Tournament rules & protocol basics

Basic game rules

  • Touch-move

If you touch one of your pieces you must move that piece or if you touch one of your opponent’s pieces you must capture that piece (unless it is an illegal move!).

  • j’adoube

Adjusting your pieces on the chessboard.

  • Draw by agreement

Neither players are getting anywhere with their game and neither player can checkmate

  • Draw by repetition

The same moves (position) 3 times with the same player to move.

  • Stalemate

If a player has no legal move to make and the King cannot move, because it will move into check then the game is in stalemate.

Chess piece values

The commonly used values are as follows:

  • pawn 1 point
  • Rook 5 points
  • Knight 3 points
  • Bishop 3 points
  • Queen 9 points
  • King infinite points (checkmate ends the game – you cannot carry on with the game if your King is in checkmate!)

Basic tournament protocol

  • Arrive at rounds on time!
  • When you experience a problem during a game raise your hand for an official or the arbiter to make a decision. Do not complain after a round has finished and do not “make a scene” on the floor during a round! Good sportsmanship at all times!
  • When you have completed a round leave the hall or room quietly. Do not “hang around” or have a conversation with other players. Do not run out of the hall or room!
  • Only the officials and the arbiter (s) should be on the floor during a round.
  • Pay the necessary respect to the officials and arbiter (s).

The Laws of Chess

Please visit the website of FIDE (the governing body of international chess tournaments) at for more information about the Laws of Chess. The following booklet “FIDE Chess Laws” is available from our chess books section.

  • A chess set in every classroom in every school in every community – a child who can’t pay must be able to play!
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