**REGISTRATION DEADLINE: TBD**
A. Mode of Play
1. All group-stage fixtures will be played ONLINE on Lichess.org. Subsequently, Playoffs will be played over the board at a venue on UCL's Bloomsbury campus in the heart of Central London. See the "Getting here" tab for more information.
1. Each team will have a roster of 6-8 players, 4 of which will compete in each league match.
2. Teams entered from the same university will not be placed in the same group.
1. All players on a team must be studying at the same university.
2. One alumni player is allowed per team.
3. Players aren't allowed to play for more than one team during the season.
4. The average rating of the 4 players in a match must be 170 ECF or below. There is no average rating limit for the entire team of up to 8.
5. Players may be added to the team during the season so long as a notice of 1 week is given to the organizers.
6. The fee to enter a team is £40 (just £5 per player in a team of 8), due upon registration.
7. Up to three teams per University may enter.
D. Monthly Lineups
1. Each team chooses 4 players to play for their team in each match.
2. The team captain will send via email/Whatsapp the team line-up at least 24 hours before the first round. Failure to do so may result in a team default for that round.
3. The round pairings will be available on the website (under "Fixtures") 1 hour before the first round of the fixture begins.
4. A team may choose the same team composition each month if they wish to do so, although it is encouraged to play all team members at least once for the team.
5. No substitutions can be made during the match. Whichever four players start the match must complete all 4 games of the match.
E. Match Format
1. Matches are an all-play-all format. This means that each player in your team's lineup will play a single game against each player on the opposing team.
2. In the group stages, a match win gives the winning team 3 point in the standings. A drawn match gives each team 1 point in the standings. A lost match gives the losing team 0 points in the standings.
3. In the case of a group stage tie-break in the standings, Game Points are used (1 game point for every individual game won by the team)
4. In the case of a playoff tie, one player from each team will be nominated to play in a single armageddon tie-break. The time control will be 5 min (White) vs 4 min (Black), where Black wins in the case of a draw. Colours are decided by a coin flip.
5. The time control is 20 minutes per side with a 5 second increment in all games except playoff tie-breaks (see above).
F. League Structure
1. There are eight groups: Anand, Botvinnik, Carlsen, Dubov, Euwe, Fischer, Giri, and Howell (A-H). We will aim to make each group with equal strength. The top 8 teams (in order of average grade) are seeded as "first seeds", the next 8 teams are seeded as "second seeds" and so on. One team from the first seeds will be randomly selected into each of the eight groups. One team from the second seeds will be randomly selected into each of the four groups (and so on, until there are 4 teams in each group).
2. The number of groups is subject to change depending on the number of team entries.
3. Teams from the same university will not be placed in the same group.
4. The group-stages will take place online on Lichess.org
5. Results from each fixture will be uploaded to the PUCL website shortly after the completion of the fixture.
4. The regular season (taking place during term 1 of an academic year) consists of each team playing all of the other teams in their division. Upon promotion, they will enter the playoffs (see section G).
1. The top 2 teams in each group will qualify for the playoffs.
2. The bottom 2 teams in each group do not make playoffs and their season ends in December.
3. The number of total match points determines who finishes ahead of other teams in the standings. Game points are the first tiebreaker. Head to head performance is the second tiebreaker.
4. The first round of the playoffs will be a round of 16 teams. In the draw for lots, the eight group winners are seeded, and the eight group runners-up are unseeded. The seeded teams are drawn against the unseeded teams. Teams from the same group or the same association cannot be drawn against each other
5. Teams that are knocked out in the round of 16 teams will finish their season in January and not progress to February/March fixtures.
6. The quarter-finals take place in February. The semi-finals take place in March. The winners of the semi-final will progress to the Grand Final held in April.
7. The third place winner is determined by a tiebreak between the two losers from the semi-finals who scored the most total match points, then the most total game points.
8. Grand Finals take place in April. There will be prizes for the winners and runners up of the tournament.
H. Fair Play and Anti-Cheating:
1. PUCL arbiters will have the final say on all disputes. Dylan and Michael are ECF arbiters and trained in the FIDE laws of chess which will be upheld during PUCL.
2. While cheating will not be tolerated, note that since the playoffs are in person, cheating will only take your team to the first round of the Playoffs, for which there are no prizes. It's just not worth it.
3.. Instances of cheating include but are not limited to: Consulting an engine during game-play, Consulting any other source during game-play, discussing your game in any capacity with anyone during game-play.
4. Cheating accusations are a serious matter and should not be made lightly. However, if you suspect your opponent is consulting an engine during play, do raise it with the organizers and they will take all appropriate measures to investigate the matter and take appropriate measures.
5. While cheating in an online game is much more common than during OTB play, please rest assured there are ways for the organizers to make informed judgments as to when and whether it is happening.
6. Michael and Dylan will be in touch with anti-cheating officers that will be reviewing the games played on Lichess.org to spot players that use computer assistance.
7. If a player is found to be cheating, the team of the offender will be immediately disqualified and banned henceforth from participating in future PUCL seasons.
J. Additional rules:
1. For each fixture, a set team of four is played. It is encouraged that for every fixture, the main four players are rotated to give all players a chance to represent the team.
2. Phones and other electronic devices should be switched off prior to the start of each match. Violations will result in a warning followed by a forfeit of the game.
3. A player may be replaced mid-way through the season (for example, a player withdrawing due to illness). However the new player must fit all the above rules + mandatory rules, and the PUCL team must be given one week advanced notice about the player change before the match day.
4. During a match, a team player is allowed to ask their team captain for the current score of the match. This does not include predicted scores of games that have yet to be concluded. Team captains can only state the score, and not insinuate whether a player should win, draw or lose. Verbal strategising during live games is prohibited.
5. In the unfortunate case a team pulls out before the season ends, we will work quickly to look for an alternate team to take its spot (for instance, teams that signed up too late on a waiting list). This may result in your team facing a tougher or easier match than you had hoped for, however your team will not have the right to refuse this alternate opponent.
6. Trying to find "loopholes" in the rules listed above that are a clear violation of the spirit of the league may be disallowed.
7. In the case we have forgotten to include a rule (quite possible), the PUCL team have the right to update the rules of the league throughout the season, providing timely notice to all team-captains.
8. If a team does not show up for the match before the clock runs out during the first game, the absent team forfeits the match.
Please read ALL 5 mandatory regulations before signing up a team. Failing to meet these regulations will lead to your team being disqualified and removed from the league.
1) Average grade of the team of 4 playing in each league match must be ECF 170 or under.
For those without an ECF rapid grade, FIDE rapid ratings will be converted, followed by ECF Std. grade, followed by FIDE Std. ratings to make estimations of a player's ECF Rapid grade.
Unrated players' ratings will be treated as ECF 110. Ratings of players with an ECF under 110 will also be treated as ECF 110 for the average grade calculation. Likewise, ratings over ECF 210 will be treated as ECF 210.
ECF ratings are to be taken from the July 2020 rating list.
2) Every player on a team that makes the playoffs must have Bronze ECF membership or above. Any players that compete in the playoffs without an ECF membership will be subject to a fine incurred by the ECF which will have to be paid by the player or their respective university chess society. Let's please avoid this situation!
3) Teams must confirm availability for all fixtures (Monthly dates from October 2020 - April 2021 TBA) before signing up, even though your team may be knocked out before the playoffs and consequently miss out on those fixtures.
4) Each team must include at least 6 players. It is optional for teams to include up to 8 players, but it is encouraged to play everyone on your roster!
5) Up to three teams per university can enter.