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Handbook | C. General Rules and Recommendations for Tournaments | 02. Standards of Chess Equipment for FIDE Tournaments

02. Standards of Chess Equipment for FIDE Tournaments

Standards of Chess Equipment for FIDE Tournaments
Approved by the 1975 Central Committee

This document defines the general standards for chess equipment to be used in FIDE competitions.


The chess pieces used in matches between two players must be approved by both. Their approval shall be obtained for other equipment - the chess table, board and clock.

In case either side disagrees, the equipment to be used shall be decided by the Chief Arbiter of the match, bearing in mind the standards for its size and form as mentioned below.


The chess equipment offered by the organisers (hosts) of a competition within the FIDE system of tournaments, Olympiads and other competitions shall conform with the standards mentioned below, and shall be approved by the Chief Arbiter.

2. Chess Pieces


Chess pieces should be made of wood, plastic or an imitation of these materials.


Height, weight, proportions

The King's height should be 8.5 to 10.5 cm. The diameter of the King's base should measure 40 to 50% of its height.

The size of the other pieces should be proportionate to their height and form; other elements such as stability, aesthetic considerations etc., may also be taken into account.

The weight of the pieces should be suitable for comfortable moving and stability.


Form, style of make

Recommended for use in FIDE competitions are those types of chess sets and equipment, which have already been used in Men's Olympiads, interzonal tournaments, candidates' matches and tournaments, and world championship matches.

The pieces should be shaped so as to be clearly distinguishable from one another. In particular the top of the King should distinctly differ from that of the Queen. The top of the Bishop may bear a notch or be of a special colour clearly distinguishing it from that of the Pawn.


Colour of the pieces

The dark pieces should be brown or black, or of other dark shades of these colours. The light pieces may be white or cream, or of other light colours. The natural colour of wood (walnut, maple, etc.) may also be used for this purpose. The pieces should not be shiny and should be pleasing to the eye.


Chess boards

Wood, plastic, cardboard or cloth are recommended as material for chessboards. The board may also be of stone or marble with appropriate light and dark colours, provided the Chief Arbiter finds it acceptable. Natural wood with sufficient contrast, such as birch, maple or European ash against walnut, teak, beech, etc., may also be used for boards, which must have a dull or neutral finish, never shiny.

Combination of colours such as brown, green, or very light tan and white, cream, off-white ivory, buff, etc., may be used for the chess squares in addition to natural colours.

The board size should be such that the pieces appear neither too crowded nor too lonely on the squares. It is recommended that a side of the square should measure 5 to 6 1/2 cm.

A comfortable table of suitable height may be fitted in with a chessboard. If the table and the board are separate from one another, the latter must be fastened and thus prevented from moving during play.


Chess clocks

Chess clocks should have a device signalling precisely when the hour hand indicates full hours. They should have the so-called "flag" fixed at the figure 12 or at some other figure, but always so that its fall can be clearly seen, helping the arbiters and players to check time.

The clock should have no shine which would make the flag difficult to see. It should run as silently as possible in order not to disturb the players during play.


The special FIDE Committee on Standards for Chess Equipment is competent to decide whether or not a piece of equipment is suitable for use in FIDE competitions. The Committee may recommend the use of other types of chess sets in addition to those mentioned under 2.3. It may make a list of equipment with satisfactory standards, the specimens of which would be kept at the FIDE Secretariat.

If necessary FIDE will determine the general conditions for other equipment needed in chess competitions, such as score sheets, sealed move envelopes, demonstration boards, etc.


The above regulations apply only to the equipment used in FIDE competitions. Manufacturers of equipment and organisers are completely free to make and use their own equipment for all other competitions. The manufacturing of sets of artistic value is encouraged, regardless of the practical possibilities of their use.

   FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov

FIDE President

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