Please give me your perspective and experience about USCF sudden death and non-sudden death time controls. My understanding is the following:

  1. In general, the arbiter should not intervene unless a player claims a draw.
  2. The player who wants to claim a draw needs to have a complete scoresheet, unless the time control is sudden death and the player who claims a draw has less than five minutes. If a player has less than 5 minutes, and it does not have a complete scoresheet, to claim a draw needs "the observation of a director, deputy, or impartial witness(es)" confirming that the threefold repetition rule has occurred.
    3) The arbiter may intervene without a player claim and declare a draw if "The same position has appeared, as in 14C, for at least five consecutive alternate moves by each player."
  3. The arbiter does not have the obligation to write players moves if any tournament player is on time pressure.
  4. The player who is not claiming a draw cannot object the arbiter rule if he/she is not writing their moves.
  5. The player who claims a draw should stop the clocks when he/she calls a judge about this matter.

How FIDE handle this situation? Please cite the exact rule.

I found that USCF rules are available for free at 5/9/2022 in the following link: USCF Chess Rules

It seems that this is the relevant material:

Triple Ocurrence of Position Part 1

Triple Ocurrence of Position Part 2

Triple Ocurrence of Position Part 3

I already posted a question about this topic, but I feel that I need more information, and also that this question is specific on the arbiter duties. In addition, in this question I include non-sudden death time controls. Here is the link of the previous question: 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?

1 Answer 1


First, in the case of draw by three fold repetition, only the players can make the claim. The arbiter may not intervene as this might advantage one of the players.

In the case of five fold repetition, the USCF rules state that the arbiter may declare the game drawn:

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.

This is in stark contrast with the FIDE Laws which states:

9.2.1 The game is drawn, upon a correct claim by a player having the move, when the same position for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves)

9.6 If one or both of the following occur(s) then the game is drawn:

9.6.1 the same position has appeared, as in 9.2.2 at least five times.

Hence in FIDE rated chess the five fold repetition does not have to occur consecutively, it could be over a period of 20 or 30 moves, and there is no arbiter decision to be made. The game is drawn.

  • 1
    I was pretty much going to write this, with one other point of emphasis. I think the "may" in the fivefold repetition rule implies a "may not" if it doesn't reach that point - otherwise the rule would be superfluous; you'd be telling the director he may do something that he could have done several moves ago.
    – D M
    Sep 5, 2022 at 12:21
  • @DM Good analysis. So the "may" implies that now the arbiter may, but before he could not.
    – Beginner
    Sep 5, 2022 at 16:57
  • Excellent answer thank you! I think that the advantage of USCF rule over FIDE rule in the case of 5 moves and the use of the word "may", and please correct me if I am wrong, would be that if the game ends automatically after the five-move situation, but the game continues, most likely because the arbiter is not aware that this has occurred, and ends in another way, the player could argue and request a half point because the game had already ended with a draw. With the "may" the game is still alive until the player claims, or the arbiter notices that the five-move situation has occurred.
    – Beginner
    Sep 5, 2022 at 17:05

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