Chess Rulebook

  • Rulebook

Last Modified: December 29, 2020.

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!

I. CHESS Overview

  1. Player Eligibility: Extending on the general player eligibility for CEA participants:
    1. All players participating in the CEA Chess competitions must have a account in good standing.
    2. All players participating in the CEA Chess competition must be in good standing with FIDE and their national chess federation.
    3. All players must have signed the CEA fair-play waiver before starting the tournament.
  2. Player Rating: Each participating player must reveal their FIDE Player ID, national Player ID (e.g. USCF(US)), login (required), and lichess login if available. Those ratings will be translated to a USCF Rating (see Rating Conversion table in VIII). A player’s highest available rating (National, FIDE, Online Rating) will determine a player’s tournament rating.
    Games in this tournament are not rated on and not with USCF or FIDE. A player’s tournament rating is solely used for pairings and team order purposes.
  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.
  4. Roster Order: A team’s roster order is determined by the players’ tournament rating starting with the strongest player and in descending order.
  5. Registration: The CEA Chess league registration fee will be $160 per team. The captain pays this fee during registration on the CEA website. To be submitted during the registration process are:
    • Team Name
    • Name of team captain
    • Charity/Non-profit/US College Club the team is playing for
    • For all players:
      • Full Name of Players
      • Corporate Email Address of Player
      • FIDE ID if available, national rating ID if available (e.g. USCF ID)
      • username
      • Lichess username if available(Data not request at team registration will be requested in the follow up play form including the fair-play waiver)
  6. Weekly Structure:

    1. Sunday: Matchups for the week are released (assuming all previous match results have been reported).
    2. Thursday 6pm Pacific: Team captains have to submit their match roster for the next scheduled match by Thursday 6pm 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: All matches are played starting at 10am Pacific Time / 1pm Eastern Time / 7pm Central European Standard Time / 11:30pm Indian Time. Captains submit results after the match.
      Weeks in which two matches are supposed to be played (depending on playoff type), matches are played at 9am and 11am Pacific 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.
    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. 50% 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, and 10% is allocated to a charity the tournament broadcasters want to support.
  10. Season Format: The season format is split into two sections:
    • Regular season (A 7-week Swiss played over the duration of 9 weeks)
    • Elimination Playoffs

    The format of Elimination is determined by the total amount of teams participating in this tournament.

      • <32 teams:
        Top 16 teams qualify for a Double Elimination Playoff Section.
        Bottom 8 of the 16 teams are places in the first round of the loser bracket:
        Losing teams of winner bracket and winning teams of loser bracket have to play two matches per playoff week
      • 32-64 teams:
        Top 24 teams qualify for Single Elimination Playoff Section
        Top 8 teams receive a first round BYE
        Quarterfinals and Semifinals are played on the same day
      • >64 teams:
        Top 32 teams qualify for Single Elimination Playoff Section
        Quarterfinals and Semifinals are played on the same day

II. Timeline


January 14 2021

“Hype Tournament” by WCF

February 6 2021

Registration End

February 13 2021


February 20 2021

Week 1

February 27 2021

Week 2

March 06 2021

Week 3

March 13 2021

Week 4

March 20 2021

Week 5

March 27 2021

Week 6

April 03 2021

OFF week - Easter

April 10 2021

Week 7

Playoff Type

<32 teams* (Double Elimination Playoffs)

32-64 (Single Elimination Playoffs)

>64 (Single Elimination Playoffs)

April 17 2021

Playoffs 1:

Matches 1-8 + 9-12

Round of Top 32 (Top 8 have BYE)

Round of Top 32

April 24 2021

Playoffs 2:

Matches 13-16 + 17-18

Round of Top 16

Round of Top 16

May 01 2021

Playoffs 3:




May 08 2021

Playoffs 4:

Finals 21 (Finals Loser Bracket)



May 15 2021

Playoffs 5:

22: Finals



* Losing teams of the winner bracket and winning teams of the loser bracket will play two matches per week during playoffs.

III. Tournament Rules

    1. Time control for each game for each player is 7min + 2 sec increment per move
    2. Point System / Tiebreaks
      • A match between two team consists for 16 games played
      • 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.
      • 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
    3. If a company fields multiple teams, intercompany matches are avoided as much as possible for the first 3 rounds but not guaranteed.

IV. Match Rules

  1. Roster submission: Team captains are required to submit a match roster of 4 players participating in the match by Thursday 6pm 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.

V. 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.
    • For playoff matches (not regular season matches), we will be requiring external cameras (or smartphones) to be used for all players in their matches showing the player and their surroundings as well as share their screen in a conference call with the opposing team and the Tournament Directors.
    • 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 any current and future CEA organized tournaments.
    • Team warning: A team is disqualified from the tournament if it accumulates three warnings over the duration of the tournament.

VI. Broadcasting

  • Each week, one or more matches will be selected for live broadcasting.
  • Matches will be broadcasted on and (Playoffs / Official channel of
  • 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. To increase the chance of live coverage see VII. Annotation score.
  • Games that are broadcasted might be asked to reschedule to a non-default time in order to maximize broadcast exposure through partnering platforms.

VII. Game Annotation

  • The Washington Chess Federation offers $10 per annotated match up to $70 per week which will be paid towards the shared donation pool.
  • Annotating a game has the chance to be featured in weekly blog posts, and the monthly Northwest Chess magazine.
  • Annotation Score: Each annotated game submitted by a team will give a team 1 annotation score. The tournament directors will heavily select matches for broadcasting based on this annotation score.

VIII. 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.
  • 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.

    This section will grow with more technical information and FAQ until the start of the tournament.

    IX. Rating Conversion

    Any national ratings will be converted by the Tournament Direction into USCF ratings which will be used as tournament ratings. Such ratings are only used for pairings and team order purposes. The tournament itself is not rated with FIDE or any national rating system.



    FQE (Quebec)

    (German / Philippine)

    ECF (English)

    Chinese Rating


    → USCF = FIDE+50

    → USCF = FQE +40

    → USCF = DWZ+70

    → USCF = FQE*11

    >1970 → USCF = Chinese Rating + 300





    1900-1970 → USCF = Chinese Rating + 270









    1800-1899 → USCF = Chinese Rating + 210








    1620 - 2019
    → USCF = FQE +80







    1700-1799 → USCF = Chinese Rating + 175













    → USCF = Chinese Rating+115













    → USCF = Chinese Rating + 60





















    → USCF = Chinese Rating +15











    → USCF = Chinese Rating



    → FIDE+300


    → FQE+200

    → DWZ+500

    → ECF * 26


    → 1200


    USCF Blitz

    Lichess Blitz


    >2350 → USCF = - 120

    >2300 → USCF = lichess - 120


    2150-2349 → USCF = - 75



    2000-2300 → USCF = lichess - 70


    1800-2149 → USCF = - 50





    1850-1999 → USCF = lichess -150



    1500-1799 → USCF =




    <1850 → USCF = lichess - 200




    1350-1499 → USCF = - 50




    <1350 → USCF = - 100


    X. Contact

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