Rules: Mid-Hudson Scholastic Chess League (updated 11/1/2018)

General Rules:

  1. The MHSCL rules supersede the rules in the latest edition of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess. If the situation is not covered by the MHSCL rules, then the latest edition of the U.S. Chess Federation’s Official Rules of Chess covers any situation.

  2. Each team must be accompanied by a Board of Education approved adult coach/advisor representing the team’s school district.

  3. If the league decides to play three matches in one day, the time control shall be Game/20. Otherwise, all games, except for tie-breakers, will be timed at Game/30. There will be no time delays or increments.

  4. Starting Time: Matches and Swiss tournament will begin at the specified time in the schedule. A player’s clock will be started if he or she is not at the board at the specified time and the pieces are set up before any moves are made. However, unusual circumstances should be handled in a manner that reflects good sportsmanship.

  5. A player forfeits a game if he or she does not show up at the board 30 minutes past the start of the round.

  6. If there are insufficient number of clocks for all games, tournament directors may elect to put a clock on a game that is over 40 minutes long. This clock would split the rest of the allotted time evenly between the two players with a minimum setting of 5 minutes each.

  7. In order to preserve the integrity of each game, spectators shall not be allowed within 20 feet of the playing area.

  8. Once a game is decided, both players should leave the playing area without comment and report the result to the Tournament Director (TD) or coach.

  9. Any disputes during a game should be settled by stopping the clock and alerting the TD and respective coaches.

  10. Rule Changes: Rules in this document may be changed without notice by consent of 3 or more officers (President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Ratings Keeper) as well as a simple majority of active team coaches.

11. All electronic devices in tournament areas must be turned off.

Open Swiss Tournaments:

  1. Each “Open Swiss” tournament will consist of the specified number of games stated in the announcement.

  2. These tournaments may be attended by schools that are not regular members of the Mid-Hudson Scholastic Chess League at no charge.

  3. The pairings will be determined by the “Swiss” method of matching the top half of the seeds against the bottom half with the same record from previous rounds.

  4. A school’s “team” score will be determined by adding the scores of the top 3 or 4 performers from that school.

  5. A school may bring as many players as it wishes to the open tournaments.

6. The TD will try to avoid pairing 2 players from the same team (school).

7. Two people may not play each other more than once in a Swiss tournament.

Match Play:

  1. Teams competing in match play will be divided into two divisions designated “Fischer” and “Kasparov”. Every team will play all other teams in their division.

  2. A school may field more than one team. However once a student plays a single game on one team, he or she is not permitted to change to another team for the remainder of the season.

  3. If a school fields more than one team, the two teams will be placed in different divisions.

  4. If there is an odd number of teams in each division, each team will play one “intra-divisional” match. Such matches will be randomly assigned when the schedule is made.

  5. A dual match between two schools consists of three sets. Each set consists of three games. Nine games are played in a match. Match pairings: Set 1: 1 (black) vs A (white); 2 (white) vs B (black); 3 (black) vs C (white). Set 2: 3 (white) vs A (black); 1 (black) vs B (white); 2 (white) vs C (black). Set 3: 2 (black) vs A (white); 3 (white) vs B (black); and 1 (white) vs C (black). Home team consists of 1, 2, and 3; the away team consists of A, B, and C.

  6. For sets 1 and 3, the home team will fill in its part of the match card pairings first. The visiting team commits first for set 2.

  7. A team may bring more than 3 players to the match and substitute players in different rounds.

  8. In each round, players from both sides may be substituted in any way convenient so long as no two players play each other more than once in the match.

  9. If a team does not have enough players to play 3 games per round, it forfeits the games that are not played.

10. a. If a team can cannot make it to the match, the opposing coach will be notified a minimum of 2 days beforehand or the match may be forfeited.

b. A match may be postponed under situations that include, but not limit to, the following: The inability of the coach to attend due to illness or unavoidable engagement, an emergency or tragedy in the school or district, or the canceling of the team’s transportation by the district.

c. Both coaches may agree to reschedule the match. If a match is rescheduled but fall through for any reason, the school that requested the postponement forfeits the match.

d. Coach not requesting postponement may exercise his/her option to take the forfeit.

11. Dual match play may end in a 4.5-4.5 draw during the regular season. There will be no tiebreaker.

League Standings:

  1. If a team wins one game, it receives one game point. If a game ends in a draw, both teams receive 0.5 game points. If a team loses a game, it receives 0 game points. Forfeited results also count in a team’s game points.

  2. The number of match points determines the league standings. The following is the tie breaking order:

a. Match points

b. Head-to-head competition

c. Game points

d. Coin flip

  1. Individual players’ points: A player receives one point if he or she wins a game, 0.5 points if the game ends in a draw, and 0 points if the player loses a game. Only played games (when both players make at least one move) are counted in a player’s stat.

  2. If a team forfeits a match, it receives zero match points and zero game points. The forfeiting team’s opponent receives 1.0 match points and 9.0 game points.


  1. The end of the year championship play will be contested between the top two teams of each division. All rules of dual match play will apply with the addition of a tie-breaker in the event of a tie at the end of either match.

  2. In the semi-final round, the top teams in both the Fischer and Kasparov divisions will play the second place team from the other division in standard dual-match play.

  1. The top team from each division will be considered the “home” team.

  2. The winners of the two semi-final matches will play for first and second place in the “Championship Match”. The “home” team will be determined by a coin flip.

  3. The losers of the two semi-final matches will play for third and fourth place in the “Consolation Match”. The “home” team will be determined by a coin flip.

  4. Tie-breaks: In the event that any of the semi-final, championship or consolation matches ends in a 4.5-4.5 draw, the following procedure for a tie-break will be implemented:

  1. The designations of “home” team and “visitor” team will be traded from the previous match card.

  2. A new match card will be made out for the two teams to schedule possible pairings.

  3. All three players from both teams will play a 5-minute game of blitz chess (G/5).

  4. Each set is “sudden death” in that if the round does not end 1.5-1.5, the team with 2 or more points wins the match.

  5. If the set ends in a tie, the second, and if necessary the third, round on the match card are to be contested.

  1. If, after all three sets (9 blitz games) are played, the match is still even, the designations of “home team” and “away team” are switched yet again and another match card is made up. The sudden death procedure of G/5 rounds is continued until a winner emerges.

  2. If a team cannot participate in the playoffs, the third-place team from that conference replaces the non-participating team and is seeded second behind the remaining conference team in the semi-final round.

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