Rules for Somerset Chess League June 2017



  1. All Division 1 matches shall be played over 4 boards. Division 2 matches should usually be played over 6 boards. However, if a team in Division 2 wishes to play only 4 (or 5) members on a regular basis it should announce this at the beginning of the season and consistently adhere to their choice. All Division 3 matches shall be played over 4 boards, except by prior arrangement. Division 1 teams are open to players of all grades. Division 2 teams are restricted in that only one player graded over 165 may play in a team. In Division 3: (1) no player graded over 145 may play (2) there is an upper limit of 125 on the average grade per player and (3) players graded under 95 are deemed to be 95. (The aim of this is to prevent teams from using one very low graded player and 3 relatively highly graded players.).

  2. For the purpose of determining eligibility for grade-limited teams the grades applying at the start of the season shall be used throughout the season. If a player is ungraded in the July list then the club concerned should at least three days before the match report the relevant facts to the Grading Officer who will determine a provisional grade (*grade). Some of the factors that will affect the *grade are listed in the appendix, paragraph 8.

  3. The second-named club is away and shall have white on odd-numbered boards.

  4. A player is not permitted to represent more than one team in any section of a division of the League. Genuine transfer may take place with the agreement of the League Secretary.

  5. The penalty for playing an ineligible player in any match shall be the loss of the game for that player and a win for the opponent, provided the opponent is present and eligible. The game(s) will still be graded according to the result of the game as played. The League Secretary may impose an additional penalty if he is satisfied that the inclusion of an ineligible player was deliberate or wilful.


  1. Before any match the Captains shall enter the names of their players on a match sheet from previously written team sheets. Except with the express agreement of Team Captains players shall be arranged in descending order of strength. Unless with the explicit consent of the opposing captain (recorded on the match sheet) any player with a grade 5 points or more above that of a player on a higher board shall be deemed ineligible. The penalty is the same as that specified in 1(e). Default(s) known in advance shall be conceded on the lowest board(s) overall.
  2. For board order purposes the latest published grading list shall be used, i.e. the January list takes precedence over the July list and over any estimated *grades for previously ungraded players.

  3. For the assistance of the Results Officer, clubs are asked to ensure that all the initials of each player appear on the match sheet and junior players are indicated with a (J). The criterion for a junior is under 18 on 1 September. For new players also give (1) date of birth, (2) details of previous clubs.

  4. To confirm compliance with grading limitations and help player identification grades of players shall be written on the match sheet.

  5. The match sheet (normally signed by both Captains) must be posted, or a scan sent by email, to the appropriate League Secretary within 14 days by the Captain of the winning team, or in the case of a drawn match by the Captain of the home team. Failure to comply could result in 0 points for each team. Notes of agreements between Captains should be recorded on the scoresheet.


  1. Length of matches is at the discretion of respective Captains. Quick-play finishes shall be used in all league matches. Unless both Captains agree otherwise the rate of play shall be 35 moves in 75 minutes followed by a 15 minutes Quick-play finish.

  2. If a player is not present at the start of a game his opponent shall start his clock. A player forfeits the game when his flag drops at the first time control, that is after 75 minutes.


  1. Recording of moves is compulsory until a player has less than 5 minutes left on his clock.
  2. Spectators must not interfere in games in any way.

  3. A player may claim a draw when he has less than two minutes left on his clock and before his flag falls. This concludes the game.
    He may claim on the basis (i) that his opponent cannot win by normal means, and/or (ii) that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means. In (i) the player must write down the final position and his opponent verify it. In (ii) the player must write down the final position and submit an up-to-date scoresheet. The opponent shall verify both the scoresheet and the final position.
  4. In the first instance the claim should be referred to the Match Captains. If the Match Captains do not agree, the claim shall be referred to an arbiter whose decision shall be the final one.
  5. For a claim under 5.3a) above only clear-cut situations will be considered.
Note: The arbiter�s role is not the same as an adjudicator�s. In other words it is not an arbiter�s role to determine what the outcome of the game would be with best play by both sides. Hence it is not sufficient to claim that the position is �a theoretical draw�. Some theoretical draws can be actually quite tricky to defend and a player is allowed to use his time advantage to try to force a mistake. A claimant would be expected to demonstrate, at the time of first making the claim (i.e. not as a result of any post-game analysis), that there is a forced route to an obviously drawn position. 


The usual ECF rules apply. Up-to-date score sheets and positions for arbitration should be sent to the League Secretary.


In a section of the league when two teams score an equal number of points the winner will be determined by the results of the games played between the teams. If necessary (a) board count, (b) elimination will be used to determine a winner. In the event of three or more teams finishing equal on points, then a tie break by a) matches won, and then b) individual games won, would decide.


  1. League rules apply apart from the changes specified in (b), (c) and (d).
  2. Fixtures will be played over 8 boards, except by agreement between the captains.
  3. Captains shall toss for colours.
  4. Eligibility: A player is eligible to play for any club in the Somerset Cup competition provided either [1] in the current season he has been a member of the club concerned for a minimum of 28 days prior to the date of the match, or, [2] he has been a member of the club concerned in a season prior to the current season. A member is a player who has paid his club fee for the season in question


  1. If a player has an Elo rating but not an ECF grade then the appropriate ECF formula should be used to obtain an equivalent ECF grade. Note that the current Formula for Conversion is as follows:- [i] For national Elo ratings and for FIDE Elo ratings > 2327: ECF = (Elo-600)/8, [ii] For FIDE ratings between 1600 and 2327: ECF = (FIDE-1250)/5.
  2. If a player is currently ungraded but has had an ECF grade in the past then the latest published grade should be used with a reduction of 3 points per year for each year missing since publication, up to a maximum of 15 points. If the latest published grade was before 2009, it will need to be converted to a new grade before applying the reduction for inactivity, i.e. the player�s assumed grade (after the maximum 15 point reduction) shall be 0.81 x old grade +28.
  3. For those not covered by 8(a) and 8(b) and for whom there is insufficient data for the Grading Officer to estimate a grade under 1(b) ungraded players are �deemed to be� 110.
  4. The Results Officer will publish the *grades on the web-site so that all clubs have access to the relevant information
Issues covered by FIDE & ECF rules are not normally repeated in this document. Copies of these rules may be obtained from the SCCA Secretary. Proposals for amendment should be received by the 30 April.