Rule of touched piece

@Onyx_Chess The way I would see it is like @Sarg0n says above - the game comes first, and then the clock is a secondary element that was introduced to ensure the game doesn't take forever. And the object of the game is to give checkmate - and so once this is done, the game is over, and this takes priority over the secondary element (the timekeeping).

So the rules are clear - checkmate takes priority and flag fall does not occur until pointed out by the opponent or the arbiter. But, yes, there will very occasionally be times when the opponent (or arbiter) calls 'FLAG!' simultaneously as the queen lands to give checkmate - and then it will be tricky to determine the result.

For some history - as far as I know this became established following the games Rumens-Mabb in the 1958 London Boys championship. It was the last round game with the result determining the championship. Rumens delivered checkmate but his flag fell after he moved but before he pressed the clock. The laws were felt ambiguous and the game ended up being referred up first to the British Chess Federation and subsequently to the FIDE committee on the laws of chess to determine the result, thereby establishing the precedent that still holds (checkmate takes priority, Rumens won).

For this history see


Thank you very much for that explanation.

That's logical, and I understand the premise. (We introduced the clock to improve the chess, and following rules for 'rules-sake', even when they betray the spirit of that which they seek to improve, is not of use.)

But then with this explanation, one would think that intentionally touching an opponent's piece, if that would result in an 'only-move' capture checkmate, should also end the game immediately as well.


So, if there are only-moves you just have too touch? Why touching at all, I mean there is just one move?

And where to draw the border? You touch, forced mate in n. n=1 it is executed automatically. n=2, n=10?

Without taking a piece hovering/touching over the mating square is enough? I ask once again: has the position (the FEN ;)) changed?

You can write a novel about that issue but in short: it ain’t work!

PS: #22 the game has ended. It ends with the last valid position and a fallen flag. You cannot „rape“ the touch-move duty to a benefit in order not to move.


"So, if there are only-moves you just have too touch? Why touching at all, I mean there is just one move?"

If there is only one piece to capture with, where in capturing that piece that's been touched would produce a checkmate, then touching that piece should end the game *IF* the precedented justification is that chess > clock.

You conflating the difference between "touching the piece" and "not touching the piece" as being the same thing, argues my point better than I could!

"If the opposite of what you said makes no sense, then how could what you've said make sense?" - Sarg0n

Piscatorox and I spoke earlier about several different justified positions to take on the issue.

Both positions have a very clear and justified logic to them, but it looks like FIDE has mish-mashed both together to make a little bit of a Frankenstein policy.

If we say that the 1, 2, 5, 10 seconds that it takes to reach the clock in order to stop the clock is unnecessary in a position that is checkmate because chess > clock, then it likewise makes no sense that we would flag someone who runs out of time after touching his opponent's piece, but before replacing it with his own.

Remember the rationale!

"Chess > Clock"

Under this rationale, the second someone touches their opponent's piece, where only one piece can capture, and that capturing that piece would result in checkmate, it's a win.

It gets confusing when we selectively apply "Chess > Clock" logic.

Has the position/FEN changed by touching? The rules refer to the last valid position where the flag has fallen. And a position can only be changed by a whole move (not necessarily "completed" by the clock.)

Nuff said.

PS: there is a really complicated case, imagine a promotion to a random piece leads to a definite result, say capturing the last enemy piece = insufficient material. Now the White's flag falls in the midst of the move with the pawn on the last rank, no enemy piece left (=removed), but move not finished (=promotion to piece missing, just white pawn on the 8th rank). What to do?
Most arbiters: last position counts before the move. So 0:1 although without material, because position has not changed in terms of the rules.

@Onyx_Chess The rules are the rules, they have to provide a definite resolution but may sometimes appear slightly arbitrary.

Another 'inconsistency' is in three-fold repetition/50 move rule. Generally it is against the rules to write a move down before playing it (its taking notes), and you need to play the move for it to be made/completed.

But in these cases you have to *not* play the move, instead write the move down, stop the clocks, and then announce the claim - and if you play the move on the board, it is no longer a valid claim.

I learnt this rule the hard way when in a losing position, but fortunately my opponent then blundered shortly after my claim was rejected, so it ended happily :)

And if you want something weirder: I think at one point, until the lacuna was noticed, according to the official laws the sequence of moves 1. e8=R .... 2. o-o-o-o (where the castling involves moving the unmoved white king two squares to e3, and the unmoved rook from e8 across the king to e2) was legal, although whether any arbiter would ever have allowed it is another matter.

@Sarg0n As a promotion is not made until the new piece is released on the board, and a pawn left on the 8th rank of the board would be an illegal move, I would put this in the same category as my earlier one: the move has not been made and so a loss for white.

Sure. But if you take a photo of the board there will be just a Black King. ;)

@piscatorox "it is no longer a valid claim" it is valid unless opponent makes his move before arbiter arrives that removes the repeated position or in 50 move rule case moves a pawn of hits a piece. That at least the opinion IA that was giving the arbiter training I took.

So writing down is safety measure for the claimant

@petri999 Not under FIDE rules:

"9.2.1 The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a player having the move, when the same position for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves): is about to appear, if he first writes his move, which cannot be changed, on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move."