Captain's Guidelines

Guide for Lichess4545 Team Captains

This guide is to help Team Captains understand their role in the Lichess4545 tournaments.  A successful tournament requires that all teams participate fully and that communication occurs in a timely manner.  As team captain, you have a commitment to help the tournament run smoothly and to ensure that your team plays its games. In return, you and your team will experience a higher level of competition and better results.

Captains should communicate with any of the Mods about any questions or concerns, either through a summon or in the #captains channel.

  1. Each team must choose one captain. In addition each team can choose one vice-captain. The vice-captain will fill in if the captain cannot participate for any reason. If for some reason, the captain cannot continue for the rest of the tournament, the vice-captain shall become the permanent captain.
  2. The team captain should contact their team members as soon as practical after the pairings are announced at 12:00 UTC every Monday.  Remind your team members that they must make contact with their opponent within 24 hours after pairings are released. Remind your team members to make contact with their opponents by replying to the pairing message sent by Chesster.
    1. Captains can message players through Slack and​
    2. Remind players where to find their pairing information, or tell them their pairing. Pairing information can be found on the pairings page.
    3. Keep track of your team players' scheduling efforts and maintain communication with team players to follow-up as necessary. You can keep track of scheduling efforts on the pairings page.
  3. The captain should Direct Message the opposing team’s captain on Slack to open communication in case any problems arise.
  4. Captains will be invited to join the #captains channel on Slack.  Captains should check into this channel when it is highlighted for updates and information.
  5. Captains should post updates in the #captains channel. This is predominantly updating players' status accordingly via Chesster (see VI.).​
  6. The captain is responsible for making sure their players follow through on contacting and scheduling games.  
    1. Verify that all your players are available to play each round.
    2. If a player cannot participate in a round, players and/or captain can update availability through @chesster or through the website.
    3. Captains can update player availability of their team on the website or by  using the command "@chesster: player <x> is (un)available for round <y> in 45+45".
      1. Chesster will then automatically contact alternates for the relevant board in the order listed on the rosters page.
      2. Chesster will post the status of this search in #captains and the search status is also viewable from the rosters page under: alternates - searches.
    4. Please update player availability for future rounds as soon as you are aware a player will be unavailable. Alternate searches begin 48 hours before the start of the relevant round. If a player becomes unavailable after pairings have been published, they can be set unavailable as long as the game has not been scheduled yet. However, note the possibility of a forfeit loss in that case (see F.)
    5. If no alternate can be found, but a player can play up or down a board from your team (in line with the rules), you can assign them to play up using the command "assign <player> to board <b> during round <r> on <team name>" in #captains - additionally captains must inform the opposing captain and opponent player of the new assignment.
    6. If there is still no player available, either by playing up a board or from an alternate, and the original player was set unavailable before round start, the game will be ruled a draw. If the original player was set unavailable after round start, the game will be ruled a forfeit loss for the unavailable player.
    7. The captain must be especially vigilant about players who refuse to respond or schedule games.  No-shows are, unfortunately, a problem with online chess. If after 24 hours of notifying your team members of their pairing you have received no response, notify the Mods about the situation.  Continue to try to contact the player and keep the Mods apprised.
    8. If the player does not show, an alternate cannot be found and a teammate cannot play up/down a board, the game for that board will be forfeited.
    9. If both players provided a sufficient scheduling effort and still could not agree on a time for the game, they can request a scheduling draw. Contacting moderators is required for that, as moderators have to review the scheduling effort to approve the scheduled draw. Upon moderator discretion, moderators will ask the players if one of them would be willing to go unavailable for the round to be replaced by an alternate. If one of the players agrees, but then no alternate can be found, and if both initial players provided sufficient scheduling effort first, the game would again be ruled a scheduling draw.
    10. Moderators are here to help if you are struggling with any issues.
  7. No consultation with players during the game: Please note that our cheating rules do not allow consultation of the captain with players during the game, including advice on accepting or offering draws. No communication with players during their games is allowed.



How do I monitor the scheduling efforts of my team members?

  • Visit the pairings section of our website regularly (the link here will always redirect to the current round of the current season).
  • The website allows filtering pairings by team. 
  • Next to each player there is a small symbol that indicates if a player was already in contact with their opponent or not.
    • No symbol means the player was not in contact, but it is less than 24 hrs since pairings have been released.
    • A red cross indicates that a player was not in contact and it is more than 24 hrs since pairings have been relased. Without intervention an alt search has started or will be started soon.
    • A yellow warning sign indicates that a player was in contact with the opponent, but sent their first message later than 24 hrs after the pairings were released. If the player intends to play the game, the captain or the respective player should make sure that there is no alt search started for the player (check alternates - searches).
    • A green check mark indicates the player was in contact with the opponent and their first message was sent within 24 hrs after pairings were released.
  • In order to prevent team members to become unresponsive, you could message your team as soon as pairings are released, reminding them of the deadlines and the rules about scheduling. You should message your team members when you realize a team member has not messaged their opponent yet and we are approaching the 24 hrs deadline. Also you should contact your team members if you realize that a game does not get scheduled for multiple days, and you should offer help resolving scheduling problems of your team members.
  • Summon moderators whenever you see an issue and are not sure how to deal with it.

I received a message in #captains that one of my players is unresponsive and that the search of an alternate has been started. What should I do?

  • The tournament software starts looking for alternates automatically if a player is determined to be unresponsive for 25 hrs (or in other words, the red cross was displayed next to the player for at least one hour).
  • The tournament software starts the alternate search by setting the unresponsive player unavailable.
  • The unresponsive player receives a warning message by Chesster.
  • In order to stop the alternate search, the unresponsive player has to be set available again. Both the player themselves or you - the captain - can do that in the availability settings of the website.
  • If the player is not set available again before an alternate is found, the alternate will play the game. It is not sufficient to start messaging the opponent now. However, moderators might decide (based on individual circumstances) that the original player will be moved back onto the pairing if the game was scheduled before the alternate player was found.
  • As a captain, if you want to resolve such a situation you should do the following things:
    • As soon as you receive the message that an alternate search has been started, try to clarify the intentions of the unresponsive player by contacting them directly.
    • Once you get feedback from the player you should either remind them to set themselves available again, or do it yourself. Both you and the player can change the availability in the availability settings of the website.
    • If you or the player have reasons to believe that they have been responsive and that there is a problem on the website, make sure to set the player available again as soon as possible, regardless of the status of the alternate search. In addition, the player should summon moderators or appeal the late contact by following instructions they received in a message from Chesster.
    • If you realize that the players scheduled the game while the alternate search is still active, please set the player available in the availability settings  as soon as possible.
    • Summon moderators whenever you see an issue and are not sure how to deal with it.

One of my team members fails to show up for their game, or the opponent of one of my team members fails to show up for their game. What can I do to help handling such a situation?

  • If you realize that a game does not get started at the scheduled time, try to contact your team member and ask for a status. Are they online or are they the one that is not showing up?
  • If your player is online, make sure they understand the procedure.
    • As per our current rules players have a grace period of 20 minutes to show up for the game.
    • The first player that gets online shall issue a challenge on lichess and keep that challenge open until it is accepted by the opponent or - if the opponent does not accept the challenge - until the situation is solved.
    • Chesster determines if game is not started and only one player is online for the game. After 21:30 minutes chesster will send a message to that player with instructions how to claim the forfeit win. It is important that at that point the challenge is still open, as the player is supposed to provide a screenshot showing that they challenged their opponent.
  • If your player is not online, try to get them start the game, if at all possible.
  • In cases of no-shows we highly recommend that the player that is online will claim the forfeit win at that point, even if they prefer to play the game.
  • Forfeit games can always be rescheduled if both players agree.
    • The new start time should be posted in #team-scheduling.
    • Our website will pick up the result automatically after the game finished. Players should summon the mods if the result is not updated after the game.
    • As moderators we prefer if games get played. So, we prefer if you encourage your players to reschedule a game regardless of match standings, if at all possible for the players. However, there is no obligation to reschedule. We are aware that players often plan their week around a scheduled league game and might not be able to reschedule after an agreement was made. The player that was online for the game time is perfectly within their rights to keep the forfeit win and should not be pushed to rescheduling. Any form of harassment will not be tolerated.
  • Summon moderators whenever you see an issue and are not sure how to deal with it.

I realize that our match situation is such that a draw in an ongoing game would win us the match. How can I contact my player and advice them to offer a draw?

  • DO NOT DO IT. Unlike in some team events, no communication with a player is allowed at all, not even discussing about draw offers.

Despite sufficient scheduling effort, a player from my team and their opponent cannot agree on a time to play their game. What now?

  • If the players cannot agree on a time to play their game they should summon the moderators and provide a screenshot of their scheduling discussion.
  • Moderators will usually ask the players if one of them is willing to step back for the round and make room for an alternate. Usually moderators ask the player with less weekend availability first, simply because it is more likely to get a game scheduled late for a player with more weekend availability. Nevertheless, players are allowed to refuse to step back.
  • If a player agrees to make room for an alternate after putting in sufficient scheduling effort, but no alternate can be found, the game will be ruled a scheduled draw. Note, however, that in all other cases where a player is set unavailable after round start, a game would be ruled a forfeit loss if no alternate can be found. So, in order for moderators to distinguish between those situations it is important to involve moderators before going unavailable after unsuccesful scheduling attempts.


Updates log:

19-Nov-2022: Clarifications about what happens when players cannot agree on a time to play their game

14-Aug-2021: clarifications on setting players unavailable

09-May-2021: some small clarifications: added link to pairing page. Clarify that players should use the scheduling message sent by chesster. Added a How-To section. Emphasis on the rule that captains are not allowed to discuss draw offers with their players during a game.

02-Feb-2021: Teams can select a vice-captain, but they do not have to. Specify that captains can post in the #captains channel or summon Mods to get in contact with the Mods. Update of II.C to emphasize responsibility of captain to keep track of scheduling efforts.

13-Jun-2018: Updated VI E to include informing opposing team of new assignment.

02-Jul-2018: Removed channel subscription instructions (happens automatically now)

27-Sep-2018: Updated VI E to clear up some confusion about where the command is run

20-Oct-2018: Added VI F