FIDE Handbook E. Miscellaneous / 02. Handicapped Players /
International Chess Federation
FIDE Handbook
E. Miscellaneous / 02. Handicapped Players /

02. Handicapped Players

Supplement to the FIDE Rules of Play

Competitive games between visually handicapped and sighted players and between visually handicapped players.


Tournament directors shall have the power to adapt the following rules according to local circumstances. In competitive chess between sighted and visually handicapped players (legally blind) either player may demand the use of two boards, the sighted player using a normal board, the visually handicapped player using one specially constructed. The specially constructed board must meet the following requirements:

  1. at least 20 by 20 centimeters;
  2. the black squares slightly raised;
  3. a securing aperture in each square;
  4. every piece provided with a peg that fits into the securing aperture;
  5. pieces of Staunton design, the black pieces being specially marked.

The following regulations shall govern play:


The moves shall be announced clearly, repeated by the opponent and executed on his board. To make the announcement as clear as possible, the use of the following names is suggested instead of the corresponding letters, algebraic notation to be used:


Ranks from white to black shall receive the German numbers:


Castling is announced "Lange Rochade" (German for long castling) and "Kurze Rochade" (German for short castling).

The pieces bear the names: Koenig, Dame, Turm, Laeufer, Springer, Bauer

When promoting a pawn the player must announce which piece is chosen.


On the visually handicapped player's board a piece shall be considered "touched" when it has been taken out of the securing aperture.


A move shall be considered "executed" when:

  1. in the case of a capture, the captured piece has been removed from the board of the player whose turn it is to move;
  2. a piece is placed into a different securing aperture;
  3. the move has been announced.

Only then the opponent's clock shall be started.

As far as points 2 and 3 are concerned the normal rules are valid for the sighted player.


A specially constructed chess clock for the visually handicapped shall be admissable. It shall incorporate the following features:

  1. A dial fitted with reinforced hands, with every five minutes marked by one dot, and every 15 minutes by two raised dots.
  2. A flag which can be easily felt. Care should be taken that the flag is so arranged as to allow the player to feel the minute hand during the last 5 minutes of the full hour.

The visually handicapped player must keep score of the game in Braille or longhand or record the moves on a tape recorder.


A slip of the tongue in the announcement of a move must be corrected immediately and before the clock of the opponent is started.


If during a game different positions should arise on the two boards, they must be corrected with the assistance of the controller and by consulting both players' game scores. If the two game scores correspond with each other, the player who has written the correct move but executed the wrong one must adjust his position to correspond with the move on the game scores.


If, when such differences occur and the two game scores are found to differ, the moves shall be retraced to the point where the two scores agree and the controller shall readjust the clocks accordingly.


The visually handicapped player shall have the right to make use of an assistant who shall have any or all of the following duties:

  1. Make either player's move on the board of the opponent.
  2. Announce the moves of both players.
  3. Keep the game score of the visually handicapped player and start his opponent's clock, (keeping rule 3.c in mind).
  4. Inform the visually handicapped player only at his request of the number of moves completed and the time used up by both players.
  5. Claim the game in cases where the time limit has been exceeded and inform the controller when the sighted player has touched one of his pieces.
  6. Carry out the necessary formalities in case the game is adjourned.

If the visually handicapped player does not make use of an assistant, the sighted player may make use of one who shall carry out the duties mentioned under point 9(a) and (b).