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Arbiter's Log 
(Understanding the Laws of Chess)

   The Laws of Chess
are being changed (refined/modified) every two years 
or so. And of course, there is genuinely some confusion of what's correct 
and the  latest. With every website update, I will highlight a law or two 
that needs to be understood in tournament play. 

Case #3. Resignation and Stalemate

It was White's move and he resigned in a stalemate position. However, the 
arbiter overruled the resignation and decided the game was drawn because
of the stalemate. Was the arbiter's decision correct? 

FIDE handbook reference: 
5.2.1 The game is drawn when the player to move has no legal move and his king is not in check. The game is said to end in ‘stalemate’. This immediately ends the game, provided that the move producing the stalemate position was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7.

    In this present case. with the stalemate is already established, the game is over and is a draw. It is irrelevant that a player resigned after the game was legally finished.

Case #2. Pawn Promotion

   A boy promoted a pawn and picked up a queen. But before he placed it onto the promotion square, he realised that it would be a mistake. So he then chose a knight instead, placed it on the square and pressed the clock.
    His opponent objected and the arbiter agreed that the touch-move rule applied. Is the decision of the arbiter correct? 

FIDE handbook reference: 
4.4.4 promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised when the piece has touched the square of promotion.

   In our case, though the boy had earlier picked up a queen, he did not place the queen on the promotion square. He changed his mind and placed yet another piece on the promotion square. 
    Therefore, the arbiter's decision was wrong because the choice of piece was only finalised when the piece touched the square of promotion.

Case #1.

The following position arose in a rapid tournament in 2016. 
White's 'flag' fell (White had no more time on the clock). The opponent stopped the clock and summoned the arbiter to claim a win. If you are the arbiter, what is your decision? (Note: Black only has a Knight and King.)


FIDE handbook
Reference: A.4.3.
To claim a win on time, the claimant may stop the chess clock and notify the arbiter. For the claim to be successful, the claimant must have time remaining on his own clock after the chess clock has been stopped. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the claimant cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

   If Black can show a possible checkmate with the pieces remaining on the board, then Black wins on time. One possible checkmate is as follows: 


Do you have a question on the laws of chess? Please email me at, with your name, and I will reply you at some stage. If I feel it is relevant, I will post it on one of my website updates. Thank you. Arbiter Collin Madhavan.


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