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This happened to someone else recently in a time scramble during an OTB game. His opponent promoted a pawn and placed a Queen of the wrong color on the board. He was corrected by the player and the game continued for a bit.

I was wondering what the rules say about this situation.

So if your opponent promotes a pawn to a Queen and accidentally places your Queen on the board instead of his own, can you claim a win because of an illegal move? And if you don't claim, but continue to play on without correcting the situation, is that Queen officially yours?

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So if your opponent promotes a pawn to a Queen and accidentally places your Queen on the board instead of his own, can you claim a win because of an illegal move?

No, you can't. There is no illegal move until the player either presses the clock or makes another move (after the opponent has moved).

Here is what the FIDE Laws of Chess have to say:

3.7.5.1 When a player, having the move, plays a pawn to the rank furthest from its starting position, he must exchange that pawn as part of the same move for a new queen, rook, bishop or knight of the same colour on the intended square of arrival.

3.10.2 A move is illegal when it fails to meet the relevant requirements of Articles 3.1 – 3.9

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), or

6.2.1.2 the player has made his next move, when his previous move was not completed.

7.5.1 An illegal move is completed once the player has pressed his clock. 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.

7.5.5 After the action taken under Article 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3 or 7.5.4 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.

So, first of all, yes, promoting to the wrong piece is an illegal move (3.7.5.1 and 3.10.2)

Secondly, just making an illegal move does not attract any penalty (other than having to make a legal move with the piece touched or captured). The move only attracts punishment when it is completed (7.5.1 and 7.5.5) by pressing the clock or making a subsequent move.

Thirdly, you cannot claim a win for the first completed illegal move, only for the second (7.5.5). This rule now also applies to rapid and blitz.

And if you don't claim, but continue to play on without correcting the situation, is that Queen officially yours?

At standard time controls, no. According to 7.5.1 the position before the illegal move must be reinstated and a legal move made.

However, rapid and blitz are different.

Appendix A. Rapid chess

...

A.4.2 If the arbiter observes an action taken under Article 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.5.3 or 7.5.4, he shall act according to Article 7.5.5, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the arbiter does not intervene, the opponent is entitled to claim, provided the opponent has not made his next move. If the opponent does not claim and the arbiter does not intervene, the illegal move shall stand and the game shall continue. Once the opponent has made his next move, an illegal move cannot be corrected unless this is agreed by the players without intervention of the arbiter.

Appendix B. Blitz

...

B.4 Otherwise, play shall be governed by the Rapid chess Laws as in Article A.2 and A.4.

In rapid and blitz the standard rules for punishment only apply if there are conditions which will only occur in very high level tournaments, if then. These are that the moves are recorded independently and there are enough arbiters (one per 3 games at rapid and one per game at blitz) to properly see what is going on. Otherwise article A.4 applies and you can keep your extra queen.

  • Whose responsibility is it to supply extra queens, rooks, bishops & knights of the correct colour? Can a player bring his own, in case caught short? :) – Laska Dec 23 '19 at 16:12
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    @Laska: the arbiter's. If you don't see the piece you need, stop the clock and ask the arbiter. But that's not related to the question. – RemcoGerlich Dec 23 '19 at 16:46
  • @RemcoGerlich thanks. I know it's not directly responding to the Q, but I think it's part of the rounded answer, as using wrong colour Q might be a misguided "solution" to the problem of non-standard material needed – Laska Dec 23 '19 at 17:40
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    @Laska It is the responsibility of the tournament organiser to make sure the equipment is sufficient. Then there is article 6.11.2 "A player may stop the chessclock only in order to seek the arbiter’s assistance, for example when promotion has taken place and the piece required is not available." So, if the piece is not available then stop the clock and call for assistance from the arbiter – Brian Towers Dec 23 '19 at 17:51
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    this makes me wonder if there is some viable strategy where someone might try to promote their pawn to one of the opponents pieces in order to block the opponent with their own pieces, hoping that the illegal move goes uncontested – user5359531 Dec 24 '19 at 18:45
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That would be an illegal move, so rule 7.5.1 should apply - when it is found that an illegal move has been completed, the position before that move shall be reinstated. And yes, you can claim a win due to the illegal move (assuming that in the given situation an illegal move loses - usually when the opponent already made another illegal move before), just as it is also an illegal move to move the pawn to the last rank without replacing it.

  • Claiming a win for an illegal move is only in blitz. – PhishMaster Dec 23 '19 at 16:44
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    @PhishMaster Claiming a win is only after the second illegal move. That applies in standard, rapid and blitz. You are out of date. – Brian Towers Dec 23 '19 at 17:53
  • Thank you, Brian. – PhishMaster Dec 23 '19 at 17:57
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    @Mast I clarified the answer. It actually never was wrong, as claiming a win based on the opponent's illegal move is possible, although it usually requires the opponent to have made another illegal move before (there is at least one special case where the first illegal move loses, which is when the player ultimately refuses to make a legal move with that piece - rule 11.7). Note that "illegal move" also includes 7.8.1 (pressing the clock without making a move). Also for not FIDE-rated tournaments it is not uncommon to declare in the tournament regulations that the first illegal move shall lose – jschenk Dec 25 '19 at 21:00

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