In the game Andrey Esipenko - Nihal Sarin (2018 World Blitz Championship), after 7. Qb3 c4 8. Qc2 Sarin plays 8... Bf5, and before he hits the clock, Esipenko plays 9. Qc1, but since Nihal has not pressed the clock Esipenko can't (this is the full video of the game).

As far as I understand this would lead to errors recording the game (because the DGT board only records a move when the clock is pressed). But how about the rules? Is this a breach? This is a blitz game and its obvious that both players let it go, but if either player appeals, who will get penalised?

3 Answers 3


Is this a breach?

No. Article 4.7 of the FIDE Laws of Chess defines when a move has been "made". Basically when your hand loses contact with the piece moved/captured/promoted etc. Once the move has been made the opponent may make a move. This applies whether clocks are being used or not.

If clocks are being used then the move is "completed" when the player presses the clock. If the player did not press the clock then it is completed when he makes his next move - article 6.2.1 -

6.2.1 During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent’s clock (that is to say, he shall press his clock). This “completes” the move. A move is also completed if: the move ends the game (see Articles 5.1.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 9.6.1 and 9.6.2), or the player has made his next move, when his previous move was not completed

When increments are used it is important that a player making a move should have the opportunity to press the clock and gain the increment. This is covered in article 6.2.2 -

6.2.2 A player must be allowed to stop his clock after making his move, even after the opponent has made his next move.

Hence if the opponent makes his move before the player has pressed the clock then the player may press the clock without making a move and it is up to the opponent to press the clock back which most opponents would do immediately in a blitz game.

So, there is no breach, no penalty.

  • 1
    Nice to know, so Kasparov is in the wrong in this Nakamura - Kasparov episode: youtube.com/watch?v=7wcvtqVZndE
    – Akavall
    Feb 11, 2019 at 2:01
  • 5
    @Akavall Kasparov and Seirawan are both wrong. Maurice Ashley is right. Many years ago the rule was like that and I tried that in my first ever FIDE rated blitz but my opponent and the arbiter corrected me. From the body language of the players you see they also knew the rule.
    – Brian Towers
    Feb 11, 2019 at 10:05

You can request for a clock press, reminding it to your opponent. 99% of the time people forget of the clock. What you can do is either show the clock to your opponent after he or she played, or let the clock roll and enjoy your free time to think. Obviously, showing the clock to your opponent is more noble that taking advantage of the situation. If you rush to play a move you end up missing a press both of you. It is a mistake from both sides, thus you both have same responsibility. If someone loses in a fisher style tournament due to time, because they thought they pressed the clock 40 times, too bad. Thus, it is a good idea to remind the clock to your opponent.


 Is this a breach?

Haven't read all the manual pages, but afaik yes.

Even if the opponent plays the next move, you have a right to stop your clock and force opponent to spend fraction of "their time"

In a timed game you can't get a free move. Free = costs no clock time.

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