When a pawn is moved to the promotion square, can one change one's mind about what piece to promote to?
Say I:

  • Push a pawn to the promotion square
  • Remove it
  • Grab an additional queen
    (do not yet place it on the board and then realise queening would lead to stalemate)
  • Grab a rook instead

Did I break a rule?

  • Here is a related (but different) question.
    – TonyK
    Dec 28, 2021 at 15:01

1 Answer 1


So I grab a rook instead. Did I break a rule?

No, the FIDE Laws of Chess are very clear. The choice of piece is not decided until it touches the promotion square.

In so far as touch move applies to promotion the key is that the promotion must be performed with one hand. That is the same hand must be used to remove the pawn from the board (it does not have to be first moved to the promotion square) and to place the promotion piece on the board. How the piece reaches the "moving hand" is irrelevant. It may be transferred from the other hand. If a piece is captured in the act of promotion it must be removed also with the same "moving hand".

4.4 If a player having the move:
4.4.4 promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised when the piece has touched the square of promotion.
4.6 The act of promotion may be performed in various ways:

4.6.1 the pawn does not have to be placed on the square of arrival,

4.6.2 removing the pawn and putting the new piece on the square of promotion may occur in any order.

4.6.3 If an opponent’s piece stands on the square of promotion, it must be captured.
7.5.4 If a player uses two hands to make a single move (for example in case of castling, capturing or promotion) and pressed the clock, it shall be considered and penalized as if an illegal move.

  • 3
    I want to highlight 4.4.4. A lot of reclamations concerning promotion have to deal with the absence of knowledge about that article. Oct 4, 2020 at 10:12
  • Interesting that this is a point of confusion, by analogy with a normal move you'd think this is obvious? Oct 5, 2020 at 14:58
  • 1
    Why is there a same-hand requirement?
    – J.G.
    Oct 5, 2020 at 15:41
  • 1
    J.G.: so player won't touch clock until after moving, see explanation here: chess.stackexchange.com/questions/8592/… Oct 5, 2020 at 19:23
  • Do there's a difference in the laws for two situations: normally touching a piece then moving it to a square commits you to making a move with that piece, but you're not committed to moving it to that square until you release it. But, curiously, article 4.4.4 implies that you are committed to promoting to a certain piece as soon as it touches a promotion square, even if you're still holding it, even though you're not committed to promoting on a particular square until you put either the pawn or the promoted piece on that square and release it.
    – Rosie F
    Jan 2, 2022 at 12:14

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