SHROPSHIRE CHESS ASSOCIATION : LEAGUE RULES
As amended at the AGM meeting : 24/07/2023 – amendments shown in italics. Amendments made to rules 6, 8, 8e and 13.
This competition will be governed in accordance with the competition rules of the Shropshire Chess Association – available here.
1. All games must be played according to the laws of chess as published in ‘ The Official Laws of Chess’ updated by FIDE on 1 January 2018 with the following exceptions:
a) A player may use descriptive notation.
b) A player may leave their mobile phone turned on and won’t be penalised if it makes a noise if they have good reason (including medical conditions) and their opponent is informed of this reason at the start of play.
c) A player may notate their move on the scoresheet prior to making that move but the scoresheet must be visible to the opponent at all times. Once a move is notated that move must be played and should be played immediately after notation unless there is a notation error in which case the intended move may be the move played immediately following the incorrect notation and only then the scoresheet corrected. If a player notates their move but then deliberately fails to move immediately after notation this will be treated as if they are in breach of FIDE rule 8.1.2 (writing moves in advance is forbidden).
d) Fide rule 7.5.5 is rewritten as follows; After the first completed illegal move of a relevant article (FIDE article 7.5.1, 7.5.2 ,7.5.3, 7.5.4) by a player, that player may claim two minutes extra time; for the second completed illegal move of the same article (7.5.1, 7.5.2 ,7.5.3, 7.5.4) by the same player their opponent may claim the game. However, the game is drawn if the position is such that the opponent cannot checkmate the player’s king by any possible series of legal moves.
2. No player may act as or exercise the powers of an arbiter. Any player may stop the clock to clarify a Shropshire league rule or a FIDE law of chess with any appropriate person present during the match. Any unresolved disputes arising from the interpretation or application of the laws of chess or the league rules will be resolved by the League Controller. Appeals against the League Controller’s decisions must be sent in writing to the General Secretary within 14 days. The matter will be referred to a Rules and Disputes Committee, consisting of the President, the General Secretary, the Treasurer and one other. If one or more of these officers is a party to the dispute, the President may appoint replacements acceptable to both parties. The League Controller may be invited to attend and to give advice but will not be able to vote. The Committee’s decision will be final.
3. It is the responsibility of the League Controller to decide which and how many teams shall play in each division (subject to the agreement of the Council), and to publish a fixture list before the start of each season. The League Controller has discretion (after due consultation) to specify the number of times each team shall play each other team in a division. In the absence of specification to the contrary, each team shall play each team twice (once home, once away) .
4. Each club must register its players with the League Controller at the start of each season, before the first fixture in which they play. Late registration may be carried out at any time during the season, as long as the information is received no later than the first match result involving the player(s). Penalties for breaches of the rule are stipulated at rule 24.
5. When registering its players with the league Controller at the start of each season, each club must nominate 4 players to each team other than in Division 3 where only 3 players need to be nominated. Players nominated to a higher team cannot play for a lower team. Penalties for breaches of the rule are stipulated at rule 28. Nominated players in division one must play over 50% of their games. Nominated players in lower divisions must play for their team at least three times in a season. If this proves impossible on account of unforeseen circumstances (e.g. the player moving away from the area), the League Controller has discretion to accept an alternative nominated player for the remainder of the season. Normally, the alternative nominated player will be expected to play for the balance of the three games not played by the original nominated player. Any appearances of the new nominated player for a lower team prior to acceptance by the League Controller shall be disregarded from the point of view of rule breaches specified in rule 28. A penalty of one Match point per player per game to encourage registered players being a true member of the team.
6. A team shall consist of five players in divisions one and two and four players in division three.
For the purposes of rule 9 and 13 if a player is currently unrated but had a rating in the previous 10 years, that last known rating is to be used provisionally until a new rating is obtained. If the player has no rating history or only a provisional “P” rating they have maximum flexibility subject to the league controller’s approval. Once an unrated player obtains a “K” or “A” rating then that player must use either the latest rating list published on the ECF rating database as at the date of the match or, if/when that player obtains an August “K” or “A” rating, the published August rating at the start of the season.
7. The AWAY team shall have White on boards 1, 3 and 5.
8. A member of a club may only be nominated for one team for that club. If a player is a member of more than one club, he/she may only play for one club within a division. If a team in the second or third division uses a player who normally plays for another Shropshire club in a higher division during that season, then it is permitted only on condition that the player has a published August rating at the start of the season of below 1710 for Div 2 and below 1560 for Div 3.
9. A reserve may be drawn from a lower team, as follows:- any players regardless of whether they are nominated or tied to one team may be used as reserves for a higher team as follows (rules 9a to 9e). Players who are not nominated to a team may also play for a lower team.
a) Players rated below 1710 can play for any of their club’s teams in Division 1 without restriction, providing that the lower team, for which the player normally appears, and the higher team for which the player wishes to appear as a reserve, are not both in Division 1, in which case the restriction in sub – paragraph d will apply.
b) Players rated below 1600 can play up into any of their club’s teams in Divisions 1 and 2 without restriction, providing that the lower team, for which the player normally appears, and the higher team for which the player wishes to appear as a reserve, are not both in the same Division, in which case the restriction in sub – paragraph d will apply.
c) Players rated below 1450 can play up into any of their club’s teams in Division 1 and 2 without restriction.
d) Where a player is used more than three times for a higher team, then (unless sub – paragraphs a, b or c apply) he / she becomes a member of the senior team on the fourth occasion for the remainder of the season. Where a reserve wins by default the result will count as an appearance for the senior team.
e) All references to rating in this rule refer to the published August rating at the start of the season.
f) Penalties for breaches of rule 9d are stipulated at rule 25. A flowchart explaining player eligibility can be found here.
10. a ) A Club may register a team at the start of the season as a junior team.
b ) A junior team can choose to play all their matches at home. If a junior team plays another junior team then the away team will have to travel to the home team’s venue.
c ) A junior is anyone under the age of 18 on September 1st of the new season.
d ) The team must field 3 or more juniors in every match subject to rule 5. If this rule is breached a 1 point match penalty will be incurred for each breach.
e ) If on occasion a Junior team can only field 2 juniors then an eligible adult reserve player is permitted. This is only permitted 3 times in the season. If there is only one Junior present on a match night then the bottom board will be defaulted. If the match is already in progress and one junior player has failed to turn up, a higher board may be defaulted at the league controller’s discretion. If no junior player is available on a match night then the junior team must default their match. A defaulting junior team will receive a one match point penalty in line with rule 16.
f ) If circumstances change the team may revert back to a non – junior team with permission from the le ague controller. Fixtures will then be revised so that the team plays a balance of home and away games. A team can’t revert to a non – junior team in the last 3 games of the season.
g ) If a club has both an adult team and a junior team in the same division, the higher team will be the team which has the highest average rating of nominated players.
11. When a digital clock is available, the time control shall be all moves in 1 hour and 25 minutes plus an increment of 10 seconds per move from move 1.
12. When a digital clock is not available, the time control shall be all moves in 1 hour and 35 minutes for the whole game in accordance with the ECF rules for quickplay finishes.
13. Players must be arranged in order of playing strength except that players whose rating differs by no more than 75 points shall be regarded as interchangeable for the purposes of this rule. To determine whether 2 players are interchangeable the captain must use the latest rating list published on the ECF rating database as at the date of the match. Penalties for breaches of this rule are specified at rule 26.
Blue Badge holders may invoke the ‘blue badge rule’. When the blue badge rule is invoked:
a) The Blue Badge holder first offers the opposing team the choice to play that match online, or to play over-the-board at any alternative venue suggested by the blue badge holder provided this venue is located within Shropshire. This request, including the suggested over-the-board venue, must be sent via their captain to the opposing captain at least 1 week prior to the match.
c) The opposing captain should endeavour to find a player willing to play the blue badge holder. The opposing team can elect whether to play the match online or over-the-board at the alternative venue. If an alternative venue is selected the match must be played as close as is practical to the appointed date of the match.
d) The opposing captain may select any player and for the purposes of rule 14 the opposing player selected can be played outside of the usual board order.
e) If the opposing team is unable or unwilling to field a player, they default that board
The Blue Badge holder must either be resident in Shropshire or have a close connection with Shropshire Chess. It is at the discretion of the league controller which non-residents have a close connection with Shropshire Chess.
The time limit of the match shall be the same as rule 11 (1 hour and 25 minutes plus an increment of 10 seconds per move). With this exception the match will be subject to the same rules as the online league.
Note: Lichess doesn’t have an 85/10 option. In order to set the correct time control the player playing white sets the control at 75 minutes with 10 second increment and challenges his/her opponent. When accepted before the game begins on Lichess each player clicks the blue button with a white plus sign on the right of their opponent. Each click adds 15 seconds to their time until 85 minutes is added.
14. Before the start of each match captains must exchange lists of players in board order. All players’ ratings must be clearly indicated on the match card before the game starts. If a captain knows before start of play that the team will be incomplete, the remaining players must be declared in board order, and defaults must take place on the bottom board(s).
15. Matches must be played on the appointed date unless another date is previously agreed by the League Controller.
16. Any team may elect at the start of the season to have a ‘winter break’. Elections must be notified to the league controller prior to the release of the fixtures. The nature and duration of the winter break will be at the discretion of the league controller.
17. A default of a match will result in a 1 match point deduction, and no warnings will be given. A team should consist of at least half the number of boards.
START OF PLAY
18. Matches should start at 7.30 pm (or at a time agreed by both captains).
19. At the start of play, white’s clock must be started. If the away team is fully present and boards have not been set up by 7.30pm (or the agreed start time), the home teams clocks are deemed to have been started at 7.30pm and the clocks start time should be adjusted to reflect this. If a player fails to start play within an hour of the agreed start of play, he / she shall lose by default; if neither player is present within an hour of start of play, that board is declared void.
20. Another player may be substituted for an absent player at any time during the first hour. If such a substitution breaches rule 12, it is subject to the agreement of the opposing captain, and it must be clearly indicated on the match card.
END OF PLAY
21. The outcome of games will be decided according to ‘ The Official Laws of Chess ‘.
22. Where games are played as in Article 10, a player may claim a draw when he has less than two minutes left on his clock and before his flag falls. This concludes the game. He may claim on the basis a) that his opponent cannot win by normal means, and/or b) that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means.
In (a) the player must write down the final position and his opponent verify it.
In (b) the player must write down the final position and submit an up – to – date scoresheet, which must be completed before play has ceased.
The opponent shall verify both the scoresheet and the final position.
The claim shall be referred to an arbiter whose decision shall be the final one.
A player cannot claim a draw if incremental time controls are being used
23. Results must be sent to the League Controller within eight days of the match date. It is the responsibility of the home team captain to forward the result. For those captains with access to the internet the online match card should be used otherwise the traditional card should be posted. If no result is notified within eight days, the League Controller will issue a warning to the home team. Penalties for breaches of the rule are specified at rule 27.
24. For each match win, two points will be awarded; for a drawn match, one point. If, at the end of the season, two or more teams are tied, then the team with the higher number of game points will be adjudged the higher team. If there is still a tie, then the team with the higher head to head board count will be adjudged the higher team. If there is still tie a play-off match, or matches, will be organised by the league controller. If the play-off ends in a drawn match, then board count will be used to decide the winner. If all five games end in draws, then the team with black on board 1 will be named the winner. To decide colours the two team captains will conduct a coin toss on the night of the match and in the presence of a neutral party i.e. the league controller.
25. At the end of the season the top 2 teams in the lower divisions will be promoted, and the bottom 2 teams in the higher divisions will be relegated, subject to the provisions of rule 3.
26. Where rule 4 is breached:
a) all results achieved by the player in the league before registration will be treated as losses by default for match purposes.
b) The team will be penalised one match point for each affected match.
27. Where rule 9 is breached:
a) all results achieved by the reserve following their fourth appearance for the senior team will be treated as losses by default for match purposes.
b) The team will be penalised one match point for each affected match.
28. Where rule 12 is breached:
a) a player out of order will be deemed to have lost by default,
b) the minimum number of players will be defaulted in order to achieve an acceptable playing order,
c) the team will then be penalised by one match point.
29. Where rule 21 is breached any failure to notify a match result (subsequent to the first warning) will incur the loss of a match point.
30. Where rule 5 is breached:
a) all results achieved by the player for the lower team will be treated as losses by default for match purposes.
b) The team will be penalised one match point for each affected match.
31. These and any other penalties deemed necessary will be imposed by the League Controller who will inform the teams involved.
32. In exceptional circumstances the League Controller may waive penalties, providing the club/team writes in advance to the League Controller with a full explanation of the facts and providing the case is accepted.