Match Rules – draft proposals

Below is a summary of draft content being proposed for consideration at AGM/LCM.
Refinements may appear here on an ongoing basis, but clubs need to submit basic proposals by 1st. July (rule 27). Please consider these and offer any comments or suggested rewording to details that would be required to make these acceptable to your club. Indicating support or identifying objections/issues may help shorten/ease later discussions when raised at AGM/LCM.
1/7/2016: rules 3,11,13,15,16 & 22 submitted by Billericay/Clacton/Colchester/Writtle.
7/7/2016: AGM confirmed for 19:45 on 27th July 2016 in Witham Library.
Aug/2016: amendments from feedback   text in red requires deeper discussion
Sep/2016: New League and Knockout rules published.

Rule 3
Frank Seeley/Maldon and John Lambert/Clacton independently proposed extending the season to include the whole of May as more games are being played in May, the weather is better and it helps the clubs who play in more than one league. Subject to approval of a new rule 22, the suggestion by Nathan Barnes/Colchester would also apply (part g).
draft rule 3:
Match play in League Competitions shall take place between 1 October, or earlier if 22(g) applies, and 31st May in each season.
[ v “as soon as clubs have completed player registrations and are ready to play their agreed pairings. Matches will be completed by” ?]

Rule 11

Nathan Barnes/Colchester suggests we dispense with tossing for colours,
draft rule 11:
Matches in all Divisions shall be played over four boards. The away team shall play white on the odd-numbered boards and the black pieces on the even-numbered boards.

Rule 13
Add requirement/courtesy to notify opponents about known defaults.
draft rule 13:
A reserve player may be introduced at any time up to 8.15 p.m. If a player is not available at or before 8.15 p.m., the board is defaulted. No player can play more than one game on the same occasion. If a captain has a known default, this must be notified to the opposing captain as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary travel.

Rule 15
Writtle are proposing alternative time controls with a Fischer timing.
draft rule 15:
All  matches will  be played to a finish. The rate of play will  be 30  moves  in 75  minutes and then the clocks will be set back 15 minutes and the game completed in the remaining time. Alternatively, subject to mutual agreement and availability of digital clocks, Fischer timing at a rate of all moves in 80 minutes with 10 seconds increment per move from the start. All four boards in a match will be required to use the same rate of play.

Rule 16
Confirm the expected method to submit and confirm a result.
draft rule 16:
Match results  shall,  not  later  than  five  days  after  play  is  completed, be submitted on-line by one team and confirmed on-line by the other team. Teams with no web access may inform the event Secretary by other means.

Note, this also drops mention of the levy of £1 for each result not submitted on time as It has never been applied, though an AGM reminder may be appropriate. Process reminder; where only one side has submitted a result this is deemed to stand (by ‘auto-confirming’ on-line on the 6th day – or not before 24hr after a previous submission, to give further opportunity to confirm/change that result). If neither side has submitted a result after 10 days the match is automatically moved from the imminent table to a “non-notified-postponement” table on the latest results page. The number of matches not directly confirmed over the last 5 years averages 17%, which would have been about £30/yr in fines. See now extended to show these counts.

Rule 22

Current Rule 22 has 9 clauses (a) to (i). Prior to changes made in 2013 it ran to more than an A4 page and was then recognised to be in need of further change as it didn’t adequately address data issues or cover today’s processes. The below draft rewrite is offered to address this. It incorporates (f) as proposed by Billericay plus parts of (c), (d), (g) and (h) as proposed by Colchester. (indicated by respective text colouring)

draft rule 22:
(a) It is a condition of membership that player data (limited to name, club, ECF grading/membership references) and game results may be kept on computer and published. Members may optionally provide an email address so as to be included in NECL distribution lists. Club secretaries will maintain venue and basic contact data on their NECL-club web pages which also form the on-line directory. Officers can alternatively opt for their own contact data to be restricted to a view which is only visible via a login by other officers.
(b) At least 24 hours before the first fixture within a season, each club shall send all fees due to NECL to the treasurer, and send the names of intended players to both the General Secretary and Treasurer. Clubs may optionally overpay to create a credit balance towards any later new registrations.The treasurer will mark payment and registrations on-line and assign a player eligibility date of no later than the day after receipt. This will be visible in the NECL-accounts, registrations and nominations sections of each club.
New player registrations during a season will similarly require at least 24 hours notice before the players first fixture.

(c) Nominations will be formed starting from the top of the grade-ordered list with a number of players equal to one fewer than the number of boards in the club’s ‘A’ team shall be nominated for that team; the number of players next on the list equal to one fewer than the number of players in the club’s ‘B’ team shall be nominated players for that team, and so on. There may also be additional nominated players to the above due to 22h.
Nominations will be revised accordingly if affected by (i) new registrations added during the season or (ii) a performance-based-revision of the estimated grade of a non-graded player. A club changing nomination ordering based on mid-season official grade updates should do so within two weeks of a grading list being published, or can opt to not do so where this affects driver availability.
A player shall not be eligible to play in any team below the category of team for which they are nominated.
(d) The maximum number of games a player may play in the League Championship in one season is equal to five in excess of the maximum number of matches scheduled for any team at the start of the season minus the number of matches already completed by his nominated team by the fixture list at the time when his name first appears on his club’s list of players. In this clause the ‘nominated team’ is that team to which a player is nominated by the first list submitted by his club on which his name appears.
Default wins do not contribute to a player’s game count for this purpose.
e) If a team plays an ineligible player then his/her game will be  lost by default, and an additional ½ point  will  be  deducted  from  the  team’s  total.  Individual game results will stand for grading purposes only. Incomplete teams should default on the lowest board(s).
(f) Teams will play in descending ECF grading order from board one downwards:
Any exceptions to this cannot differ in the official ECF grading by more than 10 grading points or:
(i) Where a reserve player is substituted for a listed player who has failed to arrive, the reserve must be of the same or lower-grade than the player originally listed. (ii) Where a higher graded player is listed downwards to occupy a board defaulted by the opposing team.
(g) Pairings from the same club should be played first, which may be before 1st October.
[vas soon as the club can arrange” ?]
(h) If a nominated player does not play in any matches during a season then if they are nominated again the following season then they must be nominated for the same team as in the previous season and that team must have an additional player nominated.

Many parts will require further discussion and agreement on some details. In particular the question of nominations, discussed at the 2014 AGM where no decision was reached nor minuted (though DM declared July would be assumed unless clubs opt for January). The current status quo seems an unsatisfactory compromise? Clubs have opted to base playing order on either a) January based list;  b) July based lists;  or c) a list that is neither. This directly affects clauses (c) and (f) and should be revisited for a more definitive answer in anticipation of grading frequency becoming monthly or real-time.

More change comparison notes:-
Aspects not covered by the present rule 22 include reference to
(i) player data and club venues/contacts (into a)
(ii) process has to involve treasurer to ensure visibility of NECL-accounts, registrations and nominations (into b + drop g & i).
[a previously unused registration marking facility was moved from gen-sec to treasurer key with payment facility added when accounts were put on-line. Nominations are now updated on-line by JL when he receives a list from DM. Both keys can edit nominations]
(iii) incorporate present option to adopt mid-season grade updates, or not
(iv) effect of new player additions to nominations (into c, drop d)
(v) performance-based-revision for estimated grades (into c) – though criteria yet to be specified (e.g.   performance – estimate > 10 after 5 games ?)
(vi) that max game-count excludes default-wins (into new d)
(vii) incomplete teams default to the lowest boards, (into e) (discussed sometime but not minuted or put into rules?)

22f – Strictness of Board-ordering – Current rule says:-
       “Players nominated for a team will be expected to play in their listed order.
       However minor alterations in playing order can be made according to current form.”
The extent of alteration is not defined. (deliberately?) though a 10 point grade difference has often been spoken of as the ‘allowed’ margin, as though this was a rule – but can only be a ‘notion’ as it has not been documented in NECL rules, nor in any AGM/LCM minutes (that I know of). Nor is the rule clear that the ‘list’ referred to is of ‘nominees’, or ‘eligible players’ – but has to be the latter if it is to cover non-nominated players.
[Note: our monitoring tool shows (amongst other things) how often teams have played out of order (by grade at the time of a match). For the nominal margin of 10 points, this shows 17 such instances during the current season (edit the url for other margins/seasons)
– but of course the difficulty in checking if some/all of these are ‘allowed’ requires you to refer to the list of nominations active at the time of each match! ]

22h – Example from Nathan:  if one of the three players nominated for Colchester A (Player X) does not play all season but Colchester register Player X again the following season then whichever Colchester A must have four nominated players (not three) – one of who must be Player X. Match rule 22d should be modified to be subject to this new clause; match rule 22b should also be subject to this new clause as well as clause d.

Rules 20/24
Subject to approval of the above rule, dropping rule 20 could be considered.
This seems unnecessary, due to ordering covered in new 22f, and refers to impractical penalties that have never used despite many examples.
Also Rule 24 seems unnecessary due to becoming a legal constraint since 2007.

Rule 26
Nathan Barnes/Colchester has raised a query, saying that in the quickplay finish to games NECL rules do not make it clear what procedures are being followed if a player tries to claim a draw in the last two minutes due to not being able to win on normal means / not trying to win by normal means. If this is done does rule G6 apply and if so who is the arbiter? NECL rules should also state if rule G4 applies or not.

This is more of a request for clarification in case this problematic situation arises, so may best be addressed by incorporating an answer into a draft rule 26, such as the following:-

The FIDE Laws of Chess will apply to all games unless superseded by these Rules, unless not practical to do so.  e.g. current FIDE rules G4, G5 &G6 (claims made when less than two minutes left on clock) that require a ‘designated arbiter’ will not apply, though both captains may choose to reach agreement, or to raise a dispute under rule 2.

Current rule 26 says:-
“Except where they are inconsistent with the foregoing, the Laws of Chess as published by the British Chess Federation shall be deemed to form part of these Rules.  The FIDE Laws of Chess allow the use of an assistant by a visually handicapped player. The League will also allow the use of an assistant by any player, as and when required.”
Is outdated due to BCF->ECF, who no longer publish FIDE rules and only link to FIDE.
Visually disabled players and assistance are already extensively covered in Appendix D.


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