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  1. #1
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Jan 2004

    Touchtake and touching a piece with another piece

    Recently in a blitz tournament game I was involved in a minor incident where my opponent picked up his white queen on h5, touched my black bishop on g6, realised Qxg6 was a queen-losing blunder, moved his queen to g4 instead and pressed his clock. Though I was possibly winning anyway, especially as he ran his clock down from about a minute to seven seconds during this process (!), I stopped the clock and claimed touchtake.

    My opponent agreed he had made non-accidental contact with the bishop but claimed he had only contacted the top of my bishop with the bottom of his queen, and therefore said he wasn't obliged to take it. His claim about what happened was false - the queen definitely touched the bishop on the same level, and I am confident but not 100.0% certain he briefly clasped the pieces with his hand thus touching my bishop with his hand as well. Ultimately touchtake was indeed enforced, and the game continued but I quickly won.

    There was a vaguely similar situation on another board in a game that I was watching (resolved without arbiter intervention) and I found that a few players believed that touchtake wasn't touchtake if you touched an opposing piece only with your own piece.

    I have always enforced, including in the weakest junior tournaments, that touching a piece with a piece is touching. After all this is consistent with the obvious aims of the rule - to stop players from messing up the position and distracting their opponent by dislodging pieces. The alternative view has all the logic of Bill Clinton's claim that he didn't have sexual relations with that woman, and serves the same purpose - to create a technical out for a player who is doing the wrong thing.

    Also the new Laws, while written in increasingly dubious "FIDE English", seem to strengthen the view that players aren't to avail themselves of such excuses - unless you say j'adoube or it's an accident, you're nicked:

    "4.2.2 Any other physical contact with a piece, except for clearly accidental contact, shall be considered to be intent."

    I was wondering if anyone is aware of an explicit FIDE ruling that touching a piece with a piece is touching, or any notable incidents involving this question.

  2. #2
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Atlanta, GA (formerly Brisbane, and before that Wellington, NZ)
    It's pathetic that FIDE's own website doesn't link to the most up-to-date rules, and instead links to a superseded law code. I did manage to find the new rules, no thanks to FIDE, on the British Chess Arbiter's Association website. Their red notes on the laws reinforce what KB says above:

    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 [sic] whilst moving to another square, it should be regarded as having been touched with the intention of moving [sic, probably should be “capturing”].
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  3. #3
    Monster of the deep Kevin Bonham's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    It's pathetic that FIDE's own website doesn't link to the most up-to-date rules, and instead links to a superseded law code.
    It links to both the current version and three (!) previous ones. The link page is at and the current one is the one on top. Thanks for the BCAA info.

  4. #4
    CC Candidate Master
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    Apr 2015
    Guert Gijssen did answer this question long ago, a player deliberately displacing an opponent's piece with one of his piece is considered as having touched the displaced piece.

  5. #5
    CC FIDE Master
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    Oct 2010
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    I've always interpreted touching a piece as including using hands, other pieces and pens, and make that clear in junior events to avoid any misunderstandings or attempts at rules lawyering.
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  6. #6
    CC International Master
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    In fact we discussed this (and related matters) in a previous era and reached the same conclusion:

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