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, 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 the other available option.

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.

1.5 Players arriving after the start of the match have to accept the home 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 BDCL published rating list for August until the end of December following which the January grades will apply. An unrated player will have an estimated or assigned grade until they obtain a K grade which then 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 the captains or other delegated persons 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. The captains should check that the cards are correct and sign both cards.

5.2. 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. Rules of the game

6.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.

6.2. 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.

6.3. 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.

6.4. 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.

7 Conduct

7.1. 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.

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


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


7.4 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

January 2024