Please review these rules before registering!
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 1975 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 48 hours 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 must send the team line-up via Email or Whatsapp at least 24 hours before the first round. Failure to do so will result in the loss of one match-point in the overall standings.
3. The round pairings within each group will be available on the website (under "Fixtures") at least 1 hour before the first round of the fixture begins. There you can download the pairings document for each round. The pairing sheets will also be made available to all captains in the Whatsapp group.
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).
6. The default time for an individual game is 10 minutes after it is scheduled to begin. Failure to play the first move within this time frame will result in a default.
F. League Structure
1. There are 8 groups: Anand, Bacrot, Carlsen, Dubov, Esipenko, Firouzja, Giri and Howell. We will aim to make each group of 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). Seeds will be determined based on the team's total average rating, displayed on the Teams page.
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. This gives a total of 16 qualifying teams.
2. The rest of the teams in each group do not make playoffs and their season ends in January.
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 playoff qualifying teams are all seeded in order of match points then game points during the group-stages. Pairings for the Round of 16 will be as follows:
1 vs 16 5 vs 12
2 vs 15 6 vs 11
3 vs 14 7 vs 10
4 vs 13 8 vs 9
5. The Round of 16 will take place in February. The Quarter-finals will take place in March. We are planning to hold The Semi-Finals and Grand-Finals OTB on the same weekend in April. There may be an after-event with GingerGM held in May .
6. The third-place winner will be determined by a match played alongside the Grand-Finals, so as to guarantee all teams a full weekend of OTB chess!
H. 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. Team 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.
9. Colluding with other teams within your group for purposes of fixing group results will not be tolerated and it will be obvious to the organizers if you attempt to do so. Teams found to be doing so will be given a double forfeit for that fixture.
Please read and ensure you can comply with ALL 5 PUCL regulations before signing up a team.
1) Average grade of the team of 4 playing in each league match must be ECF 1975 or under. There is no max rating limit for the entire roster.
For those without an ECF rapid rating, ECF Standard will be taken, followed by FIDE rapid ratings, then FIDE Standard ratings. For those without any of these, an estimation will be given based on all of the available OTB and online data.
Unrated players' ratings will be treated as ECF 1525. Ratings of players with an ECF under 1525 will also be treated as ECF 1525 for the average grade calculation. Likewise, ratings over ECF 2275 will be treated as ECF 2275.
ECF ratings are to be taken from the October 2021 rating list.
2) Every player on a team that makes the playoffs must have Bronze ECF membership or above (Subject to change if playoffs are held online). 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 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 at some time during the season!
5) Up to three teams per university can enter.