IA Zoran Bojovic and IA Branislav Suhartovic
292 pages, Hardback, 1st Edition 2017

Competitive chess is not only about presenting your chess knowledge and turning it into a full point or defending a position for 5 hours and then missing to claim a three-fold repetition just because you are unaware of the chess rules and their proper implementation.

Imagine that, no matter how good your coach is, he may have never dragged your attention to explaining some simple cases that could arise in a tournament game. Or worse, say you are a chess professional, but failed to study the latest changes on the laws of chess and namely this brought you to a situation where you simply lost your prize money due to the mentioned fact.

So, a natural question would be: Who this book is intended for?

First and foremost – the chess arbiters, as it is stated on the book cover. Bojovic and Suhartovic, experienced International Arbiters and FIDE lecturers, have tried to handle the matter in such a way that even the beginners may master it, and that at the same time it would be useful to any chess arbiter as well.

Chess Handbook

Since the jobs of arbiters and organizers are inextricably linked, it is considered that also the organizers shall find useful information in it. In addition, it will be useful to all chess players, primarily to professionals.

In the last several decades, chess has undergone large changes. On the one hand, the number of tournaments has significantly increased, and on the other, the mass usage of computers has opened hitherto unimaginable possibilities for progress and improvement of players, but unfortunately for misuses as well.

This has led to the fact that also the Laws of Chess have been changing and adapting to new circumstances. Accordingly, the demands put before the arbiters, organizers and the players themselves are getting increasingly higher. Even though all the regulations may be found in the FIDE Handbook, the authors considered that it is not enough.

“Namely, that would be as if we gave some layman a collection of laws and expected him to become a lawyer.”

The book is available in Chess Informant shop

The objective was to present the most important regulations (for practical application) and to explain them in the textbook form, with as much examples as possible. The matter covered is divided into three units.

The first part deals with the Laws of Chess with numerous examples and comments. The chosen examples clearly illustrate the purpose and essence of the Laws of Chess. Of course, at the same time it would be impossible to cover all the situations which could arise in a chess competition. This part contains also the Tournament Rules, which represent (mostly technical) addition to the Laws. Special attention was given to cheating in chess through history and the ways how to battle against modern cheating by means of IT.

The second part covers the systems of competition. The Dutch variation of the Swiss system was covered in detail, not only because it is used most often, but also because it has undergone important changes which are valid from 1 July 2017. Special attention was given to the tie-break criteria. The authors are aware that many arbiters consider that making of the pairings and calculation of the MB are not their job, and that the computer does that automatically. Disagreeing with such view, authors consider that the pairings and calculation of standings are solely arbiter’s responsibility, and that the computer is an aid only. Even if the opposite opinion is accepted, the arbiter must always know this matter well enough to give an explanation to a player.

The third part comprises the Rating system, the International Title Regulations and the FIDE Online Arena. Even though it’s still in its infancy, everything indicates that in the future more and more competitions will be organized online.