Modbury Chess Club Rules

This club has a constitution that governs how the club is run in a legal sense. A copy of that constitution is held by the Club President and is available if anybody ever wishes to view it. The constitution decrees how meetings are held, how often, the procedures and many factors regarding how the club functions. However it is neither possible nor wise to include everything in there. Any time that we wanted to change those procedures and rules, we would need to lodge new documents which is costly and difficult.

To alleviate that problem, we instead have a set of guidelines to cover the details of what happens at the club.

These are set out below for the information of all club members and visitors.

If any of them are unclear or you consider them to be unfair, wrong, or needing clarification, please address your concerns to the committee.


For obvious reasons, we expect a certain standard of behaviour from club members whilst at the club. With that in mind, we remind you that the following always applies:

  1. Players are to treat all other members with respect, and to always participate in a spirit of fairness and good sportsmanship.
  2. Occasionally disputes will arise, including with regards to clocks. Again it is emphasised that we expect good sportsmanship to prevail.
  3. Any dispute that cannot be decided over the table between the players should immediately be referred to the DOP (director of play). In all matters, the decision of the DOP is final.
  4. During tournament play, please be as quiet as possible while other games are in progress. Do not disturb other players who are trying to concentrate.
  5. No electronic devices such as mobile phones or tablets are to be used during a game.
  6. Cheating in any way will not be tolerated at all and there can be serious penalties for doing so.
  7. Remember that we share our clubrooms with other users, and their equipment is to always be left alone.
  8. Remember above all that while we might consider our games to be important, they are only games and so they should not be taken TOO seriously.
  9. The club opens at 7.15pm. If you can get there then to help set up the room, that is great. We ask that everybody gets there by 7.30pm at the latest, so the tournament director can plan who is playing. When you arrive, please make sure that the tournament director is aware that you are there and advise them whether or not you are playing that night. It is frustrating if they plan and start the tournament, only to have somebody arrive late or inform late that they are not playing and the tournament director has to make adjustments and re-start the tournament.


Here at Modbury Chess Club we try to be fairly relaxed about enforcing chess rules. For our serious events such as the Club Championships - classical, blitz and rapid, we do enforce the rules, and if you ever intend to play outside the club (interclub, tournaments etc) you should be aware of them and act accordingly.

With that in mind, here is a reminder about some basic rules when playing competitive chess:

  1. Touch move – if you intentionally touch a piece, you must move it if you can legally do so. If you want to adjust it you should alert your opponent before touching the piece by saying “j’adoube” or “adjusting”. Therefore it is a good habit to not touch anything until you have decided what move to make. Do not touch a piece and then think about where to put it, decide on your move first. You should not touch any pieces during your opponent’s turn.
  2. If you move a piece and then let go of it and the move is legal, then that move is committed, even if you have not pressed your clock yet. You can’t then move the piece to another square. If the move is NOT legal, then you can retract that move, however if the piece you moved can make a legal move, it must do so (see touch-move above).
  3. Pressing the clock – you must press the clock with the same hand that you move the piece. You cannot move a piece with one hand and press the clock with the other hand. If you accidently knock over any pieces you should replace them before pressing your clock.
  4. If you are watching a game, you are observing only. You must not do anything to affect the game at all. This means that you should never:
    1. tell a player if they forget to press the clock or if someone’s time runs out.
    2. tell if someone is in check.
    3. point out illegal moves or any other moves.
    4. react to anything that happens in the game, including making faces or noises upon noticing mistakes or missed opportunities.

These are just some of the basic rules of playing over-the-board competitive chess and of the Modbury Chess Club. More information can be found in the FIDE handbook ( under E. Miscellaneous / 01. Laws of Chess / FIDE Laws of Chess taking effect from 1 January 2023.

By adhering to these rules it avoids any disputes and ill-feeling, and keeps our club a happy place to enjoy the great game of chess. If you would like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the executive committee.

Trophies and Titles

We run several events throughout the year for which we give trophies to the winners. Winners also get mentioned in our Hall of Fame and earn a title, such as Club Champion. Some rules regarding the awarding of trophies and titles are as follows:

  1. How many trophies are given in a particular tournament is decided by the Executive Committee during the tournament, primarily based on the number of competitors. It may also be influenced by other factors. For example, if there are many juniors playing then we may decide to award one or more junior trophies apart from the open trophies.
  2. Trophies may only be won by members of the club. Anyone is welcome to come along and play in a tournament, but if they are not a member of the club then they cannot officially win the tournament. They might score 9 out of 9 but they will not be officially declared the winner. That honour will go to the highest placed club member. If for example two club members finish equal second behind a non-member, then they may either be declared as joint winners or they may need to have a play-off to decide the winner.
  3. It is also not acceptable for such a player to try to circumvent this rule by simply paying membership fees (joining the club) and then playing in the event such as the Club Championship. To earn the title and the trophy, the member must be a regular member of the club. It is at the discretion of the Executive Committee as to whether players who want to play in a club event and are not regular members are to be allowed to join and compete, and that decision is final.

Remember that if you have any problems with any of these matters, please raise it with the committee for consideration. You are welcome to put forward your point of view. Likewise if you think there are other subjects that should be added to this list, let us know.