Greater Peoria Chess Foundation

The Greater Peoria Chess Foundation is a 501(c)3 non profit organization dedicated to encouraging chess in our community and school systems. Chess helps students to develop many life skills that will help them as they navigate with challenges that lay ahead.

Official Rules


The rules of chess have mostly remained the same since sometime between 1450 & 1500 when the Mad Queen replaced the King's counselor. But there have been many minor changes over the years. For example, at one time a stalemate was a loss for the side that couldn't move. At another time One player would select the color and his opponent would decide who moved first. Yes, there were games where Black moved first! Later with the additions of chess clocks, it was necessary to add new rules.


The latest significant rules change was to only permit castling if the King was touched first. You can no longer do two handed castling or touch the Rook first even if done in a smooth and continuous manner.


Most rules involve formal tournament play. You can choose your own rules for touch move & touch take when playing on a park bench. But in a tournament everyone must play by the same rules.

There are numerous chess organizations which have there own definitions and rules covering tournaments played under there auspices. The most important of these to Peoria players are FIDE, USCF, ICA, IESA, & IHSA.


FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or International Federation of Chess). is the ruling body of the international sport. It makes the rules and runs the tournaments leading to the "official" world titles. FIDE also sanctions other tournaments run by other organizations and tracks player's international ratings.


USCF (United States Chess Federation) is the US affiliate of FIDE and so names the "official" US title holders and champions. To play in an officially sanctioned tournament a player must be a member of the USCF and the tournament must be run by a USCF affiliate. The USCF also tracks the player's US rating. Both rating systems run a modified version of the system created by Wisconsin's Arpad Elo. The Elo system became the official rating system of the USCF in 1960 and was later utilized by FIDE in 1970. In general, USCF ratings are slightly higher than FIDE ratings by 50-100 points.


The ICA (Illinois Chess Association) is the Illinois state affiliate of the USCF. It recognizes Illinois state champions. Our own Patrick Cohen is a former ICA President and currently serves on the ICA board.


The GPCF is an affiliate of both the USCF and the ICA.


IESA (Illinois Elementary School Association) is an association of middle schools and junior high schools and promotes chess and other sports within the school system. IESA uses relaxed variants of the USCF rules which have been modified for school play. IESA attempts to model their rules according to IHSA, hiowever, for the tournament format they use the team/individual model, not the fixed board model. The GPCF provides chess sets & boards at the IESA state championship held every year at the Peoria Civic Center


IHSA (Illinois High School Association) is an association of high schools and junior high schools and promotes chess within the school system. IHSA uses relaxed variants of the USCF rules which have been modified for high school play. Requirements for high school play are a little more strict than for middle school.