Imagine that your opponent is away from the board and you want to make a move and then offer a draw and leave for the toilet with some urgency. What is the solution to this inconvenience? Can a player rely on the arbiter to go to the trouble of hunting for the opponent and passing the draw offer?

  • Good question! I suppose you should go to the arbiter?! In fact, I don't know at all. May 27, 2016 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


The correct way of offering a draw is, as you probably know:

  1. Make a move
  2. Make an offer
  3. Press the clock

When your opponent is not present:

  1. Make a move
  2. Stop the clock (or you can leave your time running)
  3. Call an arbiter and say that you want to offer a draw, and your opponent isn't here
  4. Start the opponent's time
  5. You are free to go now - if you run into your opponent on the way, you can mention the offer
  6. When you're back at the board, make your offer.

Note that the draw-offer is perfectly valid at any given time. The reason why you call an arbiter to explain the situation is to avoid being accused of distracting your opponent when you offer it in "incorrect" way.

Edit: Adding information from official FIDE rules:

9.1.b.1: A player wishing to offer a draw shall do so after having made a move on the chessboard and before pressing his clock. An offer at any other time during play is still valid but Article 11.5 must be considered. No conditions can be attached to the offer. In both cases the offer cannot be withdrawn and remains valid until the opponent accepts it, rejects it orally, rejects it by touching a piece with the intention of moving or capturing it, or the game is concluded in some other way.


11.5: It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever. This includes unreasonable claims, unreasonable offers of a draw or the introduction of a source of noise into the playing area.

  • Is this the procedure mandated by the FIDE rules? Would be good if you could point to the source of this. May 27, 2016 at 9:13
  • I edited the answer to include FIDE rules. It's not specifically mentioned exactly what to do in case your opponent is not present at the moment, but that's the way it's handled usually. Not that it happens very often.
    – fbxmg
    May 27, 2016 at 9:58
  • I get the impression that informing the arbiter has the role of preventing the "incorrect" way at the moment when I am back and finally speaking to my opponent. But if this is your meaning then the draw offer may not even get through to the opponent if he makes a move before I return. I hope that asking the arbiter has the effect of actually ensuring that the offer gets through. Please clarify. May 27, 2016 at 19:26
  • If I'm arbitering only 6 games in a league match, then I can usually pass your offer. But if there are more games, it could happen that I have more urgent issues to deal with while you are away. So while the arbiter can inform your opponent, it can't be guaranteed, especially in larger tournaments. But usually the player presses the clock and either waits for opponent to get back or searches for him, without informing the arbiter. Opponent could say that it's not the correct way of offering a draw (so it's useful to inform the arbiter), but I've never seen it happen (common sense applies).
    – fbxmg
    May 30, 2016 at 7:33
  • Seems like the solution should be leave a note in front of the board from the opponent's perspective.
    – Joshua
    Jan 10, 2022 at 21:01

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