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It is my understanding that the USCF expresses that if a player has less than 5 minutes in a 30+0 game, neither the player nor his/her opponent have the obligation to continue with chess notation.

If players are not writing their moves can they claim a draw using the threefold repetition rule in an USCF or FIDE 30+0 chess tournament?

Do the arbiters have the obligation to write the moves when players are not doing it?

If the arbiter notices that a position has been repeated three times should they intervene if the players do not claim a draw?

What do the USCF and FIDE rules express about these situations?

P.S. What Is The Threefold Repetition In Chess? The threefold repetition rule states that if a game reaches the same position three times, a draw can be claimed. A position is repeated if all pieces of the same kind and color are on identical squares, and all possible moves are the same.

I found a similar question: What are the different rules for claiming a draw?

However, that was several years ago. Also, I am interested in specific in 30+0 games.

Update: USCF rules are available online for free

Here is the link:


Update for USCF: 14K. Director declares draw for lack of progress.

If one or both of the following occur(s) then the TD may declare the game drawn:

  1. The same position has appeared, as in 14C, for at least five consecutive alternate moves by each player.
  2. Any consecutive series of 75 moves have been completed by each player without the movement of any pawn and without any capture. If the last move resulted in checkmate, that shall take precedence

Update for USCF: 14F4. Director may count moves in sudden death. In sudden death, a player with fewer than five minutes remaining and a simplified position in which no pawn moves or captures seem likely may stop both clocks, declare to a director an intention to invoke the 50-move rule when possible, and ask for assistance in counting moves. A director who agrees this is appropriate may count moves or use a deputy or a clock with a move counter to do so. a. If the director or the deputy will count moves, the count should begin by crediting moves already made and listed on the scoresheet of the player intending to claim. An opponent who believes a different number of moves have been made should present this case if and when the count reaches 50. b. The director or deputy may either keep score, make check marks, or combine the two. c. After the count by the director or deputy begins, neither player has a right to know the count until 50 moves are reached. At that point the game is declared drawn unless the opponent successfully challenges the move count. d. The opponent may challenge either the moves on the claimant’s scoresheet before the director/deputy count, the count itself, or both, but must have a scoresheet adequate (13C7) to support the challenge. e. If the challenge is upheld, the game shall continue with the director or deputy resuming from the corrected count. If the claimant’s scoresheet is responsible for the wrong count, two minutes shall be added to the remaining unused time of the claimant’s opponent. If the director/deputy count was wrong, there shall be no time adjustment. f. The director may insert a clock with a move counter that shows the remaining time of both players, set the move counter to zero, and order play to resume. When the clock indicates that both sides have completed 50 further moves, either player may claim a draw. If this method is used, the director should inform the players that if a move is erroneously not counted or double counted, the players should stop the clock and notify the director.

1 Answer 1


Do the arbiters have the obligation to write the moves when players are not doing it?

In general, "No". In rapid (30+0 counts as rapid in the FIDE Laws) there is no obligation for anybody, neither players nor arbiters, to write the moves.

The only instance in which the arbiter or another person other than the player would write the moves for a player would be in case of -

  1. Disability. For some reason the player cannot write the moves down.
  2. In case of a standard time control with multiple controls where there is no increment in the control and it is not the last control and the player has less than 5 minutes left. The only place these ever happen is elite events.

If players are not writing their moves can they claim a draw using the threefold repetition rule

There needs to either be a record of the game or the arbiter needs to be watching and paying attention. So, if the opponent is still recording because they have more than 5 minutes left then their scoresheet can be used to check the moves. If moves are being recorded electronically (live boards) then in some cases these can be used. Finally if the arbiter is watching and counting then they can verify the claim.

If the arbiter notices that a position has been repeated three times should they intervene if the players do not claim a draw?

No. It is expressly forbidden. This would be interpreted as helping one of the players. There is an additional rule which says that if the arbiter sees that there have 5 repetitions then the arbiter MUST intervene and declare the game drawn.

  • 1
    @Beginner FIDE publish their Laws so anybody can read them. The USCF charges money to see their laws so these apply to FIDE. However I would be very surprised if the USCF mandates any cases where arbiters / tournament directors have to write down a players moves when FIDE doesn't.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Aug 30, 2022 at 23:22
  • 1
    The link only gives free access to chapters 1, 2 and 11. What is there (mainly chapter 2) confirms what I said about draw claims during sudden death (<5 minutes, <30 seconds increment/delay) apart from using opponent's scoresheet if complete. It says nothing about the arbiter writing moves for the player.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Aug 31, 2022 at 11:02
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    @Beginner Counting moves is relevant for claiming a draw via the 50 move rule.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Sep 1, 2022 at 10:29
  • 1
    So there basically doesn't exist a threefold repetition draw (or five-fold for that matter) in chess where moves aren't recorded (except when an arbiter was watching the game)? That's wild!
    – Hauptideal
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 11:06
  • 1
    If a game isn't being recorded, but a player in time trouble who is seeking a draw would be able to force a repeated pair of moves, could the player suspend the clock until the arbiter can see that a position gets repeated three times in nine ply half-moves?
    – supercat
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 17:48

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