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In view of castling rights, an aspiring rules lawyer could ask: when does threefold repetition support a draw claim? Technical example:

[fen ""]
[title "Illustration of castling rights"]
[startply "13"]
[startflipped "0"]

1. e4 g6 2. b3 Bg7 3. g3 BxRa1 4. e5 b6 5. Na3 Bb7 6. Qg4 BxRh1 7. Nc4 Nc6 8. Kd1 Nb8 9. Ke1 Nc6 10. Kd1 Nb8 11. Ke1

The aspiring rules lawyer's question is not actually my question today. My questions today rather are these:

  1. Has an arbiter ever expressed an opinion, given advice or issued a ruling regarding threefold repetition in view of castling rights?
  2. Have competent persons in any chess federation ever discussed the matter?
  3. Do parallel or otherwise related laws, opinions, advice, rulings or discussions by arbiters, federations or competent persons exist that indicate the principles by which such a case might be judged?

The three questions are related and answers to any or all of the three—or even partial answers to any of the three—would be read with interest. I seek insight into how chess authorities have approached (or would approach) such problems.

Related question here. Related answer here. FIDE's laws of chess here.

UPDATE

The excellent, concise, informative, well-researched answers of @BrianTowers and @TonyK, taken together, perfectly illustrate the reason the question has been asked. Both answers are recommended and, naturally, both have been upvoted by me. Ironically however, under the circumstance, neither answer can be accepted over the other, can it, for only the two answers together serve to illustrate the point.

Since the two answers so perfectly capture the two sides, my preference would be that further answers (if any) avoid taking sides but rather focus on the three items listed above.

ILLUSTRATION BY @REMELLION

Incidentally, before the question was asked, @Remillion had composed a problem position to illustrate a related point. He had originally meant the position as a joke but, since he has mentioned the position in comments in the present context, we can diagram it here.

[fen "B6N/1p1pp3/4pp1P/7P/7P/2p4P/1PPP2rr/R3K2k b - - 0 1"]
[title "By @Remellion: black to move; helpmate in 2"]
  • If I understand correctly, you are essentially asking if the existence/in-existence of castling rights affects whether two positions are determined equivalent. Is that correct? – Brandon_J Mar 10 at 0:24
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    @Brandon_J Well, yes, but no, not really. You and I both understand that castling rights are part of the position, and the linked answer has already mentioned that one could regard FIDE's laws as ambiguous as to whether the capture of an unmoved rook extinguishes the castling right on that wing. I doubt that you and I can settle that question today. What I am wondering is how authorities approach questions like this when mooted. I think that you're on the right track, though, and would be interested to read any relevant comments or answers you cared to give. – thb Mar 10 at 0:30
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    TBH @thb , you might need an actual FIDE arbiter to tell you what would happen. – Brandon_J Mar 10 at 1:08
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1
  1. Has an arbiter ever expressed an opinion, given advice or issued a ruling regarding threefold repetition in view of castling rights?"

Yes, Stewart Reuben, International Arbiter and Chair of the FIDE Rules Committee has presided over progressive rationalization of the FIDE rules, and is very aware of the general questions over castling and e.p. impact on threefold repetition. I don't know if he knows of the rook-capture lacuna.

  1. Have competent persons in any chess federation ever discussed the matter?

Apart from FIDE, members of WFCC (World Federation of Chess Composition) have certainly discussed this issue. In Fairy Chess the general principle applies that a newly minted rook is assumed never to have moved. @Remellion's problem relies on this. The rook-capture lacuna is a slightly different point, stating that original castling rights remain rather than become re-established.

Problemists also generally concur that a king can make a double hop "castling" if a rook was given as odds. I don't know if any would go as far to agree with @Brian Towers that this could happen in a non-odds composition, as it would interact pathologically with the problem convention that castling rights are assumed to be retained unless they can be proved to have been lost.

  1. Do parallel or otherwise related laws, opinions, advice, rulings or discussions by arbiters, federations or competent persons exist that indicate the principles by which such a case might be judged?

EDIT: (thanks itub) I now have an idea what USCF opines, since their rules are now published. Draw by repetition is constrained by rights of castling and e.p. But the concept of "rights" is not defined in the movement rules. This is actually quite important since under FIDE, the interpretation is subtly different between castling and e.p. The paragraph which in FIDE laws contains the rook-capture hole does not appear in USCF.

(Sidebar: my initial impression of the USCF rules is quite positive. They seem fluently written, with some authorial personality (e.g. "Tournament Director Tips") and there's are some good ideas which are new to me (e.g. can only claim a draw at the beginning of your turn, any claim also implies an offer of a draw). However the first time we try to get a clear answer, about "rights" we are a little let down.)

So the FIDE rook-capture lacuna is surely just a hole, and it may be filled in the future. In the mean time, FIDE arbiters have discretion to interpret the rules using their judgement, as @TonyK stated.

In the mean time, as Brian surmised, at least one joke problem relies on specifically this point. Place both kings and two other officers on an empty board so that with White to move there is a unique way to draw by repetition in 4.0 moves. (A.Buchanan, version Retros Mailing List 3/1/2019). Note that this relies on the aforementioned castling convention.

  • 2
    You may be happy to hear that the USCF has made the latest version of the rules freely available: uschess.org/content/view/7752/369 . It's not the full book, but it has the rules of the game itself (as opposed to pairing, rating, TD certification, correspondence rules, etc. for which you still have to buy the book). – itub Mar 12 at 10:32
  • @itub thanks for this - will edit the answer suitably – Laska Mar 12 at 11:12
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This is dealt with explicitly in article 9.2.2 -

9.2.2 Positions are considered the same if and only if the same player has the move, pieces of the same kind and colour occupy the same squares and the possible moves of all the pieces of both players are the same. Thus positions are not the same if:
9.2.2.1 at the start of the sequence a pawn could have been captured en passant
9.2.2.2 a king had castling rights with a rook that has not been moved, but forfeited these after moving. The castling rights are lost only after the king or rook is moved.

Neither of white's rooks move hence castling rights are not affected until the king moves.

In general provided white has not moved his king he may castle on the side on which a rook which has not moved has been captured. I believe there are even puzzles which rely on this for the solution.

  • Puzzles which rely! That is interesting. – thb Mar 10 at 10:50
  • When you have time, see the update appended to the question. – thb Mar 10 at 12:44
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    @thb I have an old original (joke) problem which relies on this, actually: helpmate in 2. B6N/1p1pp3/4pp1P/7P/7P/2p4P/1PPP2rr/R3K2k b - - 0 1 – Remellion Mar 10 at 12:52
  • @Remellion Your composition has been added to the question. – thb Mar 10 at 13:37
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    @thb Also to clarify why it's a joke: to deliver the helpmate, white needs to be able to castle, but we can prove that white cannot castle in the diagram as the white rook on a1 must have moved before (to allow the black a-pawn to promote.) So the solution involves black promoting to a white rook, giving white castling rights with that rook which has indeed never moved. "Joke" in problems usually refers to some amusing bending of regular chess conventions or interpretations. – Remellion Mar 11 at 5:28
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This seems to be an omission in law 9.2.2.2:

9.2.2.2 a king had castling rights with a rook that has not been moved, but forfeited these after moving. The castling rights are lost only after the king or rook is moved.

It should read "The castling rights are lost only after the king or rook is moved, or the rook is captured." Indeed, that is how I hope an experienced arbiter would interpret it; the idea of having castling rights with non-existent rooks is absurd.

  • When you have time, see the update appended to the question. – thb Mar 10 at 12:44
  • @TonyK Although I agree with you, this doesn't really the answer the question. The question was not what the rule is or should be; the question was whether someone in authority had addressed the matter. – D M Mar 10 at 17:57

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