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Laws & Registration Details

  • FIDE laws of chess apply (excluding rule G.4 concerning 5 second increments with less than 2 minutes remaining)
  • No smoking in the playing area.
  • All players must be members of the club they are representing.
  • Players should be ECF members, either direct through the ECF or via  Member Organisation, for example the NCCU. If in exceptional circumstances a none members plays, then any game fee (currently £2.50 per game) will be charged to the club concerned.
  • All games are ECF graded

Fixture Schedules

  • If captain’s find they have fixture clashes with other leagues, they should ensure that matches are re-arranged before the start of the season.
  • If a team captain wishes to postpone a scheduled match in extreme circumstances (but not because their best players are not available), he has to contact and make know this postponement or cancellation with the opposing team’s captain or representative at least 1 week before the original agreed fixture date.
  • Failure to comply with this minimum time limit will enable the opposing team captain to claim the match
  • Teams must refuse to accept a cancellation within seven days, other than Force Majeure. All re-arrangements must be played prior to 30th May. If a team requests cancellation, they must at the same time offer three new dates for the opposition to consider.

Matches – Rules (league & cup)

  • All matches are played over five boards unless otherwise agreed by both captains prior to the match commencing.
  • For all Divisions, except the lowest - time control is 35 moves in 75 minutes, then the players receive a further 15 minutes each to finish the game
  • For the lowest Division - time control is all moves to be played in 90 minutes. A team containing juniors may at the request of that team's captain ask for a time limit of 60 minutes for all moves to be played
  • Players cannot play two teams below their normal team, i.e. a first team player cannot play for the third team and a second team player cannot play for the fourth team.
  • Rule removed for 2016/17 season onwards: Where a club have more than one team, they should nominate three players for the first team, who cannot then play for a lower team. If there are more than two teams, a further three players should be nominated, who then cannot play below the second team. This same principle will apply for any for any further teams. If a club nominate players who are not the highest graded players, then any player of higher graded strength may also not play for a lower team.

Matches – Start of Matches

  • All matches are scheduled to start at 7:30pm.
  • The away team has white on odd boards.
  • Clocks can be started at 7:30pm if a player arrives late
  • Any player who has not started their game by 8:00pm may forfeit the game, if the opposing team’s player wishes to claim it.

Grading Rules

  • Grading limits are based on teams of 5 boards, defaults as per ungraded limits.
  • Any team that fails to comply with the grading limits shall be defaulted 5-0 unless both captains agree to allow these rules to lapse. The grading officer – to whom results are sent – shall require confirmation of such changes.
  • For both league and cup, the July ECF grading list should apply for grading players, except for players who were ungraded in the July list, in which case the January grade will apply.

Grading Limits - League

  • Division 1 – Unrestricted
  • Division 2 – Total board grades MUST NOT exceed 750 (ungraded players count as 150, juniors 75).
  • Division 3 – Total board grades MUST NOT exceed 650 (ungraded players count as 130, juniors 65).
  • Grading limits are based on teams of 5 boards (defaults as ungraded limits).

Grading Limits – Cup

  • Birchall Trophy – unlimited.
  • Vaux Tankard  – Total board grades MUST NOT exceed 750 (ungraded players count as 150, juniors 75).

Cup Restrictions

  • Players can only play in one cup team during a season

Cup Tie Breaks

  • In the event of a draw in the cup, board count should be used.  Each winning board number should be counted and the lower total should be the winner.  In the event that it is still a tie, the lower graded team will be declared the winner.


  • The home team will normally choose the type of clock but a visiting player may request an analogue clock and one will be used if available.  If the visiting player arrives after a digital clock has been started and requests an analogue clock then only the time remaining will be transferred to the analogue clock

Player of the Year

  • Eligibility is 70%


  • Please make every effort to follow these rules for the league to run smoothly.
  • Captains and players are asked to exercise discretion in the ethos of the competition
  • Disputes will be resolved by a committee consisting of the chair, treasurer and secretary. However if the club of one of these officers was involved, then an officer of the league from a neutral club should replace him.