As agreed at the AGM on 29 May 2018.


1.1   These rules apply to all chess competitions run by the SCCA.

1.2   The Competitions Secretary is responsible for the efficient administration of the SCCA events.  His additional responsibilities include the resolution of disputes, the enforcement of the rules when necessary and the compilation of fixture lists.  The Competitions Secretary, in consultation with the Committee, is permitted to reformat the SCCA competitions to reflect any changes in the numbers of clubs that are entered.

1.3   The FIDE Laws of Chess will apply to all games unless superseded by these Rules.

1.4   Should any mobile electronic equipment emit a sound during play, the player in possession of it must immediately offer to resign.  His opponent may decline this offer.

1.5   In all SCCA competitions the away team has White on the odd-numbered boards.

1.6   Matches will be played at the home team's club venue unless the captains agree otherwise.

1.7   Team captains must write down the names of their players in board order and exchange team lists before the start of the match.

1.8   Team captains must enter or confirm their match result on the website within seven days of the match.  Failure to do so without notifying the Competitions Secretary of any problems they are having with the website will mean the loss of a point for their team.


2.1   Matches will normally start at 7.30 pm but they may begin at other times if both captains agree.

2.2   White's clock will be started at the time agreed under rule 2.1.  If a player does not arrive within 30 minutes of his clock being started he will lose the game.  Another club member may be asked to replace the missing player at any time within this 30 minutes grace period.  The replacement should normally meet the substitution rules, but if both team captains agree, the replacement’s grade can be such that he is playing out of board order, i.e. he is graded more than ten points below any player on a lower board, provided that he is not graded higher than the player he is replacing.  Any time lost during this process will be lost only from the clock of the replacement player.

2.3   Unless otherwise specified for a particular event, either of two forms of time control is permitted:
a)   Each player is allowed 90 minutes to complete all moves.  The first 30 moves must be completed within 75 minutes.
b)   Fischer timing may be used provided both players agree and suitable digital clocks are available.  For this, the clocks are set to allow each player 75 minutes for the game plus an increment of 15 seconds for every move.

2.4   In Division 1, incremental ('Fischer') timing will be the default method of time control with each player having 75 minutes for the game plus an increment of 15 seconds for every move.  The standard timings as listed in Rule 2.3a can only be used if both players agree.

2.5  Division 2 will trial the same incremental ('Fischer') timing as Division 1 as the default method of time control with a review at the 2019 AGM.


3.1   Each match must normally be played on the date specified in the fixture list.  However, captains may agree to play a match on an earlier date, which the home captain must notify to the Competitions Secretary.  If the new date is more than seven days before the original fixture date, the Competitions Secretary will change the date on the website to allow the result to be entered by the captains in the usual way.

3.2   A match may be postponed by agreement between the two captains, provided they agree on a new date and notify the Competitions Secretary before the original date for the fixture.   The date for the rescheduled match must not be later than 30 April.   A captain is under no obligation to agree a new date and may decline, in which case the match will be played on the original date.

3.3   If a match is due to be held within one month of the circulation of the fixture list, either captain may request postponement by notifying the Competitions Secretary by e-mail of the agreed postponement with details of why the postponement is required.

3.4   If a match must be postponed for good reason, such as bad weather, disruption to the transport system or the venue being unavailable, the captain requesting postponement should telephone the opposition captain before the match is due to be played to ask that a revised date be fixed.  If agreed then the captain requesting postponement will notify the Competitions Secretary by e-mail and a new date will be fixed.

3.5   Team captains must make every reasonable effort to avoid having to default a board, including bringing in a lower-graded player if necessary.  However, if a default does occur on any board, the opponent will gain the full point.   If both teams default on the same board no points are awarded to either team for that board.

3.6   When a default occurs, the defaulting team captain must tell the opposing captain who the missing player is and must default on the board where that player would have played.

3.7   There is no requirement to default on the lower board.

3.8   Where both sides have an equal number of defaults then the remaining players must play each other.


4.1   Within these rules the grade is the latest published ECF standard grade issued in August and January.  This grade is to be used for all purposes except where changes in January would affect eligibility to a grade limited competition which had started prior to the issue of the January grade or the competition rules specify Rapidplay grades are to be used.

4.2   If a player does not have a current ECF standard grade then before they may play in a team an estimated grade must be agreed with the Competitions Secretary.  Such an estimated grade has the same status in these rules as a published grade.  Estimated grades may be changed during the season if a player’s performance differs significantly from the estimated grade.  All club secretaries or their representatives will be advised of the change by email.


5.1   Each club will provide a list of nominated players with their grades for each team that they enter in the League. A player may only be nominated by a club for one team at any time; however a player may be nominated by two different clubs for teams that play in different divisions.  A player may only play for one team in Divisions 1 and 2.  If a team plays a match before nominating any players, the team will be deemed to have nominated the four players who took part in the match.

5.2   Nominations can be changed during the season up to the end of the three-week period following the publication of the mid-season grades, by notifying the Competitions Secretary.   When the three-week period that follows the publication of mid-season grades has elapsed, no more renominations will be accepted for the rest of the season.

5.3   Within a team, a player must not be graded more than ten points above anyone on a higher board.

5.4   The following substitution rules will apply:
(a)   A person may play an unlimited number of games for one team in his club; this will be known as his main team.
(b)   A nominated player’s main team will be the team for which he plays three games.
(c)   A player may act as a substitute for other teams from his club, subject to the limitations set out in Table 1.
(d)   A player nominated by two clubs may play an unlimited number of games for both teams for which he is nominated and may act as a substitute for teams belonging to the club for which he plays in each division.  He may not substitute for any other teams.
(e)   A player may act as a substitute in a maximum of seven matches per season when not playing for his main team.
(f)   The grade of a substitute player must be equal to or less than that of the nominated player for whom he is substituting.
(g)   Any player who is an ineligible substitute will forfeit the game.
(h)   A player may not play for more than one team in a division.

Table 1: The number of times that a player is permitted to act as a substitute for teams other than his main team:

Relationship of substitution team to main teamNumber of permitted substitution appearances per season
Substitution team in the same division as the main teamNo substitution is permitted
Substitution team in a higher division than the main teamA maximum of half the number of matches scheduled for the higher division that season up to the limit of seven as in rule 5.4(e)
Substitution team in a lower division than the main teamA maximum of three games in ALL teams (i.e. not three games per team)


6.1   A substitute is ineligible to play if any of the following apply:
(a)   His latest published ECF standard grade or estimated standard grade is higher than that of the nominated player he is to replace.
(b)   He has exceeded his permitted number of substitutions under rule 5.4.
(c)   He has neither a published ECF standard grade, nor an agreed estimated grade.
(d)   He is not a member of a club affiliated to the SCCA.

6.2   Any game played by an ineligible player will be deemed to be lost for League results purposes.  The result of the game will be submitted for grading.


7.1   The result of a League division will be decided on game points.  If there is a tie, the team with the highest number of match wins will take precedence.  If teams are still tied, their results against each other will count with game points taking precedence over match points.  If the teams are still tied, a playoff match or matches will be used to decide promotion and relegation issues.

7.2   The bottom team in a division will normally be relegated to a lower division, if there is one.  The winning team will normally be promoted to a higher division, if there is one.  More than one team may be promoted if teams withdraw from a higher division.


8.1   Competitors must either be born in Suffolk, live in Suffolk or be a member of a club that is affiliated to the Suffolk County Chess Association.

8.2   The competition organiser will advise the Committee regarding the format of the competition when the number of entries is known.

8.3   The organiser of the competition will nominate one of the players in a game as the home player.  The game will take place at a time and a venue agreed by both players.


9.1   Disputes must be referred to the Competitions Secretary for resolution.  The Competitions Secretary may consult with a member of the Committee to aid in his consideration of the case.  Once resolved the Competitions Secretary will notify the clubs in dispute of his decision.

9.2   If the Competitions Secretary has a conflict of interests, e.g. is a member of a club involved in the dispute or of a club that has an interest in the outcome of the dispute, the issue must be delegated, in this order, to the President, the Vice-President, the SCCA Secretary or another committee member until it falls to one without a conflict of interest.

9.3   If a Club is unhappy with the decision made about a dispute, an appeal against it may be submitted to the Committee within seven days of receipt of that result.  The decision of the Committee concerning this appeal will be final.


10.1   A Quickplay Finish is one where all remaining moves have to be completed by a player within a given time.  When Black has made his 30th move within the initial time control the clock will be stopped, the times on both clocks will be noted and the clocks will be set back by 15 minutes.  The end of time control is then on the hour.  The players retain the use of any of their time they have not consumed prior to this setting back.

10.2   If a player has less than two minutes on the clock he or she may stop the clock and claim a draw if it is believed that the opponent either cannot win by normal means or is making no effort to win by normal means.  If their own games have been completed the two captains may jointly arbitrate in this matter and if necessary should allow the game to continue until flag fall in order properly to evaluate the claim.

10.3   If a claim made under 10.2 cannot be resolved an agreed score of the game and final position shall be submitted to the Competitions Secretary.  He will arrange for an independent arbiter to adjudicate at the expense of the team claiming the draw if the claim is turned down, or of the other team if it is upheld.

10.4   To win a game on time a player must claim such a win and also have mating material.  The game will be declared a draw if the player whose flag has not fallen has insufficient mating material.  The game will be declared a draw if both flags have fallen.

10.5   Third parties must not intervene in any way in a Quickplay Finish.  They must not indicate to either player that time is short or that the flag has fallen.  It is entirely up to the two players themselves.


11.1   In each division in the League, there will be an annual award of ‘Player of the Year‘ (POTY) to the player who scored the greatest number of game points during the season.  In the event of equality of points between one or more players, the POTY title will be tied.

11.2   A win by default will count as a win for this competition, but in a game against an ineligible opponent, the actual result of the game will be used.  If a player is ruled ineligible for a game, the result is disregarded for his personal score.


12.1   Proposals to change these Rules will be considered at the Annual General Meeting or an Extraordinary General Meeting called specifically for that purpose.

Appendix 1


A1.1   Every team that plays in the Suffolk League will be invited to enter the Cup and Plate competition.  Any team wishing to decline the invitation should do so by writing to the Competitions Secretary.

A1.2   This is a knockout competition for teams of 4 players.

A1.3   The away team will have white on the odd boards.

A1.4   Each team will have the same nominated players as those for its entry in the League competition.  A club may, if unable to enter all its league teams, enter one or more composite teams made up from the club membership.

A1.5   Players may make one substitute appearance for another team from the same club.

A1.6   All teams will play in Round 1 of the Cup.  If there are an odd number of entries then a bye will be given to the highest seeded team.

A1.7   In Round 1 all teams will be seeded according to their League placement at the end of the previous season, unless there are significant changes to their strength.  Any team that is new to the League will usually be seeded below current teams.

A1.8   The list of seeds will then be split in two and teams in the top half will be paired against teams in the bottom half.   The top seeded team will play the highest seed in the bottom half and subsequent pairings will continue in this fashion.

A1.9   Round 1 winners will progress to Round 2 of the Cup.  Round 1 losers will be entered into the Plate.  Both competitions will then continue separately as knockouts.

A1.10   In the event of a tie, a match will be decided by:
(a)   elimination of the lower boards, one by one, until a result is obtained.
(b)   selecting the team with the lower aggregate grade.
(c)   the toss of a coin.

A1.11   A neutral venue for the final matches is preferable but not mandatory.  At a neutral venue the team with white on odd numbered boards will be decided by the toss of a coin.

Appendix 2


A2.1   The Competitions Secretary will decide the exact format of these events depending on the number of teams entered.  In the event of a knockout phase or phases, the Competitions Secretary will perform the draw and assign any byes by drawing lots.

A2.2   Teams will consist of four players, all with a standard grade that is less than an agreed grade as published in the summer grading list.

A2.3   Players may only play in one team.

A2.4   In the event of a tie, the competition will be decided by:
a)   the greater number of game wins;
b)   elimination of the bottom boards until a result is obtained;
b)   selecting the team with the lowest aggregate grades;
c)   toss of a coin.

Appendix 3


A3.1   This is a competition for teams of six players.  The Competitions Secretary will perform a draw at the start of the season.

A3.2   If three teams enter the format will be all play all.  If four or more teams enter it will be a knockout competition,

A3.3   A club may only enter one team.  A player may only play for one Club in this competition.

A3.4   The team with white on odd numbered boards will be decided by the toss of a coin.

A3.5   Play in grade order subject to League 10 grading points board order rules.

A3.6   Use Fischer timing set for 75 minutes with 15 seconds increment.

A3.7   Use the Suffolk League default rules and the Suffolk League postponement rules.

A3.8   In the event of a two-way tie, the competition will be decided by using the league tiebreak rule in section 7.1.

A3.9   In the event of a three-way tie, the competition will be decided in favour of the team with the lowest aggregate grading over both matches, excluding defaults on any board.

A3.10   It is preferable to play the Final at a neutral venue if this can be arranged.


  1. Regarding rules. Is 11c the wrong way round?

    1. I'll take this up with Comps Sec Mike McNaughton.

  2. Typo in rule 29 For "related" read "relegated"

  3. Hi. Just getting ready for the season by reading the league rules!
    5.4 (d) sounds like you can substitute for teams of same club in same division IF you are nominated for two clubs.
    Whereas (h) says that you cannot play for more than one team in a division.
    I am assuming that being nominated for 2 clubs doesn't amusingly override rule (h).
    (d) also follows having said "may act as a substitute for teams belonging to the club for which he plays in each division" by saying "he may not substitute for any other teams" sounding like if you are nominated for two clubs you cannot substitute for teams of that club in a different division?
    Sounds like maybe some issues with wording of (d) ? (Or maybe just my mis-reading).

  4. My reply to Tim's comment would be as follows.

    It is good to hear that someone is actually reading the rules

    Rule 5.4 (d) A player nominated by two clubs may play an unlimited number of games for both teams for which he is nominated and may act as a substitute for teams belonging to the club for which he plays in each division. He may not substitute for any other teams.
    This freedom is subject to the restriction in Rule 5.1 and 5.4(h) which reads :
    A player may only play for one team in Divisions 1 and 2.

    I accept that this sentence should not be tucked away in Rule 5.1 which is chiefly concerned with nominations and this is just a typo as the same wording is repeated as Rule 5.4(h) where it actually belongs.

    There is nothing that extends the ban implicit in the sentence in 5.4 “He may not substitute for any other teams.” back to his two nominated teams indeed the previous sentence specifically says a player “ may act as substitute for teams belonging to the club for which he plays in each division”
    Yes if we wish to split the proverbial and metaphorical hair then this wording should probably be clubs not club but I feel the meaning is quite clear.
    Do we want someone who is already playing for two clubs in different divisions say club A in division 1 and Club B in division 2 for which he may be nominated to be able to substitute in a team from Club A in Division 2 and a team from club B in division 1 which this sentence provides? Clearly not for this is now forbidden by the recent change spelt out in 5.4(h).
    Here we have a classic example of the rules speaking with a forked tongue but I can do nothing to correct this silliness because of the absolute requirement for AGM approval for all rule changes.
    Anyone willing to attend an EGM to amend this minor whoops which if it is called now might get the job done by the end of November? If not then we have to live with it and I will add it to my list of things that need changing in the rules for the 2019 AGM.

  5. Just as a minor note to this discussion ...

    I thought the AGM agreed that the restriction "may only play for one team in a division" applied to all divisions except the "bottom" one (which is presently the third, but may at some point be the second or fourth).

  6. Steve, that would make a lot of sense! If it's confirmed I'll make sure our Div 3 teams know about that.

  7. Sorry, me again. Just taking the words literally again...
    Could "A player may only play for one team in Divisions 1 and 2" mean that you can't play in both Divisions?

    1. Maybe a suggested wording would be "A player may only play for one team in each of Divisions 1 and 2"

    2. Or maybe:
      "A player may only play for one team in Division 1 and one team in Division 2".

    3. However, this doesn't state that you can play for more than 1 team in Division 3 (if that is the case).
      Plus (h) and table state can only play for one team in a division.
      So don't see anything relating to playing for more than one team in Div3?

  8. Also, could someone confirm or correct me that in 5.4(d) "may act as a substitute for teams belonging to the club for which he plays in each division. He may not substitute for any other teams."
    I don't follow the "in each division" and what "other teams" means. Would it be:
    "may act as a substitute for teams belonging to the club(s) for which he plays. He may not substitute for any teams from other clubs."
    Else might "other teams" mean teams not in "each division" that he plays. Eg: plays in each of Div 1 and Div2 but can't play in other teams eg; in Div3.
    I hope that my observations are more than being picky. I'm just trying to take each individual rule literally with the words presented.
    I wouldn't want any rules conflicting or ambiguous as it doesn't state any rule overrides any other.
    (Also if what Steve mentions is true then 5.4(h), and the table, is false for some divisions?)

  9. I believe the rule should something like:

    "In each division, other than the lowest, a player may play for only one team".

    In the table, I think it would be clearest to separate the top row into two rows, one for substitution within the lowest division, one for substitution in divisions other than the lowest. Then the second column, the "lowest division" row would be the same as the "upwards" substitution row, while the "other divisions" row would be the same as the current first row.

    1. Hi Steve. There may not be a special case for 3rd Division. Awaiting confirmation (or finding and reading AGM minutes).

    2. Hi Steve, confirmed that there is a a special case for Div 3. Can play for other teams. Only restriction is the 7 substitute games in total rule.

  10. As there's no mention of this in the rules, maybe we something official needs circulating for those that rely solely on the rules. I definitely wouldn't have known otherwise. Assuming that the lower division will be different (which I think does make sense).


Please feel free to add your comments on this subject.