02-Oct-2019 Re-issued by Rules and Appeals Committee

25-Aug-2015 Written by David Smith, then SCCU County Match Controller


Whilst it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules concerning the venues in which matches are played, there are a number of principles to which Counties should consider. Most of these are just common sense but, at the risk of stating the obvious, here are a few observations.

Start times

There are no “Rules” governing the times that matches should start. For many years SCCU Matches invariably started at 2.00pm but of late some Counties have started to vary this for a variety of reasons; in my view no matches should start earlier than 1.00pm and obviously confirmation of ALL start times MUST be included with the mandatory notice giving all the required details one month before the match itself.


Not everyone has a car. Venues need to be located in reasonably accessible places, well served by public transport. It is helpful for Match Captains to provide details of convenient connections serving the venue prior to the match. For those lucky enough to travel by car, details of nearby car parks are useful, particularly those that will not cost an “arm and a leg” for the five hours required. Match Captains should also advise whether adjacent “on street” parking is available during the course of the match.


Ideal venues are hard to come by. Essentials are to provide sufficient space for the match(es) taking place (with room to walk around when required) with good lighting, heating and convenient conveniences. Access for the disabled is an area of growing importance and Counties should do all in their power to use only fully accessible venues. It would be sensible for “away” match captains to advise the “home” MC in advance should their team include players with disabilities, including blind players.


Bearing in mind that many teams will have travelled considerable distances, some form of refreshment is an essential courtesy to opponents. Tea, coffee and soft drinks can be provided at minimal cost to the home side. Other light refreshments could be provided by the venue for purchase as required. Details of adjacent cafes and pubs for pre-match meals etc. are also very useful for the visiting teams.

Mobile phones

Whilst the SCCU recognises that it is not practicable to ban mobile phones from the playing area (or venue) nevertheless our County Match Rules make it clear that if a player’s phone makes any sound whilst his game is in progress, the player receives, on the first ring, a warning. A second offence results in automatic loss of the game.

May I ask Counties to keep their arrangements under regular review in order to ensure that a County Chess match is a pleasant day out for all, and not a chore to be endured.