The FIDE Laws of Chess


Article 6:  The chess clock 
6.1  'Chess clock' means a clock with two time displays, connected to each other in such a way that only one of them can run at one time. 
'Clock' in the Laws of Chess means one of the two time displays. 
'Flag fall' means the expiration of the allotted time for a player. 


  • a.  When using a chess clock, each player must make a minimum number of moves or all moves in an allotted period of time and/or may be allocated an additional amount of time with each move. All these must be specified in advance. 
  • b.  The time saved by a player during one period is added to his time available for the next period, except in the 'time delay' mode. In the time delay mode both players receive an allotted 'main thinking time'. Each player also receives a 'fixed extra time' with every move. The countdown of the main time only commences after the fixed time has expired. Provided the player stops his clock before the expiration of the fixed time, the main thinking time does not change, irrespective of the proportion of the fixed time used. 
6.3  Each time display has a 'flag'. Immediately after a flag falls, the requirements of Article 6.2(a) must be checked. 

6.4  Before the start of the game the arbiter decides where the chess clock is placed. 
6.5  At the time determined for the start of the game the clock of the player who has the white pieces is started. 

6.6  If neither player is present initially, the player who has the white pieces shall lose all the time that elapses until he arrives; unless the rules of the 
competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise.. 

6.7  Any player who arrives at the chessboard more than one hour after the scheduled start of the session shall lose the game unless the rules of the competition specify or the arbiter decides otherwise. 


  • a.  During the game each player, having made his move on the chessboard, shall stop his own clock and start his opponent's clock. A player must always be allowed to stop his clock. His move is not considered to have been completed until he has done so, unless the move that was made ends the game. (See Articles 5.1, and 5.2)      The time between making the move on the chessboard and stopping his own clock and starting his opponent's clock is regarded as part of the time allotted to the player. 
  • b.  A player must stop his clock with the same hand as that with which he made his move. It is forbidden for a player to keep his finger on the button or to 'hover' over it. 
  • c.  The players must handle the chess clock properly. It is forbidden to punch it forcibly, to pick it up or to knock it over. Improper clock handling shall be penalised in accordance with Article 13.4. 
  • d.  If a player is unable to use the clock, an assistant, who is acceptable to the arbiter, may be provided by the player to perform this operation. The clocks shall be adjusted by the arbiter in an equitable way. 
6.9  A flag is considered to have fallen when the arbiter observes the fact or when either player has made a valid claim to that effect. 

6.10  Except where Articles 5.1 or one of the Articles 5.2 (a), (b) and (c) apply, if a player does not complete the prescribed number of moves in the 
allotted time, the game is lost by the player. However, the game is drawn, if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player's king by any possible series of legal moves, even with the most unskilled counterplay. 

6.11  Every indication given by the clocks is considered to be conclusive in the absence of any evident defect. A chess clock with an evident defect shall be replaced. The arbiter shall use his best judgement when determining the
times to be shown on the replacement chess clock. 

6.12  If both flags have fallen and it is impossible to establish which flag fell first, the game shall continue. 


  • a.  If the game needs to be interrupted, the arbiter shall stop the clocks. 
  • b.  A player may stop the clocks only in order to seek the arbiter's assistance, for instance when promotion has taken place and the piece required is not available. 
  • c.  The arbiter shall decide when the game is to be restarted in either case. 
  • d.  If a player stops the clocks in order to seek the arbiter's assistance, the arbiter shall determine if the player had any valid reason for doing so. If it is obvious that the player has no valid reason for stopping the clocks, the
  • player shall be penalised according to article 13.4. 

6.14  If an irregularity occurs and/or the pieces have to be restored to a previous position, the arbiter shall use his best judgement to determine the 
times to be shown on the clocks. He shall also, if necessary, adjust the clock's move counter. 

6.15  Screens, monitors, or demonstration boards showing the current position on the chessboard, the moves and the number of moves made, and 
clocks which also show the number of moves, are allowed in the playing hall. However, the player may not make a claim based on information shown in this manner.