applies to other Blitz rules infractions.