07.07.16: Para 23 Dispute procedure. 12.10.13: Para 5(c) Grade-limited competitions.
01.09.19 Para 2 Laws of Chess; Para 5(c)(2)(i) Ungraded players; Para 19 Concessions; Para 20 (a) Rates of Play; Para 22 Grading Fees; Para 23 Disputes
04.11.21 Para 3, Para 8 competition rating limits; Para 12 (a) assigning match points; Para 13 trophies awarded; Para 5(c), para 20 change grading to rating
10.07.22 Para 5(c)1 New rating categories A, K and P introduced in place of A to F. Category P is considered unrated; Para5(c)2 Start of season estimated rating will be replaced by the first published rating (A or K); Para 20 The time control where digital clocks were in use is replaced by G120/10, removing the intermediate time period; Para 15 revision in permitted board order (ref 2021 AGM).
23.09.22 Para 19. Use of electronic devices for medical purposes. Amended on 23 Sept 2022 at the Executive Committee meeting with dispensation from the July 22 AGM.
1. The Council shall make general arrangements for the conduct of inter-County matches and for deciding the County Championship of the Union. These Competitions, as specified by Rule 3 below, shall be governed by these Rules and shall be under the day-to-day control of the County Match Controller.
2. Laws of Chess
(a) Except as otherwise provided by these rules, play in all matches shall be governed by the Laws of Chess as published from time to time by FIDE
(b) The match captains may jointly exercise the discretion of an arbiter under Articles 11.2.3, 11.3.2 and 12.8 of the FIDE Laws of Chess pursuant to Rule 19 below and have a duty under Rule 23 below to jointly assist players in resolving questions or disputes.
(c) Players who are unable to resolve disputes between themselves should seek the assistance of the match captains particularly in respect of the application of the FIDE Laws of Chess and the County Match Rules. Disputes should be resolved at the match if possible.
3. Unless otherwise decided by Council there shall be an Open Competition, and rating-limited Competitions at Under 2050, Under 1850, Under 1650, and Under 1450.
4. The Competitions shall be open only to Member Counties. Subject to the provisions of the SCCU General Rules, a Member County may enter any number of teams in any Competition. Entries for all Competitions must be notified to the County Match Controller by 15 August.
5. Eligibility of players
(a) No player may represent more than one County in the course of a season.
(b) No player may represent more than one team in the same Competition in the course of a season.
(c) Rating-limited Competitions
(1) Players with published rating at start of season
No player may represent a team at any time in the season if his published rating, current at the start of the season, is higher than the stated limit for the Competition. "Current at the start of the season" means "published, or scheduled to be published, on 1st September". "Published rating" means a rating in one of the following categories. Where a player has a rating in more than one category, the category listed first takes precedence.
(i) Published ECF Standardplay rating (as category A or K)
(ii) Published ECF Rapidplay rating (as category A or K)
(iii) Active FIDE rating, converted as prescribed by the County Match Controller
(2) Players without published rating at start of season
(i) A player with no published rating at the start of the season may play in the rating-limited Competitions only with the clearance of the County Match Controller. The team captain must, before applying for permission, satisfy himself that the player is not of such strength as to breach the limit set for the Competition in question, and must submit evidence, where available, from the local rating officer or master list or other source. Application to the Controller must be made prior to the match. If granted, clearance shall be considered to have been granted at the time it was requested. The Controller will declare such a player ineligible (or no longer eligible) if he is not (or has ceased to be) entirely convinced that the player’s current playing strength is below the relevant rating limit.
(ii) If a player without a published start-of-season rating acquires an ECF rating (as category A or K) it will supersede the agreed estimated rating, effective one week after its publication (or earlier if the team captain so chooses). It will supersede any clearance, or refusal of clearance, previously declared by the County Match Controller. Once acquired the rating will apply throughout the remainder of the season.
(d) Any claim of ineligibility must be made to the County Match Controller. Claims may be made by an Officer of the Union, or by the match captain of any team participating in the Competition in question. Claims must reach the Controller by 31 December of the current season or within 14 days of the match, whichever is the later.
For each ineligible player in a match the penalty shall be the loss of such player’s game, and the deduction of one penalty point from the resulting total of game points scored by the County in that match.
Organisation of the Competitions
6. The Competitions will normally be All-Play-All. However, the Executive Committee may at its discretion split a Competition into two or more Sub-Divisions.
7. If the number of teams in a Competition (or Sub-Division) is more than 5, play shall be single-round and each team shall play one match against each other team. If it is less than 5, play shall be double-round. If it is 5, a vote of the match captains concerned shall be held to determine whether the competition shall be single- or double-round, and a simple majority shall decide. In the event of a tie, play shall be single-round.
8. Teams shall normally consist of 12 players in the Under 1450 competition and 16 in the others. However, matches may be played over a higher even number of boards in any Competition or Sub-Division if all match captains so agree before the start of the season. Such agreement must be notified to the County Match Controller in writing by all captains.
9. Where there are two or more teams from the same County in the same Competition, these teams shall (unless otherwise provided by the Executive Committee) play all their matches with each other before any of them plays any other opponent.
10. Fixtures and Venues
(i) Matches will normally be played on a home and away basis, alternating in successive seasons. Pairings and match dates will be advised by the County Match Controller by the end of August.
(ii) Fixtures may be rearranged by agreement between the match captains. Unless a Force Majeure Event (see 10(a)(iii)) has occurred, any request to rearrange a match should be made to the opposing captain not less than one calendar month before the date of the match (two weeks in the case of matches due to be played on or before 12 October).
(iii) If a Force Majeure Event (public transport disruption, serious weather disruption, loss of home venue due to circumstances beyond the home team's control, or other major unforeseeable event outside a team's control) occurs then the notice period in 10(a)(ii) above shall not apply; however the party claiming that a Force Majeure Event has occurred should do so at the earliest opportunity.
(iv) If there is a disagreement in relation to a proposed rearrangement pursuant to 10(a)(ii) or if there is a dispute as to whether a Force Majeure Event has occurred pursuant to 10(a)(iii) then the Controller shall rule.
Rule 10(a) amended 15.6.16
(b) Matches may be played at any suitable neutral venue by mutual agreement, but in the event of failure to reach a satisfactory arrangement, the nominated home team shall have the right to fix the venue.
(c) It shall be permissible for Counties, by mutual agreement, to play a match by means other than over the board, but this should only be resorted to in exceptional cases and the conditions must be approved by the County Match Controller, whose decision shall be final.
(d) At least one calendar month before the specified date of the match (two weeks in the case of fixtures due to be played on or before 12 October), the home team captain must confirm the date and time of the match and notify the venue to the opposing captain, with a map showing the venue, the location of nearby parking facilities, and (where appropriate) the nearest railway station. Information should also be provided about the availability of refreshments at the venue. Where possible, a telephone number for last-minute enquiries should be provided.
11. Defaulted Games and Matches
(a) A defaulted game shall count as lost by the defaulting side. A defaulted match shall count as lost on every board.
(b) The defaulting County shall meet the reasonable travelling and other expenses of the opposing team or player. Claims for expenses shall if necessary be approved by the County Match Controller.
(c) If any County defaults an away match, then notwithstanding Rule 10(a) it shall be required to play the corresponding fixture away from home in the following season. In the season after that it shall again be away from home before the normal alternation is restored.
For this purpose only, a County shall be deemed to have defaulted a match (even a match actually played) if the number of players in its team list is less than half the number of players in the opposing side's team list.
12. Ranking of Teams
(a) A game won shall score 1 Game Point, and a game drawn ½ Game Point. A match won shall score 2 Match Points, and a match drawn 1 Match Point.
(b) At the end of the Competition, teams shall be ranked as follows.
(1) Teams shall be placed in descending order of Match Points scored.
(2) Where teams still remain equal, they shall be placed in descending order of Match Points scored between (or amongst) themselves. This operation shall be repeated until it has no further effect.
(3) Where teams still remain equal, they shall be placed in descending order of Game Points scored between (or amongst) themselves. If any match between two of these teams was won by default, Game Points shall first be adjusted by applying the provisions of (4) (i) and (ii) below.
The operation of (3) shall be repeated until it has no further effect.
(4) Where teams still remain equal, they shall be placed in descending order of Game Points scored in the whole event. However, if any tying team has won a match by default the overall Game Points (but not Match Points) shall first be adjusted by discounting results as follows.
(i) The defaulted match shall be discounted.
(ii) Also discounted shall be all Game Points scored against the defaulting team by other teams involved in the tie; except that, if any of these teams has played the defaulting team twice, its Game Points discounted shall be the average of its two scores against the defaulting team.
(5) Where teams still remain equal, they shall be placed in ascending order of their board-count scores in the match or matches between (or amongst) themselves. Board count, for this purpose, shall be the total of board numbers of games won plus half of the total of board numbers of games drawn.
(6) Where teams still remain equal, they shall be placed according to bottom board elimination in the match or matches between (or amongst) themselves.
(7) Where teams still remain equal, the County Match Controller shall place them in order by lot.
(8) Where a Competition is split into two or more Sub-Divisions, rankings for the Competition as a whole shall be determined, where necessary, by the Executive Committee.
The first placed team in the Open Competition shall receive the Shannon Trophy; in the Under 2050 Competition the Montague Jones Trophy; in the Under 1850 Competition the Phillips and Drew Amboyna Trophy; in the Under 1650 Competition the Harry Woolverton Trophy; and in the U1450 Competition the David Smith Trophy.
The winners shall hold the appropriate trophy for the following year and must return it to the County Match Controller not less than one month before the Annual General Meeting.
14. Nominations for the ECF national stages
(a) In each Competition, the nominations for the equivalent ECF stage Competition shall be offered to the highest-placed teams. The Minor Counties nominations shall be offered to the highest-placed teams in the Open Division eligible under ECF rules. If any team declines nomination, the nomination shall be offered to the next placed eligible team. A team which declines nomination for the Open Championship shall not be eligible for nomination in the Minor Counties Championship in the same season.
(b) In each case the highest-placed team shall take the first nomination; the next-highest the second nomination; and so on.
(c) A County may receive more than one nomination in the same Competition.
15. Before the time fixed for play, match captains shall exchange team lists. A player cannot be listed on a board below another who is rated (or deemed to be rated) more than 80 ECF rating points lower than the player. The ratings used shall be those in force at the commencement of the competition. If a captain’s board order does not comply with this requirement, then the opposing captain may at his discretion insist, prior to the coin toss only, that the captain must provide an alternative board order complying with this rule. If a list includes defaults, these must be on the lowest boards.
16 After the exchange of team lists, match captains shall toss for colours. The team winning the toss shall take white on the odd-numbered boards. If, at the agreed starting time, either captain is absent and no deputy is available, then the team whose representative is present shall be deemed to have won the toss.
17. If a home team does not have facilities to begin a match, or any board of a match, at the agreed time, then the clock of the home player on any board concerned shall, at the start of the game, be put forward by the amount of the delay. If after one hour from the agreed starting time facilities are still not available, the home player shall lose the game by default.
18. If any player is absent on the expiry of one hour on the chess clock (including time added in accordance with Rule 17), the game shall be lost for him unless a substitute has been provided. If the number of substitutes available for a team is less than the number of absent players then substitution must be made on the highest board(s) for which players are absent.
19. Concessions during play and penalties for breach
(a) A player may leave the playing venue during play only with the prior permission of the opposing match captain, who shall notify both players concerned.
(b) Mobile phones must not be used during play unless the opposing match captain has given prior permission, who shall notify both players concerned.
(c) Mobile Phones and other electronic devices are permitted in the playing venue provided they are switched off and stored either in full view on the playing table or under the playing table in a bag (unless permission for them to be on has been obtained in which event they must be on silent mode).
The penalty for violation of these concessions shall be the loss of the game by the offending player.
(d) Mobile phones and other electronic devices are allowed in the playing area. However they must be either switched off or switched to silent mode for the duration of play. Match captains must remind players of this requirement. If a player's phone or electronic device makes any sound during his game, then: On the first occurrence he will receive a warning. For a second offence by the same player in the same game, the penalty is loss of the game.
(e) Electronic devices for medical purposes are permitted in the playing area and playing venue and can be activated as required.
20. Rates of Play
(a) Mechanical clocks
The rate of play will normally be 35 moves in 1¾ hours and then 30 minutes extra for each player for the remainder of the game. Appendix Guidelines III to the FIDE Laws applies but excluding parts III.4 and III.5. For any match, the captains may agree to vary the number of moves to the time control, the time allowed to the time control, and the length of the quickplay finish provided that:
(i) there is a quickplay finish; and
(ii) games remain eligible for Standard-Play rating.
(b) Digital Clocks
Where sufficient suitable clocks are available to enable an entire match to be played therewith, the rate of play unless otherwise agreed by the match captains will be be two hours for each player to complete the game, with an extra 10 seconds per move for each player added from the start. The captains may agree to vary the time control, the time allowed to the time limit and time added for each move, provided that games remain eligible for Standard-Play rating. They may also agree to play the match with time limits in accordance with (a) above.
21. If any claim in a quickplay finish requires reference to an independent Arbiter, it shall be submitted to the County Match Controller by both match captains together with whatever fee1 may have been determined by the Executive Committee. The County Match Controller shall submit the claim to an appropriate ECF Arbiter.
1Note: No fee has been set. Accordingly, the fee is zero. This note will be amended if at any time a different fee is set.
22. For every match, each captain shall provide a match result sheet which must reach the County Match Controller within seven days of the match. In the event that the ECF levies Game Fee in respect of a player who is not an ECF member, that fee shall be charged to and paid by the player’s County Association.
23. In accordance with Rule 2, the captains of County teams shall jointly use reasonable endeavours to resolve any questions or disputes between their teams on the day of a match. The remainder of this rule deals with the circumstances where the captains have been unable to resolve such matters between them.
Any question or dispute, on a matter not provided for by Rules 1-22, shall be submitted to the County Match Controller within 3 days on the prescribed form, which shall be signed by the match captain.
The County Match Controller shall forward the documentation received to any other interested party. Such other interested party shall have a one-off right, within 3 days of receipt, to document a response to the County Match Controller, who shall copy it to all other interested parties. Such other interested parties shall then have a one-off right, within 3 days of receipt of the response, to document their comments on that response to the County Match Controller, who shall copy such comments to all other interested parties. No further submissions shall be accepted by the County Match Controller after the initial submission and responses unless specifically requested by the County Match Controller. The County Match Controller shall notify his ruling within 11 days of the matter being brought to his attention.
Any appeal against a ruling of the County Match Controller shall be notified to him within 3 days of notification of the ruling. Notice of the appeal shall at the same time be given to any other interested party. The appellant shall submit within 10 days after notification of the ruling his written appeal on the prescribed form, which shall be signed by an Officer of the County Association together with whatever fee2 may have been determined by the Executive Committee.
The County Match Controller shall refer the appeal received to the Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee, the decision of which shall be final. The Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee shall, after any necessary clarifications with the appellant regarding the nature of the appeal, provide a copy of the appeal to any other interested party, inviting such interested party to make a one-off response within 7 days, if desired. Such response will be copied to any other interested party who shall then have a one-off right, within 3 days of receipt of the response, to document their comments on that response to the Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee, who shall copy such comments to all other interested parties. No further submissions will be accepted after the appeal submission and responses unless specifically requested by the Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee. The Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee shall notify its ruling to all parties within 7 days of the final deadline for submissions and shall provide all parties with written reasons for its decision within a further 14 days.
Where the decision of the Controller or of the Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee could affect nominations for the ECF national stages, the Controller and the Sub-Committee shall endeavour to ensure that a final decision is reached prior to the deadline for such nominations. To this end either he or they may shorten the deadlines for submissions and responses where he or they consider this necessary to enable that objective to be achieved.
2 Note: The fee is set at £30 and is returnable in the event of a successful appeal or if the appeal was considered to have raised a matter of importance. This note will be amended if at any time a different fee is set.
Amended by the members in General Meeting on 28th September 2018 to come into force on 1st September 2019. The Appeal Fee was set by the Executive at £30 on 28th September 2018.