Derby & District Chess League Rules

RULES (Revised August 2001 - updated June 2019)
1. The League shall consist of Clubs which meet the requirements of membership as laid down by the Constitution of the League.

2. The League shall be divided into Divisions by reference to the playing strength of the teams.

a) At the end of the season, the bottom team of the division will be demoted to the lower division, the top team will be promoted to the division above. The next to bottom team and the next to top team will similarly be demoted/promoted only if it is the wish of  EITHER team. If BOTH teams would rather stay in the same division then the teams will remain in their divisions. Re-organisation to cater for the entry of new teams or the departure of existing teams will take precedence. 

b) There shall be eight teams in each Division playing home and away. The bottom two divisions may be formed to have other than eight teams to play and to play each other only once if the Executive so decides. In view of the unpredictability of the number of teams wishing to enter or withdraw from the League, this rule may be changed for the coming season by a simple majority at the AGM or Council Meeting.

c) Any new team, shall be placed in a Division subject to there being a vacancy in that Division which the Executive Committee (or sub committee appointed by the Executive Committee), shall deem to be suitable according to the playing strength of the members of the team.

d) If a team feels that the journey time presents a problem, they can request of the Controller to play both matches at a neutral venue. The final decision on this request rests with the Controller. But if the difference between clubs is more than 30 miles, the away team has the right to organise the match at a neutral venue.

3. Registered members of League Clubs may take part in any competition organised and run by the League, subject to compliance with the rules of the competition. 

4. The fixtures for the year made at the Council Meeting shall be firm and binding as far as possible.

5. Any team failing to keep a fixture shall forfeit the match except where the reason is acceptable to the Competition Controller and provided that he is notified of new date within 14 days of the scheduled date by both teams.

6. Each team must submit an entry form. Team entry fees must be paid by the end of October

7. All league matches between teams from the same club shall be completed before 1st March in that season.

8. In all divisions the number of players in a team shall be FOUR.

9. NO player can play for more than one club in any one competition of the League in any one season. In this context, divisions 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. of the League are deemed to be one competition but the Team Knockout Trophy is deemed to be a different competition. 

10. All players are registered by playing a league game.

11. (superseded by rule 10)

12 a) A player who has played three times on the top three boards of any club team in the first 3 divisions becomes ineligible to play for any lower team of that club during the rest of that season. In the 4th Division players may play up to 4 times on the top three boards for a higher team before becoming ineligible. The Knockout Trophy is a separate competition.

b) In Division 1 only, if a club has more than one team, the club shall register 4 players for each team who can play for that team only. Other club players can only play up for one team, in Division 1, unless they play on the bottom board in which case they may play up to 2 times for each team after which they will only be eligible to play for the team for which they have played 3 times.

c) A player may not play for a team in the last 3 games of the season if they have not previously played for the club that season. Captains can seek exemptions from this rule by contacting the controller before the affected match takes place

13. The secretary of the home team shall be responsible for arrangement of venue and other facilities where necessary. Clubs that might select a disabled player for any of their teams and clubs that cannot cater for 
disabled players, without making special provision which may include switching the venue and date of a fixture, should inform the League before the start of the season. This information will be included in the Club List circulated by the League. Any team that requires a club, which has to make special provision, to cater for a disabled player should inform the club at least 4 weeks before the match. Any team not following this procedure is liable to the loss of the relevant game in that match.

14. Clocks shall be used on all boards in League, Cup and Plate matches. 

15. The rate of play for 1st Division matches will be 75 minutes each plus an additional 10 seconds per move. In lower Divisions, the same rate of play should be used if digital clocks are available. Where appropriate digital clocks are not available the playing time will be 90 minutes for all moves. All 4 boards should use the same time control.

16. Starting time in all main League and Team Knockout shall be 7-30 p.m. Players arriving more than ONE hour late shall automatically forfeit the game. Otherwise all games must be complete (except they may be drawn by agreement or any usual method).

17. At the start of each match the two captains shall first exchange team lists giving the names of their players in descending order of playing strength from Board 1 downwards. If the grade of a player on the ECF list in September is more than 15 points greater than that of a player on a higher board then the rule has been broken and a game point may be deducted. If a captain feels that the playing strength of a player is not reflected accurately they can seek exemptions from this rule by contacting the Controller before the affected match takes place.The away team will then have WHITE on the odd numbered boards. This applies to all Divisions. For the Team Knockout competition see separate rules.

18. Detailed results of all matches must be sent by each team to the website controller. The team with the higher number of game points shall be deemed to be the winner of the match, or if the number of games be equal the match shall be deemed a draw.

19. All disputes shall be referred to the Divisional Controller within three days. Any dispute shall be resolved by arbitration with the relevant officer of the League in accordance with the League Rules. The decision shall be final, except that an appeal may if necessary be made, within seven days of receipt of notice of judgment, to the Executive Committee of the League for final judgment.

20. Penalties:
a) A team which does not regularly send in results may be penalised by the loss of a match point at the discretion of the Controller
b) Delay in paying entry fees can result in the defaulting of results until such a date as the fees are received.
c) Teams not playing at least half of their fixtures in one season will have their record deleted for that season.
d) A team defaulting a match will be liable to lose 2 penalty points at the Controller’s discretion.

21. Match points to determine competition positions shall be awarded as follows: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw, none for a loss. The team with the highest number of match points shall be deemed to be the winner of the competition or division.

22. Where a tie-break is required for teams with equal match points, in relegation, promotion and championship deciders, the tie-break will be decided by the total game point difference. If these are the same then the matches between the teams involved will be considered and the tie break will be decided in the order :- (1) match points, (2) game point difference, (3) board count, (4) elimination of bottom board(s).

23. In the case where a Division Championship or promotion or relegation are concerned and a result cannot be determined by rules 21 and 22, then the teams concerned shall play to a firm decision by the above methods at a neutral venue. 

24. No item may be added to or deleted from these rules. Nor any item herein amended except by a SIMPLE majority vote at an Annual or Extraordinary General Meeting. Provided that a written notice of the intention to do so is given to the League Secretary, who in turn must give fourteen days clear notice of the agenda of such meetings to all clubs within the League. Except that in the case of dispute, the Council Meeting or Executive Committee may make an appropriate ruling which will be binding until formally voted on at the next General Meeting.

25. Teams shall abide by BCF rules for quick play finishes. If a dispute cannot be settled on the night by the players and captains, an appeal enclosing a score sheet and relevant facts should be sent to the Competition Controller by both teams.

26. Notes on Interpretation of Rules

Note regarding Fide Rules revision of July 1st 2005. These rules are drawn up mainly with large tournaments and top ranking games in mind, and it is generally recognised that some local variation makes sense within the bounds of common sense.

Fide 12.2.b – It is strictly forbidden to bring mobile phones or other electronic means of communication, not authorised by the arbiter, into the playing venue. If a player’s mobile rings in the playing venue during play, that player shall lose the game. The score of the opponent shall be determined by the arbiter.

The Council Meeting suggested that Team Captains should request members to switch off their phones before the match starts. If a player’s phone rings once, a warning is given and if it rings twice the game is lost.

Fide addition to 8.1 – It is forbidden to write the moves in advance, unless the player is claiming a draw according to article 9.2 or 9.3.
The Council Meeting suggested that those who play in congresses and for the County and those young people who play at top level for their age groups should be advised of this rule and get used to practising it. Team Captains should make sure that their teams are aware of this rule.

Rule 12 is intended to limit a player to playing a total of 2 times above board 4 for a higher team and remaining eligible for a lower team. Eg for clubs with 3 teams a player becomes ineligible for the C team when they have played a combined total of 3 or more games above board 4 for the A and B teams. In the 4th Division a player can play a total of 4 times above board 4 for a higher team before becoming ineligible. 

Rule 12 – At present (2010), this rule is interpreted that when a player has played 3 times for a club’s team (other than board 4) then he can no longer play for any lower team of that club. Eg for clubs with, say, 3 teams a player can play twice for both the A & B teams and still be eligible for the C team. If he plays a third time for B he can no longer play for C and if he plays a third time for A, he can no longer play for B or C.

Appendix CUP & PLATE RULES May 2017
1. Competition is for teams of four, divided into two parallel competitions: -Cup: normally for teams in top half of League -Plate: normally for teams in bottom half of League -The split between Cup and Plate will be decided by the Controller based on number and quality of entries.

2. Entry details will be published in the Bulletin and Website by the Controller in September each year.

3. All matches played at the same venue on four nights: Week 1: Rounds 1 and 2. All teams compete in two Quickplay matches. Week 2: Rounds 3 and 4. All teams compete in two Quickplay matches. Week 3: Top four teams in each section play semi-finals of knockout stage Week 4: Winners of semi-finals play Finals

4. Winners hold trophies for one year.

5. The pairing for rounds 1-4 will be the ‘Hutton’ system as far as possible: all board 1 will play board 1, all board 2 will play board 2, all board 3 will play board 3 and all board 4 will play board 4.

6. Teams must play in order of strength with 15 grading points leeway.

7. A player who has played in another team in the competition, even for the same club, may not play for a different team without the Controller’s approval.

8. Time Controls: -Rounds 1-4: 30 minutes per player for all moves -Semi Finals and Finals: League time controls

9. Tie break after round 4 will be by highest number of wins. If that fails, then by board count, ie by eliminating board 4, then board 3 etc. Tie break in the semi and final matches will be by board count.

Derbyshire Chess Association 2020 © Kevin Gallagher (
Community Web Kit provided free by BT