Playing of Online Chess Policy

Adopted June 2020

This policy applies to members and officials of the Essex Chess Association (“the ECA”) and to those who participate in the ECA’s online events and teams. Players participating in ECA teams in external events will also be subject to the competition rules and conditions of entry of those events.

The ECA reserves the right to refuse any player registration or not to select any player at is absolute discretion without explanation.

Platform Familiarity

Players are expected to familiarise themselves with the operation of the host platform prior to playing in matches or ECA events. This includes the circumstances in which a game maybe terminated by the platform. For example, timeouts for not making the first move in time or loss of connection. Circumstances vary between platforms.

Fair Play and Anti-Cheating

Players must comply with platform rules in relation to general standards of conduct, sportsmanship and online behaviour.

In the event of persistent deliberate gamesmanship a player may be suspended from ECA’s online activities. For example, disconnecting rather than using the resign button, allowing the clock to run down in a lost position, delaying the start of play.

Players must comply with the Fair Play Rules of the host platform provider. Details of those for chess.com and lichess can be found here:

Platform Fair Play Rules: chess.com Community Policies | chess.com Fair Play Rules | lichess.org Terms of Service (including Fair Play and Community Guidelines)

Players undertake not to receive assistance in any form during online play. This includes (but is not limited to):

  1. receive help from any other person, player or coach;
  2. make use of chess engines, bots, plugins, analysis tools, tablebases, blunder checks or other best moves tools
  3. referencing chess literature; e.g. books, online resources, apps etc.

Players further undertake not to:

  1. impersonate or make use of other people’s accounts
  2. artificially inflate or deflate their rating (staged results)
  3. interfere with other online games.

Players should not hold more than one playing account with any one host platform provider. Most platform providers do not permit this. Platform bans may result.

Players should comply with the policies of the host platform provider and in signing up to a host platform provider account will be bound by the provider’s terms of service.

Anti-cheating measures of host platform providers can be found at: chess.com | lichess.org

When participating in any English Chess Federation (“ECF”) event or any ECF online rated event players must abide by the guidance and rules set out in the ECF’s Fair Play & Anti-Cheating Rules (“OFPAC Rules”).

The ECF and/or the ECA may submit games to a third party for analysis and review as part of their anti-cheating measures and fair play procedures.

Fair Play breaches and Sanctions

For an ECF or an ECF rated event fair play breaches will be governed by the ECF’s OFPAC Rules and sanctions may be applied by the ECF accordingly.

For non ECF and non ECF rated events, the ECA reserves the right for its organiser to levy sanctions in respect of that event with a right of appeal to the ECA Executive.

For all activities the Association’s Fair Play sub-committee (as appointed by the ECA Executive) may impose additional sanctions in respect of the ECA’s online activities with a right of appeal to the ECA Executive.

Any appeal under the ECF’s OFPAC procedures or the internal procedures of the ECA arising from fair play sanctions imposed by a host platform provider will not be entertained unless a player has exhausted the appeals process with the platform provider.

Appeal Procedures: For chess.com | For lichess

Suspicions of cheating

These should be raised first of all with the host platform provider, which will have been running anti-cheating software.

Reporting suspicions of cheating: For chess.com | For lichess

Actions of host platform

The ECA has no control over the operation of any hosting chess platform and the decisions made in respect of a player’s user account(s). Any issues in respect of the making of such decisions must be taken up with the host platform provider direct including utilising the provider’s appeal processes.

Online safety and Safeguarding

The ECA’s Safeguarding Policy for Online Play must be followed.

All players must abide by:

• the host platform provider’s rules in relation to general standards of conduct, sportsmanship and online behaviour

• the ECA’s Code of Conduct for Online Chess

The Code of Conduct provides guidance for

• the ECA’s administrators and organisers

• parents and guardians of junior players

• players.

Data Protection

A player’s name, title, rating, grades and associated team lists, team sheets and matchcards may be published on any of the ECA’s website, competition website, results servers, host platform, and ECF online rating lists.

A player’s name and platform username may be published by the ECA along with a player’s results. Publication may also occur by external competition organisers in accordance with the competition’s rules and host organiser’s policies.

A player’s games, which may include a player’s name and/or platform username, may be submitted by the ECA and/or the ECF to a third party for analysis as part of their fair play and anti-cheating procedures.

The ECA is the Data Controller for the above processing by the ECA of a player’s personal data under the lawful basis of legitimate interest in accordance with the ECA’s Privacy Notice.

The ECF is the Data Controller for the processing by the ECF of a player’s personal data under the lawful basis of legitimate interest in accordance with the OFPAC Rules and the ECF’s Privacy Notice.

Conditions of Entry

It is a condition of entry or of participation that the ECA shall have no liability (whether in contract, tort or otherwise) in relation to the decisions taken by the host platform service provider in respect of a player’s user account(s).

In respect of ECF online rated events it is a condition of entry or of participation that a player must comply with the ECF’s OFPAC Rules and that the ECA shall have no liability (whether in contract, tort or otherwise) in relation to the implementation of those rules and associated guidelines.

It is a condition of entry that a) participating adult players and b) for junior players a parent or guardian and player where old enough agree to the publication of data set out in the Data Protection section above and to the processing of that data under the lawful basis of legitimate interest.
It is a condition of entry to events run by the ECA or of participation in a team representing the ECA that a player agrees to abide by this policy.

Any player (or parent or guardian of a junior player) who does not agree to follow any part of this policy or objects to any part of these conditions of entry should not participate. Any player who does participate shall be assumed to have agreed (including parental consent) with these entry conditions.

ECA Organisers

Organisers must comply with the ECA’s Code of Conduct for Online Chess

Organisers must ensure that:

• for teams competing in external events, players are provided with the competition rules and where the event is ECF rated the OFPAC Rules;

• all players and parents and guardians of junior players are provided with this Online Policy and referred to the Conditions of Entry and to the Code of Conduct for Online Chess;

• parental permission is obtained for junior players to participate which may include adding opponent’s as their child’s friend or contact and that parents and guardians ensure that the opponent are removed as such after the game;

• parents and guardians take safeguarding responsibility for the operation of host platform accounts for their child, noting that juniors under the age of 13 must use a parental account and that safe mode for children should be engaged.