MCCU COUNTY TEAMS TOURNAMENT RULES 2014-5 Season

1. The County Championship Controller shall make all arrangements in respect of the grouping of counties for the purpose of these tournaments.

2. The qualifications for a player to represent a county in any competition shall be subscribing membership of the County Association, either direct or through an affiliated club, together with the ECF Rules on Qualification. ECF membership is not mandatory for players, but in entering a team or teams a county agrees to pay the game fee incurred for any non-members' games. No player may play for more than one county in that season. This applies equally whether the counties be members of the same or different Unions.

3. Each county shall be represented by sixteen players in the Championship, Under 180, Under 160, Under 140 grade tournaments and twelve players in the Under 120 and Under 100 grade tournament unless they mutually agree upon a greater even number of players. One game only shall be played between each pair of players; a win shall count one point and a draw half a point towards the match score.

4. The penalty for playing unqualified or ineligible players in any match shall be the loss of such player's game and the deduction of one penalty point in respect of each such player from the total score made by the county in that match for which such unqualified or ineligible player shall have played.

5. Before the time fixed for the start of play, captains of the teams engaged shall make up their respective playing lists, placing their players in order of strength; shall exchange such lists; and shall then toss for move. The team whose captain shall have won the toss shall take first move on the odd numbered boards. Nothing in this rule shall prevent a substitute being included in a team in place of an absent player at any time prior to one hour expiring on the clock at his board.

6. The duration of play in the Championship shall be not less than five hours and all games shall be played with clocks. Each player shall complete not less than forty moves in the first two hours on his clock. In the remaining grade restricted tournaments the duration of play shall be not less than four hours and each player shall complete not less than thirty six moves in the first one hour and a half on his clock. In all sections, the time to be added to the clocks for the quickplay finish shall be thirty minutes. If captains wish to agree different time controls, to include the use of digital clocks, with incremental time controls as an option, they may do so.

7. At the time fixed for the commencement of play, the captains shall start the clocks of the players having the move. If a player be absent at the end of the first hour, his opponent, if present shall score the game as a win unless a substitute be put in before the time of forfeit. A clock, once started, shall not be stopped or put back except in compliance with the current FIDE Laws of Chess. If neither player of a pair be present at the expiry of the first hour, the game shall be scored as a loss by both players.

8. Unless otherwise agreed the home county shall be responsible for the hire of the room and the making available of refreshments, which shall be a minimum of drinks and biscuits, and each county shall be responsible for its own travelling expenses. Any arbiter’s expenses shall be shared equally between the counties. In the event of the match being played at a neutral venue, the cost of the hire of the room and refreshments shall be shared equally.

9.
a. Neutral arbiters for play-offs shall be agreed upon by the counties concerned. In the case of counties failing to agree upon either a venue or arbiter, the County Championship Controller shall appoint one.

b. Where counties share a common border, matches between them will be played in the home county, unless that county agrees otherwise. Where counties do not share a common border, matches between them will be played at a neutral venue, unless otherwise agreed. The away team is responsible for arranging the neutral venue, but costs thereof are to be shared as per rule 

8.This rule will apply whether or not a section is split into zones or divisions. Any disputes regarding venues are to be referred to the County Championship Controller.

10. Within 7 days of the match a copy of the full score, as far as completed, shall be forwarded by the appropriate official of both counties to the County Championship Controller, who shall impose such sanctions as he/she sees fit if this is not complied with.

11.
a. The playing area in all county matches must be a no-smoking area.

b. Mobile phones and other electronic devices may be brought into the playing area, but must be switched off or set to silent, and may not be used in the playing area whilst any games are in progress. If a player’s electronic device makes a sound during his/her game that player shall lose the game. However, if the opponent cannot win the game by any series of legal moves, it will be declared a draw. Match captains must remind players that electronic devices must be switched off or set to silent.

12. The winner in each section/zone shall be the team making the highest score; a won match counting two points and a drawn match one point.

13. All sections with less than 8 teams shall be played as an all play all rather than zoned. If any of the grade restricted tournaments are arranged in two sections/zones then the winners and runners-up of each section/zone shall play off matches as follows to decide the qualifiers for the ECF national stages:-

West Zone winners v. East Zone runners-up;
East Zone winners v. West Zone runners-up.

The winners of these two matches shall also play a match for the MCCU title.

The winners of the MCCU Final, if played by the ECF entry deadline, will be MCCU 1. If the Final match has not been played, the winners of the MCCU Semi-finals with the best score will be MCCU If the 3rd place match has not been played by the ECF entry deadline, the County with the best losing score in the Semi-Finals shall become MCCU 3.

In any of the Championship/grading sections the number of teams qualifying for the ECF National stages is determined by ECF rules. Currently these are – if there are 5 or more teams in the section then 3 shall be nominated for the ECF stages, if there are less than 5 teams in the section then a maximum of 2 teams shall be nominated.

The Championship section can be arranged in 2 sections upper (Open) and lower (Minor). County teams may apply to enter either section. The winners of the Open section shall be awarded the title of MCCU Champions and the winners of the Minor section shall be awarded the title of MCCU Minor Champions. If the participating counties agree the Championship section can be played as one combined Open/Minor section.

If there are 8 or more teams in the combined section then this shall be in 2 zones as described above. The winner of this combined section shall be declared the MCCU Champions. The title of MCCU Minor Champion shall be awarded to the highest placed team that has applied to be in the Minor section. Nominations for the ECF stages will be as per the applications made by the counties at the start of the season. ie teams applying to be in the Open section shall be eligible for nomination to the ECF Open competition and teams applying to be in the Minor section shall be eligible for nomination to the ECF Minor competition, in either section the number of teams receiving nominations shall be determined by the number of teams applying to enter that section as per the ECF rules described above.

The U180 tournament may be run as a one day two round jamboree at a central venue, the costs of the venue and refreshments to be shared equally by the competing teams, at the Events Directors discretion. Any team entering the event will be liable to pay an equal share of the costs, even if that team withdraws before the event takes place. In any section where there are two teams only, they may agree to play a double round. Where teams tie on points for first place they will be declared joint champions.

14. If two teams in the same zone tie on points for an ECF qualification place, the winner of the tie shall be the winner of the match played between the two teams involved. In the event of that match having been a tie, the tie shall be resolved by firstly board count and then by the elimination of the lowest board until a result is reached. If all boards are drawn, the match shall be awarded to the team which had black on the odd numbered boards.

15. In the event of a tie on points between three or more teams for an ECF qualifying place, places shall be decided by reference to the aggregate scores between the teams concerned. First place will be awarded to the team with the best percentage of aggregate score against the other counties concerned in the tie, second place to the next best score and so on. In the event of this procedure not producing a clear winner, then the tie shall be resolved by reference to board count in the matches between the tied teams and then by the elimination of the lowest board in each match until a result is reached. If the application of the above rule still fails to break the triple (or greater) tie, a jamboree play-off shall be held. Where this rule provides a clear winner, but leaves a tie for other places rule 15 will continue to be applied until or unless only two teams are tied, when rule 14 will apply.

16. If, in any tournament, the match for the MCCU title, or any play-off, is drawn the tie shall be won by the team defaulting the least number of boards. If defaulted boards are equal then the team with the lowest board count shall win if still equal the bottom board(s) shall be eliminated until the scores are unequal.

17. The current FIDE Laws of Chess, as published by the ECF shall govern play in all matches.

18. Any dispute or question which may arise in connection with the tournaments shall be referred to the County Championship Controller, and his/her decision shall be final, subject to the right of appeal to the Disputes Committee. (for the appeals procedure see the MCCU Constitution)

19.
a. Where a tournament is played in one section (i.e. no play-offs are required), all matches must be completed by fourteen days following the final date for matches fixed by the controller.

b. Where a tournament is played in zones (i.e. play-offs are required), no match may be played later than the last date for zone matches fixed by the controller. The only exception to this being the final match itself where rule 20 (c) is applicable.

c. If any match is arranged contrary to the above then that match shall be declared void with neither team receiving any points for that match.

20.
a. The Controller shall arrange the dates on which matches are to be played.

b. A team shall be entitled to insist upon an alteration in the date of a fixture, provided that it shall give twenty eight days notice in writing to the opposing county official and shall offer two alternative Saturday dates. If the two teams are unable to agree, within fourteen days, to play the fixture on one of the two dates suggested, or on any other date, the matter shall be referred to the County Championship Controller, who, after receiving any representation the teams may wish to make, shall fix a date which shall be binding upon both teams, subject to the provisions of rule 20(c).

c. A team shall be entitled to insist upon a postponement of a fixture if it proves impossible to play the fixture on the date arranged. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing weather conditions in which travelling is not possible shall be deemed to be included within the scope of this rule, but difficulties in raising a team shall not be deemed to be within its scope.

d. If a match is postponed under the provisions of rule 20(c), the counties shall agree a new date within fourteen days or, in default of agreement, the matter shall be referred to the County Championship Controller, who, after receiving any representation the counties may wish to make, shall fix a date which shall be binding upon both counties, subject again to the provisions of rule 20(c).

e. Notice of the venue of a match shall be given by the county responsible for arranging the venue to the official of the opposing county, and the County Championship Controller, in writing, at least twenty one days before the match. If notice of the venue or meeting point has not been given fourteen days before the match to the away team official, the home team shall lose the match by default if the away team claims the match.

f. If any match is postponed under rule 20(b) or (c) above then the County Championship Controller shall be notified of a newly agreed date not later than twenty one days after the original date set for the match.

g. Where a county match is not played as a result of the away team defaulting and giving less than twenty one days notice, the defaulting team shall be drawn away in the corresponding fixture in the following season.

h. Where a county match is cancelled then the defaulting side shall compensate the opposition financially for any reasonable costs incurred in arranging the match. Written evidence of the costs incurred shall be provided by the County Association claiming compensation.

i. Should a County, default any game in a match, or any match, unless the Controller decides otherwise may also incur a fine of £5 per game defaulted or £50 (fifty) per match defaulted, such fines being payable to the MCCU.

j. Where a team finds itself unable to fulfil a fixture the captain must ensure he/she speaks to the opposing captain in person. The sending of email or text messages or leaving messages on a telephone answering service is not sufficient. If the opposing captain is not available, another officer of that county must be made aware of the situation. A fine of up to £50 may be imposed for failure to do so.

k. Any organiser’s change of address, phone number or email must be communicated to the Counties Championship Controller within 14 days of the change occurring.

21.Grading limits apply at the start of each season and will be taken from the grading list (excluding the rapidplay list) current at September 1st. Subsequent grading lists will be used to assist in placing players in board order but not to determine eligibility

A player who has no published grade may participate in any grade restricted tournament providing that there is no doubt in the team captain's mind that the player is not of such a playing strength as to breach the limits set and the inclusion of that player is cleared with the County Championship Controller before he/she plays.

An ungraded player not cleared prior to competing can be deemed to be an ineligible player and rule 4 will apply. It is accepted that in exceptional circumstances it may not be possible to contact the controller prior to the match, in such cases a player must be cleared within 48 hrs of the match taking place.

Team captains should have recourse to previous grading lists and the advice of their local grader. Any disputes on ungraded players should be referred to the County Championship Controller for the tournament. Counties may enter more than one team in any grade restricted tournament. Where a county has more than one team in any grade restricted tournament, players are not interchangeable and each team must be a completely separate squad.





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