When must the Arbiter Intervene

The general duties of the arbiter have not changed with the new laws of chess (2018). The new regulations only pointed out more clearly the fact that the arbiter must intervene in specific situations that he already had to intervene, just like before the 2017 changes. For this reason I have left this article almost as it was. Everything it describes is still valid. The only changes I made were on the description of the legal move that produces the result of a game (it is no longer just a legal move) and a change in the wording to reflect that the arbiter only has to enforce the results that occur instantly. The reason I had originally created a list of cases when the arbiter must intervene is because before the 2014 changes, the laws of chess did not oblige the arbiter to intervene in specific situations. Gradually we see that the laws change to make the arbiters more active than passive. Whether that is a good or a bad thing, history will show!

When the arbiter witnesses the following cases he must take action.

He must announce that it is a:

  • Draw In stalemate, provided that the last move  was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7. (No longer simply legal).
  • Win in checkmate, provided that the move leading to checkmate  was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7.
  • Draw in a dead position arises, provided that the last move  was in accordance with Article 3 and Articles 4.2 – 4.7
  • Draw by the 75 move rule.
  • Draw by the 5-fold repetition rule.

He must declare that:

  • The result at flag fall (in all time-controls).
  • Draw if both flags fell (unless there is a second time period, then players must continue to play).

As Mr Geurt Gijssen pointed out to me in a previous comment to this post (which I think I didn’t quite understand at that time) the first 5 cases are automatically drawn whether the arbiter declares that or not. So I have now changed the wording from “declare” to “announce”.

He must:

  • Adjust the clock and the move counter if the settings were incorrect.
  • Warn players not to hit the clock violently.
  • Enforce penalties for illegal moves.
  • Forfeit players who arrived after the default time.
  • Cancel the game if the initial position of the pieces was incorrect. A new game shall be played. (Valid for Standard Chess and for Rapid/Blitz with adequate supervision).
  • Transfer the position of a game played on a wrongly orientated board, to a correctly orientated one. (Valid for Standard Chess and for Rapid/Blitz with adequate supervision).
  • Cancel the game if the initial position of the pieces was incorrect, provided less than 10 moves have been completed. A new game shall be played. (Valid for Rapid/Blitz without adequate supervision).
  • Transfer the position of a game played on a wrongly orientated board to a correctly orientated one, provided that less than 10 moves have been completed. (Valid for Rapid/Blitz without adequate supervision).