Article 4: The act of moving the pieces
4.1. Each move must be made with one hand only.
4.2. Provided that he first expresses his intention (for example by saying “j’adoube” or “I adjust”), only the player having the move may adjust one or more pieces on their squares.
4.3. Except as provided in Article 4.2, if the player having the move touches on the chessboard, with the intention of moving or capturing:
a). one or more of his own pieces, he must move the first piece touched that can be moved
b). one or more of his opponent’s pieces, he must capture the first piece touched that can be captured
c). one piece of each colour, he must capture the opponent’s piece with his piece or, if this is illegal, move or capture the first piece touched that can be moved or captured. If it is unclear whether the player’s own piece or his opponent’s was touched first, the player’s own piece shall be considered to have been touched before his opponent’s.
Article 4.3 Note the inclusion of the words ‘with the intention of moving’. If a player’s hand accidently brushes a piece then the player is not obliged to move it. If a player claims that he said he was going to adjust the piece (see 4.2) but the opponent did not hear then his word should normally be taken [unless this is a frequent occurrence with the player]. The player should be warned that he should in future make sure that his opponent is aware that he is adjusting the piece.
The touching does not have to be with a hand, it could be with another piece when attempting to capture it. It is not unusual for an inexperienced player to realise that a capture would be a bad move after the capturing piece has made contact with the piece to be removed. Provided it is clear that the opposing piece was not touched accidently whilst moving to another square, it should be regarded as having been touched with the intention of moving.
A more difficult situation is where a player lifts a piece and moves it to a square which it cannot go to and then claims he meant to move an adjacent piece to that square. The arbiter must then weigh up whether the original piece was the one that it was intended to move.
In normal games the arbiter must always enforce the touch move whether asked to do so or not. (See 4.8 for clarification on this)
4.4. If a player having the move:
a). touches his king and a rook he must castle on that side if it is legal to do so
b). deliberately touches a rook and then his king he is not allowed to castle on that side on that move and the situation shall be governed by Article 4.3.a
c). intending to castle, touches the king and then a rook, but castling with this rook is illegal, the player must make another legal move with his king (which may include castling with the other rook). If the king has no legal move, the player is free to make any legal move.
d). promotes a pawn, the choice of the piece is finalised when the piece has touched the square of promotion.
Article 4.4 (b) If the rook is touched first then castling is not permitted and a rook move should be made. (c) should be unlikely as all moves should be made with only one hand.
4.5. If none of the pieces touched in accordance with Article 4.3 or Article 4.4 can be moved or captured, the player may make any legal move.
4.6. The act of promotion may be performed in various ways:
1. the pawn does not have to be placed on the square of arrival,
2. removing the pawn and putting the new piece on the square of arrival may occur in any order. If an opponent’s piece stands on the square of arrival, it must be captured.
Article 4.6 is new and clarifies that the pawn does not have to physically be placed at the end of the board for the promotion to be legal. It is sufficient for that to be a legal move and the replacement piece to be put on the appropriate square.
4.7. When, as a legal move or part of a legal move, a piece has been released on a square, it cannot be moved to another square on this move. The move is considered to have been made in the case of:
a). a capture, when the captured piece has been removed from the chessboard and the player, having placed his own piece on its new square, has released this capturing piece from his hand.
b). castling, when the player’s hand has released the rook on the square previously crossed by the king. When the player has released the king from his hand, the move is not yet made, but the player no longer has the right to make any move other than castling on that side, if this is legal. If castling on this side is illegal, the player must make another legal move with his king (which may include castling with the other rook). If the king has no legal move, the player is free to make any legal move.
c).promotion, when the player‘s hand has released the new piece on the square of promotion and the pawn has been removed from the board.
4.8. A player forfeits his right to claim against his opponent’s violation of Articles 4.l — 4.7 once the player touches a piece With the intention of moving or capturing it.
Article 4.8 Some arbiters interpret this as meaning that they should only enforce touch move if requested. This is not the case. However there are often situations where the arbiter is not quite 100% sure that a piece has been touched or that the player has not previously said “j’adoube” or similar. Here the arbiter should not step in unless requested.
4.9. If a player is unable to move the pieces, an assistant, who shall be acceptable to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to perform this operation.
Article 4.9 The Laws now accept disabilities other than of vision need to be catered for if chess is to be all inclusive. See also 6.2e, 8.1e and 12.2f.