Established 1957

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Organisation   Membership   Match Arrangements   Player Eligibility

Rules of Play   Scoring   Complaints Procedure

Lawrance Cup   Finchley Cup   Baum Trophy   Kirby Cup



1. The operation of the League shall be administered by the Secretary. The Secretary shall be assisted by the LMC.

2. The league season shall be from 1st September to 31st May with no matches allowed after that date.

3. The League shall be structured in divisions, each division comprising not more than eight teams, except at the discretion of the AGM.

4. Unless additional boards are agreed prior to the date of the match teams in the A division shall comprise six boards, teams in the B division shall comprise five boards and teams in the U130 C division shall comprise four boards.

5. Member clubs may not operate more than one team in any division except the lowest and two teams in the lowest division without leave being granted by the AGM prior to the commencement of the season in which the changes become effective.

6. Clubs with more than one team shall designate teams 1, 2 etc., in order of playing strength. Team 1 being the highest designated team.

7. At the end of the season, the top team in Division B and in each lower division (if any) shall be promoted to the next highest division. The bottom team in each division except the lowest division shall be relegated to the next lowest division. The following exceptions shall, however, prevail:

a. Where vacancies occur in a division due to withdrawal and/or a team not being promoted in accordance with Rule 5, they may be filled at the discretion of the LMC by waiving relegation and/or promotion of additional teams or the inclusion of new teams. Furthermore the AGM shall have the right to leave a division below the full complement if it considers this to be appropriate to the League.

b. Where relegation would cause a club to exceed its quota in a division, the lowest placed team in that division must also be relegated, even though that team has not necessarily finished bottom position unless Rule 5 is applied.

c. Where promotion would cause a club to exceed its quota of teams in a division the promotion cannot be effective unless Rule 5 is applied.

8. In the event of two or more eligible teams being level on points at the end of the season, the winner of the division, and promotion and relegation shall be determined by a play off or play offs between the teams concerned. Should the play off result in a draw then board count followed by board elimination, if necessary, will be applied. No new registrations shall be permitted for such matches.

9. All trophies shall be presented at the next AGM and engraved with the names of the winning clubs.

10. Clubs wishing to withdraw a team(s) shall only withdraw from the lowest division(s) excepting where the LMC is satisfied that there is insufficient strength to support a team(s) in a higher division.

11. If a team withdraws from the League during the season before it has completed half of its scheduled fixtures, the matches played prior to withdrawal shall be treated as null and void for the purposes of league placings, promotion, relegation and cumulative defaults. If a team withdraws after completing half or more of its fixtures, the results of the fixtures played shall stand, and the remaining matches scored as defaulted to the scheduled opponents.

12. Any club who joins the League must have acceptable premises and also be within reasonable travelling distance to the other clubs.

13. Prospective new clubs must apply by 31st July and give full particulars of its venue and give in writing any information that the Secretary may require.

14. The League shall submit all games for grading to the English Chess Federation.

15. All participating clubs shall abide by these rules.


16. All member clubs shall make deposits as determined at the AGM, to be paid to the Treasurer by 1st October.

17. Deposits shall be used to finance any fines, non-English Chess Federation member Game Fees, other fees or levies. Any balance shall be settled at the end of the season.

18. No club shall participate in the League until all previously outstanding debts have been settled.

19. If a club has not paid its non- English Chess Federation member Game Fees for the previous season to the Treasurer by 20th December, all matches played subsequently until such time as the Game Fee is received by the Treasurer shall be recorded as defaulted.

Match Arrangements

20. A meeting, at which all clubs shall be represented, shall be held in September, for the purposes of arranging fixtures. For clubs who are absent from this meeting, or who fail to arrange their fixtures on the night, the Secretary shall, where practicable arrange fixtures for them. These fixtures will be forwarded to the secretary of the club within four days of the meeting. If they wish to rearrange any of these fixtures they must do so within fourteen days of the fixtures meeting. Any fixtures not so rearranged shall be treated as accepted by that club. Within twenty-one days thereof, each club shall send the Secretary a list of its arranged fixtures. Any subsequent alteration shall be notified to the Secretary by both clubs. Clubs are required to compete all fixtures.

21. Each team shall play each other team within its division twice, once home and once away. The AGM shall be empowered to increase the number of matches played if the number of teams in a division is low. In exceptional circumstances and if both clubs agree they may play a single fixture for double match points. The Secretary must give his permission for such a fixture to occur.

22. Where a club has more than one team within the same division, the teams shall play each other as their initial fixtures of the season in that division.

23. Where a club fails to honour a fixture, the opponents are entitled to claim the match if less than seven days prior notice is given. If a minimum of seven days notice is given, the match may be rearranged but the requesting club shall offer at least two alternative dates and, if necessary waive choice of venue.

24. Matches shall commence not later than 7.30pm, except where mutually agreed to the contrary.

25. Smoking is not permitted in the playing area during League matches.

26. The names of all players with their scores shall be forwarded to the Secretary by both clubs within five days.

Player Eligibility

27. No player shall be allowed to play for more than one club during a season, except by the leave of the LMC in their absolute discretion.

28. No player shall be allowed to play in a League match unless the Secretary has received notification of their name and grade and/or grading or English Chess Federation membership number if available at least seven days in advance.

29. Seven days before their first fixture clubs shall send the Secretary the names and grade and/or grading numbers if available of all players expected to play for them in the League during the season. Further registrations may be added during the season in accordance with Rule 28.

30. Clubs entering more than one team shall clearly indicate their strongest members expected to play in each team other than their lowest designated team. For each additional team in the A Division four players will be nominated, for each additional team in the B Division three players will be nominated, and for each additional team in the C Division two players will be nominated. The nominated players shall be barred from playing in a lower designated team.

a. The Secretary shall be empowered to accept, reject or replace the name of a barred player and add to whichever list it considered appropriate the name of any other player registered for the League. In the case of new members being added to the barred list the option of substitution may be applied for.

b. If a player was declared for their club as "barred" the previous season, but did not play, the  Secretary will only accept that player as an addition to the nominated list.

c. A list of barred players shall be made available on the League's website by the Secretary to all clubs, as shall a list of subsequent amendments.

d. The January grading list shall be ignored for the purposes of barring players.

Rules of Play

31. Except where amended by these rules, all games shall be played according to the current FIDE Laws of Chess. In line with the Laws of Chess both Match Captains (or their deputies) shall act as joint arbiters in the case of a dispute or query in the course of a match.


a. Match Captains or their deputies shall exchange team lists at the agreed starting time. Colours shall be dependent on the number of boards:

i. For matches with an even number of boards toss for colours; the team winning the toss shall choose colours. A team unable to produce a team list at the time shall be deemed to have lost the toss.

ii. For matches with an uneven number of boards the away team shall have white on the odd boards.

b. Teams shall be arranged in descending order of playing strength.

c. A substitution may be made within thirty minutes of the agreed start time if the nominated player on the team list is absent when the substitution is made.

d. Where a board is defaulted at the time team lists are exchanged, the default must appear below the contested games in the board order.


a. Chess clocks shall be used with identical settings. The rate of play shall be determined depending on whether appropriate digital clocks are being used on all boards:

  1. If appropriate digital clocks are being used then all moves in 80 minutes with 10 seconds being added for each move played.
  2. If analogue clocks are being used then 30 moves in the first one and quarter hours. When black has played their thirtieth move both clocks shall be turned back 15 minutes and both players shall have the remaining time to complete the game.

b. All clocks shall be started at the arranged time of commencement of the match

c. Thirty minutes from the agreed starting time shall be allowed for any absent player, where after (subject to Rule 32c) the absentee shall forfeit the game.

34. Contrary to the FIDE Rule of Chess 11.3 (b), mobile phones and other electronic means of communication will be allowed into the playing area; however, they must be turned off, or, with the express permission of the both match arbiters, be set to silent mode for the course of the match. Either match captain will be automatically allowed to have their mobile phone on in silent mode for the period of the match allowed for substitutions, after that they are treated the same as their team. If any mobile phone/electronic means of communication (not previously allowed for silent mode) of a player in a match produces a sound during the course of their game that player shall be issued a warning in the first instance, if the mobile phone should produce a sound a second time that player shall lose their game by default. If any mobile phone/electronic means of communication (not previously allowed for silent mode) of a non-player in a match audibly rings during the course of their game that non-player will be asked to leave the playing area. Players/match captains must leave the playing area to make or answer a mobile phone call.


35. In the match, two points shall be scored by the winning team, one point for each team in the event of a draw and nil points by the losing team.

36. Subject to the discretion of the LMC, teams will be penalised for defaulted games during the season by the deduction of one match point for every four games defaulted. Ineligible players count as defaults for cumulative purposes.

Complaints Procedures


a. A club may protest against the alleged commission of any breach of the foregoing rules. Details must be sent in writing to the Secretary within ten days.

b. The Secretary shall investigate and rule upon any offence reported to him or discovered by him. The Secretary may liaise with any relevant party he deems appropriate before making a decision. Any decision made, will be the view of the Secretary.

c. A club may appeal against any decision of the Secretary by writing to the Secretary within fourteen days of notification. The appeal shall be referred to to the LMC, whose decision shall be final.

38.  The following fines shall be imposed:

a. The Secretary shall be empowered to impose a fine of £1.50 for each infringement of Rule 26;

b. The LMC shall be empowered to impose of a fine of £10 for each breach of Rule 23, or such lesser penalties as it determines.

c. The scoring of a loss to any player who infringes any of Rules 27 to 30, and the award of the game to their opponents if eligible;

39.  The LMC shall be empowered to impose the following penalties:

a. The suspension of a player or match official from participating in the League until the end of the season;

b. Any other sanction authorised under powers delegated by the LMC.

40.  In connection with any offence referred to the LMC, the club(s) shall have the right of non-voting representation.

41. No person shall adjudicate a dispute that involves their own club.

42. The Secretary shall rule upon any matter not covered by the foregoing rules.

43. No additions or alterations of these rules shall be made, except by the majority of members present and voting at an AGM.


Lawrance Cup

1. The Lawrance Cup shall be a knock-out competition played over a minimum of four boards for all teams entering the A Division. Teams will be allowed to opt out before the draw is made, however when entered into the draw any withdrawals/defaults will be handled as per League Rule 23.

2. The draw for the Lawrance Cup shall be made at the AGM.

3. The time limits for each round shall be as follows:

1st round completed by 30th September;

Quarter-finals completed by 31st October;

Semi-finals completed by 30th January; and

Final completed by 30th April.

4. The home team shall, within fourteen days of notification by the Secretary, offer their opponents a choice of three dates within the time limits specified in Rule 3. Non-acceptance of these dates shall be deemed a default with the home team claiming the match.

5. Each match shall be played over two rounds, with the second round reversing the colours of the first with the same opponent. The rate of play for each round is all moves in 30 minutes . The FIDE Rules of Chess, Appendix A Rapidplay will apply except for A.4 (b). Illegal moves will be handled the same as FIDE Rule 7.5 (b)

6. The combined score from both matches will be used to determine to winner. In the case of the match being tied the combined scores of the lowest board will be omitted (board elimination) upwards until the scores are no longer level. Only in the event of this not breaking the tie shall the match be replayed. The replay will be at the premises of the away team and be played within three weeks of the original match or before the end date of that round, which ever is later).

7. The results shall be submitted for rapid-play grading by the English Chess Federation.

Finchley Cup

1. The Finchley Cup shall be a knock-out competition played over a minimum of four boards for teams entering the B and any lower divisions. Any players covered by League Rule 30 will be barred from entering this competition.

3. Other rules as per the Lawrance Cup.

Baum Trophy

1. The Baum Trophy shall be a league tournament played over four boards (unless additional boards are agreed by both teams prior to the date of the match) with a season running from the start of May to the end of August.

2. Each team shall play each other team once, either home or away as determined by the Secretary at the start of the tournament using the Berger pairing tables.

3. The rules of the tournament shall be the same as the League except where noted below.

4. Each match shall be played over two rounds, with the second round reversing the colours of the first with the same opponent.

5. The rate of play for each round is all moves in 30 minutes. FIDE Rules of Chess, Appendix A Rapid play will apply as per the Lawrance Cup.

6. The results shall be submitted for rapid-play grading by the English Chess Federation.

Kirby Cup

1. The Kirby Cup shall be a knock-out competition for individual players.

2. The tournament organiser shall be elected at the AGM and by default be the Secretary.

3. Each club may nominate two eligible players by the 30th September. If the defending champion wishes to enter, their club shall be allowed to nominate an extra player. Each club shall pay £2 for each nomination, except the defending champion who shall be allowed free entry.

4. A player is eligible to enter if they have played for their club at least six times in the League in the previous season.

5. The tournament organiser shall circulate to the clubs a list of its eligible players.

6. The draw shall be un-seeded and open except:

a. The defending champion shall be exempt from any preliminary round.

b. Players registered with the League for the same club shall not meet in either the preliminary or first round (the first round is where the number of players is a power of 2).

7. Each round shall be decided over a match or between two and five games. The draw for white in the first game shall be random and then alternate. The time controls for each round shall be as follows:

a. The first two games will be rapid-play with both players having 30 minutes to complete each game.

If the score is 1-1 after these games then:

b. The next two games will be rapid-play with both players having 15 minutes to complete each game.

If the score is 2-2 after these games then:

c. For the final game the players shall again toss for colours. This game shall be blitz where white has 6 minutes and black 5 minutes. If the game finishes in a draw then the player with black shall win the match.

The relevant FIDE laws of chess for the different time controls shall cover all the games.

8. The results of the first two games shall be submitted for rapid-play grading by the English Chess Federation.

9. When the draw for each round is issued the first named player in each match shall have the choice of venue and must contact their opponent within seven days of the date of the draw and offer them two dates. The opponent has the choice of which date to accept. Should neither date be agreeable and no compromise possible then both players shall contact the tournament organiser immediately to mediate. The tournament organiser shall decide whether the reason for non-acceptance of the dates is reasonable. If the reason is not satisfactory then the player either agrees a date or loses by default. If the reason is satisfactory then the tournament organiser shall confer and arrange a date as soon as practical.

10. Each round must be completed by the following dates:

Last 32 End of October

Last 16 End of December

¼ finals End of March

½ finals End of May

Final End of June

11. The winner of the competition shall hold the Kirby Cup for one year and must return the trophy when asked to do so by the tournament organiser.