I heard that in formal games you have to move the piece that you touch first. What if the piece cannot move, as in there are no legal moves that involve that piece? What would happen in that circumstance?

  • i guess you mess with your opponent's mind a bit. wonder how many have used this kind of strategy
    – BCLC
    Commented Nov 20, 2021 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


The laws of FIDE state in article 4.5 that "If none of the pieces touched can be moved or captured, the player may make any legal move."

  • 10
    @akostadinov that probably refers to the opponent's piece. If you touch one of their pieces and you can capture it, then you need to make a move that captures it. I guess.
    – terdon
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 14:05
  • 4
    @akostadinov, it's in the articles right before: "4.3 Except as provided in Article 4.2, if the player having the move deliberately touches on the chessboard: [...] b. one or more of his opponent’s pieces, he must capture the first piece touched which can be captured" .
    – ilkkachu
    Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 15:06
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    Wow, lo and behold! When I was growing up (born mid-80's), we were taught that the "If you touch it, you must move it" rule had been done away with. There were some people who still thought the rule was in effect and would try to hold you to it, but many said it was an older rule that had been discarded. It's interesting to see official rules here, in Article 4 in general, saying that it is currently in effect. Commented Nov 18, 2021 at 20:15
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    @Panzercrisis - It's more in effect than ever. The rule has been tightened in 2017. However, what was discarded a hundred years ago, is a rule that if the piece touched had no legal moves, then the player had to move their king. Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 7:12
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    @JirkaHanika what if the king couldn't move?
    – minseong
    Commented Nov 19, 2021 at 11:46

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