Player Rules

The Chief Arbiter for each day will clearly explain all rules before the start of play. In general, all FIDE Laws of Chess apply unless otherwise stated. FIDE is the world governing body of Chess.

It is expected that there will be a significant proportion of players in every event who have minimal or zero tournament experience.

At any time if a player has a question they should immediately Raise Their Hand and an arbiter will come and assist them.

Chess Clocks

Clocks put a limit on the maximum thinking time each player can use. If you do not have any clocks at school you can purchase clocks from us to practice with.

In Sarapu Cup events each player is limited to 15 minutes thinking time.

After each move the player presses the closest button of the clock. This pauses his time and starts the opponent’s time counting down. The opponent considers a move, makes the move and then presses their button. This starts the first player’s time counting down again.

You may use as little or as much time as you like on any one move.

If you time counts down to 0:00 then you automatically LOSE the game unless your opponent has insufficient material to checkmate, in which case the result is a draw. This means you need to pace yourself. The best strategy is to play slowly at the start and then sprint for the finish line once you have a winning position, or plenty more pieces.

The biggest mistake new players make when using clocks is to play TOO FAST. On average a player can spend 20-30 seconds on each move and not run out of time. The limit of 15 min per player is a total half-hour game.

Touch Move

If a player touches a piece the “Touch Move” rule states that the piece Must Be Moved. While the player is still holding the piece it can be changed to a different square, but the first piece touched must be moved.

Touch move works on opponents’ pieces (called Touch Take). If you touch an enemy piece with your hand or your own piece and it can be captured you Must Take It.

The only time during a game when it is NOT touch move is when your King is in check.

A player forfeits his right to a claim against his opponent’s touch-move violation once he deliberately touches a piece. The arbiter shall make a ruling regarding the act of moving the pieces only if requested to do so by one or both players. If neither player makes such a request to the arbiter, the arbiter will undertake no action. A spectator (eg. a teacher or parent) who reports touch move violations to the arbiter would simply be told that no action can be taken unless either player requests for enforcement.


If your King is in check you MUST get out of check. This can be by:

a) Killing the enemy piece

b) Blocking the check

c) Running your King away like a little chicken

If a player makes a move which leaves the King in check you MUST allow your opponent to retract that move, and give them the opportunity to get their King to safety.

The King is never ‘killed’, but only checkmated.

Checkmate is when the King is under attack and no matter what move is played there is no way out of check. This is when the game is won.

When a game concludes

If both players are in agreement that the game is over they should:

a) Shake hands

b) Reset the board ready for the next game

If one player is not 100% sure that the game is over then they should raise their hands to attract an arbiter. The arbiter may provide advice about how to get out of check, or declare the game over.

Once a game is complete and the board reset the WINNER is responsible for reporting his score. If the game is a draw then BOTH player must report their scores. A player losing a game is not required to report.


Players may watch their team mates playing games, but must be very careful NOT to interfere in any way!

Under no circumstances are spectators (parents or coaches) allowed to intervene or communicate with players. Spectators and players in other games are not to speak about or otherwise interfere in a game. If necessary, the arbiter may expel offenders from the playing venue. If someone observes an irregularity, he may inform only the arbiter.

Interference is any communication to players who are playing a tournament game. Communication is not only verbal, but also gestures and signals.

Players who interfere in tournament games may be forfeited a point.

At any time if a player has a question they should immediately pause the clock, raise their hand and an arbiter will come and assist them.


There are two aspects of technique which often come into dispute:

1. Pressing Clocks

2. Pawn promotion

There are rules governing the way in which you handle these situations; but generally Chess Power arbiters are somewhat flexible and these become recommendations rather than rules.

Clocks - You should press the clock with the same hand with which you moved the piece.

Promotion - It is the player who is promoting the pawn whose responsibility it is to change the pawn to clearly reflect the fact that it is now a queen or whatever they wish to promote it to. They should do this on their own time (although if there is no immediate way of doing so they can stop the clock and request an arbiter assist them).

The most common ways of indicating the pawn has changed to a queen are:

a) Replacing the pawn with a spare queen (or one from the next-door set)

b) Using a rook upside down


Parents/coaches who are not satisfied with an arbiter's decision on the day may lodge a formal appeal. This must be in writing.

When lodging an appeal please include:

a) Description of the situation

b) The decision that was made and how that affected your child

c) What actions you'd like taken to resolve the situation

d) Your contact details

Appeals should be emailed to

All decisions after appeal are final.

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