02-Oct-2019 Updated by Rules and Appeals Committee

26-Aug-2013 Written by David Smith, then SCCU County Match Controller


The role of match captains is mainly administrative, whether or not they play in the match. Duties may vary according to specific competitions, but these notes are intended to cover just those matches which take place in the Southern Counties Chess Union (“SCCU”) County Championships.

Please note that different Rules and eligibility criteria for ungraded players (by reference to the August revision of the grading list) apply to the English Chess Federation (“ECF”) knockout National stages of the Counties Championships, which is a separately run ECF competition. The SCCU County Championships are a qualifying competition for the ECF National stages and determine in the first instance the SCCU’s nominations for that ECF run competition.

The SCCU Championships are governed by

  1. SCCU General Rules (addressing eligibility in particular – See Rules 11 to 14)

  2. Conditions of Entry to competitions (applying the SCCU’s Safeguarding and Data Protection policies)

  3. SCCU County Match Rules.

All of these are available on the SCCU Website from the About Us page.

It goes without saying that match captains should familiarise themselves with these rules and with the current FIDE Laws of Chess (as amended by SCCU Rules, e.g. penalties for sounds emitted by mobile phones).

Match captains are also referred to the Chess Arbiters’ Association (“CAA”) Guidance on interpreting the FIDE Laws (See the Guidelines section of the About Us page on the SCCU website) and where incremental time controls are not being used the FIDE Quickplay Finish Guidelines (See Appendix G.III of the FIDE Laws).

These notes do not make any reference to the selection or booking of venues for the matches, which may or may not fall within a match captain's remit. Their attention is however drawn to the notes entitled “Thoughts on Venues” which also appear in the Guidelines section of the About Us webpage. They also do not cover the provision of refreshments which, although regarded as an essential courtesy to opponents, cannot be legislated for other than in the broadest possible terms.

Counties and match captains are reminded that provision of light refreshments and accommodating venues are conducive to encouraging participation in county chess through good (or at the very least adequate) playing conditions.


Although it is ultimately the responsibility of players, match captains should ensure that their players abide by the Fide Laws of Chess, including good conduct, sportsmanship and courtesy at all times. The home match captain should ensure that up to date copies of both the FIDE Laws of Chess and the SCCU Rules are available for consultation during the match if required. The CAA guidance and this Guidance for Match Captains are also useful documents to have available.

Match captains are responsible for the smooth running of a SCCU county match and have the joint responsibility under the County Match Rule 23 Disputes procedure of taking decisions in every case or incident during the match where the players do not agree. Match captains are required to try and settle all disputes before they are raised as a Dispute with the County Match Controller. Players should be reminded that when they cannot reach agreement they should consult one of the match captains in order to instigate the procedure for resolution of the dispute.

Match captains must abstain from any intervention during play, except where provided for in the list of duties below. They shall give no information or advice to a player concerning the position on the chess board, nor consult with any other person as to the state of the game. Players are subject to the same prohibitions. A captain may however in the SCCU competition advise a player if they should offer or accept a draw, whether on request from the player or not (NB this is one example where a different rule applies in the ECF competition). In no circumstances may the captain look at any game before giving their decision. The player has the final say over the conduct of his own game and is not compelled to act upon information given by the captain. The captain cannot act on behalf of any player and his game without the knowledge and consent of that player, except as allowed for in duty 16 below (mobile phones).

It is recognised that in some circumstances practicalities dictate that the match captains should jointly exercise an arbiter’s discretion in granting permissions under Articles 11.2.3, 11.3.2 and 12.8 of the FIDE Laws. Those circumstances are set out in the duties below. Similarly match captains have a duty under County Match Rule 23 to use their reasonable endeavours to resolve any questions or disputes between their teams on the day of a match. Match captains are permitted to stop their clocks in these circumstances.

Where it is not possible to resolve a question or dispute during play the players concerned should where appropriate be invited to follow the CAA guidance and continue to play albeit under protest and without diminishing in any way the claims they may have made, which can still be raised under the Rule 23 Disputes procedure if not resolved in conjunction with the match captains on the day.


Please refer to the detailed rules where quoted for further information.

Before the match

  1. At least one calendar month before a match, captains must contact the opposing captain with full details of the venue, starting time, proposed time limits and the availability of refreshments (See SCCU County Match Rule 10(d)).

  2. Home captains must inform the opposing captain of any applicable safeguarding and health & safety information for the venue for dissemination to all attendees. Away captains should indicate in advance any adjustments or facilities that may be required for players with disabilities.

  3. Select the team, advising all concerned of the full details as in 1 & 2 above. Pay particular attention to the Rules regarding qualification (SCCU General Rule 13), and grading limits (SCCU County Match Rule 5(c)) for which the 1st September list remains in force for the duration of the whole season).

  4. Ensure that your players are aware of the SCCU Conditions of Entry to competitions and the use that the SCCU and the ECF will make of their personal data (See Conditions of Entry and Note on ECF processing in the Guidelines section of the About Us webpage).

  5. Liaise with the opposing captain as to any permitted photography at the match. Ensure that the attendees at the match are aware of the policy and arrangements are in place to respect an individual’s objection to photography and their right to privacy.

  6. Ensure that before the match you have obtained permission from the County Match Controller for any ungraded player to participate in a grade limited section. An ungraded player is defined by County Match Rule 5(c). The County Match Controller will allocate a competition grade for the SCCU competition only. The penalty for fielding an ineligible player is the loss of such a player’s game and the deduction of one penalty point from the resulting total of game points scored by the County int hat match. County Match Rule (5e).

On the day

  1. For home matches, set up boards, sets, clocks and score sheets.

  2. Exchange team lists with the opposing match captain and toss for colours (winner White on odd boards (SCCU County Match Rule 16). Team lists must be arranged in descending order of known current playing strength (County Match Rule 15).

  3. Make “housekeeping” announcements which should include:

  1. Health & Safety announcements

  2. Any other safeguarding considerations

  3. Agreed position on photography at the match ensuring that individual objections to photography are respected.

  1. In a match were an incremental time control is not being used announce that in the event of a FIDE Laws Appendix G, Guidelines III “Quick Play Finish draw” claim that Guideline III.6 only applies, that a claim will stop the game and the claim will be submitted to the County Match Controller to determine unless the players agree on the result.

  2. Remind all players that as a concession under Article 11.3. 2 of the FIDE Laws mobile phones and other electronic devices may be kept on a player’s person but they must be switched off (unless permission has been obtained in which event they must be on silent mode). Instruct players to do so. Subsequently, issue warnings to players whose mobiles emit any sound (in the first instance) and penalise second offenders with the loss of their game. (County match Rule 19).

  3. Remind all players that under the anti-cheating provisions of the FIDE Laws they are not permitted during their game to:

  1. use a mobile phone without permission of the opposing match captain

  2. leave the playing venue without permission of the opposing match captain

and the penalty for breach is likely to be loss of their game (Articles 11.3.2, 11.2.3, 12.8 and 12.9 of the FIDE Laws). These are distinct and separate infringements to that covered by County match Rule 19 above.

In each instance the player’s opponent should be notified that permission has been granted by both the player and the opposing captain.

Circumstances where permission could be granted is where a match captain does not yet have a full compliment of players or where personal circumstances dictate that a player may need to be contacted urgently.

  1. Remind all players that in the event of questions or disputes arising during play which the players are unable to resolve between themselves these should be raised with the match captains who will endeavour to resolve the issue on the day having regard to the FIDE Laws, County Match Rules and issued guidance. The clocks of the match captains may be stopped for this purpose. (County Match Rule 23).

  2. Ensure that the clocks of all players with the White pieces are set in motion at the agreed starting time. Ensure that all players are sitting at their correct board with their correct colours. Look out for latecomers/absentees and arrange a substitute if available prior to the 60 minutes default time (County Match Rule 18).

During the match

  1. If a problem arises both match captains should consult together in order to resolve the matter. (County Match Rule 23). If necessary, both match captains may stop their own clocks in order to achieve this.

  2. If it is not possible with the assistance of the match captains to resolve the dispute the players should be encouraged to continue to play where practical, albeit under protest and without diminishing in any way the claims they may have made, which can still be raised under the Rule 23 Disputes procedure if not resolved in conjunction with the match captains after the match has finished.

  3. Mobile phones are allowed in the playing area. However, they must be either switched off or with permission switched to silent mode for the duration of play. If a player's phone makes any sound during his game, then: on the first occurrence he will receive a warning and for a second offence by the same player in the same game, the penalty is loss of the game. Note that this loss is automatic and does not involve the opponent of an offender making a “claim”. Match captains should ensure that such penalties are enforced, as the disturbance is usually to all present, not just the opponent of the offender.

After the match

  1. The match captains should endeavour to resolve with the players concerned any remaining questions or disputes before departure (County Match Rule 23).

  2. Identify with the opposing captain any games where the result still remains in dispute and will be referred to the County Match Controller under the disputes procedure (County Match Rule 23), preferably agreeing where possible the material facts to the dispute. Please bear in mind that is difficult for any adjudicator who was not present at the time to decide on disputed facts.

  3. Note that each match captain should each complete the Disputes notification form appended to this guidance, and sign the form relating to their player. This form must be submitted to the County Match Controller within 3 days of the match (County Match Rule 23).

  4. Agree the detailed results with the opposing match captain and send the completed results sheet to reach both the SCCU County Match Controller and the SCCU Webmaster within seven days of the match. If any of the games is subject to an unresolved FIDE Laws Appendix G, Guidelines III.6 “Quick Play Finish draw” claim, the claim together with the final position and game score (if available) should be submitted by both match captains to the County Match Controller together with any applicable fee (County Match Rule 21).

  5. In the event of a dispute having been submitted to the County Match Controller both match captains must follow the Disputes procedure set out in County Match Rule 23.

  6. Any appeal from a ruling or decision of the County Match Controller should be submitted, together with any applicable appeal fee, to the County Match Controller on the Appeals notification form appended to this guidance and signed by a County Association Officer within the time frame permitted under County Match Rule 23.

Appellants should note that additional evidence beyond that which was provided as part of the initial claim to the County Match Controller would not normally be accepted at the appeal stage.