1. The League shall be called the Northumbria Chess League.

2. The Laws of Chess as published by the English Chess Federation shall govern play in all League matches except as varied in these rules.

3. The League shall be managed by the League Conductor. Any dispute between Clubs as to the interpretation of these rules or concerning any matter not provided for by these rules shall be decided by the League Conductor whose decision shall be final. Any dispute between Clubs as to the interpretation of the Laws of Chess shall be decided in the first instance by the League Conductor, but may be appealed to the Executive Committee who shall collectively act as competition arbiter.

4. The composition of the League and the number of divisions is the responsibility of the League Conductor acting where necessary on the advice of the League Meeting and the Executive Committee.

5. Clubs affiliated to the Northumberland Chess Association may enter one or more teams in the League. Teams shall be entered in the name of the Club and if a Club enters more than one team they shall be distinguished in their title.

6. There shall be a League Meeting shortly before the start of the season. At the Meeting teams may be entered in the League. The appropriate annual subscription shall be paid at or before the Meeting. Any team whose subscription has not been paid shall be excluded from the fixture lists. The meeting shall be advised of the composition of the league and the general structure of fixtures agreed.

7. For the purposes of Rule 8 below, teams in the same division may be ranked in order of strength by their Club. Where the ranking order of teams within a Club, or any subset thereof, is not apparent from their titles, the Club shall have the option to indicate their ranking order to the League Meeting. Should the Club decline to do so, the teams in question shall be considered to be of equal rank. Clubs may also choose to indicate to the League Meeting that two or more teams whose ranking order is implied by their titles, for example an A and B team, are in fact to be ranked equally or in some other order.

The ranking structure decided upon by each Club shall be published along with that Club’s details in the League Handbook.

8. (a) A player who has played at least one game, or claimed a win by default, for a Club, shall be ineligible to play for another Club in the same season.
(b) If a player plays on Board 1 or 2 of any team, or more than once on Board 3 of any team, he or she shall be ineligible to play for any lower or equal-ranked team in the same season. In addition, any player playing on Board 1 or 2 of any team in the first match of the season shall not have already played any games for lower or equal-ranked teams in that season. The League Conductor reserves the right to apply part (e) of this rule retrospectively to any such games played.
(c) A player may apply to the League Conductor for permission to transfer permanently to a lower-ranked or equal-ranked team at any stage of the season. The player concerned will then be ineligible to play for their original team.
(d) A player who is a late substitute for an unexpectedly absent team member shall for the purposes of eligibility be deemed to have played on Board 4 or 5 irrespective of the actual board on which the vacancy occurred. For this rule to be implemented:
(i) The League Conductor must be notified of the circumstances.
(ii) The name of the absent player must have been originally declared to the opposing Captain before the start of the match, and the substitution not made until after the clocks had been started.
(iii) The League Conductor must be satisfied that the absent player is a bona fide member of the team concerned.
(iv) The substitute must not have been involved in the implementation of this rule on a previous occasion in the same season.

(e) If a player plays on a team for which he or she is ineligible under any part of this rule, the score of that player’s team shall be reduced, and the score of their opponents increased, by the following amounts:

If the ineligible player appeared on board 1, 2½ points.

” ” board 2, 2 points.
” ” board 3, 1½ points.
” ” board 4, 1 point.

If the ineligible player appeared on board 5, his or her game shall be counted as a loss whatever the actual result and no further penalty shall be incurred.

Any alteration is subject to a maximum winning score of 5-0.

9. The minimum number of boards in any match shall be five. Any number in excess of five must be agreed previously by both clubs concerned.

10. Matches should normally be arranged to last for a single session of three hours, starting at the time specified by the home team, unless both captains agree otherwise. The default time control will be 1½ hours per player for the game. If less than three hours is available, the recommended time control is 1¼ hours per player. Where enough digital clocks are available, a time control of 1¼ hours per player plus 10 seconds per move may be used. The ECF Quickplay Finish Rules (including those covering matches where no arbiter is present) shall operate.

At or before the League Meeting, the League Conductor must be told of the time when each team will start its home fixtures and this information will be included in the League Handbook. Regular starting times must be within the range 6.45pm to 7.30pm unless specifically sanctioned by the League Meeting.

11. (a) Before the start of a match each captain shall make a list of their team and hand it to the opposing captain. The exchange of team lists shall take place simultaneously.
(b) If a player A is listed on a lower board than a player B, while A’s grade is more than 15 points higher than B’s, player A’s game shall be lost by default. Captains are free to arrange their teams in any order they wish subject to this rule, and may change the order from match to match.
(c) The visiting team shall have White on the odd numbered boards.

The grading list used for the purposes of 11(b) shall be the edition released immediately prior to the start of the league season. Any grading list released during the season shall be ignored.

12. A game shall be declared won by default by a player whose opponent does not appear at the board within half an hour of the start of the match. If it is known that a team will be incomplete the lowest boards should be defaulted.

13. Any player whose electronic communication device emits a sound, or vibrates, more than once during a game, shall lose their game by default. After the first such incident, it is the responsibility of the team captain to request that their player switch the device off. Players must not receive material assistance in their game through such means, and any player suspected of doing so may be reported to the League Conductor by the opposing team even if under this rule they are allowed to continue with the game.

14. Both team captains shall report to the League Conductor within 7 days of the date on which the match was played the result of the match, the names of the players and the scores in all games.

15. A won match shall count 2 points and a drawn match 1 point, except where stated in the notes accompanying the fixture list in this Handbook. The team obtaining the greatest number of points during any season in Division 1 shall be the League Champions. Similarly teams achieving the highest points scores in other divisions shall be the Champions of those divisions.

16. A team that fails to turn up for an appointed match without due notice to the opposing team shall have 2 points deducted from their Match Point total.

17. The team who at the end of the season has scored the least number of points in Division 1 shall be relegated to Division 2 and the three teams occupying the top three places in Division 2 shall be offered promotion to Division 1. The two teams who at the end of the season have scored the least number of points in Division 2 shall be relegated to Division 3 and the two teams occupying the top two places in Division 3 shall be promoted to Division 2. Where a division is incomplete due to the withdrawal or promotion of a team, an extra team may be promoted or introduced. Teams in relegation positions shall be relegated automatically unless there is no other reasonable way of filling a vacancy in that division.

18. 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 points and game points and the division championship or qualification for promotion or relegation being in doubt, the League Conductor shall arrange play-offs as necessary.

19. All matches must be completed by the end of April.