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Those wishing to seek FIDE arbiting titles should be aware that the October FIDE Congress will consider a motion to treble the costs of becoming an FA (from €50 to €150) and an IA (to €300).

Two FIDE arbiting courses are provisionally arranged for Glasgow 3-5 November and London 8-10 December. 

It is with regret we note the passing of Simon Woodcock. Simon was the organiser of several events, most noticably the Blackpool Congress.

Some clarification on the new Laws is given on the FIDE website.

These are:

1. By the new Laws of Chess four (4) illegal moves are now in effect, according to Articles: 7.5.1, 7.5.2, 7.7.1 and 7.8.1.
2. In Standard chess the player is forfeited if he completes two (2) of ANY of the above illegal moves.
3. However when there are two (2) illegal moves in one move (i.e. illegal castling made by two hands, illegal promotion made by two hands and illegal capturing made by two hands), they count as one (1) illegal move and the player shall not be forfeited at once (in Standard chess).
4. The capturing of the King is illegal move and is penalised accordingly.
5. In Rapid and Blitz games the Arbiter SHALL CALL the flag fall, if he observes it.
6. Where both clocks show 0.00 and electronic clocks are used, the Arbiter has always the possibility to establish which flag fell first, with the help of the "-" (or flag)indication. Therefore there is always a winner. (Comment by AMcF: unless the game is otherwise drawn)
In the case that mechanical clocks are used then article III.3.1 of the Guidelines about games without increment including Quickplay Finishes shall be applied.
7. If a game with reversed colours will end by normal means (by checkmate, stalemate, resignation or draw agreement, if allowed), before ten (10) moves will be played, then the result stands.
8. In the case where a player presses the clock without making a move, as mentioned in the article 6.2.4, it is considered as an illegal move and it is penalized according to the article 7.5.3. and not according to the article 12.9
9. If a player makes a move with one hand and presses the clock with the other, it is not considered as an illegal move and it is penalized according to Article 12.9.
10. In Rapid and Blitz games, if the player asks from the Arbiter to see the score sheet, the clock should not be stopped.


The new FIDE Laws of Chess which apply from 1st July has now been published. There are a number of changes from the version agreed in Baku.

The new Laws and a version with interpretations are now available on the Laws page of this website.

there is now general agreement on how the new Laws should be applied though this may differ from what appears to be the wording.

Using two hands to make a move is illegal but promoting doing this is more illegal than castling!!

There may be some wording changes or interpretations published after the FIDE meeting in October.

A document giving advice on how to run events in England is available from the ECF website


ECF Chief Arbiter

Lara Barnes has been appointed as Chief Arbiter of the ECF.  She succeeds David Welch. David continues to play an active part in chess administration.

Other changes in duties within the ECF will shortly be announced.


The new Laws of Chess are now available. You can downloaded them from the Laws page here or from the FIDE website.


Lara Barnes has been appointed Deputy Chief Arbiter at the World U18, U16 and U14 Youth Championships.

FIDE has received 140 proposed changes to the Laws of Chess


The new FIDE Arbiters handbook is now available for download and choose 2016 Arbiters Manual from the menu on the left hand side.  A pdf file will download.

The third edition of the FIDE Arbiter magazine will now be distributed during the meetings in Baku in September.

Regulations for the Titles of Arbiter (Proposed Changes)

The following changes are proposed.  They are highlighted in red. There is a change in the constitution of the Commission and tightening of what are acceptable norms.  In addition NAs will have to be approved by the Arbiters’ Commission. This leads to questions about the speed of the process.  Other changes: (a) norms of unlicenced arbiters will not count and (b) a Chief Arbiter who is only an NA will not be allowed to sign for an IA title norm for any arbiter working under him.

1.1.6    The Arbiter Commission is appointed by the General Assembly for the same period of office as the FIDE President. The Commission shall include a Chairman, appointed by the FIDE President, a Secretary, appointed by the Chairman in consultation with the FIDE President and a number of experts, decided by the Chairman in consultation with the President, who shall have voting rights in the Commission. No federation shall have more than one representative in the Commission.
1.1.8    The Commission usually makes its decisions in the sessions immediately preceding the opening of the General Assemblies,
and before Presidential Boards and Executive Boards.

1.1.10 National federations may register their Arbiters of National level(s) with FIDE after approval by the FIDE Arbiters’ Commission.

2.1.5    Arbiters of national Level must be at least 16 years old.

5.2       For the FIDE Arbiter title the norms must include tournaments (according to 3.5) with at least seven (7) rounds. Only one (1) tournament with at least five (5) rounds shall be accepted.

For the International Arbiter title the norms must include tournaments (according to 4.6) with at least nine (9) rounds. Only one (1) tournament with at least seven (7) rounds shall be accepted.

In case of norms from Team Tournaments the number of rounds where the applicant was an Arbiter must be at least five (5) and it must be indicated in the FA1/IA1 form.

If the Chief Arbiter is Arbiter of National Level, he cannot sign any certificate for International Arbiter title.

6.8       If the article 6.6 is not fulfilled (Arbiters must be Licenced), the tournaments shall not be rated and any Arbiters’ norms shall not be accepted.


Changes here are that people wanting to become Arbiter Trainers will need to complete forms FL1 and the main lecturer and Federation official FL2.

Added to the syllabus is FIDE Competition Rules and standards of chess equipment.  In order to cover anti-cheating measures the duration of the course is increased to 18 hours.


There is some clarification and some added restrictions on the requirements to be an IA at category B.

Proposal for Changes to the Training of Arbiters

The following radical proposal submitted by the late Sevan Muradian was proposed.  If accepted it will mean that arbiters at all levels (NA, FA and IA) will require to attend a course and pass an exam before obtaining the title.  Currently this only applies at FA level. There is also a proposal for the continuing education of arbiters. The frequency of these ‘refresher’ courses is not stated but there is an implication that it will be done annually. There is no indication of the expected cost of such courses.

Currently the FIDE Arbiters Commission provides for a single training program for arbiters at the FIDE Arbiter (FA) level. National Arbiters (NA) and International Arbiters (IA) are not required for any training prior to achieving the title. Currently NA’s are provided the title based on requirements set forth by their national federation.

First, the training of the NA must be taken under the auspices of the FIDE Arbiters Commission. NA’s are capable of presiding over and submitting results for FIDE rated tournaments. Without uniform training, the FIDE Arbiters Commission cannot ensure that those with the NA title have appropriate exposure to all knowledge required to competently execute their duties.

National Arbiter (NA) Training

  • 6 hours of recorded video training divided into 6, 1 hour videos;
  • Topics to cover to include Laws of Chess, FIDE Rating Regulations (sections 1 – 7 & 9), Swiss Pairings, Tie Breaks,
  • Online multiple-choice examination requiring a passing score of 80%;
  • Course and examination cost to be determined by the FIDE Arbiters Commission in conjunction with the FIDE Treasurer.

FIDE Arbiter (FA) Training

  • 12 hours of online or classroom training;
  • Topics to cover include detailed workings of Swiss Pairings & Tie Breaks, International Title Regulations, Regulations for the Titles of Arbiters, Competition Rules, FIDE Rating Regulations (sections 8, 10-13)
  • Examination which is to include calculations of titles, pairings, tie breaks, and ratings requiring a passing score of 80%.
  • Examination cost to be determined by the FIDE Arbiters Commission in conjunction with the FIDE Treasurer.

International Arbiter (IA) Training

  • 12 hours of online or classroom training;
  • Topics to cover include case analysis of actual or hypothetical situations that can arise in events;
  • Essay based examination of 6 case studies displaying the necessary competency level from an IA candidate on the application of all materials (FIDE Laws of Chess, Rating Regulations, Title Regulations, Competition Rules, Swiss Pairings and Tie Breaks) requiring a passing score of 80%;
  • Course and examination cost to be determined by the FIDE Arbiters Commission in conjunction with the FIDE Treasurer.

Continuing Education for all Arbiters

All arbiters are required to attend an online or classing training to refresh their knowledge and skills.  Should a NA advance to the FA level 1-year after achieving the NA title, they are exempt from the continuing education requirement for that year. Should a FA advance to the IA level 1-year after achieving the FA title, they are exempt from the continuing education requirement for that year.

  • 8 hours of online or classroom training designed specifically for NA’s or FA’s/IA’s;
  • Topics to cover include case analysis of actual or hypothetical situations that can arise in events;
  • Course cost to be determined by the FIDE Arbiters Commission in conjunction


David Welch FIDE Award

Included in the 2016 Arbiters’ Awards made by the FIDE Arbiters Commission is ECF Chief Arbiter David Welch. I will not attempt to make a comprehensive list of events that David has been involved with in his organising career spanning from the 70s to the present day.  David was heavily involved in a number of the major events that were held in England in the chess boom years.

Also gaining the award is Honorary CAA member Geurt Gijssen.

The award will be presented at the Olympiad in Baku.

ECF Arbiter Proposals

Alex Holowczak the ECF Home Director has drafted a set of proposals for restructuring the arbiter system in England. Comments are welcome on his proposals. See the sub-page ECF Arbiter Proposals attached to this page.



Alex McFarlane has also been invited to be an arbiter at the Olympiad. Alex and Lara Barnes have both been invited to officiate at the European Youth in Prague in August.



Congratulations to David Welch and Alex Holowczak who have been selected to represent England as Arbiters at the Olympiad in Baku in September.


The second edition of the FIDE Newsletter for Arbiters is now available

Also FIDE is running a course on anti-cheating on 23rd February. See for further details



Congratulations to David Sedgwick who has been appointed the Chief Arbiter for the Grand Chess  Tour which includes the London Classic.



FIDE is now producing a newsletter for arbiters which will appear twice a year.

It can be downloaded from the FIDE Arbiters Commission section of the FIDE website.



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