Published 31 October 2017

Team Handicap Knock-out Tournament
Competition rules 2017-8

1. Structure of competition

a) Teams shall consist of five players.

b) The competition format will be single match knock-out.

c) The draw for the entire competition will be made by the controller with the deputy controller or secretary. The secretary will publish the draw and notify participating clubs.


2. Team entries and player registrations

a) The team entry fee will be set by the controller after consultation with the secretary to cover costs of trophies, engraving and reasonable expenses for communications.

b) During the month of September of each year, the tournament secretary will invite secretaries of clubs in Worcestershire, its affiliated leagues and selected clubs with members in Worcestershire to participate and plan to start the tournament by the end of November and complete it by the first week in May so that presentations can be made at the annual meeting of Worcestershire Chess Association.

c) Clubs may enter more than one team, but a player may be designated a member of one team only. Teams may add to their registrations while the competition is in progress (see A2 in the appendix).

Team entries will be accepted on:

    (i) payment of the entry fee;

    (ii) receipt of the name and contact details of the captain; and

    (iii) receipt of a list of players from which the team will be selected


3. Time control and playing session

a) The playing session shall be 3 hours and if this creates difficulties for teams captains should consult the tournament secretary in good time before playing the first round so that the controller's ruling may be sought.

b) Clocks shall be set at 1½ hours each.

c) Play shall be governed by Rapid Play rules and provision made (if possible) for someone to monitor clocks near the time control. Players are reminded that they should record their moves until their clock shows less than 5 minutes to complete the game and a player with less than 2 minutes may claim a draw if his opponent cannot win by normal means.


4. Starting a match

a) Captains shall arrange their list of team players present in grading order with higher grades on lowest number boards.

b) The team captains shall agree any handicap for a higher graded team using rule 5 below and state to players the margin required to win.

c) The away team shall have the choice of colours except in the final where it will be decided by lot.

d) At the scheduled time for starting the match, the clock of the player with the white pieces will be started on each board.


5. Procedure for calculating the handicap

a) No team shall have an aggregate of grades of more than 750 or lower than 290.

b) The maximum handicap permitted is 4¾ points.

c) There is no handicap if both teams' players' aggregate grade points differ by 6 points or fewer. For tie-break procedures for drawn matches where there is no handicap, refer to rule 6.

d) For each team, add together the grades assigned to players for the purpose of the knock-out cup competition.

e) Multiply the difference by 2 and divide by 100.

f) Round to the nearest 0.1 to calculate the handicap for the higher graded team. Where handicap values are 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 or 4.5 there will be further adjustment to make it impossible for matches in which one team has a handicap to be drawn.

    (1) Where the decimal part of the handicap is within the range .95 to .99, the decimal part of the handicap should be rounded down to .9

    (2) Where the decimal part of the handicap is within the range .00 to .04, the decimal part of the handicap should be rounded up to .1

    (3) Where the decimal part of the handicap is within the range .45 to .49 the decimal part of the handicap should be rounded down to .4

    (4) Where the decimal part of the handicap is within the range .50 to .54 the decimal part of the handicap should be rounded up to .6

g) The winning team is the team with the resultant higher score after application of the handicap.


6. Procedure for resolving a drawn match between teams where there is no handicap.

The tie-break methods are to be applied in the strict order shown in rule 6.

a) The scores for each team on board 1 shall be multiplied by 5, that on board 4 by 4, that on board 3 by 3, that on board 4 by 2 and the team with highest score shall win.

b) The result on the lowest board where there is no draw will be eliminated to give a match result.

c) If all games were drawn then the match should be replayed or the result decided by toss of a coin. If a match is replayed, a mutually convenient date should be agreed with the controller and tournament secretary.


7. Unregistered players.

Where an unregistered player has been selected to play. The match result is provisional only. The provisional grade assigned to the unregistered player shall be submitted for review by the tournament secretary and suggest a competition grade to be assigned to the controller who will make a decision about the match.


8.Reporting match results

a) The captain, or a captain's nominee, of each team shall report the result of a match, preferably by e-mail, to the secretary within 3 days of the match.

b) If the captain of the team with a lower score after applying the handicap concedes a match by e-mail or in writing to the secretary, the match result stands even if an error has been made in calculating the handicap, transcribing players' grades or assigning a provisional grade to an unregistered player.


9. Disputes

a) Should a dispute arise, it should be referred via the tournament secretary to the controller whose decision shall normally be final. In exceptional circumstances only, the matter may be referred to a decision by the controller, the deputy controller and secretary and their decision will be final.

b) Entrants to the competition are deemed to accept its terms and conditions as published. The controller is granted absolute discretion as to the overall direction of the competition and to any interpretation which may be required.



A. Eligible players

1) Player registration. A club is encouraged to list all its members, including those without grades (but see below for restrictions on fielding such players), as eligible players at the start of the competition to avoid problems with late registrations. There is no requirement that players registered for the knock-out cup competition should have a published grade or be a member of the ECF.

2) Late registration. A team captain may add names to their list of eligible players while the competition is in progress up to 48 hours before a match.

3) Unregistered players. If an unregistered player is selected to play or a registration submitted to the tournament secretary less than 48 hours prior to a match, the controller has complete discretion whether to accept that registration and alter any assigned grade used for the purposes of that match and may rule against the team selecting an unregistered player. No more than one such unregistered player may be selected for a team


B. Assigned grades for knock-out Cup competition

1) On receiving player registrations, the tournament secretary will consult the on-line August revision of the immediate past July ECF grading list and other records of playing strength to recommend to the tournament controller grades to be assigned to players for the purposes of calculating match handicaps.

2) The lowest permitted assigned grade for the handicap knock-out team competition is 50 even when a player's published grade is below 50.

    (i) publish a list of players and their assigned grades on the knock-out cup web pages; and

    (ii) notify the list's publication to club secretaries and team captains and inform them they have seven days to appeal against any decision. This list will be used for calculating team handicaps.

4) Team captains and club secretaries may appeal against an assigned grade on the list published on the knock-out cup web pages, but should do so within seven days of publication. The grades published on the knock-out cup web pages will remain valid until completion of the final match of the competition unless the investigation of an appeal demonstrates an error. In the absence of an appeal, the grade assigned on the published Knock-out cup website will be used to calculate a team handicap even if later investigation shows there is an error in assigning a grade (a corrected grade, will however, be used in any subsequent match).

5) A player with a published standardplay grade. The grade assigned will be that shown on the August 2017 revision of the on-line ECF grading list for matches played before 31 January 2018. Matches played after 31 January 2018 will use the January 2018 grading list unless that list is not published by that date, in which case the August 2017 list will be used.

6) A player with a published rapidplay grade, but no current standardplay grade. . The assigned grade will be the rapidplay grade shown on the August 2017 revision of the on-line ECF grading list for matches played before 31 January 2018. Matches played after 31 January 2018 will use the January 2018 grading list unless that list is not published by that date, in which case the August 2017 rapidplay list will be used.

7) A player, currently ungraded who has at least one published grade. The assigned grades will be the latest previously published. If the latest record for a player shows both a standard play and a rapid play grade, the standardplay grade will be used. The Tournament secretary will consult paper records pre-dating those in the on-line database in addition to information published on-line.

8) A player who has a grade published by another nation or FIDE. The assigned grade will be that calculated using the conversion formula provided by the ECF grading website (currently located at:

9) A player who has no available published graded games. The tournament secretary will seek evidence of playing strength from on-line records, club secretaries, team captains and other sources and consult the association's grading officer (Paul Sharratt) to recommend an assigned grade to the controller. Please note that one unregistered player only may be fielded in a team.


C Postponements, players absent at scheduled time for starting match and defaults

The handicap system is strained if there are defaults. Teams should recognise that the handicap system cannot cope with complete fairness to both teams when a player is absent and captains are urged to use their best endeavours to avoid such a situation.

1) Should a captain be unable to fulfil a fixture, the opposing team captain should be contacted at least 48 hours before the scheduled time and an attempt made to reschedule the match. Whether captains are successful or there are problems, they should notify the tournament secretary of the new date or circumstances. The secretary is delegated to act for the controller in these matters.

2) In order to avoid defaults, captains, if they foresee difficulties in raising a team, may seek additions to their list of registered players up to 48 hours before a match. Exceptionally, a captain may select no more than one player who is not in the on-line knock-out cup list of registered players. If this is done, the new player should be assigned a provisional grade agreed by the two team captains for the purposes of the match. Teams, however, should state to their teams that the result of the match on the night will be provisional and subject to the controller's decision.

3) Should a team be short of a player at the scheduled time for starting the match, the captain of that team must opt for one of the following:

    (a) declare a default;

    (b) use a substitute player;

    (c) wait for the missing person to arrive.

4) Any player missing at the start of the match shall play on board 5.

5) A player may arrive up to 30 minutes after the starting time before a default can be claimed. By agreement of both captains prior to the start of the playing session, a later arriving player may be fielded.

6) In the event that a default is declared, the game is scored for the player who is present, and the handicap to be applied is adjusted to be 80% (four fifths) of that calculated from the four boards with both players present.

7) In the event that two players are absent from the same team, that team shall forfeit the match.