10 March 2009

Chess960 Rules Formalized by FIDE?

Near the beginning of January, the ACP posted an item on The FIDE Laws of Chess 2009: 'The English text is the authentic version of the Laws of Chess, which was adopted at the 77th FIDE Congress in Dresden (Germany), November 2008, coming into force on 1 July 2009.'

Two points were still open. The first was the new FIDE rule on arrival times.

Article 6.7 will be discussed in the next meeting of the Presidential Board.

6.7 Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.

Proposed change 1: 6.7 Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game, unless the arbiter decides otherwise. Thus the default time is 0 minutes. The rules of a competition may specify a different default time.

Proposed change 2: 6.7 Any player who arrives at the chessboard after the start of the session shall lose the game.

The second was a new section on chess960.

The Presidential Board will decide whether it will be included.

G. Chess960 Rules

G1 Before a Chess960 game a starting position is randomly set up, subject to certain rules. After this, the game is played in the same way as standard chess. In particular, pieces and pawns have their normal moves, and each player's objective is to checkmate the opponent's king.

G2 Starting position requirements

The starting position for Chess960 must meet certain rules. White pawns are placed on the second rank as in regular chess. All remaining white pieces are placed randomly on the first rank, but with the following restrictions:
  • The king is placed somewhere between the two rooks.
  • The bishops are placed on opposite-colored squares.
  • The black pieces are placed equal-and-opposite to the white pieces.
The starting position can be generated before the game either by a computer program or using dice, coin, cards, etc.

G3 Chess960 Castling Rules

Chess960 allows each player to castle once per game, a move by potentially both the king and rook in a single move. However, a few interpretations of standard chess games rules are needed for castling, because the standard rules presume initial locations of the rook and king that are often not applicable in Chess960.
How to castle

Proposal 1: In Chess960, depending on the pre-castling position on the castling king and rook, the castling manoeuvre is performed by one of these four methods:
  • Double-move castling: By on one turn making a move with the king and a move with the rook.
  • Transposition castling: By transposing the position of the king and the rook.
  • King-move-only castling: By making only a move with the king.
  • Rook-move-only castling: By making only a move with the rook.
Proposal 2: When castling on a physical board with a human player, it is recommended that the king be moved outside the playing surface next to his final position, the rook then be moved from its starting to ending position, and then the king be placed on his final square.

After castling, the rook and king's final positions are exactly the same positions as they would be in standard chess.

This part could be added to clarify things:

Thus, after c-side castling (notated as O-O-O and known as queen-side castling in orthodox chess), the King is on the c-square (c1 for White and c8 for Black) and the Rook is on the d-square (d1 for White and d8 for Black). After g-side castling (notated as O-O and known as king-side castling in orthodox chess), the King is on the g-square (g1 for White and g8 for Black) and the Rook is on the f-square (f1 for White and f8 for Black).


To avoid any misunderstanding, it may be useful to state "I am about to castle" before castling.

In some starting positions, the king or rook (but not both) do not move during castling.

In some starting positions, castling can take place as early as the first move.

All the squares between the king's initial and final squares (including the final square), and all of the squares between the rook's initial and final squares (including the final square), must be vacant except for the king and castling rook.

In some starting positions, some squares can stay filled during castling that would have to be vacant in standard chess. For example, after c-side castling (O-O-O), it's possible for to have a, b, and/or e still filled, and after g-side castling (O-O), it's possible to have e and/or h filled.

I'm not sure why there should be particular concern for a 'misunderstanding', unless it's the possible application of the touch-move rule.


The PB meeting finished a few days ago. According to Presidential Board Meeting 1st Quarter 2009, the group 'approved changes in the Laws of Chess including that the default time would be zero unless otherwise specified in the regulations of the tournament'. There was no mention of chess960.

1 comment:

Deep Mikey said...

FIDE added Chess960 to their "Laws Of Chess"!!!

FIDE Laws Of Chess (PDF)