In a last round tie between 2 players fighting for top seed in a competition, here is what happened.

White had 18 seconds on his clock and black had 26 seconds. Black was winning. At move 56, black made a pawn push which exposed his king to a check by a dark square bishop, thus making the pawn push an illegal move. White did not take note so he raised the bishop and was about to play then he saw that the king was in check, so before he could call 'illegal' black quickly called the 'touch move rule'. Thus implying that white had to move the bishop. According to FIDE rules which call should supersede: Black's 'touch move' or white's 'illegal move'?

2 Answers 2


In standard play (each player has at least 60 minutes for all the moves) it makes no difference when the illegal moves is spotted the position must be restored to the one before the illegal move even if that was several moves ago.

In rapid or blitz Appendix A4 part 2b applies:

b. An illegal move is completed once the player has pressed his clock. If the arbiter observes this he shall declare the game lost by the player, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the arbiter does not intervene, the opponent is entitled to claim a win, provided the opponent has not made his next move.

Provided white has not released the bishop on a different square the claim for an illegal move stands and white wins the game.

EDIT: As of 1st January 2018 the rules for rapid and blitz have been brought into line with standard rate. In all 3 cases there is a time penalty for the first illegal move (1 minute for blitz and rapid, 2 minutes for standard) and only the second illegal move loses you the game.

  • The time control is 30mins for each player
    – oziomajnr
    May 29, 2016 at 11:21
  • 2
    @ozioma In that case it counts as rapid and white wins provided he didn't "make" a move which means in this case that he didn't let go of the bishop on another square. If he picked it up and didn't let go then it isn't a move. If he picked it up and put it down on the same square then it isn't a move. In both those cases he still has a right to claim a win because of his opponent's illegal move.
    – Brian Towers
    May 29, 2016 at 11:26

From FIDE's Laws of Chess 7.5

a. If during a game it is found that an illegal move has been completed, the position immediately before the irregularity shall be reinstated. If the position immediately before the irregularity cannot be determined, the game shall continue from the last identifiable position prior to the irregularity. Articles 4.3 and 4.7 apply to the move replacing the illegal move. The game shall then continue from this reinstated position. If the player has moved a pawn to the furthest distant rank, pressed the clock, but not replaced the pawn with a new piece, the move is illegal. The pawn shall be replaced by a queen of the same colour as the pawn.

b. After the action taken under Article 7.5.a, for the first completed illegal move by a player the arbiter shall give two minutes extra time to his opponent; for the second completed illegal move by the same player the arbiter shall declare the game lost by this player. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.

Since the illegal move reverts the position back to before the "touch move" would be activated, White never touched the Bishop.

  • I guess (although it is not said in the question) that it was a blitz/rapid game, mainly because the time controls. In a standard 90+30 or 60+30 game time control of the player not having the turn is always at least 30". If this is the case the game is not reverted, but it's lost by the player who did the illegal move, unless tournament rules state otherwise
    – sharcashmo
    May 29, 2016 at 10:11
  • The time control is 30mins
    – oziomajnr
    May 29, 2016 at 11:19

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