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2023-2024 League Officers

President, Records & Tournament Secretary: Steve Whatmore

E-mail address:

Vice-President, Publicity & Promotions Officer: Ray Dolan

E-mail address: - mobile 07980101744

General Secretary: Peter Oliver

E-mail address:

Treasurer & Staffordshire Delegate: Eunice Dolan

ECF Delegate: Peter Evans

Rules & Disputes Sub-committee: Steve Whatmore, Peter Oliver, Ray Dolan & Stephen Smithson 


Website Updates: Steve Whatmore

Website Creator: Ken McNulty

League Rules for 2023-2024 Season

1. Teams shall consist of four players who should be played in descending order of rating strength, with the flexibility of up to 75 rating points per board. This includes all players - whether they have actual ratings, or estimated ratings if they are unrated or have a 'P' (partial) rating. 


The ECF rating list published at the start of August 2023 shall apply throughout the season, save that an unrated player who subsequently obtains a rating, or a player with a 'P' (partial) rating who subsequently obtains a non 'P' rating, shall use the new rating for all subsequent matches. 


2. Away teams to play with the white pieces on odd numbered boards.


3. Clocks to be started at 7.15pm or 7.30pm depending on home team’s start time.


4. Time control: All moves to be made in 80 minutes (It has been agreed that Division 4 teams will play all moves in 60 minutes due to the higher number of school age players).

In all games, a player who fails to start play within 1 hour of the agreed start time will lose by default.


5. Game points: 1 point scored for a win, ½ point for a draw.


6. Match points: 2 points for a win, 1 point for a draw.


7. All games must be decided on the occasion of the match.


8. Match results must be sent to the Records Secretary or recorded on the ECF LMS system within 2 days of the match.


9. Changes of fixtures must be notified to the Records Secretary ASAP. The new date and time for the fixture must be agreed with the Records Secretary.


10. Where a club has two teams in any division, a player (including lower team reserves) may not play for both teams.


11. Players may play for one club only in a given division. If a player wishes to play for another club in the same division, the player must notify the Records Secretary in writing giving at least 14 days’ notice before their first match for the new club. Players may play for different clubs in different divisions. Players may only play for one club in the Chase Trophy.


12. All games will be sent for rating.


13. Rating limits. The total combined rating of the four players in a team shall be less than the following limits:

Division 1: 7500 ECF  Division 2: 6750 ECF  Division 3: 6000 ECF  Division 4: 5250 ECF Chase Trophy: 7125 ECF


14. Registration of players with the League is not necessary as the League will run on a basis of trust.

To this end, team captains will be trusted to estimate fairly the approximate rating of unrated or 'P' (partial) rated players. This estimated rating is expected to change on a game-by-game basis as a player's results will influence it. Initially the 'P' rating should just be used by captains as a rough guide, however, the more games that a player plays, then the more accurate the 'P' rating will be. It should become a much stronger guide to influence a captain's rating estimations as a player's experience increases until he/she receives an actual rating. Until a player achieves a full rating (usually after 10 games) captains must at least award them the minimum rating in each division as follows:

Division 1: 1500 ECF  Division 2: 1350 ECF  Division 3: 1200 ECF  Division 4: 1050 ECF Chase Trophy: 1425 ECF 

Captains should use actual ratings for players who have a full rating below the unrated minimum.


Players who have lost their rating but have held a grade or rating in the 5 years previous to the current date must use the most recent grade or rating when assessing team strength.

A player may appeal against this rule, if they feel their personal circumstances are such that the rule should not apply to them. Such appeal must be lodged in writing with the Record Secretary setting out the reason and circumstances of the appeal at least 28 days before the player intends to play their first match. Appeals received later than the 28 day limit will not be considered for the imminent match season but may be considered for the following season.


15. Defaulted boards shall count as at least the minimum rating allowed for that Division or the Chase Trophy.


16. Division Champions: The champions of each division will be the team with the highest number of match points to their credit. In the event of a tie, the winners will be determined on the following basis:

i) results of the matches between the tied teams; next

ii) games difference (games won minus games lost, as for goal difference); finally

iii) greatest rating profit in the matches between the teams (i.e. the team with the lowest rating total will be the winners).


17. The number of League rounds to be played will be as follows:

If 7 or fewer teams are entered in a division then matches will consist of home and away ties. If 8 or more teams are entered in a division then matches will consist of 1 round only.


18. If 2 teams from the same club are playing in a division then the Records Secretary will give a set date by which their games against each other should be played.


19. The Chase Trophy. The competition is open to all clubs who enter a team or teams in any Division of the League. It is to be contested on a knockout basis with matches for each round to be played before the date assigned by the Tournament Secretary. Where possible, clubs shall be drawn so that they alternate home & away fixtures.

If a match ends in a draw then the result will be decided by:

i) board count; next 

ii) discounting of bottom boards; finally 

iii) the match will be awarded to the away team 


20. Individual Tournaments are open to all active CDCL players, with a discretion for the Tournament Secretary to accept entries from new/junior members who have yet to play in the League.


21. The League entry fee will be £7 per team, to be paid to the Treasurer at the fixtures meeting (Tuesday 11th July 2023) by cash or cheque, or via bank transfer. There is no entry fee for either the Chase Trophy or Individual Tournaments.


22. Clubs will be responsible for any costs imposed by the ECF as a result of a player not being an ECF member.


23. Mobile phones must be switched off or rendered silent for the duration of the match. If a ring tone is heard, the opposing player should remind their opponent of this rule. A second infringement in the same game will result in the game being forfeited by the guilty player.


24. Any infringements of these rules will result in penalties being levied on the offending teams.

Individual Competition Rules for 2023-2024 Season

Individual Tournaments are free to enter & open to all active CDCL players, with a discretion for the Tournament Secretary to accept entries from new/junior members who have yet to play in the League. 

Throughout the duration of their participation in the competitions all entrants must be ECF Members. 

The Robert Ward Trophy is open to all eligible players. 

The Dolan Trophy is open to all eligible players with a rating below ECF 1500 – an unrated player will be asked to confirm their estimated rating & this may be checked with a senior representative from their club for clarification. 

A player may enter both tournaments if eligible. 

Entries will be accepted up to Friday 25th August 2023. 

Home player = black pieces. Away player = white pieces. 80 mins each for all moves. All standard play games will be rated.

The home player is to offer the away player 3 separate dates before the set cut-off date via e-mail to play the game. The away player’s chosen date must be e-mailed to the Tournament Secretary as soon as it has been agreed. 

Clocks to start at the home venue’s normal start time - if different to 7.30pm then the home player must inform the away player of the correct start time when the match date is agreed. 

If the game is drawn, the away player is to offer the home player 3 separate dates to play a replay asap at the away player’s club, with the Tournament Secretary again informed of the chosen date as soon as it has been agreed. 

Normal rules of chess to apply at all times. 

Match results must be sent to the Tournament Secretary or Loaded onto the CDCL LMS site within 24 hours. 

Robert Ward Trophy - the players will be split into 2 halves based on their ratings with the top seeds randomly drawn against the bottom seeds. Half will be drawn at home & half away. The 1st round winners will move on to the Robert Ward Trophy next round, which will continue to be played on a knock-out basis. The losing players from the 1st round matches will be knocked out of the Robert Ward Trophy & will instead play in the Robert Ward Plate, which will again be played on a knock out basis.

At the Tournament Secretary's discretion, the highest rated 30-35% of players in the Robert Ward Trophy will not be eligible to play in the Robert Ward Plate should they lose their first-round game – players will be informed in advance of their 1st round games if they fit into this category. 

Players should expect to play a maximum of about 5 rounds in total.

Dolan Trophy - open to players rated below ECF 1500 in 1st August 2023 ratings who are members of a CDCL club. The tournament will be set up depending upon the number of entries – all play all or groups followed by a knock out or final. In the case of groups, the draw will be made randomly with no seedings. Each player will play at least 1 home & 1 away game with a maximum of about 5 rounds in total. In 2022-2023 & 2023-2024 the players will be placed in one Group with each randomly drawn against 2 different opponents - 1 at home & 1 away. Each player who achieves at least 1 point (ie 2 draws or at least 1 win) will qualify for the knockout rounds. The players with the most points will be seeded higher in the knockout rounds. Any player who does not achieve at least 1 point in the Group stage will be eliminated.

Where possible players will be drawn so that they play on an alternating home & away basis. 

The Tournament Secretary will inform all players of the cut-off dates for rounds to be played. 

If a replayed game is also drawn, an Armageddon game will be played immediately afterwards – a coin toss will decide the player who gets to choose either White pieces with 5 minutes on the clock needing to win or Black pieces with 4 minutes on the clock needing a draw or win to move on to the next round. 

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