Lichess4545 League Rules and Regulations

Note: These rules are not set in stone, nor are they meant to be punitive. The overriding principle of this document is to create a basic framework so that the league can function smoothly. To that effect, the Moderators will add and/or change rules as need be to improve the league.

If you have non-urgent questions, try asking in the Slack chat! If you don’t get an answer, or if your question is urgent, moderators may be reached using the @chesster summon mods command in the #general Slack channel. Please do not message the mods directly.


I. Player Eligibility

  1. To be eligible as a player, you must have a Lichess account with an established (non-provisional) classical rating.
  2. Players who have been flagged by Lichess (i.e. cheaters or "sandbaggers") are ineligible to play. (See section VII.A for cheating definition)
  3. To register, all players must complete the registration form, regardless of participation in previous seasons.
  4. The League Moderators will send a Slack invitation via e-mail to all players completing the registration. Players must be 16+ years old to comply with Slack ToS or use Slack through a proxy (i.e. parent or guardian 16+ years old).
  5. Players must use a single Lichess account. Registering and playing under multiple accounts is prohibited, including closing an account and registering under a new account.
  6. Eligibility for the league will be determined at league moderators' discretion. The moderators reserve the right to deem registrants ineligible for the league for any reason, without having to provide warning or evidence for their decisions.

II. Teams

  1. Team sizes will be chosen depending on the number of registrations.
  2. Teams will be assigned by moderators to minimize rating disparity.
  3. Teams will have a private Slack channel created automatically for their team.
  4. Captains:
    1. Each team must choose a Team Captain.
    2. The Team Captain will be responsible for ensuring that their teammates schedule their games and show up to play.
    3. If a player cannot play on any given week, the Team Captain will be responsible for updating the player's availability so an alternate can be found.
  5. Each team must choose a team name. The team name cannot violate the Lichess ToS, cannot be hostile or offensive, and cannot be unreasonably long.
  6. Friend requests to be on the same team must be made on the provided form for the given season.
    1. Not all requests can be accomodated.
    2. Updates to friend requests can be made prior to team formation by editing your registration.

III. League

  1. The Lichess4545 League format will be as follows:
    1. An open tournament with eight rounds.
    2. For each game that a player wins, their team accrues 1 game point. For each draw, 0.5 points. For each loss, 0 points.
    3. Any team with more points than their opponent wins that round, and receives 2 match points. Any team with the same number of points as their opponent draws, and receives 1 point. Any team with fewer points loses, and receives 0 points.
    4. All rounds will be paired using the Swiss System.
    5. Initial seeding of teams will be determined by team average rating.
    6. If necessary, the following tiebreakers will be used to determine the winner:
      1. Match points
      2. Game points
      3. Head-to-head score
      4. Number of games won
      5. Sonneborn-Berger score
  2. You can reach the moderators by using the @chesster summon mods command in the #general channel on slack. Do not message the moderators directly.
    1. Moderators will make binding decisions regarding:
      1. Disputes between players or teams
      2. Rule clarifications
      3. Player/team forfeiture
      4. Any other issue of importance to the League as a whole
    2. In the event of a dispute involving one of the Moderators, that Moderator will not have the power to decide the issue and will be left out of deliberations.
    3. In the event of a dispute involving a team of which a Moderator is a part of, that Moderator will not participate in the discussion or ruling of the issue.
    4. In the event of a dispute involving two of the Moderators, the two sides of the dispute will agree upon a neutral third-party to decide the issue.
    5. When applicable, moderators will refer to the rules and regulations of the USCF and FIDE to resolve disputes. As a group, moderators act as the Tournament Director in all decisions.

IV. Scheduling

  1. Once the pairings for a round have been released, each player should attempt to contact their opponent as soon as possible. @Chesster will message both players with the details of their pairing.
    1. This MUST be done on Chesster’s Slack message. Players may also attempt to contact unresponsive opponents on Lichess, but must move to Chesster’s DM as soon as possible.
    2. Games must be completed by 12:00 UTC on Monday (or whatever time the pairings for the next round are released, if not 12:00 UTC Monday). As a reference we suggest that game time be scheduled at least 150 minutes in advance of this time.
  2. Each player must make an initial offer to their opponent, consisting of a minimum of 3 distinct times on at least 2 separate days.
    1. Note: This means to qualify for reasonable effort, each player should give 3 distinct times on 2 days. If you are the second to respond, the best response would be, “No, those do not work for me. I am free ___” and provide your three times. Distinct times must be at least 2 hours separated. For example, "Wednesday 18:00 until 19:00 and Thursday 19:00" does not constitute 3 distinct times. However, "Wednesday 18:00 until 20:00 and Thursday 19:00" does.
  3. If a player is not available at least 3 different times on at least 2 separate days, or if they cannot play that week’s game for any reason, it is the responsibility of the team captain to update the player's availability so an alternate can be found.
    1. If an alternate cannot be found and no teammate plays up a board (see sections IX and X), and the original player was set unavailable before the start of the round, the game will be ruled a draw.
  4. If an agreed time cannot be reached after both players have made their initial offer, both players should continue to offer times until an agreed time is found.
  5. If, after making a reasonable effort, two players cannot find a suitable time to play, they may send in their attempts, at which time the moderators will deliberate for awarding a draw of a ½-½ score.
    1. The Moderators will determine if each player has made a reasonable effort.
      • See IVB-D  for how to determine your reasonable effort.
    2. Players who wish to agree to a draw must send screenshots of their attempts to schedule using this link. At this point, moderators will refer to rule IV.E to approve the draw.
  6. If one player does not make a reasonable effort to find a time, they may forfeit their game at the Moderators’ discretion.
  7. If neither player provides a reasonable effort to find a time, both will forfeit with a 0-0 score.
  8. All players must confirm their scheduled game time. We ask you post your scheduled game time in #team-scheduling.. The format is “Sat 19, Fri 5”, etc.
  9. All games must be posted in UTC. Chesster responds back with your time in your timezone, so there shouldn’t be any confusion on what time we are discussing.

V. No-response policy

  1. If one player cannot make contact with their opponent after 24 hours, they should reach out and inform both captains (their own, and the opposing team’s) to let them know this. The first message should still include PLAYER’s initial offer (see IV.B).
  2. It is up to the captain of the opposing team to update the player's status in order to provide an alternate. See section IX for how to recruit alternates.
  3. If the offending player does not respond, and the team cannot provide an alternate, they shall forfeit that game.
  4. In order to claim a win by forfeit, the claiming player must contact the Moderators with photo evidence of conversation on Slack with no answer, as well as attempted contact on Lichess.
  5. If a player does not respond on Lichess or Slack within 24 hours of the release of pairings, the Moderators will issue a yellow card (see XI. Penalties) to the offending player.
  6. If the offending player can prove that they attempted to contact their opponent, the game will be scheduled ASAP.
  7. Please remember that above all, we value games! So while these rules exist, the more games played the better.

VI. No-show policy

  1. If either player is not online at the appointed time, they will have a grace period of 20 minutes to appear, otherwise they will forfeit the game.
  2. If either player is online, but does not challenge or accept the challenge of their opponent and make their first move within 20 minutes of the appointed time, they will forfeit the game.
  3. After the 20 minute grace period has expired, chesster will message the player who was online. In order to claim a forfeit, the claiming player must follow the instructions and attach a screenshot of their challenge. This claim will automatically be approved. @chesster will offer the other player the right to appeal.
  4. If chesster does not make contact, the claiming player must contact the mods using this link with a time-stamped screenshot showing one of the following:
    1. Their opponent is offline
    2. They have issued a challenge, but their opponent has not accepted
    3. They have issued a challenge, but their opponent has declined.
  5. If the player can prove that they were online, available, attempted to challenge or accept a challenge, or in any other way refute the no-show accusation, their OPPONENT shall lose by forfeit.
  6. Any player forfeiting a game will receive a yellow card (see XI. Penalties).

VII. Cheating policy

  1. A cheater is defined as someone who:
    1. uses computer assistance,
    2. artificially increases/decreases their rating,
    3. uses an opening book,
    4. plays out variations on a board to assist calculation, or
    5. receives any assistance from any source during play.
      Note to streamers: assistance from stream chat is not allowed, please make this clear to viewers or do not read chat during the game. Please see the additional notes for streamers.
    6. Discusses any matter of their ongoing game, including draw opportunities, with their captain or anyone else during their game.
  2. Please report all accusations of cheating directly to Lichess.
  3. Offending players will be removed from Slack and from the 45+45 leagues.
  4. Any games in the current season played by offending players will be forfeited.
  5. Users marked by Lichess can return to the 45+45 leagues only if the mark is subsequently removed by Lichess.
  6. Account closing
    1. If a player closes their account while playing an active season, and does not re-open the account before the pairings of a subsequent round are generated or before the respective season is closed by the moderators, the player will be withdrawn from all leagues and their games of the current season will be turned into forfeit losses.

VIII. Game play policy

  1. Colors and Time
    1. Both players are responsible to ensure they are playing the correct time control (45|45) as well as the correct colors.
    2. If a player notices an error prior to 10 moves, the game must be restarted and colors fixed.
    3. If error is not noticed until after 10 moves, the game is an official game and players must play on.
      • USCF Rule 11F: If an incorrect starting position or the game was started with colors reversed within the first 10 moves, the game is annulled and started over. If discovered after Black's 10th move, the game continues.
  2. Players should play the color they are assigned, and not agree to switch colors due to a preference, even if this preference is agreed upon. Colors are assigned in a specific manner in order to keep the league balanced and fair.
  3. Draws
    1. Agreed upon draws without reasonable effort are illegal under USCF 14B6. Players who attempt this will be faulted with a 0-0 score.
      • USCF Rule 14 B 6 : It is unethical and unsporting to agree to a draw before a serious contest has begun. The same is true of all arrangements to prearrange game results. In case of clear violations of the moral principles of the game, penalties should be imposed at the director’s discretion.
  4. “Claim Victory” and “Claim Draw” Feature
    1. Players in the Lichess 4545 League are not permitted to use the “Claim Victory” or “Claim Draw” features of Lichess in the event of an opponent disconnect.
      • If a player claims victory, the match will be continued from the terminated position with the same amount of time remaining for each side as was in the game.
      • If a player claims victory and does not return to continue the game, they will forfeit the game.
    2. Conversely, any player disconnecting from a game with the intention of wasting their opponents time will be cautioned and receive a yellow card (see XI. Penalties).
  5. Take-Backs Feature
    1. We recognize it as a part of Lichess.
    2. It does go against USCF rules of touch-move.
    3. Due to 2, Takebacks are not required to be given. This is a long time control game, you should have the time to think through where you are placing your mouse. There are settings on Lichess to ask you if you confirm your move, if you have severe mouse problems.
    4. However, due to 1, takebacks can be requested and we cannot control this. Just know that no player is required to accept your takeback.
  6. Respect rule: we encourage players to take their game as seriously as possible in order to respect their opponents and their team. Players are free to use their time as they wish during the game, but league moderators will warn players if they notice that the games are not taken seriously and players can be banned if their behaviour doesn't change.

IX. Alternate policy

  1. All non-league players will be added to an alternate list as per their rating and ordered by date of registration.
    1. This order rotates as alternates are used. This encourages new alternates throughout the season.
  2. In the event that an alternate is required, it is the responsibility of the captain of the team that requires an alternate to update the player's  availability so an alternate can be found.
    1. By updating a player's availability, Chesster will automatically message alternates in order to find a replacement (starting 48 hours before each round).
    2. In unusual circumstances, manual searches for alternates may be done at moderator discretion.
  3. Any player responding but declining the spot as an alternate will retain their spot in the list order of alternates.
  4. Any player not responding within 24 hours of an offer will be moved to the bottom of the list as an alternate and be marked as unresponsive.
  5. Alternate boards shall be adjusted as their rating changes.

X. Playing Up or Down a Board

  1. If a player cannot schedule a game for any reason, a team mate is allowed to play up a board in their team mates place.
  2. The moderators encourage captains to try to find an alternate if possible as this both increases alternate participation and ensures competitive games.
  3. The decision to play up a board is made by the team captain and the player playing up a board, with input from the team.
  4. Players are allowed to play up multiple boards.
  5. The player who is playing up a board will play both their individual board game and the game that they are playing up for, TWO total games.
  6. Please notify moderators, the opposing captain and the opponent when a decision is made to have a player play up a board.
  7. Players may play down ONE board when all the below requirements are met. The procedure is otherwise the same as playing up a board.
    • No alternate can be found
    • No player can play up a board instead
    • The opponent team grants permission

XI. Penalties

  1. Most players avoid the need to worry about penalties by abiding to the above rules and having clear communication with the moderators when issues arise.
  2. This league has adopted a yellow card/red card system where a yellow card indicates a warning. 2 yellow cards = a red card and suspension from participation in the current season.
  3. Players and their captains will be notified when  they receive a yellow card from the moderators.
  4. Players who received a red card during the season carry over a yellow card into their next season.
  5. Players who consistently receive cards over several seasons may be banned from playing the next season, or even permanently.

Change history: (Since May 2017)

I.A.2 Rule added. (01-Jun-2017)

XI.D "the next season" changed to "their next season". (04-Jun-2017)

I.B and VII.A.1 Added reference to sandbagging. (12-Jun-2017)

III.B updated to reflect current moderator status. (02-Jul-2017)

IV.B.1 clarified definition of "distinct times" for scheduling purposes. (08-Aug-2017)

I.A updated to non-provisional classical rating without 20 game requirement due to increased time control. (06-Dec-2017)

X.G Rule added for playing DOWN a board, effective Season 11 (21-Jan-2018)

VII Updated cheating policy, all reports should be made directly to Lichess (08-Apr-2018)

I.D Compliance with Slack ToS required (08-Apr-2018)

V Updated response requirements to <24 hours from <48 hours (08-Apr-2018)

VI Updated procedures for claiming win after no-show (02-May-2018)

VII.A Added note on stream chat interaction (14-Oct-2018)

IV.C 1 Updated to change ruling from forfeit to draw if original player set unavailable before round start (20-Oct-2018)

I.B Replaced "accounts" by "players" (03-Dec-2018)

II.A Teams up to eight players (06-May-2019)

Added links for claiming draw and claiming forfeit win (04-Jun-2019)

III.B updated to remove reference to specific moderators (14-Jun-2019)

XI.E Rule added for players who consistently receive cards (27-Jul-2019)

VI.B Rule updated to include "and make their first move" (17-Nov-2019)

VII.A. Clarified that playing moves on a board to assist calculation is not allowed (19-Nov-2019)

Corrected several small errors through the document.  Specified not to contact moderators directly in several sections, and specified in several sectionsthat one must use chesster’s group DM for scheduling. (2-May-2020)

Removed I.E and replaced it by finally putting in writing that multiple accounts are not permitted. (25-Aug-2020)

Added rule VII.F about closing accounts (06-Feb-2021)

II.A changed from "Teams will consist of six to eight eligible players." to "Team sizes will be chosen depending on the number of registrations."

Added link to the additional notes for streamers (06-Apr-2021)