League Rules

RULES FOR MATCH PLAY

Registration
1.  Players shall be deemed to be registered for a Club by virtue of playing for that Club in any League or Knockout Competition Match in that season.
2. Players may transfer to another Club prior to the 31 December subject to the approval of the League Management Committee ( herein-after referred to as ‘the Committee’ )
3. Schoolteachers and schoolchildren may represent both their Club and their School teams provided that such teams do not play in the same division.
4. No person may play for more than one Club in the League Knockout Competition.
5. A player may register with one Club only in any season except as provided in Rule 3.
 
Dates of Matches
6. The dates of matches shall be published in writing by the League Secretary not later then two weeks after the Annual General Meeting.
7. All League matches shall be played in the period 1st October to 31 May unless otherwise directed by the Committee.
8. No Club shall be required to play separate matches by two adjacent teams on the same day - Example: Teams 1 & 2 and 2 & 3 are adjacent, but 1 & 3 are not.
9. All League games between teams from the same Club shall be completed by 31 March. Where such games have not been completed they will be defaulted by both teams.
10. A team has the right to postpone a match in the following circumstances, provided the team captain of the opposing club is notified at least 5 days before the appointed starting time:
·  The home team, if the premises will not be available
·  A school team , if a school event or holiday will interfere with the match or prevent them from fielding a full team.
11. A team wishing to postpone a match for reasons not included in Rule 10 may ask the team captain of the opposing Club for a postponement. The opposing team has the right to refuse, unless that refusal is unreasonable. In the event of a dispute, the League Secretary shall as soon as possible be notified in writing by both team captains and the Committee shall make a decision. Their decision is final.
12. A team which has claimed a postponement under Rule 10 or requested a postponement to which the opponents agreed, shall notify the Fixtures Secretary in writing no later than one week after the original fixture date. The two Clubs shall arrange a new date within one month of the original fixture date and notify the Fixtures Secretary within 3 days.
13. The Committee shall have the power to expel from the League any Club which fails to fulfil its League fixtures without good reason for doing so.
14. If a team fails to appear for any match at the appointed place and date within 30 minutes of the appointed starting time, it shall lose the match by default. The opponents shall report the non-appearance to the League Secretary in writing. If the non-appearance is due to circumstances outside the control of the defaulting Club the latter may appeal to the Committee, the appeal to be sent in writing to the League Secretary within one week. The Committee may confirm the default or decide that the match shall be played on another date. Inability to field a full team shall not be grounds for an appeal.

Composition of Teams
15. In League matches teams shall consist of FIVE players in the Open Division and of FOUR players in all other divisions. In the Challenge Cup teams shall comprise eight players minimum.
16. Teams shall play in order of recognised playing strength. Where a team blatantly contravenes this Rule the Committee may award the match to the opposing team by default. Any complaint under this Rule must be made to the League Secretary within seven days of the match.
17. Where Clubs enter two or more teams in the same division the Club shall nominate players eligible to play as follows:
(a) Where a club is intending on playing ‘evenly’ matched teams based on grading, then the club shall nominate the top two players for each team. Nominated players would play on the top two boards for the team they are nominated for. Nominated players shall not be eligible to play for any other team in that division.
(b) Where a club is intending on playing teams in strength order, that is Team A would be stronger than Team B. The club shall nominate the top two players for the stronger team. Those players shall not be eligible to play for any of the ‘weaker’ teams in that division, but they would be eligible to play for the ‘stronger’ team in the same division. If a club is entering more than two teams in the division, then this rule applies to subsequent teams except for the lowest ranked team.
Example: A club entering three teams in a division, and applying this nomination rule; would nominate two players for Team A, two players for Team B. The nominated players for Team A would not be eligible to play in any other team in that division. The nominated players for Team B would be eligible to play for Team A, but not eligible for Team C.
(c) The Secretary of the Club is responsible for informing the Registration Secretary (with a cc to the League Secretary) of the details of players, and the teams and which nomination rule it is applying (17a or 17b) within 2 weeks after the AGM.
(d) The Registration Secretary will list the names on the league website before the first match of the season. When a nominated player leaves the district or retires from active chess the Club Secretary shall contact the Registration Secretary (with a cc to the League Secretary) and nominate a replacement. New players arriving at a Club or returning players might cause similar rearrangement of nominated players, to ensure that nominated players are selected for the top two boards before actually playing.
18. In the event of an ineligible player competing in a match the game played by the offending player shall be awarded to the opponent and one further point deducted from that team’s score.
19. If a club fails to nominate a player or players as per Rule 17(c) the offending club shall be deducted one League table point for each team in that division.
20. If a club fails to update nominations as per Rule 17(d) the offending club shall be deducted one League table point for the offending team.

Time
21. All matches shall, unless otherwise agreed by both Captains, commence at the start time given in the Fixture List. The away team shall have white on the odd numbered boards
22.  Chess clocks shall be used. The first 35 moves are to be made in 75 minutes and there-after all remaining moves are to be completed in a further 15 minutes.
23. In the event of a player failing to arrive on time, his clock shall be started at the appointed time for the match. A player arriving 30 minutes after this time shall forfeit the game, but, until this time has elapsed, a replacement of similar or lesser strength may be nominated. For example, in matches due to start at 7:30 pm, games are forfeited under this rule at 8 pm irrespective of when the clocks start. 
24. Where the home team fails to be ready to start the match on time, time lost shall be deducted from the home teams clocks.
Results of Matches
25.  It is the responsibility of the home captain to complete a match card using the web-based system provided by the League and accessible through the League’s website. This must be done within 24 hours of completion of the match. For each breach of this rule the Committee may, at its discretion, penalize the offending team by the deduction of no more than one League table point.
26.  Teams shall score 2 points for a win and 1 point for a drawn match.
27.  At the end of the season tied teams shall be separated by board difference. If the scores remain equal, no further attempt will be made to separate the teams.
28.  Drawn Cup matches will be resolved by board count and then by elimination of the lowest board(s).
Structure of the League
29.  The number of divisions, the number of teams and the grading limits shall be decided by the Committee each year.
30. The number of games in any division will be TEN or as near TEN as possible. The Committee will decide how best to achieve this.
Conduct of matches
31. The international rules of chess will apply. However ‘local’ arrangements, which have been approved by the Committee, may supersede those provided by FIDE. It is permitted to bring electronic devices (e.g. mobile phones) into the playing venue, however they should be switched off/in silent mode. Unless alternative arrangements have been formally agreed by both match captains, should an electronic device disturb an opponent (e.g. the ‘ringing’ of a mobile phone) then the player using that device forfeits their game.  
32. Any dispute between players or teams shall be resolved in the first instance by the team Captains only.
33. Any Club, team or player willfully disobeying the Rules of the League shall be reported to the Committee, who shall decide upon any action which may be considered necessary.
34. The Committee shall be the final arbiter in the interpretation of the Rules and shall have the power to decide on any matters not specifically provided for in the Rules.
35.  During matches no smoking shall be allowed over the board.
 
Grading
36. In Divisions to which grading limits apply August ECF grades should be used but when no August grade exists the most recent published grade shall be used. Where a player has only a Rapidplay grade or a Standard play grade, that grade shall be used in both Standard play and Rapidplay events for the purposes of applying grading limits.
37. Ungraded players will be assigned a minimum grade of 100 unless approval for an alternative grade has been given in advance of the match by the Registration Secretary. If the player is unknown to the Registration Secretary the club must offer some evidence of the player’s ability and previous experience. Any penalty for the breach of this rule shall be at the discretion of the League Secretary.
Membership of the English Chess Federation
39. Clubs are responsible for ensuring their members are registered for any competitions graded by the League., viz, League matches, Challenge Cup, Rapidplay KO Cup and the Fylde Individual Championship.
If a club uses a player who is not registered with the ECF, and as a result the League subsequently incurs a Game Fee charge from the ECF; the League will invoice the club for the Game Fee alongside an additional administration charge of £2.
41. Clubs must pay all fees due to the league to play in the league, non-payment of fees due to the League will result in the club being suspended until payment is received.

Additional Guidance
 
In the grading list, an * against a name indicates that the grade has been carried over from the previous list maybe with an adjustment.
 
Club secretaries should advise regarding deletions.
 
At the start of the season, all clubs are advised to check the fixture list so that errors, if any, can be corrected and adjustments made where clubs anticipate a problem with the fixture as written.
 
If a fixture has to be changed it is preferred that it be rearranged to take place ahead of the fixture date rather than postponed.

It is not acceptable for a club to defer a match close to the arranged date because of a clash of dates which could have been anticipated.
 

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