15

75 move rule says

9.6 If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn: (...) any series of at least 75 moves have been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture.

This rule can be read to mean that the game ends after 75 moves without capture or pawn move and anything that occurs after that doesn't matter. Let's say I defend a pawnless endgame and over 75 moves pass without capture. I don't realize it and a few moves later I'm about to be checkmated and resign. The scoresheet is signed as a loss. Then I count the moves and see that 75 moves were exceeded. Am I right that I can claim that the game had ended in a draw before I resigned and my resignation has no effect? I think FIDE rules could be clearer on this point, but is this interpretation valid?

Bonus question: if the game is in rapid with no scoresheets, but with video recording, such as at top level tournments, could a player who resigned make the same kind of claim and request counting moves from DGT or video to ascertain that 75 moves have passed?

  • 1
    "Then I count the moves and see that 75 moves were exceeded." So, you probably should count the moves before resignation (at the moment when you are going to resign), so if you count to 75 (actually, 50 should be enough), you can readily claim the draw even if your opponent has a mate in 1 (but not actually checkmated you). – trolley813 Oct 21 at 5:06
  • @trolley813: yes, obviously. But that is not what the question is about! – TonyK Oct 21 at 19:40
4

Here is my email conversation with the head of the FIDE Arbiter's Commission, Laurent Freyd.

In essence, for now, until they add a clarification, and arbiter would be correct ruling either way. That said, he says that he teaches new arbiters that once the game has ended, they do not go back and change the result after the fact. In other words, they still lean toward mate ending the game or resignation ending the game is final so if that clarification is ever issued, it is clear what that would be.

"When the game reached a point where it's finished in a way that all actors observed that end and agree - let's not change it back after analysis." (full text quoted in context below)


Dear Mr. Freyd,

The other day on Stack Exchange Chess, a question about FIDE rules came up. We got several answers, including two conflicting answers from two FIDE arbiters. Although the circumstances would be very rare, I am hoping that you can resolve this.

The question was “Does the FIDE 75-move rule (9.6) apply after checkmate or resignation?” There is further explanation in the body of the question, but summing it up, a game is proceeding, and although it is not noticed at the time, 75 moves passed, and let’s say, of the 81st move of no pawns moving or captures, one side is checkmated or resigns. Almost immediately, the losing person realizes that 75 moves had passed, and believes that the game immediately ended there, and he files a protest that the game was officially over at move 75 so the result should be changed to a draw.

Which takes precedence? Rule 5.1.1 “The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game”, or 9.6 “If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn” since that had occurred first?

Did the game immediately end on the 75th move of no pawns moving or captures, or since no one noticed, upon the checkmate or resignation?

Thank you for clarifying this.


Thanks for your email. Article 9.6.2 states "If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence." In the case when none of the players claimed before (let's remember that they are already allowed to claim a draw from the 50th move without capture or pawn move), nor the arbiter identified that 75 moves or more were played in that same context, I believe it makes sense to keep the result decided by the players. I would make the parallel with a football game where one camp was off-side but scored a goal, while the referees wouldn't see it. The goal remains, even if the video shows after the match that the context of play was not supposed to allow the goal to be validated by the referee. Of course, if the arbiter sees that the limit is passed, he MUST stop the game with a draw.

I agree with you that there are 2 different ways of thinking about such questions: - either consider that there's one truth, which would impact a result even after a game is finished. e.g. a kid's game where one of the players gets checkmated, none of the opponents understand it, continue the game, then the same player checkmates his opponent: with that philosophy, the result would be changed as the analysis of the game would show a "first checkmate" earlier in the game. - or consider that a game is a flow of events, and the truth is what the different actors (players, arbiters) understand and see, so it may happen that some events aren't seen. e.g. you played 80 moves without pawn move or piece capture and a checkmate is observed (as a result of a legal move, of course), then checkmate stands: with that philosophy, you don't expect to reconstruct a game to validate its result. My preference goes to the latter option, as it keeps responsibility on the players to understand what's going on in their own game and creates less complications when treating the end of the game with the arbiter (who sometimes can't find out all irregularities or detailed facts of all the games he has to supervise at once).

I hope this helps.

Best regards, Laurent FREYD Chairman - FIDE Arbiters' Commission


One last clarification: Are you saying that an arbiter could rule either way and be correct?

Thank you


I think yes, until we publish a "philosophical statement" on the fact that we use "available facts" at the moment of the action, rather than post mortem seeking absolute truth, to make a final decision. Although, I'm really uncomfortable with the "post mortem" approach and when I teach arbiters, I always mention such cases as "too bad nobody saw anything, but that's life. I don't expect to transform arbiters into players analysing the game after it is finished. When the game reached a point where it's finished in a way that all actors observed that end and agree - let's not change it back after analysis." (of course, except if a proof of cheating is found or something like that, but then it is not anymore a simple change of result, it is a sanction).

Best regards, Laurent FREYD Chairman - FIDE Arbiters' Commission

  • An interesting "sitting on the fence" opinion from someone who, as chairman of the Arbiters Commission, is worth listening to, but is not definitive. Out of curiosity, why did you ask him and not Mahdi Abdulrahim, the chairman of the Rules Commission, who has the ultimate say on these matters? – Brian Towers Oct 22 at 13:30
  • No, but the Rules Commission makes the rules, and the Arbiters' Commission interprets them, so they actually have the final say. – PhishMaster Oct 22 at 15:09
  • I'm going to accept this answer. It acknowledges that there is ambiguity, which should be evident by existence of different answers to this question, then it provides a direction on how to resolve it. It also references what is arguably the best authority we could have on the issue. – Lesser Hedgehog Oct 23 at 1:01
  • @lesser hedghog, thank you. – PhishMaster Oct 23 at 1:34
  • @LesserHedgehog You up-voted, but did not accept the answer. – PhishMaster Oct 25 at 23:14
5

The FIDE Laws of Chess (I'm giving a link to the version in the Arbiter's Handbook because FIDE have Munged their own site) do give a definitive answer but it takes some searching to find. The key appears in the section on the Chess clock!

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:
6.2.1.1 the move ends the game (see Articles 5.1.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 9.6.1 and 9.6.2),

We turn to 9.6.1 and 9.6.2 -

9.6 If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn:
9.6.1 the same position has appeared, as in 9.2.2 at least five times.

9.6.2 any series of at least 75 moves have been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence.

Checkmate or resignation occurred after the 75 moves hence the game had already ended and provided the rules of the competition allow for appeals / claims then your claim of a draw is valid. Note that if you wait too long the decision is not going to be reversed. For instance if the results have already been sent to FIDE for rating then it is way too late. If you notice 10 minutes after the game then you should still be able to appeal and claim the draw.

Note that had you been paying attention then you would have claimed the draw after 50 moves. After 75 moves it is the arbiter who is supposed to be paying attention and you should not have to take any action. It is his responsibility to pay attention and step in to declare the game drawn. The only reason you have to take action and appeal in this case is to correct the mistake of the arbiter.

  • 1
    What about the edge case where move 75 is checkmate? It would appear that both checkmate and move 75 end the game, but with different result! The answer in the case of the 50-move rule is that it's not a problem because the claim is made before moving, but with the 75-move rule I'm not sure since it applies after moving and no claim is needed. – itub Oct 20 at 11:15
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    @itub, There is a LONG history of checkmate ending the game. I was a TD a long time ago, and that has always been the primary standard. I do not believe that Brian's answer is correct, or that any arbiter would go back in time, and rule it was a draw. It opens up a huge can of worms to start doing that. – PhishMaster Oct 20 at 12:15
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    I am playing a tournament today, but maybe after I will write an email to FIDE and see if they are willing to clarify just to be sure. I also just realized that Christian H. Kuhn below is a FIDE arbiter since 2014, and he agrees that checkmate ending the game takes precedence. – PhishMaster Oct 20 at 12:26
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    @PhishMaster "I also just realized that Christian H. Kuhn below is a FIDE arbiter" and so am I. – Brian Towers Oct 20 at 23:09
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    @itub That edge case seems to be covered in the rules: "9.6.2 any series of at least 75 moves have been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence." – Anthony Grist Oct 21 at 15:31
5

Signed scoresheets matter

The other answers go into detail of what would be the correct result of the game. However, that is irrelevant because you say

The scoresheet is signed as a loss.

And FIDE laws 8.7 state

At the conclusion of the game both players shall sign both scoresheets, indicating the result of the game. Even if incorrect, this result shall stand, unless the arbiter decides otherwise.

So the FIDE laws are quite clear that if you signed the (potentially incorrect) result there, that's the official result of the game.

  • 9
    "So the FIDE laws are quite clear that if you signed the (potentially incorrect) result there, that's the official result of the game.". Wrong. The FIDE Laws are quite clear. The Chief Arbiter has the power to overrule the signed score sheets in obvious cases of error. One common such error is both players signing for the wrong result. – Brian Towers Oct 20 at 23:15
3

In short: Art. 5 lists situations that end the game immediately. Checkmate, stalemate, resignation, draw by agreement, dead position. Those end the game even if it is not noticed. All other ends need a valid claim (2nd irregular move) or at least someone who observes it (flag fall). And that is the case here: Art. 9.6 says that the game is drawn in the cases of 9.6.1 and 9.6.2., but it fails to say „This immediately ends the game.“ So if a game is finished by a situation of Art. 5 before 9.6 is stated by a player or arbiter, the result according Art. 5 counts.

Your resignation, if happened before any reclamation of a draw according 9.6, finishes the game immediately, both in a tournament game and (bonus question) in a rapid game. That cannot be changed.

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    I suspect that is unfortunate wording. The whole point of the article is that it doesn't need a claim (if a player wanted to claim, they could have done that 25 moves earlier already). – RemcoGerlich Oct 20 at 19:30
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    @RemcoGerlich is correct, the wording in many parts of the Laws is obscure. However, Mr Kuhn, you are wrong. As I have pointed out in my answer you have overlooked - "A move is also completed if: 6.2.1.1 the move ends the game (see Articles 5.1.1, 5.2.1, 5.2.2, 9.6.1 and 9.6.2)" – Brian Towers Oct 20 at 23:12
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    Your answer makes sense, although it highlights what is at least sloppiness of the wording in the rules. Basically, "ends the game" doesn't mean that the game ends; only "immediately ends the game" does. It's like a distinction between "done" and "done done": it shouldn't exist and if it does, it means something is wrong with the process. – Lesser Hedgehog Oct 21 at 2:15
  • @LesserHedgehog: "at least sloppiness" is being very generous. I can't believe there is still this kind of ambiguity in the rules of what should be a straightforward abstract game. Has FIDE never bothered to write a better rule book? – user21820 Oct 21 at 5:22
  • @BrianTowers: That is one of those inconsistencies in FIDE LoC. The formula „This immediately ends the game“ is missing in 9.6. Lawyers would debate endlessly if a sentence in parentheses in an article about the clock could have the same consequences. Geman authorities (those are the ones who matter for me in most cases) say: „No, without explicit formulation there is no immediately end, someone has to make a claim.“ But it is fully accepted that other local authorities could decide otherwise; at least until the FIDE commission has made a clarification or proper formulated LoC. – Christian H. Kuhn Oct 25 at 21:29
2

No, checkmate or resignation ends the game.

9.6 says that if you have 75 moves or a 5-fold repetition, that the game is automatically drawn, and that no one needs to claim it. That said, checkmate still ends the game, so if that happens on the 75th move, it is over.

You still need to realize that you have made the appropriate number of moves, and if you have hit 75, you do not need to claim it by going to the arbiter and making the formal claim, but you still need to point it out to your opponent. If he disagrees, he can summon the arbiter.

9.6 If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn:

9.6.1 the same position has appeared, as in 9.2.2 at least five times.

9.6.2 any series of at least 75 moves have been made by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence.

5.1.1 The game is won by the player who has checkmated his opponent’s king. This immediately ends the game....

5.1.2 The game is won by the player whose opponent declares he resigns. This immediately ends the game.

Again, the same for your bonus question: If you resign or get mated, it is too late. The game is just over.

P.S. Stalemate also immediately ends the game...not backsies. :) Also, this rule, while a bit strange, is primarily intended to give the arbiter a method of ending a game without having to have a player request it.

1

Apparently this has occurred in real life and the FIDE Arbiters Commission has delivered their verdict in an article in their twice yearly FIDE Arbiters' Magazine. In the September 2018 edition it reports on an occurrence in the "First Saturday tournament in Hungary" in May 2018 in a game between IM Akshat Khamparia (IND) and IM Bo Li (CHN).

This is how it was reported:

After one of the moves by IM Li, he stopped the clock, and said to the Chief Arbiter “repetition”. The Chief Arbiter immediately rejected this improperly attempted draw claim.

There are basically two ways to properly attempt draw claims. In general terms, these two ways are either BEFORE your move or AFTER your opponent’s move:

9.2.1 The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a player having the move, if the same position for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves):
9.2.1.1 is about to appear, if he first writes his move, which cannot be changed, on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move, or
9.2.1.2 has just appeared, and the player claiming the draw has the move.

The Chief Arbiter attempted to explain the above articles to IM Li, but there seemed to be a language barrier. A few moves later, IM Li did the same thing, and again, the Chief Arbiter rejected this improperly attempted draw claim.

The game continued, and IM Khamparia eventually won by checkmate.

At this point, even if there had indeed been a threefold repetition during the game, as it was never properly claimed, the result would have remained 1-0.

However, after the game, IM Li and the Chief Arbiter were attempting to discuss the situation, but it was challenging due the language barrier. Regardless, IM Li eventually said “FIVE!” to the Chief Arbiter. Of course, that changes everything!

According to the relatively new Article 9.6.1:

9.6 If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn:

9.6.1 the same position has appeared, as in 9.2.2 at least five times

It is critical to note that this case is NOT a question of whether checkmate is more IMPORTANT than fivefold repetition. The question is what happened FIRST. If fivefold repetition had occurred, then that ended the game at that moment!

There is no game after this point !

The Chief Arbiter checked, and there had indeed been fivefold repetition, at moves 60, 62, 68, 73 and 75. It can be challenging to catch fivefold repetitions!

The result was changed to a draw.

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