NSDCA Playing Rules



(Approved and formally adopted by the Annual General Meeting of 13th July 2015)


All games played under the League’s auspices shall be played according to the  rules of the E.C.F. and to the F.I.D.E. Laws of Chess except as specified within  these rules.



Rule 1 All persons playing for a club must be bona fide members of that club.

Rule 2 No player shall play for more than one club in the League in any one  season, in any League competition including the Knockout, unless authorised to  do so by the League General Secretary.

Rule 3 a) A representative of each club must send to the League General  Secretary before the end of October a list of all players attached to that club and  eligible to play during the forthcoming season. Players may be added to the tied  list at any time provided that they have not played for any other club during the  season.

b) Every player must be a registered member of the English Chess Federation at  least at bronze level before he/she can play a fourth game in any competition  organised by the Association.

c) All games played by players who are not members of the English Chess  Federation at any time in the season shall be liable to a charge for a game fee of  an amount decided by the ECF per game played. This will be collected from the  clubs represented by such players at the end of the season by the League  Treasurer.

Rule 4 There shall be a discount allowed to each team that pays its League  fees before a date set at the Annual General Meeting. The amount of the  discount shall be reviewed annually.


Rule 1 Before the commencement of the match, the captains shall exchange  lists of players in board order. All players’ names and grades must be declared.  If this is not possible the potential defaults must be on the lowest boards.

Rule 2a A player may not play on a higher board than a player with a published  E.C.F. grade more than fifteen points higher than his/her own except as covered  by Article 3, Rules 3 and 4.The ‘shadow’ grading list as circulated by the League  General Secretary should be consulted for ungraded players. Until the current

season’s grading list is available, the previous season’s list should be used.  The Grader shall be responsible for issuing estimated grades for all ungraded  players, and revising them as he/she sees fit, based on the player’s results. In  addition to this, the Grader shall not be bound by F grades issued by the ECF if  he/she considers his/her own estimate to be more accurate. If the Grader  decides to change a player’s estimated grade he/she must give seven days’ 

notice to the club concerned. (Amended at the sixty-eighth Annual General  Meeting, 11th July 2016).

The August grading list published by the E.C.F. shall be used to ascertain players’  grades. The January grading list will not be used except to ascertain grades of  players not in the August list.

Rule 2b The penalty for breaking Rule 2a is that the higher graded player  playing on the lower board should be classed as ineligible.

Rule 3a A captain may substitute any eligible player for an absent player,  except in circumstances covered by Article 9, Rule 1, in order to avoid the risk of  loss by default. Such substitution must take place before one hour has elapsed  and is irrevocable.

Rule 3b In the event of a team opting to default a board before the match has  started, the opposing Captain shall have the right to choose which board shall be  defaulted. (Amended at the sixty-eighth Annual General Meeting, 11th July  2016). 

Rule 4 The grading limits for teams in each Division shall be as follows:-

Division One No. of players5 Team total grades Open

Division Two No. of players5 Team total grades 725

Division Three No. of players4 Team total grades 520

Division Four No. of players4 Team total grades 460

Division Five No. of players4 Team total grades 400

Minimum Counting Grades

Division One Not applicable

Division Two 120

Division Three 105

Division Four 90

Division Five Not applicable

Regulation of Players

(Concerning players playing for more than one team in the same Division) Division One Players graded no more than 135 may play in more than  one team in this division.

Division Two Players graded no more than 135 may play for more than  one team in this division.

Division Three Players graded no more than 120 may play for more than  one team in this division.

Division Four Players graded no more than 105 may play for more than  one team in this division.

Division Five The maximum grade for an individual player in Division  Five shall be 125. Players graded no more than 90 may play for more  than one team in this division

ARTICLE 4 MATCH ARRANGEMENTS AND DEFAULTS Rule 1 Each team is responsible for arranging its own home fixtures.

Rule 2 A team shall consist of the requisite number of players as appropriate.  A team fielding less than the number of players required by the relevant  competition shall be deemed to have defaulted any board not filled.

Rule 3 Clocks must be started by 7.40p.m.If a match starts late as a result of  the home team not being present at 7.40p.m.,then the away team may direct that

the clocks be adjusted to read as if they had started at 7.40p.m. to take account  of the delay.

Rule 4 A game may not be claimed by default until one hour has elapsed from  the starting time.

Rule 5 A game shall be scored to any player for whom no eligible opponent is  provided. A club failing to keep an appointment shall lose the match by default.

Rule 6 The away team shall have white on the odd-numbered boards except in  matches played on neutral ground where the colour on the odd-numbered boards  shall be decided on the toss of a coin.

Rule 7 Both clubs are responsible for sending the results including the grades  and using the official NSDCA result sheets to the Results Secretary, the General  Secretary, the Grading Officer and the Webmaster within seventy two hours of  the match being played.

Rule 8 Scores of each game should be recorded either in English algebraic or  English descriptive notation by both players in case of dispute.

Rule 9 The use of clocks shall be compulsory and, where available, digital clocks  should be used in all matches in the League and Cups. Fischer timings should be  used in all matches in the League and in the Cups if possible with the time limit for  the game being 75 minutes with an increment of ten seconds for each move made.

The same Fischer timings should also be used in all other competitions conducted by  the Association unless digital clocks are not available. In these cases, the clock shall  initially be set at twenty-five minutes to five for each player. The time limit shall be all

moves in 85 minutes for each player. The game shall be conducted in accordance  with the F.I.D.E. Rules on Quickplay finishes.

Rule 10 The home team is responsible for providing clocks. If they are unable to  do so, the secretary of the home club shall notify the official team contact of the  visiting team in time to allow the provision of sufficient clocks.

Rule 11 A won game shall score one point, a drawn game half a point, and a lost  game no points.

Rule 12 A match shall be considered to be the requisite number of players as  appropriate from each of two opposing sides taking part in games of chess at the  same venue at a given time – games played at other venues or at the same  venue on another date shall be considered void.


Rule 1 Once the composition of the League has been established, the Annual  General Meeting shall appoint a Fixtures Secretary who shall publish a fixture list  as soon as is convenient.

Rule 2 The season shall normally run from 1st October to 31st May. Any league  games unplayed by the 1st June shall be declared void for both teams concerned  unless either club appeals to the General Secretary in the case of any special  circumstances as described in Article 7

Rule 3 Where a club has two or more teams in the same division, all matches  between these teams must be played before the end of January.

Rule 4 In the event that there is a tie for the Championship of any Division, the  title shall be awarded to the team which has accumulated the highest number of  game points. If this fails to resolve the tie then the Championship shall be shared.


Any club wishing to alter a fixture date must notify their opponent’s official team  contact at least three days beforehand. If less than three days’ notice be given  (except in the case of inclement weather), the opposing team may insist on the

match taking place on the original date. If this is impossible then the match may  be claimed by default. Details of new dates for rearranged matches should be  notified to the Results Secretary and the General Secretary by both teams  concerned as soon as possible.


Any dispute must be notified in writing within fourteen days of the said dispute to  the Association General Secretary. The General Secretary will decide,  dependant on the urgency of the dispute, whether to call an immediate Executive  Committee meeting or to refer it to the Honorary President or Chairman or next  Executive Committee meeting. Any dispute not notified within fourteen days will  not be accepted unless evidence regarding the said dispute, which was not  previously available, can be put forward. Both parties to the dispute will be invited  to attend any resultant Executive Committee meeting and informed in advance of  any complaint made against them.


A team including an ineligible player (i.e. a player who is tied to another club or  whose grade makes him/her ineligible to play in that particular team or a player  contravening Article 3, Rule 2a) shall have one game point deducted from the  team score in that match. This shall be in addition to the game of the ineligible  player being scored to his/her opponent irrespective of the result. In the case of an overgraded team, the ineligible player is determined to be  playing on the lowest board whose grade exceeds the minimum counting grade  by at least the team’s excess over the allowable team grade total. If no such  player exists then two points shall be deducted from the offending team’s score. .  (Amended at the sixty-eighth Annual General Meeting, 11th July 2016). 


Rule 1 Unless due notification is given to the official team contact of the  opposing team, teams shall pay a penalty to the League for each board  defaulted.

Rule 2 The nature of the penalties shall be reviewed annually and defined at the  Annual General Meeting.


Rule 1 The Association shall annually hold the following competitions: – (a) A six-board team knockout limited to one team per club; (Amended at the  sixty-eighth Annual General Meeting, 11th July 2016).

(b) A five-board team knockout limited to players graded under 150;  (c) A five-board team knockout limited to players graded under 130;  (d) A four-board team knockout limited to players graded under 110. A player may only play for one team in any Knock-out competition in any one  season.

Rule 2 The rate of play shall be the same as in League Competitions.

Rule 3 At regular intervals weeks shall be set aside for matches in the knockout  competitions. The final match in each tournament shall be played before the end of  May. The Association Results Secretary shall notify all teams of their next knockout  opponents, giving them as much notice as possible. Each home team then has the  responsibility of confirming the date and venue with the opposing away team.

Rule 4 If a match in the knockout competitions results in a draw, then a board-count  shall be taken. If this board-count also results in a draw, then the elimination rule  shall be applied. Where a cup match is drawn and cannot be decided on board count  or board elimination, because all of the individual games have been drawn, then the  team with the lowest overall grade count shall be deemed to be the winners. Where  th

e overall grade count is equal then board elimination shall be used until one of the  teams wins on grade count.


Any infringement of the Association Rules or the Constitution by any player or  member club shall be dealt with by the Executive Committee or by a sub committee set up specifically for that purpose by the Executive Committee.