Yorkshire Chess Association



YCA League Rules




(Click here for a 5-page downloadable/printable Word (.docx) version of the page.)






A1     The Edwin Woodhouse Cup, the I.M. Brown Shield and the Silver Rook are trophies offered for annual competition between the C.M.s of the Association. These trophies are the property of the Association. The winning C.M. shall hold the appropriate trophy for one year from the date of the A.G.M. in the season in which the trophy is won. These competitions are divisions of a league competition, the descending order of divisions being as listed.


A2     The normal date for the receipt of new entries by the Competitions Controller shall be May 31st in each year. All new entries are subject, where possible, to the approval of the A.G.M. In the event of a new entry being submitted after the A.G.M. it may be accepted at the discretion of the Principal Officers.


A3     For each team the entrance fee and affiliation fee for at least as many as there are boards per team shall be paid to the Hon. Treasurer not later than October 31st in the season in which the competition is conducted, such fees being as specified at the preceding A.G.M. All fees must be paid in full by 31st May of the season. The A.G.M reserves the right to remove any C.M.s with outstanding fees from the league structure for the following season.


A4     The form of each competition shall be determined by the A.G.M. for each subsequent season.


A5     The dates and places of all the fixtures shall be determined by the Competitions Controller (CC), and may be varied with his expressed agreement under any of the following circumstances:

If any team is unable to field at least six players for a particular match, they may request a postponement / rescheduling from the CC, giving at least two weeks’ notice. With his agreement, a new date may be chosen which is suitable to both teams. The opposing team will have priority in choosing the date. But if the CC is satisfied that the opposing team is unable to find an available date, then the team making the request must either play the original fixture or default the match.

Any team which defaults a match without giving two days’ notice to both the CC and the opposing team will incur one penalty point deducted from their league point score. The only exception shall be severe weather conditions on the day of the match. Any team that cannot fulfil their fixture in these circumstances must advise their opponents before the match is due to start, and also the CC within five days after the fixture date (or incur the default and penalty). The CC may then reschedule the fixture.

In any of the above circumstances, the CC has the discretion to allow or deny a postponement in a consistent manner. If he decides that a default is appropriate, the penalty point will only be applied if due notice (as defined above) was not given.

In the event of a match being rescheduled, the team able to fulfil the original fixture may recover any reasonable additional expenses incurred from the Association.

It is expected that if a team is short of players on the day of the match, the captain will make a reasonable attempt to advise the other team of this, particularly if they are hosting a visiting team. The Competitions Controller reserves the right to deduct league points at his/her discretion.

If a postponement is agreed the team requesting the postponement must contact the opposing team within two weeks of the date of the match and offer two dates for the match to be played on.  If the other team rejects both those dates then the matter should be referred to the controller who will impose a binding date for the match to be played.  If the team requesting the postponement does not make contact within two weeks, the other team will be given the option of claiming the match.  [This last sentence revised at 2022 AGM.]


A6     Following publication of the fixtures, the CC may reschedule any match to a date or venue mutually preferred by both teams, subject to one week's notice given before the first round of fixtures.


A7     The venue of a fixture may be altered, subject to two days’ notice given to both the CC and the visiting team. Any team changing its venue permanently must inform all away teams affected.


A8     All players in these competitions shall be members of their CM organisations and be Affiliated Members as defined under the Constitution.  Any C.M. playing ineligible players shall be penalised by the loss of any matches in which the said players played, the match points being awarded to their opponents.  [First sentence reworded, 2018 AGM]


A9     There shall be eight players in each team in the Woodhouse Cup and I. M. Brown Shield competitions, and six players in each team in the Silver Rook competition[Revised AGM 2019]


A10  Promotion and Relegation.  At the conclusion of each season the top two teams in any division shall be eligible for promotion to the next higher division if they so wish. If both teams exercise this right then the bottom two teams from the higher division shall be relegated to replace them in that division. If promotion is declined by either team then the next-lower-placed team shall be offered promotion. If only one team accepts promotion then only one team shall be relegated.

Any team which wins the same division two seasons in succession may not decline promotion for the start of the season following.

Further transferal of teams between divisions may be approved by the AGM to adjust sizes of divisions, provided it does not deny promotion to an eligible team.


A11  Ties. In the event of a tie (dual or multiple) in the places affecting either championship or promotion/relegation issues, the following tie-break procedures will be used:

(a) The game points of the teams will decide. If this does not resolve the tie then:

1) With a dual tie, the individual match result between the teams concerned decides.

2) With a multiple tie, the game points gained in the matches between the tied teams shall decide.

(b) If the teams are still tied then the Principal Officers shall, after consultation with the affected C.M.s, decide on a suitable tie break.


A12  No player may play for more than one C.M. in the same division during the course of a season. In the event of a C.M having more than one team in the same division any player who has played on board 4 or higher in a senior team for that C.M cannot thereafter play for any lower ranked team. Seniority of teams will be declared by the C.M. at the beginning of the season. The penalty for any team infringing this rule shall be the loss of the match, with all game points being awarded to the opposing team.  [Previous last sentence deleted, 2019 AGM]


A13  No player may play in two matches originally scheduled for the same day.  The penalty for infringement of this rule shall be that specified for infringement of rule A14.  [Second sentence added, 2018 AGM]


A14  Any player who has played on board four or higher in any division may not thereafter play in any lower division in the same season. The penalty for infringement of this Rule shall be the loss of the board concerned and the additional loss of one game point, such point(s) being transferred to the opposing team.  [Previous 2nd sentence deleted, 2019 AGM]


A15  All matches shall commence at 2.30 p.m. other than by mutual agreement.


A16  At the start of the match captains shall exchange lists of their respective team members, listed in descending order of playing strength and players will be paired in accordance with these lists.  Playing strength will be determined by the latest monthly rating list published by the ECF prior to the date of the match and this rating will be recorded on the match card.  A captain does not have to order their team strictly in accordance with their rating provided that a player does not have a rating more than 150 points above that of a player on a higher board.  If this occurs the board concerned will be deemed in violation.  The penalty for infringement of this rule will be the deduction of a game point..  [Revised 2022 AGM]


A17  If a player has no rating captains shall place that player in their team list according to their estimated playing strength.  The penalty for any proven infringement of this rule shall be as defined in Rule A16.  [Revised 2022 AGM]


A18  If a captain declares he has insufficient players at his disposal and will have to default one or more boards, the opposing captain will nominate players from his team to claim the default. All defaults will be placed on the bottom boards and rules A16 and A17 will only apply to the played boards.


A19  The away team shall have White on the odd-numbered boards and Black on the even numbered boards.


A20  All games shall be played in accordance with the Laws of Chess as published with the authority of FIDE except as otherwise provided for by the YCA Competition Rules.  [Revised, 2018 AGM]


A21  At the time play is started in any match the clocks of all absent players shall be set in motion. One hour's grace may be claimed for any absent player, but unless a substitute has been nominated and placed in the team before the end of that period the game shall be forfeited to the opponent. The introduction of a substitute in these circumstances shall not be held to be a violation of Rule A16, and shall subsequently be disregarded for the purposes of applying Rule A17 to the substituted player.


A22  All games will be played at the rate of all moves in 110 minutes with a 10-second increment being added from the start.  If insufficient digital clocks are available a time control of 42 moves in 1 hour 45 minutes plus fifteen minutes to complete the game will apply.  [Revised 2022 AGM]


A23  Each player shall play one game in a match; one point shall be awarded for a win, half a point for a draw. No points shall be awarded for a double default.  Each team shall be awarded two points for a match in which its game points total exceeds that of the opposing team, and one point for a match in which its game points total equals that of the opposing team, except that no match points shall be awarded for a doubly defaulted match.  [Second sentence added, 2018 AGM]


A24  Both teams in each match shall supply the Competitions Controller with detailed results of that match, where possible on result cards provided for that purpose. Such results shall be posted or sent by e-mail within 48 hours of the completion of the match. The names, including full initials, and an indication of the players having white shall be included.

In the event of a team defaulting a match, the opposing team must submit a team-sheet to claim a won match. One game point will be given for each bona fide club member listed on that sheet who would have been eligible and available to play on that date. No such players will be admissible in the last two fixtures if they have not played for any team previously that season.

Any team which fails to submit detailed results to the Competitions Controller (including walk-overs) for more than two matches will have one league point deducted for each unreported match thereafter.


A25  The Captains, if possible, shall settle disputes between individual players but may refer such disputes to the Competitions Controller for decision. If the dispute concerns the Laws of Chess the captains should record the position concerned together with the clock times and submit this together with any subsequent moves. Captains should attempt to familiarise themselves with the Laws of Chess, particularly those relating to draw claims, and prevent interference by other players. Disputes can only be submitted to the controller by team captains, not individual players.


A26  The Competitions Controller shall make an initial ruling in all cases of dispute between teams. Subject to appeal by either or both parties this decision shall be binding.


A27  Appeals procedure. In the event of a C.M. being dissatisfied with the decision of the Competitions Controller there shall be a right of appeal to a Committee of the Principal Officers. This committee shall hear the submissions of the parties to the dispute and any decision they make shall be binding. Three Principal Officers, excluding the Competitions Controller, shall constitute a quorum.


A28  All new teams entering the league programme shall be placed in the lowest division, unless the A.G.M. otherwise resolves.


A29  No smoking is allowed in the playing room of any Yorkshire League match. If a player continues to smoke in the playing room after being warned, any player in the opposing team may stop his or her game immediately and claim a win by default (the game will not be rated) on that board.


A30  Mobile phones and other electronic devices should be switched off prior to the start of the match. If such a device makes a sound while the match is in play the player concerned shall be warned. If the device then sounds for a second time the game will be forfeited. Dispensation from this rule can be agreed by the controller or by mutual agreement between the captains prior to the start of the match. The controller reserves the right to apply a more severe penalty for gross breaches of this rule.


Last updated June 2022.