Birmingham and District Chess League


Guidelines for Captains and Players

These guidelines are intended to assist captains and players. They are, nevertheless, only guidelines, and anyone requiring further details should consult the League Rules or the Laws of Chess.

1. Before the match

1.1. The captain should ascertain that the players are available to play. Defaults on any boards (except the lowest possible boards) may be penalised.

1.2. The home captain should check that the equipment is available and in good working order before the match.


1.3. Teams with digital clocks should consider their choice of time control for home matches where the visiting team have selected the one session option. The choices are Quickplay or Increment. To save time it would be useful to set up the clocks in advance and then make any changes where players agree to one of the other available options.


1.4. Each individual player should consider whether he wishes to offer an alternative finish to the opposing player for each match. In order to speed up the process it would be helpful for Captains to know the preferred choice of time control for each of their players. Captains should indicate on the match card in the Finish/Date column the preferences chosen by their players. Indicate a quickplay finish by Q, an increment finish by I but for adjournments leave this blank until the end of the match. Then state the adjournment date as normal or, if the game had finished, by an A.  


1.5 Players arriving after the start of the match have to accept the away team�s choice of finish.

1.6. Both captains should ensure that the match starts at the time specified in the BDCL handbook.


1.7. Individual players may play as reserves up to 3 times for any higher team. The captain should be aware that if a player plays for the fourth time then that player is promoted to play for that team. The knock-out tournament games do not count for this purpose.


1.8. The captain should tell all players to power down their mobile phones. Ideally a mobile phone should not be kept on your person.

2. The match card

2.1. The BDCL no longer supplies Match Cards. However a template with 4 Match Cards can be found at the BDCL website on the Home page E Match Cards tab.

2.2. Both captains should list the team players in strength order in the appropriate space as required by Rules 4.1 to 4.6. It should be noted that Captains now have limited flexibility with regard to their board order, however, breaching Rule 4.6 will most likely lose the match. Captains should use the grades published in the official rating list for August until the end of December following which the January grades will apply. Where an unrated player subsequently obtains a K grade, that grade must be used.


2.3. Any players known to be defaulting before the start-time should not be listed by name but default should be written instead against the lowest possible boards. Writing �default� instead of a name, before the start-time on any board above a named player will result in the loss of the match.


3. Starting the match

3.l. Starting time for matches is given in the handbook

3.2. Analogue clocks should be set to the same time. It is recommended that clocks should be set so that the first time control is at 6.00. For example, if the playing session is 2 ½ hours then the clocks should be set at 4.45. Teams using digital clocks should be conversant with setting them up correctly.

3.3. When a club is inaccessible at the designated start-time or the home team shows little or no willingness to set-up or start the match at the correct time, the visiting captain should consider claiming time off the opponents� clocks to cover the time wasted.

3.4. No player should start playing until their full team list has been written down.

3.5. All WHITE�s clocks should be started at the same time, whether or not either player is present.

4. During the match

4.1. The captain is NOT allowed to interfere in, or comment on, the state of any player�s Game. This includes refraining from comment on a loss on time or a draw by repetition, which must be claimed by the player involved in that game. However, a captain may advise a player of the score in the match without being asked.

4.2. A player may ask his captain�s advice on the Laws of Chess or the League Rules. A copy of the Laws of Chess should be available in the club room.

4.3. A captain may intervene where a dispute has occurred in order to attempt to settle it, but should not express an opinion on the state of the game, unless this is directly related to the dispute. Where no settlement can be made, it may be best for one player to seal a move and adjourn, pending a rules committee decision. This enables the Rules Committee to order the game to be resumed in a case where this is appropriate. The players should make separate copies of the position, the clock times, the move number and any other relevant information; a resumption date need not be set. The captains or other delegated person should ensure that a report of the incident is sent to the Chairman of the Rules Committee as soon as possible.

4.4. The first illegal move by a player is punished by the addition of 2 minutes to the opponent�s clock. A second illegal move by the same player will result in the loss of the game

4.5. The captain does not have the right to agree a result without the consent of the player concerned.


5. End of session/match

5.1. After the agreed playing session has ended, and in the case of adjournments, a player may be asked if he wishes to adjourn. He may decline and play a move unless a sealing time has been agreed or publicised in the handbook. A player may decide to adjourn at the time of his own choice, provided the above conditions are satisfied.

5.2. Players adjourning should agree a resumption date, which is within 3 weeks of the match date. The two weeks at Christmas and New Year may be disregarded. Players should be encouraged to exchange telephone numbers. A date beyond 3 weeks may only be used if no other is available and must be cleared with the League Records Secretary, within a couple of days.

5.3. The match card should have the resumption date and the holder of the envelope noted (with a *). Do not write �Adj� in the result space, as this is used later.

5.4. The captains should check that the cards are correct and sign both cards.

5.5. The captains should ensure that their cards are either posted or e-mailed within 5 days or entered or verified on the LMS system within 5 days.




6. Resuming the game

6.1. Adjournments should commence at the host clubs normal start-time unless otherwise agreed and endorsed on the envelope.

6.2. The holder of the envelope should bring it to the match, with the seal intact. If the holder cannot produce it before his time has expired, or if it has been opened beforehand, then the holder loses the game.

6.3. If the player with the envelope has not arrived, his opponent should set up the board, set the clocks to 12.00 and start the other player�s clock, deducting the elapsed time on his arrival. If the player with the sealed move has arrived, he can set and start the clocks. On no account should the envelope be opened until both players are present. If the player does not appear then the envelope should not be opened in case there has been an emergency.


7. Rules of the game

7.l. TOUCH-MOVE RULE A player must move, or capture, the piece he deliberately touches. If the player cannot move, or capture, the piece touched then there is no penalty. If the player is castling it is essential that the player touch the king first.

7.2. DRAW BY REPETITION -  A player who is intending to claim a draw should not make the move leading to the third repetition. The player should write the move on the score sheet and claim the draw, If the opponent disputes this claim then the clocks should be stopped and the game reconstructed on another board to check that the position has appeared 3 times. A player making the move over the board invalidates the claim for a draw. The penalty for an incorrect claim is adding two minutes to the opponent�s remaining time.

7.3. LOSS ON TIME. - A player has lost on time if his time has expired before he has completed the required number of moves. To make the time control a player�s flag must be intact immediately after pressing the clock on the final move. Players should claim a win immediately upon noticing a flag fall.

7.4. SEALED MOVE.  On opening the envelope a sealed move may be found to be illegal, impossible or ambiguous. Each case results in loss of game and should be claimed as such.

7.5. OFFER OF A DRAW -  A player should make the offer of a draw in his own time, His opponent does not have to reply until it�s his turn to move. The offer remains until his opponent accepts, declines, touches a piece with the intention of moving it, or his time expires. This particular offer, once declined, cannot later be accepted. If, after sealing a move, the player makes an offer of a draw then his opponent is entitled to wait until resumption, when the sealed move is played on the board, before making a decision to accept or decline the offer.

8 Conduct

8.1. The captains have a particular responsibility for keeping good order during the match. Players should not be distracted during the course of a match. Your opponent may regard the playing of another game of chess at the same time as a distraction.

8.2 Any dispute should be submitted to the chairman of the Rules Committee within 7 days.


8.3. There should be no analysis carried out of a game in progress within the same room.


8.4 Any evidence of collusion to pre-determine the result of a match may be considered to be bringing the game into disrepute.




Playing Room Conditions


1. Where possible, the playing room should be reasonably warm within 30 minutes of play starting. Where clubs know that their room will not be particularly warm, then they should warn visiting teams in advance of the match and perhaps also include this on their website and in the BDCL club Directory.

2. It is not always possible to have completely quiet rooms but players who have finished their games should not disturb those still playing and this also includes putting sets away noisily.

3. Where there is a bar players should be asked not to bring in their own refreshments. If a player is asked to leave the premises for doing so, the rules committee would be inclined to support a default of the offending player on the grounds they were unable to continue.


4. Where possible, analysis should take place in a separate room, rather than the playing room, to avoid distracting players who are still playing their games. Players who have finished their games and other persons in the playing area should not use their mobile phones while games are in progress for any purpose - note, this does not mean "silent mode" or "airplane mode".




M. Biddle

BDCL Rules Committee

March 2023