Northwest Chess Chess News from Washington, Oregon and Idaho

Northwest Chess is a non-profit corporation registered in Washington State.
Business Manager Address: Eric Holcomb, 1900 NE 3rd St STE 106 PMB 361, Bend, OR 97701-3889.
See magazine section for subscription and advertising information.
Home Articles Calendar Clubs Games Grand Prix
History Links Magazine Officers Registration Scholastics

BUGHOUSE CHESS RULES Revised March 1, 2004
As posted by USCF at the 2006 National High School Championships.

  1. There are only two people on a team, no substitutions are allowed.

  2. Each team will play only two games, one for each player, against each other team.

  3. The team decides which player is to play white and which player is to play the black pieces in each match.

  4. The time control is Game in 5 minutes.

  5. Each player is responsible for providing a clock. If neither player, in an individual game, has a clock both players receive a forfeit loss for that game.

  6. The game is clock move. A move is not completed until the opponent's clock has been started.

  7. Each match is concluded as soon as one of the players on a team wins their game.

  8. Illegal moves lose, providing they are caught on the first move after the illegal move has been made.

    a. If an opponent makes a move and starts the opponent's clock, they have forfeited the right to claim that illegal move.

    b. Before play begins both players should inspect the position of the pieces and the setting of the clock, since once each side has made a move all claims for correcting either are null and void. The only exception is if one or both players have more than five minutes on their clock, then the tournament director may reduce the time accordingly.

    c. Illegal moves, unnoticed by both players, cannot be corrected afterwards, nor can they become the basis for later making an illegal move claim. If the King and Queen are set up incorrectly when the game begins, then you may castle short on the queen side and castle long on the kingside. Once each side has made a move, incorrect setups must stay.

  9. When a piece is captured, the captured piece is passed to the partner only after the move is completed.

  10. A partner has the option of either moving one of their pieces on their board or placing a piece their partner has captured on their board.

    a. A captured piece may be placed on any unoccupied square on the board, with the exception that a pawn may not be placed on the first or last rank.

    b. Pieces may be placed to create check or checkmate.

    c. A promoted pawn, which has been captured, reverts to a pawn and not the promoted piece.

  11. A player may not attempt to hide pieces captured by their partner from the opponent. The first attempt will be a warning and the second attempt will result in forfeiture of the game.

  12. Partners may verbally communicate throughout a game. It is legal for one partner to make move suggestions to the other partner. It is illegal and grounds for forfeiting the match if one partner physically moves one of their partner's pieces.

  13. Each player must push the clock button with the same hand they use to move their pieces. Exception: only during castling may a player use both hands. When capturing only one hand may be used. The first infraction will get a warning, the second a one minute penalty and the third will result in the loss of the game.

  14. Except for pushing the clock button neither player should touch the clock except:

    a. To straighten it;

    b. If either player knocks over the clock his opponent gets one minute added to his clock;

    c. If your opponent's clock does not begin you may push their side down and re-punch your side; however, if this procedure is unsatisfactory, please call for a director;

    d. Each player must always be allowed to push the clock after their move is made. Neither player should keep their hand on or hover over the clock.

  15. Define a win. A game is won by the player:

    1) who has mated their opponent's king;

    2) whose opponent resigns;

    3) whose opponent's flag falls first, at any time before the game is otherwise ended, provided he/she points it out and neutralizes the clock while their own flag is still up;

    4) who, after an illegal move, takes the opponent's king or stops the clock;

    5) an illegal move doesn't negate a player's right to claim on time, provided he/she does so prior to their opponent's claim of an illegal move. If the claims are simultaneous, the player who made the illegal move loses.

  16. Defining a draw. A game is a draw:

    a. By agreement between the teams during the game only.

    b. If the flag of one player falls after the flag of the other player has already fallen and a win has not been claimed, unless either side mates before noticing both flags down. Announced checkmate nullifies any later time claims.

  17. If a player accidentally displaces one or more pieces, he shall replace them on his own time. If it is necessary, his opponent may start the opponent's clock without making a move in order to make sure that the culprit uses his own time while replacing the pieces. Finally, it is unsportsmanlike to knock over any pieces then punch the clock. For the first offense the player will get a warning (unless this causes his flag to fall, in which case the opponent will get one extra minute added to his clock). For a second offense a one minute add-on for the opponent will be imposed. For a third offense the offender shall forfeit the game. Thereafter, the tournament director may use other penalties or expel a player from the event for repeated offenses.

  18. In case of a dispute either player may stop both clocks while the tournament director is being summoned. In any unclear situation the tournament director will consider the testimony of both players and any reliable witnesses before rendering his decision. If a player wishes to appeal the decision of a tournament director, the player must first appeal to the section chief then, if necessary, the player may appeal to the Chief floor director, whose decision in all cases is final.

  19. The tournament director shall not pick up the clock; except in the case of a dispute.

  20. Spectators and players in another match are not to speak or otherwise interfere in a game. If a spectator interferes in any way, such as by calling attention to the flag fall or an illegal move, the tournament director may cancel the game and rule that a new game be played in its stead, and he may also expel the offending party from the playing room. The tournament director should also be silent about illegal moves, flag falls, etc. (unless there is an agreement with the players, before the game, to call them) as this is entirely the responsibility of the players.

  21. If a player promotes a pawn they must leave the pawn on the board and clearly indicate to their opponent to what piece the pawn is being promoted. The promoted pawn will be laid on it's side to indicate that it is a promoted pawn.

  22. Only a tournament director may determine if a clock is defective and change clocks.

  23. Excessive banging of pieces or clock will not be tolerated and the offending player may be penalized with loss of time.

  24. Insufficient losing chances claims cannot be made in Bughouse games.