Correspondence within the league may be by e-mail. If the post is used then first class is recommended.


1.               The league shall be grouped into divisions.  Teams of eight players shall compete in Division 1; teams of seven players in Division 2; and teams of six players in lower divisions.


2.               Each team shall play two matches against every other team in its division; except in the lowest division where the number of matches shall be at the discretion of the Committee.


3.               Where a club has two or more teams in the same division, the matches between those teams shall be played before all others, and shall be completed by 31 October.  Any such match not so played and completed shall be scored as a loss for both teams.


4.               Each club shall submit to the League Secretary, within 7 days of the Fixtures Meeting, a complete list of its teams’ fixtures which must be agreed at the Fixtures Meeting.  Failure to provide this information by that date will incur a fine of £10, and if not provided within a further 7 days an additional fine of £10.  Where a team does not submit a list of fixtures as required it will automatically lose any claim in a fixtures dispute.  Matches shall not be rearranged subsequently without the approval of the League Secretary.  All fixtures shall be arranged to be played not later than 30 April. Matches may only be rearranged to be played after 30 April with the approval of the League Secretary. All games played in such matches must be played with a quickplay finish.


5.               A won match shall count as one match point and a drawn match as half a match point.  Placings in each division shall be determined primarily by the total of such points. (n.b. See Rule 13).


6.                                                                                            In the event of a team withdrawing from the league before the completion of its fixtures, its matches shall be dealt with as follows

(a)   Where a team has played less than half its matches the scores of played matches shall be cancelled.

(b)   Where a team has played at least half its matches, the unplayed matches shall be awarded to their opponents by default.


7.               In the event of two or more teams having equal totals of match points, final placings shall be determined by total game scores.  If this does not resolve any tie for first place, promotion, or for relegation, then the teams concerned shall play a deciding match at a mutually agreed venue.  If this match is drawn, the team with the lower total of board numbers of games won shall be the winner.  If these totals are equal, the elimination rule shall apply.  Only those players who have played for the relevant team during the season and were still eligible for that team on the date of the team’s final match are permitted to play in any play-off match.


8.               Teams finishing in the bottom two places of each division, except the lowest, shall be relegated; but shall be eligible for return to the higher division under Rule 9.  Teams finishing in the top two places of each division, except Division 1, shall be promoted. The number of teams promoted and relegated between two divisions will be reduced to one if both divisions contain 6 teams.


9.               The Executive Committee shall have the power to fill a vacancy in any division by promoting a team from a lower division or by admitting a new team.



10.            Each club shall submit by 30 September an alphabetical list of players for registration.  A club may submit names of additional players for registration up to the following 31 March.  Such additional registration must be in writing, dated as postmarked and signed by a responsible club official.  The players added will not be eligible to play until 5 days after registration.  Any game played by an unregistered player shall be lost and count as a default.  The offending club shall be notified by the League Secretary within one week of receiving the match result.  If an ineligible player is used then a recognised official of the offending club shall be advised by the League Secretary.


11.            Each club entering more than one team shall submit, not later than 30 September, a list of nominated players of appropriate strength for each of its teams except the last.  The list shall contain 7 names for teams in Division 1; 6 names for teams in Division 2; and 5 names for teams in lower divisions.  Players shall not be eligible to play for teams lower than that for which they have been nominated.  Lists shall be revised on 1 January and all nominated players who have not played (or won by default) at least one game by that date shall be withdrawn from the list and replaced by players of appropriate strength who have already played for that club in the current season.  The League Secretary shall send to each club, where applicable, during December, a list of suggested renominations, and if the club concerned has not sent its own list by 31 December the League Secretary’s list shall apply.  Players withdrawn under this rule shall still be eligible to play; but not for any teams lower than the ones for which they were originally nominated.  A player who is nominated by a club in any season and does not play; cannot play in a lower team the following season, though he cannot count as a nominated player.  In extenuating circumstances the League Committee can override the provisions of the previous sentence.

12.            A player who has played more than five times in total for any team (or combinations of teams of one club) shall not be eligible to play for any lower team during the season.  A player shall not represent concurrently more than one club in league matches and may change the club he represents only in exceptional circumstances as agreed by the League Secretary or Committee. Any breach of this rule shall involve forfeiture of the game concerned, and the game being counted as a default.


13.       A team which defaults on any board shall be liable to default penalties according to the following table:

Board         Division 1              Division 2              Other Divisions
    1                    3                              3                                3
    2                    3                              3                                3
    3                    3                              3                                3
    4                    3                              2                                2
    5                    2                              2                                1
    6                    2                              1                                0
    7                    1                              0         
    8                    0

Defaults on the lowest board shall also incur one default penalty after the third such default in a season.


A team incurring a total of 9 default penalties in a season in Divisions 1 & 2 or 8 default penalties in other divisions shall lose half a match point, with an additional half a match point  for every 6 additional default penalties in Division 1, or 5 default penalties in lower divisions.  The Committee have the power to annul default penalties in exceptional circumstances.  Any team which loses three or more match points in a season must seek re-election for the following season.  Games defaulted on adjournment will be considered as defaults for the purposes of this rule.




14        Matches shall start not later than 7.30 pm.  Play shall continue for two hours and thirty minutes, unless both captains (or deputies) agree to play for a longer period of time.  An agreed time for the finish of play shall be announced before the commencement of the match or as soon as both captains (or deputies) are present.  Match captains, or their deputies, shall exchange team lists and toss for colours at least five minutes before the agreed starting time, or if not earlier at 7.25 pm.  If either captain (or deputy) is absent at the time, the opposing captain shall have choice of colours.  If neither captain (or deputy) is present the away team shall have white on odd boards.  Any absent player may be replaced within one hour of the commencement time, or by 8.30 pm whichever is the earlier; otherwise the game is forfeit.


15      Every game shall be played with a chess clock.  If the club is unable to supply sufficient clocks for a match, the match captain shall notify the opposition so that they may provide the balance necessary. The time limits for play are set out in Rule 16.  Any player exceeding a time limit shall lose the game in accordance with the ECF laws of chess.  Clocks shall be started concurrently with the match commencement.  If not started by 7.30 pm they shall be set as if play had started at 7.30 pm with the lost time counting against the home team’s playing time.  The player of the white pieces has the option on his first move, in the absence of his stipulated opponent, of starting black’s clock without playing a move.  Black on arrival can immediately restart white’s clock.


16      The time limits have to be agreed by the match captains (or deputies) before the commencement of play  If the playing session is less than 3 hours long then the players in each game can choose before the start of play between the following time controls:

(a) 30 moves in 75 minutes; 60 moves in 150 minutes; and thereafter 24 moves in each hour.

(b) 30 moves in 60 minutes and all remaining moves in an additional 15 minutes.

(c) All moves in 75 minutes.

If the players want different time controls then option (a) takes precedence over option (b), which takes precedence over option (c).

Alternatively, if the playing session is at least 3 hours long then the players in each game can choose before the start of play between the following time controls:

(d) 36 moves in 90 minutes; 60 moves in 150 minutes; and thereafter 24 moves in each hour.

(e) 30 moves in 75 minutes and all remaining moves in an additional 15 minutes.

(f) All moves in 90 minutes.

If the players want different time controls then option (d) takes precedence over option (e), which takes precedence over option (f).

If a game is adjourned then the players can agree, before the commencement of any session to have a quickplay finish at the end of that session.  If there is not a quickplay finish then either player can insist on adjudication after black’s 60th move, or at any later time by either player, but only between playing his move and stopping the clock.


17     Names of all players taking part in a match, together with the result of each game shall be forwarded to the League Secretary within 14 days of the match.  Clubs failing to forward results within 14 days shall be fined £2 and the results sent in by their opponents shall be accepted and recorded.




18.            At the agreed stopping time, match captains shall call time.  The clock shall not be stopped immediately; but a player whose turn it is to move (Player A) must follow one of the following two procedures:

Either:   Player A seals a move, stops the clock and hands the envelope to his opponent who signs his name over the sealed flap of the envelope and hands it back to Player A.

Or:         Player A stops the clock and suggests the game be adjudicated as it stands.  His opponent either agrees (in which case the adjudication procedure of Rule 21 is followed) or indicates that he wishes to play on and restarts the clock.  Player A must then seal a move as above.

All adjourned games must be played by 14 May.


19.            The date for resumption (which must be within one calendar month) shall be agreed on the night of the match and match captains shall report on the result sheet the resumption date and venue of each adjourned game.  A player who insists on playing on shall travel to his opponent’s club premises for the resumption, unless mutually agreed otherwise.  No unfinished game shall be played off later than 14 May.

20.            Adjourned games shall commence at 7.30 pm unless both players agree otherwise.  Failure to be present within 30 minutes of the agreed starting time, with the envelope intact in the case of the player who sealed the move, shall result in forfeiture of the game.  If a player defaults an adjourned game on two occasions in total during a period of three seasons he shall be barred from the league for two playing months, as determined by the Committee.  Once a player has been so penalised, any subsequent offence shall incur a similar penalty.


21.            When a game is to be adjudicated both match captains shall check and retain a copy of the final recorded position.  Both captains shall send the League Secretary a completed adjudication form showing the recorded position, correct in all details, and a definite claim.  If the position sent for adjudication is incorrect in any material detail, a fine of £5 will be imposed.  The correct position will be adjudicated.  If a club fails to forward an adjudication to the League Secretary within 14 days the claim of the opposing club shall be accepted and recorded.  No claim of postage, when adjudications are not received, will be entertained unless a certificate of postage is presented.


22.            On receipt of the result of an adjudication the Adjudication Secretary shall advise the clubs concerned.  Within 14 days of such advice, determined from postmark to postmark either club may appeal against the decision.  The Adjudication Secretary shall notify the other club who will be granted a further 14 days in which they may submit counter analysis and/or appeal against any other result in the same match. The Adjudication Secretary shall then submit the position to the ECF, the league paying the fee.   If any appeal is not upheld then the appellant club shall be charged the current ECF adjudication fee with a supplement of 50 pence.  Both clubs shall be notified of the result by the Adjudication Secretary.  In the case of teams in Division 1, appeals must be supported by analysis in duplicate.  A club shall be notified of any increase in the ECF fee when it next submits an affected adjudication.


23         All mobile telephones must be switched off for the duration of the match. The only exception is if both captains agree to waive the rule for an individual player because of exceptional circumstances. If the mobile telephone of any other player rings then that player must be instructed to switch it off. If that telephone rings again during the match then the opponent may claim the game. The League Secretary should be informed of any game that is lost in this fashion.


24        Unless otherwise provided for in these rules, all games shall be played in accordance with the current Laws of Chess and the Tournament Rules of the English Chess Federation.


25       Match captains have the responsibility to act as arbiters, and players shall                     refer disputes during and after a match to their match captain.  Any disputes arising from the competition, or any other matter covered by these rules, shall be referred within six weeks to the Executive Committee whose decision shall be final.  All disputes must be communicated by the match captain or club secretary.  No dispute communicated by an individual player will be considered.


26       Any of these rules may be revoked or amended, or new rules made, by a two-thirds majority of those voting at any General Meeting of the League, whether or not prior notice has been given on the agenda covering the meeting.  All clubs not represented at the meeting shall be informed of such decisions within 14 days.



Match night procedure


  • Team declarations by 7.25 pm
  • Captains instruct players to switch off mobile telephones
  • Clocks should be started at 7.30 pm
  • Defaults, other than on bottom board, will incur penalty points (See Rule 13)
  • At the end of the session, each game must have a result, an agreed date of resumption, or a position for adjudication.
  • Match captains to act as joint arbiters and should report disputes to the League Secretary.
  • Signed legible result sheets to League Secretary within 14 days.
  • Result sheets must identify any games played with a quickplay finish.


Adjournment procedure:


If less than 60 moves have been played, either player may insist on playing on but at his opponent’s choice of venue.  If so the player to move seals and then stops the clock.  The other player signs the envelope and returns it to the sealer who must produce it at resumption.

League entry fees as at August 2004 are:

In all divisions the fee is £3 plus the ECF game fee


Adjudication Fees as at August 2004 are:


In Division 1:
Adjudications dealt with by the ECF
Fee payable with each lost adjudication is the current ECF fee plus £1

In Divisions 2 & 3:
Adjudications dealt with by S & B Lalic provided they do not play/register for the
Thames Valley League
Fee payable with each lost adjudication  …..£5

In all other Divisions:
Adjudications dealt with at a local level
Fee payable with each lost adjudication  ……£2.50

The Adjudication Secretary may submit claims received in May to an alternative adjudicator to expedite these adjudications.  There will be no change to the fee charged to clubs in this event.


The fee payable in all divisions for each appeal is the current ECF fee plus 50p.
Appeals in Division 1 must be supported by analysis.
Appeals in other divisions need not be supported by analysis.

If analysis is produced then this must be in duplicate and must not identify the players.


League Secretary                                                                Adjudications Secretary

Alan Marshall                                                                       Andrew Smith
67 Dorchester Way                                                              55 York Road
Harrow                                                                                   Windsor
Middlesex HA3 9RD                                                            Berkshire SL4 3PA

Tel: 020 8933 2268                                                                Tel: 01753 861947