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. 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.
3. Unless otherwise decided by Council there shall be an Open Competition, and grading-limited Competitions at Under 180, Under 160, Under 140, Under 120 and Under 100.
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) Grading-limited Competitions
(1) Players with published grade at start of season
No player may represent a team at any time in the season if his published grade, current at the start of the season, is higher than the stated limit for the Competition. "Current at the start of the season" means "included in the last list published, or scheduled to be published, on or before 15th September". "Published grade" means a grade in one of the following categories. Where a player has a grade in more than one category, the category listed first takes precedence.
(i) Published ECF Standardplay grade (other than category F)
(ii) Published ECF Rapidplay grade (other than category F)
(iii) Active FIDE rating, converted as prescribed by the County Match Controller
(2) Players without published grade at start of season
(i) A player with no published grade at the start of the season may play in the grading-limited Competitions only with the prior 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 grader or master list or other source. 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 grading limit.
(ii) January grades. If a player without a published start-of-season grade acquires an ECF grade (other than category F) in the January list, the January grade will count for eligibility with effect from one week after 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.
Note. New version of 5(c) approved 12.10.2013
(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 100 and U120 competitions 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 1 Match Point, and a match drawn ½ 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 180 Competition the Montague Jones Trophy; in the Under 160 Competition the Phillips and Drew Amboyna Trophy; in the Under 140 Competition the Ebony Trophy; in the Under 120 Competition the Harry Woolverton Trophy; and in the U100 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 arranged in descending order of known current playing strength. 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. Mobile phones 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 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.
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. 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 grading.
(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 35 moves in 1 hour and 40 minutes and then 20 minutes for each player for the remainder of the game, with an extra 10 seconds per move for each player added from the start. The captains may agree to vary the number of moves to the time control, the time allowed to the time control, the time added for the remainder of the game and the time added for each move, provided that games remain eligible for Standard-Play grading. 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 fee may have been determined by the Executive Committee1. The County Match Controller shall submit the claim to an appropriate ECF Arbiter.
1. Note 4.2.01. 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.
23. Any question or dispute, on a matter not provided for by Rules 1-22, shall be referred to the County Match Controller within 7 days. The County Match Controller shall issue his decision within 7 days of the matter being brought to his attention.
Any appeal against a decision of the County Match Controller shall be notified to the County Match Controller within 7 days of his decision being announced. Notice of the appeal shall at the same time be given to any other party to the question or dispute. The appellant shall submit his written appeal within 14 days of the Controller's decision being announced. The other party or parties may, if desired, make a written submission by the same date. No party has the right to see another's submission, and there is no right of reply.
The Controller shall refer the appeal to the Rules and Appeals Sub-Committee, whose decision shall be final. The Sub-Committee may seek clarification from any party concerned.