Is there a place for the pre-move in the FIDE Online Arena, the official gaming platform on which players can play for a FIDE-recognized online rating? (Spoiler – yes, and it’s available now!)
Brief Background: Pre-move is an option to make a move before your opponent makes his, and this is usually done when time is short or when the opponent’s next move is obvious. Your preference will then be carried out automatically after your opponent has made his move. In some cases (e.g. if your move is illegal for any reason) the pre-move will be canceled and you will have to make a new move.
Pre-move is a useful way to play when you are short of time, but it can lead to a mistake if your opponent makes an unexpected move (or somehow gets you to make a bad pre-move!). You can only do one pre-move at a time on FOA.
Obviously there is no preference in over-the-board chess. In fact, you can’t even touch a piece unless you make a move with that piece (watch as Hikaru Nakamura loses a game in the Candidates Tournament because of this rule!). Then why is Pre-Move available on the official online gaming platform?
Well, it is perfectly legal, according to the FIDE online chess rules, which were amended by the chess association earlier this year: “… Preference: The player enters his move before his opponent has made his own move. The move is automatically made on the board as an immediate reaction to the opponent’s move ”.
Both FIDE officials and chess pros acknowledge that online chess is a little different from playing experience (after all, it requires its own rules), and pre-move is now a standard feature in online gaming.