After five years, it is kind of odd not to have a unique scope delineated in our help center. A user recently presented me with a very reasonable complaint along these lines, and this prompted me to write one up. Here is the text I added to the standard catch-all lines:
Questions that have to do primarily with chess in its standard form are on-topic here. This includes questions about theory, rules, specific positions/games (including puzzles), chess-specific events, chess players, hard facts such as statistics and other historical data, and physical items such as chessboards, pieces, and clocks.
Other, less specifically chess-related subjects may also be on-topic, depending on how chess-related the specific Q&A is. These gray-area questions include topics of etiquette, psychology, software, books/articles/media. In general, questions which can be answered without significantly referencing any chess-specific data (other than whatever data was presented by the question) are off-topic.
Questions about variants may or may not be accepted, depending how far removed from the standard game it is. In general, a variant which uses the same board and pieces as standard chess is an on-topic subject.
I welcome your feedback, and will be glad to make changes that increase clarity and coverage.
Edit: Bad_Bishop commented that it would be helpful to resolve the gray area surrounding programming questions. Toward this end I posted two answers - one for programming Qs and one against programming Qs. Vote on these to help us determine whether inclusion or exclusion of programming topics would be best for our site.
Edit 2: The poll shows that our community is favorable toward programming questions, and I have added a sentence to that effect in the scope writeup.