League Rules


Middlesex County Chess Association | Acct Number: 0072 6567 | Sort Code: 12-11-03

Rules of the Middlesex Chess League

as amended July 2010, and updated July 2011

Following the custom of FIDE we state " In these rules the words 'he', 'him' and 'his' are used indiscriminately to include 'she, her' and 'her's'."

  • To enter a team into the League: £40 per team except the Limited Grade Categories which are £10 per team plus County Affiliation of £20 per annum if not otherwise a member
  • Late Entry Fees: £5 per team (if accepted)
  • ECF Game Fee
  • Fine for not attending the Fixtures Meeting: £20
  • Adjudication Deposit £15.00
  • Fee deducted from adjudication deposit £5.50 per lost decision
  • For not reporting the result of a match in time: 50p per result


Unless otherwise provided all games shall be played in accordance with the current laws of chess as laid down by FIDE.


At the annual general meeting the two officers shall be appointed:-
The League Secretary and
The League Grader.


The day to day running of the League shall be the responsibility of the appointed League Secretary.


If a dispute occurs between two players and a registered ECF (or BCF) arbiter is present then the matter shall be referred to that person. If no arbiter is present as an official, player or a spectator, then the two team Captains shall jointly act as an arbiter. If they disagree, then the matter shall be referred to the League Secretary, in writing, with the full details. This shall be carried out by both team captains within ten days.


Any appeal against the League Secretary's decision shall be made in writing within fourteen days and heard by a committee of three individuals who are members of the Association's Executive Committee. Their decision shall be final and binding. The League Secretary shall arrange in consultation with the president, which three members of the Executive Committee shall serve and shall advise both parties involved in the dispute as to who those officers will be. All parties shall have at least two weeks notice of the date, time and venue of the meeting.


The clubs wishing to enter for the following season shall have duly completed and returned the application form to the League Secretary before the date of the Annual Council Meeting of the Middlesex County Chess Association, or are present at that meeting to make a verbal entry.

The entry shall include the number of teams for the various divisions and any entries for the divisions of the Limited Grade Categories.
See Appendix A

The list of club officers and team captains, with their addresses and phone numbers shall be rendered to the League Secretary by the opening of the Fixtures meeting, together with any monies required to bring the adjudication deposit up to the required sum (see clause 16f).

Late entries shall be at the League Secretary's discretion and subject to a late entry fee as determined by the council.

Entry fees and ECF game fees shall be rendered as required by the Middlesex County Chess Association according to the constitution. (Clause 4)


a). All divisions (other than those in the Formula Divisions referred to below) shall consist of eight teams, except for the last division, which shall consist of no fewer than six and not more than
thirteen teams. In these divisions teams shall be subject to promotion (two teams) and relegation (two teams) except that there shall be no promotion from the first division and no relegation from the last division.

b). An extra division shall be formed when the number of teams entered for the last division exceeds thirteen; and the number of divisions shall be reduced by one when the number of entries for the last division falls below six.

c). Every division shall be played on a Double Round All-Play-All basis, with each team playing once at home and once away against each opponent. If there are more than eight teams in a division (in the last division or in the Formula divisions), then they shall play each other once only, based on the draw for the appropriate Berger table. When two or more teams from the same club are in the same division all matches between these teams shall be played no later than the 31st December of the season in question. The penalty for non-compliance shall be the forfeiture of the games and matches concerned. These defaults counting cumulatively towards match points forfeited under rule 10.

d). Exceptions. See appendix B


a). Each division (except for the first and last) shall normally consist of the four teams finishing third to sixth in the previous season, plus the two teams relegated from the division above plus the two teams promoted from the division below. (see Rule 12)

b). A team may decline promotion only if the promotion would result in two teams from the same club playing in the same division. In this event the vacant place shall be offered successively, and in descending order, to the teams finishing below the team that refused promotion, except for those teams due to be relegated. A relegated team shall not be offered a reprieve unless a vacancy arises as a result of every eligible team in the division below refusing promotion; in that instance the reprieve shall first be offered to the team finishing seventh. This procedure shall be repeated for any consequent vacancy in lower divisions.

c). No team finishing outside the promotion positions shall be compelled to accept promotion against its will because of a higher placed team declining. If no voluntary replacement can be found the latter will be promoted regardless of whether it's club already had a team in the higher division. No more than two teams from the same club shall play in any one division, except for the last division, where the limit is three.

d). New teams shall start in the lowest division, unless otherwise determined by the Association's Council.

e). See appendix C


a). No player shall play for more than one club in any one season, even if the clubs concerned compete in different divisions of the League. Any player who does so shall only be eligible for the first club that he played for in that season. Any player not eligible will forfeit his board result.

b). A club with two or more teams in the League divisions must nominate eight players for each of these teams except for the bottom team. The nominations shall be received by the league secretary no later that the date of the first match of the club concerned. No player may be nominated for more than one team, nor may he play for a lower team than the one for which he was nominated. Formula Divisions excepted, no player is eligible for a team if he has played more than four games, defaults not counting, for a higher team or teams that season. First team Nominees shall consist of the eight strongest members of a club who intend to play in the
League that season.

c). If a nominated player has not played for his team by December 31st, a substitute nominee must be made from among those who have already made an appearance for that team. If this results in insufficient nominees for a lower team then this procedure shall be repeated for each team affected.

d). When a club has two teams in the same division the above shall be applied to a unit of sixteen nominees. The two strongest players and four of the next six shall be nominated for the strongest team; the assignment of the remaining ten nominations are at the discretion of the club.

e). Exceptions. See Appendix D


A fine shall be levied on clubs not represented at the Fixtures Meeting,
These clubs will have dates of matches arranged that are convenient to their opponents who are present at the meeting; these dates can only be changed if both
sides assent in writing to the League Secretary. Fixtures must initially be arranged to be played before 30th April.

Matches not played before 14th May, and for which no later date has been approved by the League Secretary, shall be scored as a loss to both sides and attract the penalties for defaulting.

Any team wishing to postpone or rearrange a fixture must give the opposing team
Captain 96 hours notice prior to the original fixture date. If this notice is
not given the opposing captain has the right to insist that the original fixture
date stand.


If at the start of a match, a captain or his deputy knows that their team is incomplete then he must default the appropriate number of boards in sequence upwards from the bottom board. A match is won, and scored as one game point for the winner, if that team had more game points than its opponent for the match: otherwise the match is drawn, and each team scores one half of a match point. For every eight defaults half a match point will be deducted. The defaults will be weighted as follows:-
Boards 1 or 2 = 3 Defaults.
Boards 3, 4, or 5 = 2 Defaults
Boards 6, 7 or 8 = 1 Default.
This system does not apply to the Formula Divisions.


The record of any team withdrawing before half its matches, including defaults, are played shall be expunged; notwithstanding this, the results shall be submitted for grading. This provision shall also apply to any team that has been expelled by the League Secretary through its inability to adhere to a satisfactory match programme.


The winners of each division, the teams to be promoted, and the teams to be relegated shall be determined by match points; the highest scoring team coming first, the second highest scoring team coming second and so on.

a). Ties shall be resolved by game scores in a similar fashion.

b). If there is still a tie they shall be placed in order according to
the aggregate game points in the match or matches between or amongst them.

c). If there is still a tie they shall be placed in order on the board
count. If the board count is equal results shall be as decided by bottom
board elimination.

d). If there is still a tie then the involved teams shall play a
deciding match under the League Rules applicable to their division at an
agreed venue or, if the teams cannot agree, at a venue decided
by the League secretary. If the division was a single round All-Play-All
the home side shall be the team that played away in the earlier encounter
between the two teams.


Every game shall be played with a clock. The home team captain shall notify the opposing team captain of an insufficiency of clocks so that the opposing team can remedy the deficiency.

A player can insist on an analogue clock instead of a digital clock where it is available.

The minimum duration of a session shall be two hours and thirty minutes.

The rate of play for the first session shall be thirty six moves in one hour and thirty minutes, or thirty moves in one hour and fifteen minutes if only a two hour and thirty minute session is possible. Subsequent sessions shall be played at the rate of twenty four moves every hour.

Unless the two players agree, before the start of the match, to adjourn or
adjudicate, or one of the players is disabled, a quickplay finish shall be played. Depending on the length of the playing session.

The time control shall be thirty moves in seventy five minutes, or thirty moves
in one hour, both followed by a quick play finish with fifteen minutes added to each player's clock.

These Quickplay finishes shall be governed by the ECF rules currently in force.


The time for commencing play at a match shall be agreed upon at the Fixtures Meeting and shall not be later than 7.30.p.m., except where the home side has accommodation difficulties, in which case the match must begin by 7.45.p.m. Clocks shall be started at the time agreed upon at the Fixtures meeting. Should it not prove possible to commence play at that time the home team must deduct the lost time from each of its clocks.

Either captain can introduce a substitute up to thirty minutes after the time arranged for starting play, however, this player shall lose the time that has elapsed on the clock. The substitute shall not be markedly stronger than the player he is replacing. Any team or player that is not ready to play within thirty minutes of the time agreed upon shall lose by default.


Team Captains (or their deputy) should be in a position to exchange team lists and / toss a coin 10 minutes before the time appointed to start play and if only one Captain (or deputy) is present then that team has the right to choose colours.

The opposing captains, or their deputies, shall exchange the names of their players and grades, whom they shall place in their recognised order of current ECF grade according to the published online Master List, plus or minus 10 points.

Where players have no ECF grade but have a FIDE rating or, failing that, a National Rating, then their grade for the purpose of board order shall be the ECF equivalent as calculated using the recognised ECF conversion chart.

Ungraded players may play on any board according to their playing strength. Both captains may agree to vary the rule.


At the call of time the player whose turn it is to move shall make a sealed move. All sealed moves must be made within 15 mins from the call of time. Failure to do so incurs the loss of the game.

a). At the call of time games are adjudicated if both players agree, or if one of the players is disabled, or if the captains (or their deputies)decided on this course when team lists were exchanged.
If the player, whose turn it is to move, does not wish to adjourn, but his opponent does, then he has choice of venue.

b). If the game is to be adjudicated then both players shall take note of the position excluding the sealed move, the colour of the pieces that each side played with, the name of the player to move and the number of the board on which the game was played. The two match captains shall then check and initial the two score sheets; each shall retain one copy, which shall be sent to the League Secretary, together with the respective claims, within ten days of the match.

Alternatively the full information may be sent by e-mail in Forsyth Notation.

If there is any discrepancy (i.e. a variation in the position) then the original, initialled, score sheets shall be supplied to the League secretary by post. The club that loses the adjudication shall be informed of this decision and have a fee deducted from its adjudication deposit (see clause 'f').

c). Any team wishing to challenge an adjudication shall write to the League
Secretary within seven days of the result being known to them. The appeal shall be sent together with two copies of the position and supporting analysis. The League Secretary shall immediately notify the opposing team, who shall also have seven days to supply an analysis if they wish to do so. The League Secretary shall forward the appeal, together with all supporting analysis, to an independent professional adjudicator whose decision will be final. The decision shall be communicated to both teams. If the appeal fails a fee shall be deducted in addition to the one already deducted after the initial adjudication deposit of the relevant club. If the appeal is upheld then the initial fee shall be restored to the adjudication deposit of the successful team's club; and a fee, as agreed by Council, shall be deducted from the adjudication deposit of the opposing team's club.

d). If the game is to be adjourned the player who was to move at the call of time shall seal his move. Both players shall take note of the clock times; the sealing player shall initial the flap of the envelope. They shall then agree to a resumption date, which shall be within two weeks, unless an extension is granted by the League Secretary. The other player having choice of venue shall choose between his club's home venue of his opponent, unless both players agree an alternative. The venue, date and time shall be recorded on the adjournment envelope and on the results slip that has to be sent to the league Secretary. The sealed envelope shall be held by the other player.
The League Secretary may penalise the team of a player who does not appear at the resumption and may count the game as a default.

e). All games unfinished at the end of the second session are adjudicated unless both players agree otherwise and the game can be completed within the original two week time limit or extension. At the end of the second session the game can be decided by an agreement of the opposing captains.

f). Each club shall initially lodge a sum as an adjudication deposit with the League Secretary at the beginning of the season; this deposit shall serve to cover the cost of any appeal or fine. Further sums for these purposes can be demanded at the League Secretary's discretion. These deposits shall be carried over to the next season unless a club asks for a return.


Each team captain shall send the full score of the match including the names of the players and their board numbers and colours to the League Secretary within seven days of the first session. Any team in contravention of this rule shall be fined and may, at the League Secretary's discretion, be scored nil points for this match. Captains are asked to include full players' initials/names; this is to assist both the League Secretary and Grader.

When sending in result sheets captains should not wait for the conclusion of unfinished games. Adjudications should be included; if only one team complies then their claim shall be allowed; if neither team complies then the game shall be scored as a double default.

Captains should be prompt when reporting the results of adjournments; all the results are to be sent in within ten days of the outcome of a game. Any team that does not report the complete result of a match within twenty four days of the first session may, at the discretion of the League Secretary lose the match by default.


The winner of each division shall hold the corresponding trophy for one year. The winner of any trophy shall sign for its receipt and shall return the trophy at the following year's Annual Council Meeting. Trophies for further divisions of the League, as a result of expansion, may be purchased by decision of the Association's Council. For individual player's trophies or other prizes related to the League game results may be awarded by decision of the Council. Such prizes may be withheld if no player appears to have sufficient merit.


A: These are to be known as the Formula divisions and referenced as F1
through to F5, with the Following restrictions:

F1 Open
F2 Under 175
F3 Under 150
F4 Under 125
F5 Under 100

B: Any division based on a limited grade shall operate outside any rules of promotion or relegation. Matches in these divisions shall be played over four boards.

C: The Limited grade divisions are not subject to promotion and relegation.

D: Players whose clubs only play in the Formula League Games will therefore
not be banned from playing for another club in the regular divisions.

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