Schools Chess League

May 14, 2024


The various district Committees organises a series of school team matches, generally known as the Second Term League and Third Term League. Matches are played in the second and third terms on days decided by the district committee. All primary and high schools in Gauteng area are notified annually of the team competitions and the relevant fixtures are determined as soon as
entries are received. The league fixtures are subject to the number of entries received for the current year.


Any school in the GDE area of Gauteng may participate. The District Chess Committee will determine the fee payable by each team to cover administrative costs. A deadline for entries will be set and the acceptance of late entries will be at the discretion of the District Committee. Schools have the option to enter their teams for: the normal League (Second Term League), Development league (Third Term League) or LSEN Schools League. Schools can only enter in one. of the various leagues.

Only the teams who participated in the Second Term League will be able to qualify for the Gauteng Provincial School Team Trials. In the third term of the year two leagues will be hosted by DISTRICT, namely:


Secondary Schools:

u/18 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/18 Girls – Girls Only – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/17 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/15 Open – Mixed Team – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/15 Girls – Girls Only – 6 players + 1 reserve

Primary School:

u/13 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/13 Girls – Girls Only – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/11 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/9 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve


u/18 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/17 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve
u/15 Open – Mixed Gender – 6 players + 1 reserve

League Rules:


There is no limit to the number of teams that a school may enter in the various sections, but the Districts Committee reserves the right to combine at their discretion the teams in groups for practical reasons. Depending on the number of entries received for a particular section, the Committee may assign a team to another section for which it qualifies. In such a case the schools of that particular team have the option to cancel their entry or to request allocation to another section or group. The decision of the Committee in considering this request shall be final.

Cluster Groups:

1. League groups will consist of as many teams as are necessitated by the number of entries. There should not be more than 6 teams per group, as the term is too short to play more than 5 matches. Groups will be determined by the following guidelines:
The top performing schools of the previous year’s league are put into different groups. To determine the top performing schools the previous years’ results (results of matches played during league, league play-offs and provincial play-offs) should be taken into consideration. a. Thereafter, groups are made up of teams that are geographically close.

2. Group division is done with the understanding that strong teams should not meet one another in the preliminary rounds. These teams should be given a fair opportunity to progress to the District play -offs as the strongest teams should represent the district at the Gauteng Team Championships.


League pairings at district/ cluster level will be done by the league manager. To determine the top performing schools the previous years’ results (matches played, league play-offs and provincial play-offs) should be taken into consideration.


1. Before the League
NO withdrawals will be accepted after league fixtures have been communicated and published. If such a case occurs, the withdrawing school will be subject to a financial penalty as determined by the committee. The District committee also reserves the right to penalize the school for participation in the league in the next year. The school’s principal
will receive a written notice with the committee’s decision.

2. During the League
When a school wishes to withdraw a team, the school has to inform the League Manager or committee immediately telephonically. The organizer of the team that withdrew will, within 24 hours, notify in writing the principal and chess organizer of all the opposing schools in that group/section and copy the District Committee’s league manager. However, it remains the responsibility of the school that withdrew a team to notify all other schools in that group of their withdrawal, after confirming with the Committee. Withdrawal of a team is deemed a very serious matter. All points earned by such a school as well as all points earned against the withdrawing by all opposing schools in that specific group will not be taken in consideration. The District Committee reserves the right to penalize such a school for league participation in the following year and to give a financial penalty.

Board order and changes in teams

1. Players are placed in order of strength with the strongest player on board 1 and the weakest player on the last board (6). Should a school not conform to the requirements, the District Committee must be notified without delay. A letter will then be sent to the principal of the school and the team will be penalized.
2. A cut-off date for entries will be communicated to schools by the District committee for the Team list.
3. The Entry form will be published on the various District webpages on the Gauteng Chess website: www.gautengchess.co.za.
4. The Team entry-form on which the ID number and a ID or Passport Photo of the Player is required. Completed forms must be e-mailed, faxed or uploaded to the website for the District committee at the given date. The final team list must be sent to the District committee before the start of the 2nd game. Should the committee not received the Team list, the Team playing in the 2nd round will be regarded as the final Team where after the board order of the team players will be fixed and no changes may be made.

Absent players

1. For absent team players one of the following options applies:

a. The board of the absent player is left vacant and the opponent (who must be present) is awarded the point.
b. A RESERVE player may replace the absentee.
c. All the players in the team move up one position and the replacement takes
up the lowest board of the team.

2. The opponent school must be informed before the start of the match.

New players

Learners that enroll during a school term and are eligible for the chess team may be taken up in a
team according to the schools Team selection procedure and qualification rules. Such changes to
teams should be faxed to the opposing team and the League Manager on the Monday BEFORE
the match is played. No exceptions will be accepted. The League Manager will communicate the
changes to the relevant schools.

Home School players

As from 2018 it will be allowed to enter Home school players in a school’s Chess team provided:
• The players play in the first round of the league and not only at Gauteng Provincial final.
• The players are registered with the school which they represent

Team Managers/adult supervision

An adult supervisor should accompany each team to a match. It is highly recommend that supervisors obtain a chess supervisor’s certificate, issued by the SA Chess Arbiters’ Association and endorsed by CHESS SOUTH AFRICA (CHESS SA).


1. Refreshments

As a chess player needs brain food to play a competitive match. Each team is responsible for their own lunch for the day of play. The District committee will appreciate it if the hosting school can supply light refreshments for all players, as well as the adults
accompanying the team. Chess sets and boards have to be set up prior to the opponent school’s arrival.

2. Home matches

Ideally, a team should play half of the matches at its own school. Schools should, however, accept that, owing to venue and transport constraints, this arrangement is not always possible and some schools may be required to travel more than others.
Both schools must confirm the match 3 days before the start of the match. This can be done via fax, email, telephone, WhatsApp or sms. If the school can’t be reached, please inform the District committee.

3. Matches away (played at another school)

a. The time of arrival and the number of adults accompanying the team(s) (for whom refreshments should be prepared) need to be confirmed beforehand.
b. If the security of scheduled match venue is considered unsafe for the players an alternative venue should be arranged by the schools prior to the match, and the district manager should be notified in advance.
c. All travelling expenses remain the responsibility of the visiting school that requested another location.

4. Starting time of contests

Matches should not start later than the time agreed on by the schools. Should a school know beforehand that it will not be possible for all or some of its players to be at the other school at the required time, the supervisor should inform the host school in writing (fax) and telephonically at least a week prior to the match, so that the host school can be ready
at that time. The default time will be 30 minutes. Should the opponent not arrive in time players with the white pieces make their move and press their clocks. A player with the black pieces simply presses the clock. This means that players with white who are not present lose the time; a player with black only loses time when his opponent is present, made the move
and pressed the clock. An absent player will forfeit the point when an half an hour has passed on the opponent’s
clock and the absentee did not turn up.

5. Postponement of matches

  • All scheduled matches must be played. Points cannot be earned (or “given” by the opposing team) on grounds of the absence of an opposing team. If a team did not show, after confirming the Committee reserves the right to penalize such a team and the
    teacher of that team will be reported by the District committee to that specific schools’
  • The calendar allows time to reschedule a match if it becomes necessary. Should it be impossible to play a match on the scheduled dates or at the venues, alternative dates should be arranged.
  • Should the school not manage to arrange a date the Committee reserves the right to penalize such a team and the teacher of that team will be reported by the District committee to that specific schools’ principal. The District committee also reserves the right to penalize the school for participation in the league in the next year. In such a case this specific team’s points earned in the league will be subtracted from all previous matches. All teams in that specific group will be awarded 6 points (6 for girl’s teams) in this case. The team will not be allowed to participate further in the league for that year.

6. The game

  • Chess Rules
    Matches are played in accordance with the FIDE Laws of Chess 2014 and the Regulations of the DISTRICT League. FIDE is the International Chess Federation. Copies of the DISTRICT Regulations and Fixtures and the latest FIDE Laws should be at hand for consultation at venues where the matches will be played.
  • Boards and Chess Pieces
    Boards and pieces should be of the standard competition size. Pieces of the Staunton style are preferred (king size 95mm and pawn 40mm) and Black and Ivory plastic pieces, or if wooden pieces are used a dark wood and a very light colored wood. Boards must be of colors pleasing to the eyes, blocks not smaller than 50mm and with notation on the outside border. Should a supervisor feel that the boards and pieces supplied by the host school may be confusing to the players, he may supply his own pieces and boards that are of the standard tournament sizes and also acceptable to the host.
  • Chess clock and time control
    The rate of play shall be 60:60.
  • All players are required to play with chess clocks . The supervisor shall place a clock at each board, usually on the right hand side of the players with the black pieces. The game on a specific board ends either in a normal way as determined by the Laws of chess, or when a flag falls. (The “flag” is the little red device at the 12 o’clock position, the long hand lifts it up at 11:55 and at 12:00 it “falls down”- indicating that the time is up, the short hand must be at the 6 o’ clock position). The player whose flag fell first lost the game, provided his opponent had mating material left when the flag fell. Supervisors should also consult also the FIDE rules on the use of clocks.
  • Points
    Each player can score one point for a win, half a point for a draw and no point for a loss. The team’s individual points are then totalled to give score for the match. After all the matches had been played, the scores of the matches are then added to determine the winners and runners up of each group.
  • Tie-break System
    The following tie-break system will be used:
    a. Total game points
    b. Total match points
    c. Direct encounter

7. Notation

A player must write up (notate) what the move was. Team managers are responsible to supply their team members with notation paper and pencils/pens. When team players do not notate, one point shall be deducted from the team. Appeals about the application of the rules or decisions of supervisors shall be entertained only if the notation sheets of both the players in the dispute are submitted. Notation shall be done according to the FIDE rules. The Fide rules can be found on the
website: http://gautengchess.co.za/schools.php

8. Spectators and Game interference

All cell phones must be turned off. A player loses the match immediately when his cell phone rings during the match. No help may be given to players once the games have started. Only the two players involved may agree to a draw and see the checkmate,
stalemate or whatever is applicable. Team managers are not allowed to interfere in a game. The only instances this will be allowed, are the following:

a. When a flag has fallen the game must be stopped and awarded to the player who has still time on his clock, provided he/she has enough mating material left.
b. When an illegal move was made. If this is noticed by the player or by an official, the pieces must be taken back to the position before the transgression. Special attention must be given to Kings that are in check and not noticed by the players.
c. When both sides do not have mating material left, officials must stop the game and declare a draw.
d. When one or both players seeks the assistance of an official. If players need assistance, both timers on the clock should be stopped and an official called. Should any spectator or parent disturb the players, the supervisor shall request them to leave the room, whether the players complained or not. No spectators will be allowed to move around between boards and no children, accept for players, will be allowed in the allocated room. The supervisor must ensure that his own cell phone and that of other adults or spectators entering the playing room are switched on silent mode.

9. Board Order

Board order is fixed, as determined by a specific school before the start of the 2nd game in the league. If a school should change players between boards, all points on that specific boards will be given to the opponent school. Such a case must be reported to the District Committee immediately by the Opponent School.

10. Penalties

Infringements must be reported in the same way as an appeal. One point shall be deducted from a team’s total score for each of the following:
• Illegitimate interference in a league game by managers or spectators.
• Players that neglected to notate must be reported to the League manager.

11. Disputes and appeals

a. The District Committee will function as the Appeals Committee of the League. Decisions taken by this Committee will be final.
b. If a dispute arises during a match and the two supervisors involved cannot resolve the matter immediately, the following must be done:
c. Advise the opposing team’s manager/supervisor that you intend to appeal to the committee.
d. Let the players complete the game if possible.
e. The opposing team managers will both submit, in writing, their versions of the dispute to the League Manager, signed by the player and the manager of the team.
f. The written appeal will contain a copy of the notation of the game in contention. Such a report should contain a reference to the District League Regulation or FIDE law that was infringed and the action that was recommended on the spot. g. Without the evidence (written appeal and notation) no dispute will be entertained by the District Committee and no points may be awarded to either of the players involved.
h. The Committee will rule on the dispute and, if the appeal is rejected, the result of the completed game shall stand.
i. The supervisor lodging the appeal should inform the League Manager telephonically at first and then submit the details of the complaint in writing within one week (seven days).
j. Please note that the District Committee can only rule on matters at district level. All other matters will be reported and handled by Gauteng Schools Chess Committee .