Competition Rules for the 2014/15 Season. For the latest FIDE Laws of Chess visit FIDE.com.
General League Rules
- League competitions include Divisional, Knock-Out and Individual Championship matches. Current FIDE Laws, which are relevant, shall apply to these competitions unless altered or replaced by specific competition rules below. For the purpose of clarity, 'he' shall mean 'he or she' in these rules.
- No player may play for more than one club in the same season without prior permission from the League Conductor. To be eligible to play in League competitions, a player must be a member of one of the affiliated clubs (except that in the case of the Individual Championship past members of League Clubs are also eligible) and his name should be shown in the clubs section on the C&D website or, in the case of new players, the team captain must inform the League Conductor of his name (and grade/estimated grade) before he plays in a match. If this is not done then the board result of this player is likely to be forfeited. If players are neither members of the ECF nor WCU, their club has a liability to pay game fees on their behalf.
- The rate of play for all competitions shall be either 35 moves in 75 minutes followed by a 15 minute (plus any time remaining) quickplay finish (in which case FIDE rule Appendix G may be used in the Quickplay Finish part of the game - further details given in para 13 below); or, where digital clocks are available and both sides agree, a time control of all moves in 80 minutes plus 10 second increments from move one may be used in all games. Using this rate of play the player whose 'flag' falls first shall lose unless his opponent has insufficient material to mate, in which case the game is drawn (with an incremental time control, FIDE rule Appendix G does not apply). It is the responsibility of captains to consult with their team about this before matches and to ensure that all players are aware which time control is being used at the start of the match.
- The date on which each Divisional match shall be played shall be circulated by the Fixtures Secretary before the beginning of each season. The week in which each Knock-Out match shall be played shall be circulated by the Fixtures Secretary before the start of the season and the 'home or away' element of these fixtures shall be defined through to the final. These Fixture Lists shall be shown on the website. The League Conductor must be informed of any rearrangement of matches as soon as possible after the rearrangement has been agreed between the captains. The weekend when the Individual Championship Tournament will be played and the venue where it will take place shall be decided at the AGM prior to the season and the arrangements shall be put in place by the Individual Competition Controller and shown on the website.
- When travelling facilities are inconvenient, the two clubs concerned may agree upon a neutral venue. The 'home' team shall ensure supply of equipment.
- The captains of opposing teams shall, before the commencement of a match, exchange lists of their teams. Players shall play in grading order based on fixed grades which are published on the ECF website in the summer prior to the start of the season (or, if an ECF grade is not available, a conversion is made from the latest WCU or FIDE grading lists) and these are then shown in the League Handbook and the League website. Players playing out of grading order should be arranged so that there is no more than a ten points gap between a lower graded on a higher board and a higher graded player on a lower board, unless prior consent is obtained from the League Conductor.
- In the case of an ungraded player, the team captain must notify the League Conductor of the provisional estimated grade for that player and place the player accordingly in board order. Should subsequent results cause that assessment to be changed, the League Conductor must be notified and his agreement obtained before the player's relative board order position may be altered. Alternatively, the League Conductor may require the club to change the player's estimated grading if initial results indicate the original estimate was wrong.
- Where prior consent was not obtained from the League Conductor either to play a player more than ten points out of his grading board order, or to change an agreed estimated grade, if the League Conductor considers that the match was not played in a sporting manner then that board result will be forfeited.
- In the absence of any previous arrangements by the clubs concerned, play at matches shall commence at 7.30 pm. Captains are urged to start matches promptly and not wait for absent players.
- A player who is late will be penalized by losing the amount of time that he has kept his opponent waiting. Any player not ready to start his game within 45 minutes of the stipulated start of the match shall forfeit his game.
- If a mobile phone makes a sound during a game, the player whose phone has made the sound will be given a warning and asked to silence his phone. If the player's phone were to make a sound for a second time during the same game then the opponent may claim the game by forfeit if he wishes to do so.
- Players must keep a record of the moves during the course of the game using any recognised notation, unless (when using the 35 moves in 75 minutes followed by an additional 15 minute quickplay finish time control) the player has less than five minutes left on his clock either to reach move 35 or to complete the game (in this situation, where a player has less than five minutes on his clock and is not continuing to record his moves, it may well be useful for others to record the moves in the game). A player may respond to his opponent's move before recording it, but must have recorded his own previous move before making his next move. Additionally, a player should not write down his move before he has actually played it.
- When using the rate of play 35 moves in 75 minutes followed by an additional 15 minute quickplay finish, in the Quickplay Finish part of the game, when all the remaining moves have to be completed within a certain time, FIDE Law Appendix G (in particular clause 6) can be used. This gives the right to a player who has less than two minutes left on his clock to stop the clocks (no matter whose turn it is to move) and claim a draw if he believes that his opponent cannot win by normal means or that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means. The League Conductor must be informed of this Appendix G claim of a draw straight away after the match and then verified final positions (for 'cannot win by normal means') as well as complete verified scoresheets (for 'making no effort to win by normal means') must be sent to him as soon as possible and certainly within two weeks of the game being played. The League Controller shall then decide whether to accept the claim and award a draw or not accept it and award a win to the other player. However, if one of the players still disagrees with this decision (or if the League Controller is a member of one of the clubs involved) then the League Controller shall pass this onto a FIDE or ECF arbiter whose decision shall be final.
- Players score one point for a win and half a point for a draw. The team with the most game points in a match shall be the winner. Match results must be entered onto the League website by one or other of the captains (as agreed between them) or otherwise sent by email to the League Conductor, as soon as possible after the match. Failure to do this within one week of the match being played could result in a forfeit of the match points for one or both teams.
- Disputes must be referred to the League Conductor for resolution no later than one week after the scheduled match. If the League Conductor is a member of one of the clubs involved, the President stands in for him to resolve the problem. [In this situation, if the President is also a member of one of the clubs involved then the matter is referred to the three Executive Vice-Presidents straight away]. In the rare event that decisions by either the League Conductor or the President are not accepted by one club or the other, the matter is referred to the three Executive Vice-Presidents sitting as an Appeals Committee, for a final decision. If any of the Executive Vice-Presidents are members of either of the clubs involved, they will stand down during this process and one or more senior and experienced players from a neutral club will be co-opted onto this Appeals Committee by agreement with the remaining Executive Vice-Presidents and the President.
- In extreme circumstances, the President, acting together with the three Executive Vice-Presidents in the interests of the well being of the League, has the authority to bar an individual player from being a captain of a club team in the League and in very extreme circumstances has the authority to ban an individual player from playing in any League matches. In these situations, an appeal may be made to the full Executive Committee.
- The competing teams shall be arranged in Divisions according to their estimated strength and subject to which teams have been promoted or demoted. If affiliated clubs wish to enter a new team, that team will normally start in the lowest Division unless the League Conductor accepts a request from that club that the team should start in a higher Division, which would require ratification at the AGM prior to the season.
- In each Division, each competing team shall play two matches with every other team in the Division (one home and one away) or such other number as the League Conductor shall determine which shall be agreed at the AGM. A club may ask to play more than one match in a season at the away club's venue and it is expected that the away club would look favourably on such a request.
- If a situation arises where there are too many teams in a division to complete all matches, the division may be split geographically into two sections, by agreement at the previous AGM. If this structure is adopted, the sectional home and away matches will finish before the end of the season and play-off matches between teams in the two sections (the exact process as agreed between the League Conductor and the Fixtures Secretary) will determine the final positions of the teams in the division. In such play-off matches all players must have played at least three times in the League that season or have the prior consent of the League Conductor. [NB. A division being split into two sections is still only one division and all other rules apply to the teams involved on the basis that they are in a single division].
- In Divisions 1 and 2, teams shall consist of five players. In Division 3, teams shall consist of four players. The away team shall have white on the odd boards. A team winning a match shall score one point and in the event of a tie each team shall score half a point.
- In a Division, a club whose team secures more match points than any other club in that Division (or whichever team wins the top-of-table play-off matches, in the event the division is separated into two sections) shall be the winner of that Division and shall be presented with the trophy board allocated to that Division at the AGM following the season. The board must be returned to the League at the EGM the following year.
- If two or more clubs in a Division score the same number of match points, the relative position of these clubs shall be decided by the total number of individual games won. If there is still a tie, the relative positions shall be determined by a board count of the results of all the matches of the teams concerned. In this method, the numbers of the boards the teams won on are noted down, these numbers are added for each team and the team with the lowest total is the winner. If board count fails to produce a winner, the elimination rule is used in which the bottom boards are eliminated and the points scored for the remaining boards of each team are added with the team with the highest being the winner. If the scores are still level, eliminate the next board - and so on - until the tie is broken.
- In each Division, the individual player who scores more points from games in that Division than any other player shall be the Player of the Year for that Division. These individual scores are shown throughout the season on the League website. The winner for each Division shall be presented with a small engraved cup at the AGM following the season for him to keep in perpetuity. [For clarity, a player whose opponent does not turn up for a match and so defaults the game does not gain a point in this way towards his individual score, nor does he get half a point towards this individual score if the match has to be cancelled altogether]. If two or more players finish the season with the same total points, the player with the higher percentage of points to games played wins the Division. So, for example, 10 points from 10 games played beats 10 points from 14 games played. If there is still a tie then there shall be more than one winner for that Division and more than one trophy shall be given out.
- The Dick Plaisted Award is made to the player who it is judged has most improved during the season on the basis of his results in the League. The winner of this is decided by consultation between the Grading Officer, the League Secretary and the League Conductor. The winner is presented with the Dick Plaisted Cup at the AGM following the season (which he has to return to the League at the EGM the following year) and a small engraved cup to keep in perpetuity.
- The captains of first and second Division teams (if there are other teams from the same club in a lower Division) will nominate three of their regular team players before the start of the season and these players, who will be specified on the website, shall be ineligible to play in a lower Division during the course of that season. It is understood that these nominated players will normally be the strongest, or amongst the strongest, of the regular players for the team in question. The League Conductor may challenge such nominations either before or during the season, if it is thought that clubs have not nominated players in the full spirit of this rule. Additionally, if a club has teams in all three Divisions, a player who represents the club on the top four boards in the first Division shall be ineligible to play in the third Division for the remainder of the season.
- If a club has two or more teams in the same Division, a member of that club may only play for one of these teams during a season. Additionally, in this situation where a club has more than one team in the same Division, the League Conductor will arrange, so far as is possible, for these teams to play their fixtures against each other as their first games of both halves of the season.
- The playing of players who have been made ineligible by Rules 9 and 10 shall result in a forfeit of the games of those players. In the event of further contraventions by the same club in one season the matter shall be referred to the Appeals Committee who may impose a more severe penalty. Any dispute as to the eligibility of the player shall be referred to the Appeals Committee whose decision shall be final.
- If a team (Team A) is unable to fulfil a fixture on the date specified in the Fixture List, its captain may seek to agree a postponement with the opposing captain (of Team B). Captains are urged to be flexible and accommodating to all reasonable requests for postponements. However, there is no entitlement to a postponement and if a postponement is not agreed and the match is not played as scheduled, Team A loses by default. If possible, the captain of Team A should propose a new date, or dates, for the match at the same time that he asks for a postponement and captains should agree this new date for the match as soon as they are able. The match date must be no later than 30th April. If a new date is agreed, the captains of both teams should inform the League Conductor. In this situation, if a further postponement is requested, the same procedure is followed. In rare circumstances, if it is clear that a match has not been played due to the intransigence of both teams, a double default becomes possible.
- The winning team in each of Divisions two and three will normally be promoted at the end of the season with the lowest placed team in the Division above being relegated. [If the Divisions become unbalanced, a system may be adopted to allow and encourage more than just the top and bottom teams to be promoted and relegated from a Division, as devised by the League Conductor]. If a club does not want such promotion or relegation to happen to (one of) their team(s), the captain of the team involved, or another representative from the club, will be expected to give compelling reasons at the EGM and AGM following the season for consideration to be given to this request.
Knock Out Rules
- The competition shall be open to all affiliated clubs, but entry shall not be compulsory.
- The competition shall be administered by the League Conductor.
- A club may enter a second team, but before the first game is played the club must nominate the players who will play for that team in any one season. No player can play for more than one team during a season.
- The entry fee shall be £3 per team or as agreed at the previous AGM.
- A team shall consist of six players.
- A draw for each round shall be made at the AGM prior to the start of the season.
- The first team drawn shall be the home team. The second team drawn shall be the away team and will have white on the odd boards.
- The team scoring most game points in a match inclusive of the handicap points shall be the winner.
- Handicap points are determined as follows: a second Division team receives 2½ points from a first Division team; a third Division team receives 1½ points from a second Division team and 3½ from a first Division team.
- If a match results in a tie, the winning team shall be determined firstly by board count and secondly by progressive elimination of the bottom boards until a clear result is obtained. If all games are drawn (and both teams are in the same Division) the match shall be replayed within three weeks of the original date, venue being reversed.
- The date upon which a given match is to be played shall be on the club night of the home team, in the week allocated for the round by the Fixtures Secretary
- The arrangements for postponements are as per Divisional Rule 12, except that any match which is agreed to be postponed must be played no later than two weeks before the next Knock-Out round is due to be played.
Bill Davies (U145) Knock Out Competition
- The rules governing this competition shall be as per the Team Handicap Competition rules above, except that rules 8, 9 and the clause in brackets in rule 10, do not apply, as handicap points are not applicable.
- The team scoring most game points in a match shall be the winner.
- All players in this competition must have a fixed grade of less than ECF 145 at the start of the season.