Chess Rulebook

Last Modified: March 8, 2022.

These rules are subject to change at the administrator’s discretion. If rules should change, all captains will be notified accordingly.

The Handbook’s General Rules apply to all CEA games, please read them first! However, any direct contradictions mentioned in this Chess-specific rulebook take precedence.

I. CHESS Overview

  1. Player Eligibility: Extending on the general player eligibility for CEA participants:
    1. Corporate: A player on a corporate team playing in a CEA tournament has to be employed by the company for the full duration of the tournament and must be able to authenticate this via a corporate email address. Temporary workers, contractors, or interns are eligible to play as long as the previous conditions are met. Leaving the company mid season voids a players eligibility to play and can no longer be added to a team's roster.
      Collegiate: A player on a collegiate team playing in a CEA tournament has to be a full time student at the collegiate institution the team is representing. Authentication of such needs to be verified to the tournament director prior to the tournament. (Usually using a transcript stating the student's enrollment).
    2. All players participating in the CEA Chess competitions must have a account in good standing.
    3. All players participating in the CEA Chess competition must be in good standing with FIDE and their national chess federation.
    4. All players must have signed the CEA fair-play waiver before starting the tournament.
  2. Player Rating: Each participating player must reveal their login (blitz rating required), as well as FIDE Player ID, national Player ID (e.g. USCF(US)), and lichess login if available.
    The tournament rating is a player's rating. All other provided ratings will be translated into ratings (see Rating Conversion table in VIII). If a players translated rating differs substantially from the player's rating, the tournament direction might substitute given translated rating as a player's tournament rating.
  3. Team Roster: A team may start the season with 4-10 participants. Rules for qualifications for rostered members can be found in CEA general rules.
    1. After the beginning of Regular Season play (Week 1 matches), a player rostered on a team may not transfer to another roster within the same company for the same game with out the Game Lead's approval.
      1. The main circumstance permitting a transfer would be a team losing players and falling below the minimum team size.
      2. Companies with multiple teams playing the same game may have players on multiple rosters as outlined in the general rules under “Team Eligibility.” Being a floater is not considered transferring.
    2. After Week 5, removing players from the roster does not free up additional spots.
    3. Adding players can be done through the season's request form:
  4. Player Substitution Rule: A player on a team is allowed to substitute onto a different team of the same university / company under the restriction that a player can only substitute onto teams that have a higher team average than the player themself.
  5. Roster Order: A team’s roster order is determined by the players’ tournament rating starting with the strongest player and in descending order.
  6. Weekly Structure:

    1. Sunday (for Swiss tournaments and playoffs): Matchups for the week are released (assuming all previous match results have been reported). Pairings for Round Robin sections are published before the start of the tournament.
    2. Thursday 8pm Pacific: Team captains have to submit their match roster for the next scheduled match by Thursday 8pm Pacific Time. Failure to do so results in a 1 board point penalty for the upcoming match. Match lineups for both teams are made public and locked as soon as both teams submit them. If a team fails to submit their lineup at least 2 hours before the match, the match will be counted as forfeit and the violating team will receive a warning.
    3. Saturday:
      Corporate matches are played starting at 10am Pacific Time
      Collegiate match start time are dependent on the group: Group A starts matches at 10am Pacific Time and Group B starts matches at 10am Eastern Time
  7. Match Rescheduling: Team captains of opposing teams may independently coordinate a different match time after matchups are published to accommodate the players. Note that the default time is heavily preferred and captains should be looking to field alternate players if their players cannot make the default time. Reschedules must be mutually agreeable. If there is no agreement, all matches will be played at the default time. Failure to show up for a scheduled match will result in an automatic loss and a warning. Sunday 6pm Pacific time (30 hours following the traditional start time) is the deadline for rescheduled matches to be completed for Swiss sections and Playoffs. The Sunday, 6pm Pacific time, of the last round of Round Robin sections is the last date to reschedule matches in Round Robin sections.
    A reschedule announcement must come along with the time lineup announcement of both teams. The 48-hour rule does not apply to rescheduled matches since both captains have to agree on the timeline for the rescheduled match.
    See General Rules in the handbook for rescheduling rules and post in the #reschedule-reporting channel if a reschedule is agreed upon. Forfeits will be reported to the #forfeit-reporting channel in the CEA Discord server by the team captain.
  8. Match reporting: It is the obligation of the winning player to submit the result of a game immediately after a game has been played. If a game ends in a draw, the white playing player has to submit the result.
  9. Prizes: This is a tournament benefitting charity. 100% of registration fees and additional donations go towards a donation pool with the top 3 teams deciding to which non-profit they want to support. CEA will make the donation in the name of the teams after completion of the tournament. 60% of the donation pool is allocated to the charity of the first placing team, 30% to the second placing team, 10% to the third placing team. The Collegiate Competition might award prizes through partnering companies. These are not managed nor determined by the CEA.

II. Tournament Rules

    1. Season Format: The season format is determined by the number of participating teams:
      1. For less than 32 teams:
        • Regular season (a 7-week Swiss team tournament)
        • The Top 24 teams qualify for a single elimination playoff with the top 8 teams receiving a first round BYE
      2. For more than 32 teams:
        • Teams are divided into Divisions of 16 teams based on team average rating (see II.2), location, and timezone.
        • Each division is further split into two groups of 8 based on similar criteria.
        • Within each group, teams play a 7 week Round Robin.
        • Top 2 teams of each group qualify directly for quarterfinals. Teams 3 through 6 of each group qualify for wildcard weekend determining the other 4 teams of quarterfinals. (A3 - B6, A4 - B5, B3 - A6, B4 - A5). Teams placing 7th and 8th after regular season are eliminated. Quarterfinal qualifying teams are ordered based on their regular season standings and paired up as following: 1v8, 4v5, 2v7, 3v6. Semifinals are determined by the winner of the first two quarterfinals and the winners of the last two quarterfinals.
    2. Team Average Rating: A team's average rating is determined by the average indivdual tournament ratings of the top four players. Substitutes do not count towards a team's average rating.
    3. Time Control:
      • Corporate: Time control for each game for each player is 7min + 2 sec increment per move
      • Collegiate: Time control for each game for each player is 5min + 2 sec increment per move
    4. Point System / Tiebreaks
      • A match between two team consists for 16 games played (see III. Match Rules)
      • Each win of a game will give the winning team 1 board point.
      • A draw of a game will give both teams ½ board points.
      • Once all games are played, the team with the larger amount of board points will receive 2 match point. In the case of teams achieving a tied board score during their match, both teams will receive 1 match point.
      • For standings, the following tiebreak order is used:
        1. Match points
        2. Board points
        3. Buchholz
        4. Avg. team rating
    5. If a company fields multiple teams, intercompany matches are avoided as much as possible for the first 3 rounds but not guaranteed.

III. Match Rules

  1. Roster submission: Team captains are required to submit a match roster of 4 players participating in the match by Thursday 8pm Pacific Time.
  2. Match format: A match between two teams is run in the Scheveningen system in which every player of one team players every player of the opposing team.
    For Team A and Team B with each players 1-4 this results in following games in which the first named player will receive the white pieces:
    Round 1: B4-A1 B3-A2 A3-B2 A4-B1
    Round 2: A1-B3 A2-B4 B1-A3 B2-A4
    Round 3: B2-A1 B1-A2 A3-B4 A4-B3
    Round 4: A1-B1 A2-B2 B3-A3 B4-A4

  3. The player with the white pieces is required to send their opponent a challenge (see VI.3 Match Challenge).

  4. A team has a 15 min grace period from the scheduled match time to arrive for a match. If a team does not arrive within this grace period, the match will be counted as forfeited and the offending team will receive a warning.

  5. Players are given a minimum break of 2 minutes and a maximum break of 5 minutes between games.

IV. Anti-Cheat / Penalties / Misconduct

  1. Anti-Cheat
    • The tournament directors reserve the right to require individual players to use an external camera during their matches, if the league feels it is warranted.
    • A cheating committee will be formed, and made up of several members. This Committee holds final authority over Fair Play discretion.
    • The league reserves the right to change results of the match due to any violations of Fair Play Policy.
    • Appeal process:
      If a player raises suspicions of their opponent violating fair-play regulations, that player can do so by contacting the Tournament Directors no less than 12 hours after the match is played. The Tournament Directors will investigate the violation claims and act according to the findings. Players that raise concerns against one of their opponents maliciously or without any supportive argument may receive a warning themselves based on the discretion of the Tournament Directors.
  2. Penalties & Misconduct
    • Late lineup submission
      • Team captains are required to submit a match roster of their 4 players participating in the next match by Thursday 6pm Pacific Time. Late submissions will be penalized by 1 boardpoint for the upcoming match.
      • Failure to submit a lineup at least 2 hours before the match will be counted as forfeit and the team will receive a warning.
    • Lineup changes: Lineup changes after a lineup was submitted will result in a 1 board point penalty.
    • No-show: If a team does not show up for their scheduled match without notifying the other team of their forfeit (See general CEA rules for forfeiting), the match will be counted as forfeited and the offending team will receive warning.
    • Cheating: If the Tournament Directors detect a player cheating in the event, the player will be disqualified resulting in losses of all previous games played by this player. Previous rounds will be adjusted accordingly at the time of cheat detection. The team rostering a cheating player will receive a warning but is allowed to continue playing on if the resulting warning does not result in their third team warning. The violating player will not be allowed to participate in further rounds of a given season. The violating player is allowed to participate in future CEA organized tournaments if the player apoligizes for their mistake and returns to good standings with tournament affiliated partners specified in I.1 .
    • Team warning: A team is disqualified from the tournament if it accumulates three warnings over the duration of the tournament.

V. Broadcasting

  • Each week, one or more matches will be selected for live broadcasting.
  • Matches will be broadcasted on (corporate) and (collegiate). Certain matches might get restreamed on
  • The Tournament Organizers will decide which weekly match will be broadcasted during the week leading up to the match and will coordinate with team captains accordingly.
  • Games that are broadcasted might be asked to reschedule to a non-default time in order to maximize broadcast exposure through partnering platforms.

VI. Tournament Direction / Technical Support

  1. Tournament Direction
  • Any kind of CEA communication to captains/teams, reschedule/forfeit reporting, and technical support will happen through CEA’s discord server and CCL discord server.
  • CEA Game Leads and Tournament Directors will be present during the matches to support any kind of technical issues and questions.
  • Technical Support
    • Disconnection: If a player disconnects during their game, the game continues as is with clocks running. A player that disconnects is allowed to contact the tournament organizers to request a delay for any future games of a given match. Such a delay cannot exceed 10 minutes and has to be granted explicitly by the tournament organizers.

    For Lineup resets, requests to add or replace players, or general Support, please fill out the Season Support Request Form

    VII. Rating Conversion

    Lichess   USCF   FIDE
    lichess > 2400 = lichess   USCF < 1000 = USCF+100   FIDE < 1500 = FIDE-100
    lichess > 2200 = lichess - 100   USCF < 1350 = USCF+50   FIDE < 1800 = FIDE
    lichess > 1800 = lichess - 200   USCF < 1750 = USCF   FIDE < 2000 = FIDE +60
    lichess < 1800 = lichess - 300   USCF < 2000 = USCF+50   FIDE > 2000 = FIDE +100
          USCF > 2000 = USCF+100      

    VIII. Contact

    1. Discord Server:
    2. Email Contacts:
      1. Game and Rules related:
      2. Business, money, and sponsorship related:
      3. Other: