League Rules (Updated 2021)

1. The closing date for entries shall be 10th October. At the September executive committee meeting the league secretary will circulate the appropriate information, i.e., fixture lists, rules etc. Lists of seeded players must be sent to the league secretary by 31st October. Players in all matches run under the auspices of the DCCA shall be required to switch off/mute their mobile phones.  

2a). Each club must pay the appropriate annual entry fee for their teams by not later than the 31st December, cheques and postal orders to be made payable to DURHAM COUNTY CHESS ASSOCIATION, these being sent to the Treasurer.

2b). Any player wishing to play in the Durham County Chess League will need either “Bronze” Membership of the ECF (as a minimum) or pay £6 per game played. It will be the responsibility of the club for which a non-member has played to send any monies due to the League Treasurer at the end of the League Season.

3. Matches must be played as laid down in the fixture lists unless both teams agree to play on a previous date. In the event of a match not being played, for a valid reason, the League Secretary shall fix a new date. If a team defaults a match without giving any prior warning, a penalty of 1 match point will be deducted from that team’s results on top of any other penalties. The first of each pair of teams on the fixture lists is considered to be the home team and has choice of venue. Any rearranged match must be played not later than 6 weeks after the original date for which it was fixed or prior to the last fixture of the season, whichever is the sooner.

4. There must be a minimum of 4 players per Club per match, but a greater number may be agreed.

5.  The rate of play for all the Divisions will be either 1 hour 30 minutes for the whole game, or 1 hour 15 minutes plus a 10-second increment after each move (starting from move 1). In either case, ECF quickplay rules apply. Either team can insist on using the incremental time control, provided suitable clocks are available — these can be provided by either the home or the away team. Normally the same time control should be used for all boards in a match. It is permissible to use different time controls on different boards, provided both team captains agree and it is made clear to all players which time control they are playing to.

6(a). Match Captains will exchange team lists. The away team players on odd numbered boards will have the White pieces.  Players shall be listed in order of playing strength, with the strongest player on board 1 etc. Playing strength will be defined as ECF grade +/-775 grading points. e.g. A player graded 1825 can only change places with any player that has a grade of 1750 to 1900.

Clubs to estimate the grade of their new ungraded players.
These estimated grade(s) are to be used until an official grade(s) are available.
Any player with such a grade needs to be submitted in advance of them playing in a match.

6(b). In the case of the unexpected, but bona fide absence of a player, a substitute may be provided 30 minutes after the start of play. 

6(c). In the event of a breach of the requirement that players be listed in order of strength, any board upon which a player has been placed whose strength is above that of another player in the same team who has been placed upon a higher board within the meaning of Rule 6 ( a ) shall be scored as 0 to that team regardless of the actual result of the game in question. Whether a breach has in fact occurred in any given situation is a matter for the League Secretary and his decision is final. Nothing in this Rule shall affect the position as to the grading of the game in question, which shall be based upon the actual result of the game in the usual way. 

7. In any one season no player may play for more than one Club in the League.  If a player moves his home a significant distance during the season, he must obtain the prior approval of the Association’s officers before changing Clubs and re-registering to play for the new Club. 

 8(a). A club that has entered more than one team must seed two players for its first team who cannot play for any other team, two players for its second team who cannot play for any other team, and so on for each team entered in the League. The choice of seeds is at the discretion of the club, but it must seed the strongest players available.  Where possible a club teams to be of similar strength.

8(b). If a club’s complement of players changes during a season, appropriate changes should be made to the seedings. 

8(c). Clubs must submit a list of their seeded players to the League Secretary and Webmaster to be displayed on the web site prior to commencement of the league fixtures.

9. The “Home” team match captain must enter the results on the ECF League Management System as soon as possible.

10. Ties for all places in the league shall be decided in favour of the team with the largest value of game points, only the first five boards of every match being counted. In the event of two or more teams finishing tied on both match and game points the division championship or qualification for promotion or relegation being in doubt, the league secretary shall arrange play-offs as necessary.

11. In the event of a disagreement arising as to the correct interpretation of these Rules, the Association’s ruling shall be final, but in the absence of an Association meeting and until such a meeting takes place, the League Secretary’s ruling shall be adopted. 



1.  A Quickplay Finish is one in which all remaining moves must be made by a player within a given time. 

 2.  The FIDE Laws of Chess which regulate the normal game of chess apply except where specifically modified below. 

3.  Spectators must never interfere. 

4. Each player must record the moves one by one until less than five minutes remain on that players clock. The opponents move must be written down before the reply move is made. 


5.  Only one hand shall be used to move the pieces and the same hand must be used to press the clock button. 

6.  The clock must not be picked up by either player, nor should undue force be used on the clock.


7. An illegal move will be treated under the normal Laws of Chess. There is no automatic loss. 


8. A player will win on time if he can stop the clocks showing that his opponent’s flag has fallen and his own flag has not fallen, unless the player who makes the claim cannot possibly checkmate, in which case the game is drawn.

9. If both flags are down the game is drawn, irrespective of which flag fell first. 


10. A player may claim a draw during the last two minutes on his clock and before his own flag falls. He must claim the draw and stop the clocks, after which there will be no further play. There are two grounds for claiming a draw under this section of the rules. He must claim;

a) that his opponent cannot win by normal means, and/or

b) that his opponent has been making no effort to win by normal means. 

11.  The claim should then be discussed by the players and if not resolved it should be submitted to the two captains. If it is still not resolved, the position and relevant information should be referred to the League Conductor, whose decision shall be final. 

GUIDANCE FOR PLAYERS WHO ARE SHORT OF TIME (less than two minutes left on the clock) 

12.  (a) If you play for a win, you risk losing on time, unless your opponent has a bare king. (b) If you are holding a position so that your opponent cannot make progress, offer him a draw. If he rejects the offer, claim a draw and stop the clocks, as described above. 


13.  The information should  reach the League Secretary within 12 days of the match. It must be submitted by both sides and be accompanied by a fee of £10 from each, make cheques/postal orders payable to


A claim shall be made as follows: 

14.  Players must provide a complete scoresheet of the game, together with a diagram showing the final position, and the amount of time left on both clocks.

15.  The diagram should show the position with the WHITE side of the board at the bottom, and all the men in BLOCK CAPITALS, with the BLACK men ringed. The number of men on each side should also be indicated.