Rules Concerning Adult League Matches
Revised March 2009 with additional guidlelines Jan 2015 - Nov 2016
1 LEAGUE FORMAT & YEAR-to-YEAR RUNNING
The Edinburgh Chess League (hereinafter referred to as the "League") shall consist of a Premier Division, Divisions 1, 2, etc. The Premier Division shall consist of six or seven teams who shall each play on an all-play-all, home and away basis. In the case where a club has more than one team playing in the Premier Division, those teams must meet home and away early in the season. The remainder of the League shall be organised into one or more all-play-all sections. Each Division shall compete for a trophy, which shall be held by the winning team for a year.
The winning teams in Divisions 1, 2 and 3 will be offered promotion to
the next highest Division. If necessary the lowest placed team in the Premier,
1st and 2nd Divisions will be relegated.
- The second placed team in Division 1 and the second from bottom in the Premier Division will play-off for the right to play in the Premier Division in a single match at a venue decided by the teams involved.
- The second placed team in Division 2 and the second from bottom in Division 1 will play-off for the right to play in Division 1 in a single match at a venue decided by the teams involved.
- The second placed team in Division 3 and the second from bottom in Division 2 will play-off for the right to play in Division 2 in a single match at a venue decided by the teams involved.
- The eligibility rules for the play-off matches are the same as those in rule 3.5 below. Players who were in the team pool and eligible for the team's final league match would be eligible. The Council would like to see the players who got the team to the play-off play in it. The match has to be completed before the last Thursday in May, the date of the Chess Edinburgh AGM.
However the Chess Edinburgh Council (hereinafter referred to as “the Council” shall be empowered to promote or relegate any team at its discretion in cases where the Council is satisfied that the best interests of the League are served by such promotions or relegations.
1.3 Time Controls
At the start of the 2000/2001 season Chess Edinburgh introduced compulsory Quickplay Finishes. There are two time controls, the current League and the Summer Cup. They are 34 moves in 85 minutes followed by a 20 minute QP finish and 34 moves in 70 minutes followed by a 15 minute QP finish respectively. Teams shall declare their playing rate by the end of the annual League Fixtures Meeting.
1.4 New Teams
Any team entered in the League for the first time shall normally compete in the lowest Division. It may, subject to the discretion of Council, be placed in another Division based on proven strength and fitness, if this is considered to be in the best interests of the League.
Additional Rules may be published annually by the Council before the League Fixtures Meeting and shall, for the year, have the same force as the rules given hereunder.
2 ARRANGEMENTS OF FIXTURES AND VENUES
Venues shall be decided by Council, who shall have the right to grant special dispensation to any team to play any or all its matches at home or away where the Council is satisfied of special need. Should either or both teams in any match wish to make alternative arrangements to those decided by Council, the proposed changes shall be submitted to the League Secretary for approval. Any team that cannot provide suitable premises and playing conditions within the Lothians for playing home matches may be required by Council to play all its matches away from home.
Unless otherwise arranged, all matches must be played on the evenings of Monday to Thursday inclusive commencing between 7.00 pm and 7.30 pm.
3 RULES GOVERNING PLAY
3.1 Fair Play
Teams competing in the League shall be expected to comply with the Rules in a spirit of fair play and competition. Should any team think that unfair advantage has accrued because of, for example:
- the misuse of players in specific teams for specific matches (see paragraph 3.5).
- the non-appearance of players on higher boards.
- gross misordering of teams relative to strength.
then this may be considered grounds for complaint and if not resolved between the team captains may be referred to the League Secretary. Upon any complaint being upheld then Council shall have the discretion to impose penalties on offending teams.
The use of clocks shall be compulsory in every Division. In each Division arrangements must be made for a session of 2 hours and 50 minutes or 3 hours and 30 minutes, which are the prescribed periods of play referred to in para 1.3, which shall begin at the time fixed for the commencement of the match.
3.3 Commencement of Match
Clubs must commence matches at 7.00pm unless both team captains agree otherwise. At the commencement of each match the team captains shall exchange team lists, with names placed in order and any gradings shown. The team designated the 'away' team shall have white on the odd- numbered boards and black on the even-numbered boards. All clocks should be started at the hour fixed for commencement of the match, even though play is not in progress. It is the home team's responsibility to start the clock at the prescribed time. Failure to do so shall require that the clocks of the home team's players be set forward an amount of time equivalent to the delay in starting the match, unless both team captains agree otherwise.
A game shall be lost by default by any player not present after one hour's grace from the scheduled starting time. A match shall be lost by default by any team that does not have more than half its players present by one hour after the scheduled starting time. Any team that defaults a match at any time throughout the season will be penalised £10 for each offence. The excuse of lack of sufficient available players will not be accepted.
3.5 Team Squads
- The Council wants to prevent the misuse of players for all matches. This includes, especially, key matches and the use of players from other leagues.
- Clubs are limited to the use of one player per team in the case of players playing in other leagues and who are resident outwith the Lothians. Players in this category are exempt if they have played regularly in the League in any of the last three seasons.
- All players must be bona fide members of the club for which they play.
- At the start of each season each team captain nominates the players
who will form the complete team squad for that season (at least six players)
by 31 October to the League Secretary. A penalty of £5 per team
will be incurred for team squads postmarked and/or received after 31 October.
Alterations to Team Squads can be made but the League Secretary must be notified in writing (including e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) who must then confirm the alteration to implement it. This also applies when captains wish to change a player's nominated squad after they have played up the amount of games allowed.
- Once nominated, players may not during the season :
(i) play for a team lower in the club order, or
(ii) play for another club in the League, or
(iii) play more than a total of twice for teams higher in the club order. Premier Division players can only play up once to a team higher up in the club order also in the Premier Division.
(iv) Any player playing up more than twice (or once in the Premier exception) will have their games defaulted.
Eligible players graded 1300 and below (including ungraded players never previously graded above 1300) are permitted to play for any team within their club without restriction.
Teams shall be expected to play in descending order of established strength, as shown by published gradings supplemented by actual results. Any significant misordering relative to published gradings should be capable of ready explanation. Team captains should be prepared to justify any misordering to opposing captains or to Council on request.
Players are obliged to record the moves as specified in the FIDE Laws of Chess, except that algebraic notation, while strongly encouraged in all Divisions, is not compulsory.
3.8 Playing Rules
All games shall be played according to the rules of the game as laid down by the Federation Internationale Des Echecs (hereinafter referred to as "FIDE"). The following are the rules that would cover QP finishes in Chess Edinburgh matches:
- A QP finish is the last phase of the game, when all remaining moves must be made in a limited time.
- A player may claim a draw when the player has less than two minutes left on the clock and before the player's flag falls. This concludes the game.
- The player may claim on the basis that
(i) the opponent cannot win by normal means, or
(ii) the opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means.
In (i) the player must write down the final position and the opponent verify it. In (ii) 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.
- When the game is ended by a player claiming a draw, it is hoped that the players will agree that the claim is valid. If the claim is disputed then each player must present a case with a payment of £5.00 to the League Secretary within seven days. The player who made the claim of the draw must state whether the claim is based on (i) or (ii) above. The other player only has to state that they disagree. Both players must supply the final position and in case (ii) scoresheets signed by hose decision will be final. their opponent. The League Secretary will select a suitable arbiter.
- The player who loses will forfeit £5.00, the other £5.00 will be returned. If only one player claims then the decision will be awarded to that player and the £5.00 returned.
- Players involved in making a claim can, at the end of the match, take advice from their team captain as to whether their case is likely to succeed.
Team captains shall act as arbiters for their match. Only when no agreement between the team captains is reached should any dispute be referred to the League Secretary. Team captains should be aware of their responsibility to prevent any spectator interference whatsoever in any game still in progress.
During a match all players may approach their team captains for advice on points of Law or dispute; but team captains may not give specific advice or contravene the FIDE laws on 'Conduct of the Players'. Players offered a draw, or who wish to offer a draw, may ask team captains for advice provided that the position of the game is neither discussed nor scrutinised by team captains. Team captains shall not offer unsolicited advice to players; doing so may be regarded as legitimate grounds for complaint by the opposing team captain.
3.11 Result Cards
Separate result cards must be submitted to the League Secretary by the club secretary or team captain of each team, irrespective of the venue of each match. Results cards posted must be postmarked within seven days of the match. If only one card is received, it may be regarded as definitive. If no cards are received, the match may be regarded as void. Clubs will be penalised £5 for each card not received by the League Secretary within fourteen days of the match and not postmarked within seven days of the match.
4 PROCEDURE FOR POSTPONEMENT
In exceptional circumstances (e.g. an emergency) which might be deemed acceptable for requesting a postponement, team captains should in the first instance contact the League Secretary for advice. If the League Secretary approves a request for postponement the team captain should then inform the opposing team captain of this, who should in turn confirm to the League Secretary that a postponement is agreed. Unavailability of players is not sufficient reason for requesting a postponement. The Council (besides normal courtesy) requires that if these exceptional circumstances are known before the fixture, the League Secretary should be contacted as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in the refusal of the request for postponement.
It shall be the responsibility of the postponing team captain to contact the opposing team captain and arrange within 14 days a new date for the fixture which the postponing team captain should communicate immediately to the League Secretary. If such an arrangement cannot be reached the League Secretary may impose a date for the fixture to be played. The venue shall normally remain unchanged.
All matches must be played by the end of April.
A won match shall count two points and a drawn match one point. Should two or more teams score equal match points their League positions shall be decided first by game points difference and then by the individual match result(s) between the teams tying.
All questions not otherwise covered by these rules, the 'FIDE Laws of Chess', or the 'Chess Edinburgh Quickplay Finish Rules', must be referred to the League Secretary. Any disagreement with a ruling made by the League Secretary may be referred in writing to the Council whose decision shall be final and binding on all parties.
- Any player having a strong case for exemption from any of the rules may apply in writing to the League Secretary for dispensation.
- Any player who feels disadvantaged in the time it takes him/her to record moves, for example partially sighted players, may apply to the League Secretary to be given exemption from recording such moves.
6 MOBILE PHONES
Mobile phones must be switched off during play. Phones can not be left in vibrating mode. Any player whose mobile phone rings or takes any call, including text messages, during a match will automatically lose the game.
It is the responsibility of the Team Captains to remind players of this before each match. The Home Captain should announce it, but in the event that s/he forgets, the away Captain should announce it. Lost games will be graded.
We understand that this is likely to become common practice in most Congresses following its introduction in international competition where there have been a number of cases of grandmasters being disqualified when their phones have rung during play.
7 NEW MEMBER CLUBS - League Entries
For new clubs applying to join the league - as a pre-condition each new club will be invited to play graded friendly matches against existing member clubs to give them a chance to experience the requirements of team play and enable council to assess their suitability for acceptance. Council will help to arrange such matches and a council member will attend them. Advice and/or assistance will be offered to the club to help them with their organisation. Additional concerns regarding how to protect junior members are an important issue to the Council and will be taken into consideration if applicable.
At the beginning of the new season following such an application and after the friendly matches having taken place, at the first Council Meeting in September it will be considered whether the new club should be given an invitation to join Chess Edinburgh if they still wish to do so.
Summary of Chess Edinburgh Quickplay Finish Rules
1. All games shall be played according to the rules of the game as laid down by the Federation Internationale Des Echecs (hereinafter referred to as "FIDE"). The following are the rules that would cover quickplay (QP) finishes in Chess Edinburgh matches. A QP finish is the last phase of a game, when all the remaining moves must be made in a limited time. A copy of these rules must be available for consultation in the playing venue where they will be used. These rules apply specifically to matches where no arbiter has been appointed.
2. There are two time controls for teams to choose from, the current League and the Summer Cup. They are 34 moves in 85 minutes followed by a 20 minute QP finish and 34 moves in 70 minutes followed by a 15 minute QP finish respectively.
3. Both players must continue to record their moves until they have less than five minutes left.
4. A player may claim a draw when the player has less than two minutes left on the clock and before the player's flag falls. The player claiming the draw should stop the clocks and consult the captains. If either captain is still playing, this can be delayed. This concludes the game.
5. The player may claim a draw on the basis that (a) the opponent cannot win by normal means, or (b) the opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means. 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.
6. If both captains are satisfied that the opponent cannot win by normal means (which includes the case where the opponent with more time is very much behind on material), or that the opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means, then they may declare the game drawn. If they are not satisfied, they may declare the game lost.
7. The team captains' decision is not an adjudication. The decision process should involve only the players concerned and the team captains.
8. When the game is ended by a player claiming a draw, it is hoped that the players will agree that the claim is valid. If the claim is disputed then each player must present a case with a Payment of £5.00 to the League Secretary within seven days. The player who made the claim of the draw must state whether the claim is based on 5(a) or 5(b) above. The other player only has to state that they disagree. Both players must supply the final position and in case 5(b) scoresheets signed by their opponent. The League Secretary will select a suitable arbiter whose decision will be final.
9. The player who loses will forfeit £5.00, the other £5.00 will be returned. If only one player claims then the decision will be awarded to that player and the £5.00 returned.
10. Players involved in making a claim can, at the end of the match, take advice from their team captain as to whether their case is likely to succeed.
11. Illegal moves in QP finishes are penalised as follows: For the first and the second illegal move by a player, the opponent is given an additional two minutes. If a third illegal move is played then the game is lost by the player.
Notes for the Guidance of Team Captains and Players
1. The guidance given here is an attempt to ensure that a player does not lose who, from the position on the board and his/her demonstrated standard of play, would be able to gain at least a draw had time considerations not played a critical role.
2. In the majority of cases, players know perfectly well which player has a winning advantage, and there is no dispute if that player claims a draw. The difficult cases are those in which the material is more even, but where players claim that their opponents cannot win for positional reasons.
3. The reasons for awarding the draw include:
- the player's material and/or positional advantage is clear, and that the opponent has no reasonable way to create counterplay that would give him winning chances. The more material on the board the greater the advantage must be.
- that the position is clearly drawn, e.g. the player is controlling the queening square with King against a or h pawn and wrong coloured bishop.
- the opponent has not been trying to win on the board, but has been trying to win on time by making passive moves.
- that the player's offer of a draw was declined when the opponent had an inferior position and the opponent has not since then created counterplay.
- that the play of the player has fully demonstrated that he knows how to draw the position which is materially even or disadvantageous e.g. K+N vs K+R with no pawns.
4. Before making a decision, the team captains may allow each player to make a brief statement on their views of the position.
5. The team captains' decision is not an adjudication, but an ad hoc decision on the position on the board and the claims of the players. Pieces must not be moved on the board; and only the players and the team captains must be involved in the decision.
6. The onus of proof is on the player who has made the claim. If there is reasonable doubt, his claim must fail.
7. To avoid the unnecessary involvement of team captains, it is recommended that a player should offer a draw before claiming a draw. If the offer is declined, the player should stop the clocks and consult the captains.
8. It is also recommended that the players adjust their own clocks for illegal moves.
Play Off Matches must be played before the Chess Edinburgh AGM (which normally takes place towards the end of May). Summer Cup matches should be completed before the stated deadline.
The venue for a Play Off Match is to be mutually decided between the two Team Captains. (Summer Cup match venues are predetermined.)
In the event that the participating teams cannot agree a venue, then the team from the higher division will be considered the Home team. (The council believe that with good communication it should be possible to agree on an acceptable arrangement - only if this proves impossible should it require a decision by the League Secretary.)
For a date, the recommended procedure is for:
- The Home Team to select two dates on their normal Club night, before the deadline.
- The Away Team to select one of these two dates they would prefer to play the match.
For Play Off Matches other factors naturally have to be taking into consideration - such as completion of League Matches by other teams of the two clubs and the scheduling of Summer Cup Matches.
In the event of a match draw, board elimination starting from board 6 will determine the winner. For the Summer Cup refer to Summer Cup rule eight:
Rule 8: With equal cumulative scores, board elimination (commencing with board 6) will decide the winner. Handicap will be considered for this purpose. Points forfeited by default will not be discounted.
If a Play Off Match ends with six drawn games then the team from the higher Division will remain in that Division (subject to any unavoidable league reorganisation that may be required).
For Play Off Matches any player eligible for a team lower in the club order at the end of the season (not in the case of Division 3 teams) is allowed to play in the play-off. The 2 game up rule is waived.
A reminder that League Rule 3.1 Fair Play should be observed throughout the process.
IMPORTANT - In the event both Captains agree they have the flexibility to arrange the venue and date of the match as they desire, subject to a conclusive outcome before the deadline.
The Tiger Cubs
The Tiger Cubs are a junior team based at the Edinburgh Chess Club which is promoted by Chess Edinburgh to encourage the participation and development of younger players.
The playing conditions for all matches and graded games against members of the Tiger Cubs are as follows:
- All graded matches and games are to be played at 7.00 pm at the Edinburgh Chess Club, 1 Alva Street, Edinburgh EH2 4PH.
- The time control is 34 moves in 70 minutes plus 15 minutes Quick Play finish for all games.
- For League and Summer Cup/Plate Matches the designated Home team will be Black on Board 1
Edinburgh West Juniors
Added Oct 2023
Edinburgh West have now started a Junior team and they will benefit from the same conditions as the Tiger Cubs, with their matches being played at the Edinburgh West club premises. The only exception will be when they are playing against the Tiger Cubs, where whichever team is designated the Home team in the draw will be the hosts.