We all know the rules we play competitive chess under. They are the FIDE Laws of Chess. Our individual federations in different countries may tweak the parts of the rules they're allowed to tweak (the ECF, for instance, overrides the FIDE "zero tolerance" by saying that if an organizer doesn't specify a default time then for standard time control it is 30 minutes) but basically we play by FIDE's rules.

Who makes those rules? Every 4 years or so FIDE has a major revision of the rules. The last major revision was in 2017 with a tweak to rapid and blitz in 2018. We were due a major revision last year, delayed no doubt by Covid. We should expect a new revision soon. What kind of people are going to be making those changes?


1 Answer 1


The FIDE Rules Commission makes the rules and maintains them.

There we can see who is making the rules. We see that, in general, they are arbiters and mostly not very strong players. Here is a list with their arbiter qualifications (FA = FIDE Arbiter, IA = International Arbiter), ratings (when they have them) and titles.

Chairman - Abdulrahim, Mahdi IA 1349 (standard)
Honorary Chairman - Vardapetyan, Ashot IA unrated
Secretary - Pahlevanzadeh, Mehrdad IA 2078 (standard)
Khaled, Hassan IA unrated
Escafre, Stephane IA 1673 (standard)
Hoffpauir, Mike FA unrated
Turdialiev, Husan IA unrated
Krasenkow, Michal IA 2576 (standard) GM
Cisse, Ibrahima - unrated
Vergara Palomino, Jorge Luis IA 1975 (standard)
Press, Shaun IA 1946 (standard)
Saduakassova, Dinara - 2468 (standard) IM, WGM
Md Haroon or Rashid IA unrated
Paulino Garcia, Wilfredo Antonio IA 1922 (standard)
Lehtivaara, Jouni IA unrated
Johann, Gregor IA 2003 (standard)
Underwood, Martha FA unrated
Polovina, Elena IA 2078 (standard)

So, those are the 18 people making the rules. One chairman, one honorary (?) chairman, one secretary, 4 councillors and 11 members.

Two have no arbiting qualifications, two are FIDE Arbiters and the rest (14) are all International Arbiters.

Two are master strength players (one GM and one WGM/IM), five are moderately strong (1900-2100), one is average strength (1673), one is weak (1349) and the rest are unrated.

  • 3
    An interesting detail would be how the individuals are chosen? On a quick look, the names look like there's international representation at least. Having so many unranked players seems kinda surprising too.
    – ilkkachu
    Jan 12, 2022 at 14:34
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    @ilkkachu they're almost all arbiters though, you don't need to be a good at a game to be a good arbiter. Jan 12, 2022 at 14:44
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    Are the unrated members even players at all? I don't see how that would necessarily be a requirement. For example, most sports referees are not usually current or even former players themselves. You can have a full understanding of the rules of the game without being very good at it. Jan 12, 2022 at 14:45
  • 4
    @PierreArlaud, no, you don't need to be a (very) good player to be a good arbiter, but I'd guess people usually find their way into games through wanting to play them, so I would have expected many arbiters to at least have a background as a player... (I was just surprised, not commenting on their competence as arbiters/rules editors.)
    – ilkkachu
    Jan 12, 2022 at 14:57
  • The game had been under Arabic and Persian control for 1000 yrs and then moved on to European hands to 500+ years. Overall, 1500 yrs under influential people who modified and damaged the Original Chess.
    – ShadYantra
    Jan 17, 2022 at 17:44

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