League Rules

Belfast & District League Rules: also known as UCU Standing Order 6

Belfast & District League Rules

UCU Board

v2.0.1 22nd October, 2011


These rules govern the management of the Belfast and District League, an annual team event running from Autumn to Spring usually concluding before Easter. The results of this competition determine:
  • Silver King Trophy: which team shall receive the Silver King Trophy and player medals as winners of a first Division
  • Divisional awards: which teams shall receive a trophy and player medals as winners of lower Divisions
  • Board Prizes: medals awarded to the players who performed best on each board in each division through the league competition
All awards are presented at the Union's Annual General Meeting



    1. The League will be divided into two stages, a preliminary stage from which teams will qualify for their respective final Divisions.


    2. For each match a team will score the number of game points, and the winning team will gain a bonus of 2 points, and in the event of a draw each team will gain 1 point.

      For example: A team winning 5-0 will get 7 points - the losers 0 points. A team winning 3-2 will get 5 points - the loser 2 points. Teams drawing 2.5 each will get 3.5 points etc.]


    3. All matches shall be played on the date, in the venue and at the time specified by the UCU.
    4. Club Secretaries shall be informed of all their club's team(s) fixtures for the year.


    5. Matches shall be played over 5 boards.


    6. In matches where neither team contests bottom order boards, such games will be valued as a non-scores for both teams.


    1. In the preliminary stage tournament each team will play each other team once.


    2. Finishing order is determined by total points scored.


    3. At the end of the Preliminary tournament teams will be allocated to their respective Divisions.


    4. In the event of a tie for a qualification place for a particular Division, the following tie-breaking system will be used,
      1. the team with the most wins
      2. drawing of lots


    5. All points gained in the Preliminary tournament are carried forward to the Divisional finals.


    1. In the final Divisions teams will play each other team home and away


    2. The winners of each Division will be the team with the most points gained from their results in both stages of the League.


    3. In the event of a tie for first place in any Division, the title will go to the team which scored the most points (including bonus points) in the Divisional final.


    1. Any affiliated chess club may enter a team or teams.


    2. All players must be registered members of the Ulster Chess Union.


    3. All affiliation and registration fees must be paid to the UCU Treasurer by the end of the calendar year.


    4. Players are not allowed to receive payment for playing in the League.


    5. A player shall not represent more than one club in any one League season.


    6. The Secretary of each club must submit to the League Controller 7 days in advance of the start of the League season a list of players (to be called the squad list) who will play for the club. Any team failing to do so before League fixtures begin will be penalised 5 League points.


    7. If a club enters more than one team, the Secretary of that club must also specifically allocate 5 named players from the club's squad list for each team. Players specifically allocated to a particular team within a club shall not represent any other team of that club.


    8. Any team playing an ineligible player will be defaulted on that board, and Rule 6g will also be applied.


    9. No player with a rating over 1350 may play for more than one team within the competition. Junior players, not specifically allocated to a particular team under 4g., are permitted to float and this permission is granted solely on a players rating (i.e. less than 1351) and not age.


    1. All League matches will be played according to the FIDE Rules of Chess.


    2. During a match, if any issue arises about the application of the FIDE Rules of Chess, the team captains of the two teams involved must act jointly to reach a resolution of the issue. In doing so, they must act as impartial arbiters and not as representatives of their teams. If they are unable to agree, the game involved shall not be continued and the captains must refer the matter to the UCU for final and binding arbitration.


    3. Each player shall have one hour and thirty minutes to make all their moves. FIDE Quickplay finish rules shall apply.

      Note: A score of the game must be kept by each player until they have less than five minutes remaining on their clock. An illegal move does not lose the game in any circumstances. In the case of an illegal move being played the opposing player restarts his opponent's clock and asks him to take back his move.


    1. Players in the away team shall have white on the odd numbered boards, and the home team shall have white on even numbered boards.


    2. The captain of the home team shall start all the clocks (of the players who have the white pieces) at the specified start time. Should he fail to do so: the home team shall forfeit any time lost.


    3. No player may commence play before their team Captain has made their team list available.


    4. Board order shall be arranged in order of playing strength i.e. in grading order using the most recently published grading list i.e. The highest graded player shall play on board 1. The lowest graded player shall play on board 5. However player(s) may play out of grading order where there is less than 100 grading points difference between the players(s), or with the express permission of the League Controller


    5. Any board played out of such grading order will be defaulted.


    6. If a team does not have 5 players available; the remaining players must fill the top boards, and wherever possible the captain should inform the opposing team one hour before the start time for the match.


    7. All games played below a defaulted board are scored as a loss, unless exceptional circumstances exist.


    8. All games in a match must be played at the same time. Any game not so played will be defaulted.


  1. The default of two matches in any one season shall result in the forfeiture of all that team's matches for the year.


    1. Irrespective of the reason a team captain must contact the League Controller (to seek their approval) before altering a fixture: either to the date or to the start time of the match. Failure to do so will result in the deduction of two points from the offending team(s).


    2. Postponement of matches will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances.


    3. Any postponed match must be played within one month of the original date of the fixture, or on a date specified by the UCU.


    4. Teams are not permitted to agree not to contest a fixture.


    1. All teams must supply two working phone numbers, preferably mobile numbers, and two working email addresses belonging to team members.


    2. One of these e-mail contacts shall be responsible for communicating the result of the team's matches to the UCU via league@ulsterchess.org within 3 days of the match date.


    3. Teams failing to report results promptly will lose 1 point from their team's score; a point will be deducted for each offence.


    1. All games played in the League shall be recorded on duplicate score-sheets, which will be supplied by the UCU.


    2. The duplicate score-sheets shall remain the property of the UCU.


    3. Both team captains shall collect all completed duplicate score-sheets after a match and arrange for them to be returned to the UCU.


    1. Any matter arising out of these rules or not covered by these rules shall be referred to the rules/disputes panel, which will be made up from Team Captains.


    2. Failure to comply with any of these rules will result in penalties being imposed on the offending team.


    3. The rules/disputes panel will notify clubs of any penalties to their teams in writing: within seven days of any penalty arising.


    4. Ignorance or misinterpretation of any of these rules is no excuse.

Notes & Guidance


  1. The affiliation fee is £50 for each club, there is no additional charge for entering more than one team.


  2. UCU Player Registration fee is £5 & £2 for under 18s.


  3. The UCU Executive Board may apply a surcharge of up to 20% if fees are received after the specified date. A club will not be allowed to play in the following League season if it has not paid all the fees, including surcharges, due from it.


  4. If a player is listed in a squad for more than one club/team, the player concerned will be asked to indicate which club/team he intends to play for and the clubs concerned will be informed of the player's decision. Should a team wish to play someone in a match who is not on their squad list, the team must inform the League Controller in advance of the match that they wish to add that player to their squad list. The League Controller shall refuse permission to make the addition if he is not satisfied the proposed additional player qualifies as a bona fide UCU member.

    For example, if a club with 2 teams has registered 12 players, then 5 must be specifically allocated to Team A, and 5 different players must be allocated to Team B and the remaining 2 players may play for either Team A or Team B. There is no requirement that the players must be allocated according to their ratings.


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