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Rules of the Middlesex Chess League.

Following the custom of FIDE we state ” In these rules the words ‘he’, ‘him’ and ‘his’ are used indiscriminately to include ‘she, her’ and ‘her’s’.”


Unless otherwise provided all games shall be played in accordance with the current laws of chess as laid down by FIDE.


At the annual general meeting the two officers shall be appointed:-
The League Secretary and
The League Grader.


The day to day running of the League shall be the responsibility of the appointed League Secretary.


If a dispute between two players and a registered B.C.F. (E.C.F.) arbiter is present then the matter shall be referred to that person. If no arbiter is present as an official, player or a spectator, then the two team Captains shall jointly act as an arbiter. If they disagree, then the matter shall be referred to the League Secretary, in writing, with the full details. This shall be carried out by both team captains within ten days.


Any appeal against the League Secretary’s decision shall be made in
writing within fourteen days and heard by a committee of three individuals who are members of
the Association’s Executive Committee. Their decision shall be final and
binding. The League Secretary shall arrange in consultation with
the president, which three members of the Executive Committee shall
serve and shall advise both parties involved in the dispute as to who
those officers will be. All parties shall have at least two weeks notice
of the date, time and venue of the meeting.


The clubs wishing to enter for the following season shall have
duly completed and returned the application form to the League Secretary
before the date of the Annual Council Meeting of the Middlesex County
Chess Association, or are present at that meeting to make a verbal entry.

The entry shall include the number of teams for the various
divisions and any entries for the divisions of the Limited Grade Categories.
See Appendix A

The list of club officers and team captains, with their addresses
and phone numbers shall be rendered to the League Secretary by the opening
of the Fixtures meeting, together with any monies required to bring the
adjudication deposit up to the required sum (see clause 16f).

Late entries shall be at the League Secretary’s discretion and
subject to a late entry fee as determined by the council. (In 1999 it is £5)

Entry fees (In 2005 these are £40 per team except the Limited Grade
Categories which are £10 per team plus County Affiliation of £20 per annum if not otherwise a
member) and BCF game fees (In 2005 these are 44p per player per match) shall
be rendered as required by the Middlesex County Chess Association
according to the constitution. (Clause 4)


a). All divisions (other than those in the Formula Divisions
referred to below) shall consist of eight teams, except for the last
division, which shall consist of no fewer than six and not more than
thirteen teams. In these divisions teams shall be subject to promotion
(two teams) and relegation (two teams) except that there shall be no
promotion from the first division and no relegation from the last division.
b). An extra division shall be formed when the number of teams
entered for the last division exceeds thirteen; and the number of divisions
shall be reduced by one when the number of entries for the last division
falls below six.
c). Every division shall be played on a Double Round All-Play-All
basis, with each team playing once at home and once away against each
opponent. If there are more than eight teams in a division (in the last
division or in the Formula divisions), then they shall play each other once
only, based on the draw for the appropriate Berger table. When two or more
teams from the same club are in the same division all matches between these
teams shall be played no later than the 31st December of the season in
question. The penalty for non-compliance shall be the forfeiture of the
games and matches concerned. These defaults counting cumulatively towards
match points forfeited under rule 10.

d). Exceptions. See appendix B


a). Each division (except for the first and last) shall normally
consist of the four teams finishing third to sixth in the previous season,
plus the two teams relegated from the division above plus the two teams
promoted from the division below. (see Rule 12)
b). A team may decline promotion only if the promotion would result in
two teams from the same club playing in the same division. In this event
the vacant place shall be offered successively, and in descending order, to
the teams finishing below the team that refused promotion, except for
those teams due to be relegated. A relegated team shall not be offered a
reprieve unless a vacancy arises as a result of every eligible team in the
division below refusing promotion; in that instance the reprieve shall first
be offered to the team finishing seventh. This procedure shall be
repeated for any consequent vacancy in lower divisions.

c). No team finishing outside the promotion positions shall be
compelled to accept promotion against its will because of a higher placed
team declining. If no voluntary replacement can be found the latter will
be promoted regardless of whether it’s club already had a team in the
higher division. No more than two teams from the same club shall play in
any one division, except for the last division, where the limit is three.
d). New teams shall start in the lowest division, unless otherwise
determined by the Association’s Council.
e). See appendix C


a). No player shall play for more than one club in any one season,
even if the clubs concerned compete in different divisions of the League.
Any player who does so shall only be eligible for the first club that he
played for in that season. Any player not eligible will forfeit his board
b). A club with two or more teams in the League divisions must
nominate eight players for each of these teams except for the bottom team.
The nominations shall be received by the league secretary no later
that the date of the first match of the club concerned. No player may be
nominated for more than one team, nor may he play for a lower team than the
one for which he was nominated. Formula Divisions excepted, no player
is eligible for a team if he has played more than four games, defaults not
counting, for a higher team or teams that season. First team Nominees shall
consist of the eight strongest members of a club who intend to play in the
League that season.
c). If a nominated player has not played for his team by December 31st,
a substitute nominee must be made from among those who have already made an
appearance for that team. If this results in insufficient nominees
for a lower team then this procedure shall be repeated for each team
d). When a club has two teams in the same division the above shall be
applied to a unit of sixteen nominees. The two strongest players and
four of the next six shall be nominated for the strongest team; the
assignment of the remaining ten nominations are at the discretion of the
e). Exceptions. See Appendix D


A fine shall be levied on clubs not represented at the Fixtures Meeting,
(the sum currently determined by Council, in 1999, is £20). These clubs
will have dates of matches arranged that are convenient to their opponents
who are present at the meeting; these dates can only be changed if both
sides assent in writing to the League Secretary. Fixtures must
initially be arranged to be played before 30th April. Matches not played
before 14th May, and for which no later date has been approved by the League
Secretary, shall be scored as a loss to both sides and attract the penalties
for defaulting.
Any team wishing to postpone or rearrange a fixture must give the opposing
team Captain 96 hours notice prior to the original fixture date. If this
notice is not given the opposing captain has the right to insist that the
original fixture date stand.


If at the start of a match, a captain or his deputy knows that
their team is incomplete then he must default the appropriate number
of boards in sequence upwards from the bottom board. A match is won, and
scored as one game point for the winner, if that team had more game points
than its opponent for the match: otherwise the match is drawn, and each
team scores one half of a match point. For every eight defaults half a
match point will be deducted. The defaults will be weighted as follows:-
Boards 1 or 2 = 3 Defaults.
Boards 3, 4, or 5 = 2 Defaults
Boards 6, 7 or 8 = 1 Default.
This system does not apply to the Formula Divisions.


The record of any team withdrawing before half its matches,
including defaults, are played shall be expunged; notwithstanding this,
the results shall be submitted for grading. This provision shall also
apply to any team that has been expelled by the League Secretary
through its inability to adhere to a satisfactory match programme.


The winners of each division, the teams to be promoted, and the
teams to be relegated shall be determined by match points; the highest
scoring team coming first, the second highest scoring team coming second
and so on.
a), Ties shall be resolved by game scores in a similar fashion.
b). If there is still a tie they shall be placed in order according to
the aggregate game points in the match or matches between or amongst them.
c). If there is still a tie they shall be placed in order on the board
count. If the board count is equal results shall be as decided by bottom
board elimination.
d). If there is still a tie then the involved teams shall play a
deciding match under the League Rules applicable to their division at an
agreed venue or, if the teams cannot agree, at a venue decided
by the League secretary. If the division was a single round All-Play-All
the home side shall be the team that played away in the earlier encounter
between the two teams.


Every game shall be played with a clock. The home team captain shall
notify the opposing team captain of an insufficiency of clocks so that the
opposing team can remedy the deficiency.
A player can insist on an analogue clock instead of a digital clock where it
is available.
The rate of play for the first session shall be thirty six
moves in one hour and thirty minutes, or thirty moves in one hour and fifteen
minutes if only a two hour and thirty minute session is possible. Subsequent
sessions shall be played at the rate of twenty four moves every hour.
The minimum duration of a session shall be two hours and thirty minutes.
Unless the two players agree, before the start of the match,

to adjourn or adjudicate, or one of the players is disabled, a quick play
finish shall be played. Depending on the length of the playing session.
The time control shall be thirty moves in seventy five minutes, or thirty
moves in one hour, both followed by a quick play
finish with fifteen minutes added to each player’s clock.

These Quickplay finishes shall be governed by the B.C.F. rules currently in


The time for commencing play at a match shall be agreed upon at the
Fixtures Meeting and shall not be later than 7.30.p.m., except where the
home side has accommodation difficulties, in which case the match must begin
by 7.45.p.m. Clocks shall be started at the time agreed upon at the
Fixtures meeting. Should it not prove possible to commence play at that
time the home team must deduct the lost time from each of its clocks.
Either captain can introduce a substitute up to thirty minutes after the
time arranged for starting play, however, this player shall lose the time
that has elapsed on the clock. The substitute shall not be markedly
stronger than the player he is replacing. Any team or player that is not
ready to play within thirty minutes of the time agreed upon shall lose by
The playing session for the first division matches only at the
Athenaeum at 36 Endell Street shall be 3 hrs and 30 minutes, starting at
6. 45 p.m. with a time control of 36 moves in 90 minutes and if opposing players
agree prior to the start of the match the game shall be adjourned if unfinished
at the end of the session. In the absence of such agreement the time control
shall be 36 moves in 90 minutes followed by a 15 min quickplay finish.
The default time, in this instance, will be extend by 15mins to 7.30.p.m.


The opposing captains, or their deputies, shall exchange the names
of their players, whom they shall place in their recognised order of
playing strength. A team contravening this rule may be penalised by the
League Secretary (acting in consultation with the Association’s president).
The captains shall toss for colours after exchanging names, the winner
shall have the right of choice. The exchange of team lists and toss for
colours shall take place at least ten minutes before the agreed upon time
for starting play. If only one team complies then they have won the toss.


At the call of time the player whose turn it is to move shall make
a sealed move. All sealed moves must be made within 15 mins from the call of
time. Failure to do so incurs the loss of the game.
a). At the call of time games are adjudicated if both players agree, or
if one of the players is disabled, or if the captains (or their deputies)
decided on this course when team lists were exchanged.
If the player, whose turn it is to move, does not wish to adjourn,
but his opponent does, then he has choice of venue.
b). If the game is to be adjudicated then both players shall take
note of the position excluding the sealed move, the colour of the
pieces that each side played with, the name of the player to move
and the number of the board on which the game was played. The
two match captains shall then check and initial the two score sheets;
each shall retain one copy, which shall be sent to the League Secretary,
together with the respective claims, within ten days of the match.
Alternatively the full information may be sent by e-mail in Forsyth Notation.

If there is any discrepancy (i.e. a variation in the position) then the
original, initialled, score sheets shall be supplied to the League secretary by post.
The club that loses the adjudication shall be informed of this decision
and have a fee deducted from its adjudication deposit (see clause ‘f’).
(Since 2003 this is £5.50 per decision.)
c). Any team wishing to challenge an adjudication shall write to the League
Secretary within seven days of the result being known to them.
The appeal shall be sent together with two copies of the position and
supporting analysis. The League Secretary shall immediately notify
the opposing team, who shall also have seven days to supply an analysis
if they wish to do so. The League Secretary shall forward the appeal,
together with all supporting analysis, to an independent
professional adjudicator whose decision will be final. The decision
shall be communicated to both teams. If the appeal fails a fee shall be
deducted in addition to the one already deducted after the initial
adjudication deposit of the relevant club. If the appeal is upheld
then the initial fee shall be restored to the adjudication
deposit of the successful team’s club; and a fee, as agreed by Council,
shall be deducted from the adjudication deposit of the opposing team’s
d). If the game is to be adjourned the player who was to move at the call of
time shall seal his move. Both players shall take note of the clock
times; the sealing player shall initial the flap of the envelope. They
shall then agree to a resumption date, which shall be within two weeks,
unless an extension is granted by the League Secretary. The
other player having choice of venue shall choose between his club’s
home venue of his opponent, unless both players agree an
alternative. The venue, date and time shall be recorded on the
adjournment envelope and on the results slip that has to be sent to
the league Secretary. The sealed envelope shall be held by the other
The League Secretary may penalise the team of a player who does not
appear at the resumption and may count the game as a default.
e). All games unfinished at the end of the second session are
adjudicated unless both players agree otherwise and the game can be
completed within the original two week time limit or extension. At
the end of the second session the game can be decided by an
agreement of the opposing captains.
f). Each club shall initially lodge a sum ( to be determined by
Council in 1999 this stands at £15) as an adjudication
deposit with the League Secretary at the beginning of the season;
this deposit shall serve to cover the cost of any appeal or fine.
Further sums for these purposes can be demanded at the League
Secretary’s discretion. These deposits shall be carried over to the
next season unless a club asks for a return.


Each team captain shall send the full score of the match including
the names of the players and their board numbers and colours to the League
Secretary within seven days of the first session. Any team in contravention
of this rule shall be fined (in 1999 this stands at 50p per result), and may,
at the League Secretary’s discretion, be scored nil points for this match.
Captains are asked to include full players’ initials/names; this
is to assist both the League Secretary and Grader.

When sending in result sheets captains should not wait for the
conclusion of unfinished games. Adjudications should be included; if only
one team complies then their claim shall be allowed; if neither team
complies then the game shall be scored as a double default.

Captains should be prompt when reporting the results of adjournments;
all the results are to be sent in within ten days of the outcome of a game.
Any team that does not report the complete result of a match within twenty
four days of the first session may, at the discretion of the League
Secretary lose the match by default.


The winner of each division shall hold the corresponding trophy
for one year. The winner of any trophy shall sign for its receipt and
shall return the trophy at the following year’s Annual Council Meeting.
Trophies for further divisions of the League, as a result of expansion,
may be purchased by decision of the Association’s Council. For
individual player’s trophies or other prizes related to the League game
results may be awarded by decision of the Council. Such prizes may be
withheld if no player appears to have sufficient merit.


A These are to be known as the Formula divisions and referenced as F1
through to F5. With the Following restrictions.
F1 Open F2 Under 175 F3 Under 150
F4 Under 125 F5 Under 100
B Any division based on a limited grade shall operate outside any
rules of promotion or relegation. Matches in these divisions shall be played
over four boards.
C The Limited grade divisions are not subject to promotion and
D Players whose clubs only play in the Formula League Games will therefore
not be banned from playing for another club in the regular divisions

as amended July 2005

updated July 31st 2005