Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Chess League Charter and Rules [revised 12/2/2005]

Bruce Leverett 412-561-3972 (h), 412-323-6418 (w)


  1. Purpose:  The purpose of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Chess League (WPICL) is to provide a mutually beneficial structure whereby schools in the Pittsburgh area may meet, compete, learn, and promote chess in a friendly manner and atmosphere.  A league commissioner chosen by the schools tracks results, settles disputes, etc.
  2. Number of games:  Each team will play each other team twice*, once home and once away (*once if the league is large).
  3. Number of boards:  Teams consist of five boards each.  A win counts as 1, a draw as ½, and a loss as 0.  If the match ends up 2 ½ - 2 ½, it is a tie.  A forfeit loss counts as 0.  Teams with fewer than five players forfeit on the lowest boards.  To enable teams to play even if their only transportation is a sedan car with a non-playing driver, the following exception is noted:  the captain of the away team may designate a match as being on only four boards.  The match will be scored as if there were a fifth board on which the game was a draw.
  4. Color:  The home team has White on boards 2 and 4; the visitors White on boards 1, 3, and 5.
  5. Schedule:  There will be one scheduled match per week.  The onus is on the home team to schedule the match, making sure they can host the visitors on a day the visitors can travel.  If both coaches (sponsors) agree, a match can be played on a different week, so long as it is played as soon as possible, and before the playoffs are to be scheduled.  The overall league schedule (including entry fee and prizes) will be determined each year in a pre-season coaches meeting.
  6. Reporting results:  Both coaches should report all board results and any problems directly to the league commissioner, either by phone (412-561-3972 h, 412-323-6418 w) or e-mail (e-mail address omitted from website) within 48 hours of the end of the match.  This dual reporting prevents errors and helps ensure that matches will be reported in a timely manner.
  7. Playoffs:  For one division, playoffs will be first vs. fourth and second vs. third, the winning teams meeting for the championship.  The higher seeded team has the choice of hosting the match or getting three whites.  If there are two divisions, playoff order will be determined at the league meeting.  Teams not paying or unable to pay the league fee, if there is one, may participate, but may not win team or individual trophies.  If a team is to be eligible, they must pay by a set fee date.  If a playoff match is tied, the higher seeded team from the regular season advances.
  8. Playing rules:  Unless otherwise noted below, the WPICL will use all official US Chess Federation (USCF) rules of play (note: the rulebook can be obtained from USCF at 1-800-388-KING).  The two exceptions are:  1) a player does not have to keep score (although players are encouraged to do so), and  2) The “insufficient losing chances” rule will only be enforced if a USCF TD is present.  For example, all games are touch-move, and no spectator, teammate, nor coach (sponsor) can interfere with a game (call illegal moves, flag falling, etc.) without a player initiating a rules request.  If there is any dispute that cannot be resolved by the coaches, the league commissioner will make a ruling based on the USCF rules and this charter.  Players in the league do not have to be USCF members and games will not be rated.
  9. Use of clock:  When possible, games should be played with a clock.  The time limit is G/1Hr (each player has 1 hour), unless the coaches agree to take equal time off all clocks due to late arrival; the home team always has at least G/45 – see #6.  Games started without a clock should be finished with a clock, the players splitting the time remaining.
  10. Board order:  The home team should announce their lineup first if there is a dispute.  There may be no “stacking” of boards:  teams should play in approximate order of strength.  If the coach wishes to move a player one board to get a color, that may be allowed, except as follows:  for players with established USCF ratings (>19 USCF-rated games), a player rated more than 100 points over another must play a higher board (i.e. moving a board to get a color is not allowed).  Provisional (<20 USCF-rated games) and unrated players may play any board, so long as they are in approximate order of strength compared to other players.  It is suggested that coaches use one of the following criteria to help determine the order for provisional or unrated players:  a club ladder, a challenge system, or informal ratings from Internet play.
  11. Forfeited and Late Matches:  Coaches should use common sense to avoid forfeited matches.  Matches unplayed when the playoff week starts will be counted as 0-5 losses for both teams, unless it can be clearly shown that one team refused to play under any reasonable conditions.  The “away” team should agree to show up at a scheduled time.  If the “away” school shows up more than ½ hour after that appointed time (“show up” = arrive at the playing room), then the home team may play the games with 45 minutes on their clock and the extra late time (time over ½ hour late) subtracted from each away team player’s clock (<45 min).  If the away team does not call or show up at all (or shows up more than 75 minutes late), the home team will be designated the winner by a score of 5-0.  If either team cancels a match on the day of the match, or after the end of school on the day before, the other team is designated the winner by a score of 5-0.
  12. Eligibility:  The league will allow any K-12 student in a district to play on a team.  It is up to each school to decide if they wish to allow students in their district, but not in the school (e.g. talented middle school players) to play.  Non-HS teams may join.  The league encourages any policy that promotes chess and helps a team avoid forfeit losses.
  13. Ties to Qualify for Playoff Spots:  If there is a tie in match points to qualify for playoffs, tiebreaks are:  1) Two teams tied:  First, match points between the two teams; Second, game points between the two teams; Third, game points against all teams; Fourth, the highest board to score a positive score in matches between the two teams.  2) More than two teams tied:  First, match points among the tied teams; Second, game points among the tied teams; Third, game points against all teams.
  14. Individual Championships and Prizes:  An individual or all-star tournament may be scheduled.  It is suggested that individual prizes be given for the individual tournament; team prizes for the playoffs (to encourage team play).
  15. Coordinate!:  Please return all calls or e-mail in a timely manner!  Please honor your commitment to play.  Thanks!