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Hibernian Online Chess League
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League Rules
Any club affiliated to one of the four Irish Provincial Unions (Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster) may enter the Hibernian Online Chess League (HOCL).
All games will be played on the online chess server.
All players must have an account with before being declared for a team playing in the HOCL.
All players participating in the HOCL shall consent to their name, online username, registration code and rating being shown on the Chess League website. Any player who witholds their consent shall not be permitted to play in the League. Team captains must also consent to their contact details being shown on the Chess League website. Contact details will only be displayed in the Match Results Service area of the website, which requires the user to login in order to access the data.
Players are required to comply with’s terms and conditions while playing and using the functionality of the chess server. Provider anti-cheating software will be in place. In the event that a player is banned from playing on the chess server, the player will forfeit the right to play in the HOCL. Any appeal against the decision by the provider to ban a player must be made to the provider in accordance with the provider’s terms and conditions. The HOCL will not take part or offer assistance or advice in this process. In the event that a player is banned from playing, the HOCL reserves the right to impose further sanctions on the player and any team he or she has played on.
Players may only play for one club during the season.
Where a club has two or more teams in the same league, players may only play for one of the club’s teams in that league. Substitutions between teams in the same league are not permitted.
Players may play in as many leagues as they wish, subject to rules 1.6 and 1.7. There are no restrictions substituting for teams in different leagues, subject to rules 1.6 and 1.7.
Player Ratings
The league administrator will advise which ICU rating list will be used for the duration of the season. Generally the list published at the beginning of the month in which the league starts will be used. Players with an Ulster Chess Union rating only shall use the standard rating published on the UCU website when the leagues commence.
Non Irish players who have no Irish rating and who are registered with FIDE, should declare their FIDE rating or a rating from their home federation.
Players with a rating less than 1200 and players with no rating shall be deemed to have a rating of 1200 for the purposes of complying with the rule in relation to board order (Rules 4.3,4.4).
Boards & Time Controls
Matches will be played over a minimum of four boards. Matches over five or six boards will be considered if it is deemed beneficial, and the number of players wishing to play justifies the increase.
Leagues will be run using one of the following time controls:
     a)  Twenty minutes plus fifteen seconds per move from move one. (20’ + 15”)
     b)  Thirty minutes plus fifteen seconds per move from move one. (30’ + 15”)
     c)  Forty-five minutes plus fifteen seconds per move from move one. (45’ + 15”)
The League Administrator will advise the number of boards and the time control before accepting entries for any new league. Clubs will be canvassed to ascertain their preferences. If two leagues are organised with different time controls (e.g. 20’ + 15” for one league and 30’ + 15” for the second league), they maybe run independently and be scheduled to start at different times to allow teams to play in both leagues if they wish to do so.
Team Declarations
Captains must declare their team in Match Result Service no later than 8.00 pm on the day preceding the relevant round.
The league controller will update the scorecards on the Chess League website no later than one hour before the start of play in each round. There are two ways to access and view the scorecard before the results have been updated.
     a)  On the Fixtures and Results page, click the link in the Date column.
     b)  On the Teams and Players page click the team link in the Scorecards column.
When declaring their team, captains should place the players in board order (1 to nth), ensuring that no player is placed ahead of a teammate who is rated more than 100 points above them.
Where there is a difference of more than 100 rating points between two players on the same team, the higher rated player must play on a higher board than the lower rated player. If a team is declared in breach of this rule, then the submitted team will be amended to play in descending rating order. Where two or mor e players have the same rating, those players will play in alphabetical order.
Any protest about the composition of a team must be made before the scheduled start time of the round.
Defaults & Walkovers
Once the deadline has passed for declaring teams, no changes, either to the board order or the players submitted will be permitted. In the event that a player has to withdraw from playing in a match, if the league controller and opposition team captain are informed by email at least one hour prior to the scheduled start time of the match that a player or players have been withdrawn, then the game(s) on the bottom board(s) will be awarded to the opposition and scored as a walkover (1 – Wov or Wov – 1). Walkovers must be given on the lowest boards and the remaining players moved up the board order as appropiate. The board order for the opposition will remain as declared, with the player(s) on the lowest board(s) not required to login to the server to play a game. Where both teams withdraw players, the lowest board(s) will be be updated as Wov – Wov.
When the league controller and opposition team captain are not informed by email at least one hour before the scheduled start of the match that a player has withdrawn, then the player will be defaulted and the game awarded to the opposing player. The score of the game will be recorded as 1 – Def or Def – 1. Teams will be penalised one match point for each default.
The default time for starting a game is fifteen minutes. Players not logging into the server and presenting themselves ready to start a game within fifteen minutes of the scheduled start time of the match will be defaulted and the game awarded to the opposing player. Teams will be penalised one match point for each default. The score of the game will be recorded as 1 – Def or Def – 1.
Scoring & Rankings
In each match a team will be awarded one point for each game won, a half point for each game drawn and zero points for each game lost. The score of a team in a match shall be the sum of the points won by the team less any penalties imposed for games defaulted.
The sum of a team's match scores will be used to determine team rankings.
In the event of a tie for any place between two or more teams, the tie shall be resolved on the basis of the match result or results (cumulative game points) between the teams concerned and subsequently, in the event of a further tie on the basis of the board count in the match or matches between the teams concerned.
The board count as set out in the previous rule shall consist of allocating points on a descending scale for games won in a match, as follows:
Board4 Player TeamsFive Player TeamsSix Player Teams
Board 14 Points5 Points6 Points
Board 23 Points4 Points5 Points
Board 32 Points3 Points4 Points
Board 41 Point2 Points3 Points
Board 51 Point2 Points
Board 61 Point
Match Regulations
The first named team in each pairing (Home team) will have the white pieces on the even-numbered boards (2,4...) and the black pieces on the odd-numbered boards (1,3...).
All HOCL matches are played outside any formal structure on Lichess. This will necessitate teams having to challenge each other in order to play their games. To avoid any confusion as to who is challenging and who is waiting for the challenge to be made, the rule is that the player playing with White initiates the challenge. Therefore in a match played over four boards, the Home team initiates the challenge on boards 2 & 4 and the Away team initiates the challenge on boards 1 & 3.
It is the responsibility of team captains to inform their fellow team members of the usernames of their opponents. To access the usernames, captains should login to Match Results Service and click the League Link under Player Declarations. Select a team from the dropdown list, scroll down the page and click the View Panel button. The list of players and their usernames will be displayed.
Captains must submit results using the Match Results Service no later than 7pm on the day following the match.
General / Other
The Hibernian Online Chess League reserves the right to refuse any entry or registration without explanation.
The HOCL may apply penalties as it sees fit for any flagrant or premeditated breaches of the spirit as well as the letter of the rules.