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I am talking about legal moves and draws, I mean when does every rule about draw and legal move change, like when does en passant, castling change, when does fivefold repetition threefold repetition 50 and 75 move rule where born?

2 Answers 2

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The rules get reworded & shuffled around every few years but it’s rare there’s substantive changes.

As far as I know, the last three significant changes that affected things were all presided over by International Arbiter (IA) Stewart Reuben who was chair of the FIDE rules committee.

Working backwards in time:

  1. 75 move & 5-fold repetitions mandatory draws (so everyone can catch the last bus home). 2014 Laws

  2. Ep & castling rights impact on repetition (for ep it’s whether the move can actually happen, for castling it’s whether the two units have moved in the past, irrespective of whether castling can ever actually happen). The point is the two kinds of right behave differently. 2009 Laws no longer on the FIDE site

  3. Dead position rule. Mandatory draw if no helpmate is available anywhere in the future game tree. There is no draw by insufficient material. A related rule appeared at the same time: that a player does not lose by flag-fall if the opponent has no possible helpmates; instead the game is drawn. 1997 Laws no longer on the FIDE site.

So as you'd expect, the rate of change is glacial, yet even glaciers do move.

Stewart did also lead discussions with USCF with a view to aligning the Laws more closely but as far as I know, nothing resulted from that.

I believe that he is working on a history of the rules of chess, which would answer all your questions, but I'm not sure when that would be published.

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  • 3
    so when ? what year ?
    – Imilis N
    Commented Jun 26 at 15:48
  • 1
    Will answer tmr when I have access to proper network
    – Laska
    Commented Jun 26 at 16:26
  • @ImilisN Added the years. Any more questions, please just ask
    – Laska
    Commented Jun 27 at 6:54
  • Wait ... does #3 mean I can flag my opponent in KNN vs K on reaching that state with opposing K in the corner and 1 second on opponent's clock? (KNN vs K is an effective draw by insufficient material as soon as the K moves out of the corner; but if it's actually in the corner a mate in 1 can be on the board.)
    – Joshua
    Commented Jun 27 at 17:21
  • @Joshua if your opponent has K then you cannot lose on time. This is separate from the two-sided dead position rule, and I will add it to the list. KNNvK or indeed KNvKN can still end in checkmate
    – Laska
    Commented Jun 27 at 17:28
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When was the last time a chess rule was modified?

The last time was in January 2023. You can see the latest version here.

In general FIDE aims to update the rules every 3 or 4 years, usually after consultation with federations and players, although sometimes an emergency change is made when they believe necessary and sometimes external events (e.g. Covid) or an extended consultation period can mean there is more than 4 years between updates.

The last few rule changes before 2023 were on:

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    This might be better as its own question, but I'd be curious to see the emergency rule changes for COVID.
    – Chuu
    Commented Jun 27 at 14:47
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    @Chuu There were none. Covid delayed the process of changing the rules because the FIDE general assembly and different commissions stopped meeting during that period
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Jun 27 at 16:11

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