Sample League Bylaws

The below league bylaws are an example of how one League (Portland, 2017) organizes its play; more general questions for bylaws drafters are presented below that.


The name of this organization shall be the Portland Area Chess League, referred to in the following as “the League”.


The purpose of the League shall be:

  1. To establish and host a tournament permitting high school and middle school students to compete in five person team chess in the Portland area.
  2. To encourage schools and eligible students to participate in such competition.


  1. Members of the League shall be schools serving 6th through 12th grade students interested in participating in team chess competition in the Portland area.
  2. A school becomes a member by notifying the League Coordinator that it would like to field at least one team at the League competition, by the League Coordinator’s acceptance of that team, and by the school’s fielding of at least one team.
  3. The number of member schools or teams will not be limited. Members are encouraged to field as many teams as necessary to allow all interested students to play.


  1. The League Coordinator shall be the only officer elected by the membership. The Coordinator may appoint other officers and assistants as needed.
  2. The League Coordinator shall be a duly authorized coach of one of the member schools.
  3. The Coordinator shall serve for a one (1) year term.
  4. The duties of the Coordinator shall be as follows:
    • To call an organizational meeting prior to the start of League play (by October 31, in any case). At this meeting, the League Coordinator, in cooperation with the members, shall determine the format for League play, and the number and type of awards to be given at the end of each League season.
    • To preside at League meetings for the year.
    • To maintain a list of member school and League records.
    • To make and distribute a League schedule based on the format determined at the organizational meeting.
    • To maintain financial records for the League.
    • To set and collect membership dues appropriate to League expenses (including trophies).
    • To forward a copy of League membership to the OHSCTA Executive Secretary by November 30 of each year. The list will include the coach of each team along with phone numbers and mailing addresses.
    • To report the League standings to the Executive Secretary upon completion of the schedule, but in any event no later than one week prior to the State Tournament date.
  5. The Coordinator for the following year shall be elected prior to the completion of the current schedule.
  6. The Coordinator may be removed from office by a majority vote of the member schools.


  1. In addition to the organizational meeting, meetings shall be held, as necessary, on the evenings when League play is occurring.
  2. Each member school shall have one vote.
  3. A majority vote of member schools present at a regular meeting under Article V(a) can change the constitution, or make any other decision necessary to the function of the League.


  1. All team members shall be currently enrolled in a member high school, or a 6th, 7th, or 8th grade student.
  2. Students shall play on a team for the school in which they are enrolled, or (if a middle school or home schooled student) the team for the high school that they would attend according to established enrollment boundaries within their district, or for a private school located within those same enrollment boundaries.
  3. Students who desire to play but who would not be associated with a team under Article VI(b) (including, for instance, home schooled or other students living within an enrollment boundary where there is no team being fielded) may be assigned to a team by the League Coordinator.
  4. The maximum number of team members assigned to a school under Article VI(c) should generally be limited to two.
  5. The League Coordinator has discretion to vary Article VI(b), (c), and (d) as appropriate to maximize participation of interested students and to advance the purposes of League play.


  1. The official rules of chess (USCF version) shall be followed except as otherwise stipulated.
  2. A team shall consist of the five (5) best possible players in rank order. Each member school will submit a base ranking and a ranking system prior to the first match of the season.  Moves can be made only on the basis of demonstrated playing strength under the team’s ranking system, with appeals as provided for in Article VII(n).  When a player is absent, all players below that player in assessed playing skill must move up in order.  New players may start at the position earned by their demonstrated playing strength.  Teams will forfeit the games if they are not in compliance, except when both coaches of the affected teams agree otherwise.
  3. If, based on past history and communication with a player, a coach reasonably believes that a player is intending to attend the match, but that player has not arrived by the beginning of match play, that player’s position may be kept open, and the missing player’s clock shall be started. The game is forfeited after 30 minutes without a move by the missing player.
  4. Members may agree to postpone a match between teams from their schools to a later date, if necessary, to accommodate finals or address other pressing needs, and if the delay will not disrupt the process of making pairings for the next round. If the members have more than one team competing, they should make every effort to ensure that the membership on their teams for that round is not altered by the postponement.  No player may play more than one game, including forfeits, per round.
  5. Each board will count for one (1) point. With the winning player scoring the point for his/her team.  In the case of a draw on the board each team will score a half point (1/2).   The team scoring three (3) or more points will be awarded a match point and the team scoring two (2) or less points will lose the match point.  If both teams score two and half points (2½), the match point will be split with both teams scoring one half (½) match point.
  6. Time control will be game in 60 minutes, with a 5 second delay. If players are using a clock without a delay, and less than 10 minutes remains for either player, either player may pause the clock and request that a delay clock be placed on the game.
  7. Games which start without a clock may later be clocked. The time remaining until 6 PM will be divided equally between both players when clocked.  Example:  If a clock is put on the game at 5:40 PM, each player’s clock will show 10 minutes.
  8. One player per team shall be designated captain and is spokesman for the team. The captain is responsible for completing the score sheet property and turning it in at the conclusion of the match.
  9. Players on a team may consult the score sheet, but may not consult with each other regarding the likely consequences of a draw in their game.
  10. In the event of a dispute, the two coaches involved shall meet and attempt to resolve the conflict. In case of no agreement, refer to Article VII(n).
  11. Points earned toward end of year board awards will be computed by adding the number of board points earned as follows:
  • A win on Board 1 will be worth 1.00.
  • A win on Board 2 will be worth 0.8.
  • A win on Board 3 will be worth 0.64.
  • A win on Board 4 will be worth 0.512.
  • A win on Board 5 will be worth 0.4096.
  1. Players who play on various boards throughout the season will be eligible for a board award based on the following:
  • The board played most frequently will be used as the first consideration.
  • If an equal number of games were played on different boards, the player will be eligible for any of those board’s awards.
  1. If a team misses three matches during the season, then their remaining matches will be forfeited.

Any protest by team or player will be referred for adjudication to the collective membership of the League.  To the extent possible, USCF rules will be applied.


The name of this organization shall be the (insert name here) Chess League.
What is the purpose of your league? (To encourage play, organize a league and/or determine seeding for the state championship.)

Who can belong to the league?

How is this determined?
Will you assess dues?
How much?
What will they be used for?  Awards or facility use fee, etc?
When are they due?
Who is responsible for collecting and disbursing league funds?
What happens to teams who don’t pay?)
When will the advisors meet?
What will be the purpose?  Setting schedules, determining dues, ammending the league constitution, etc?
Will you hold special meetings during the season for schedule changes, disciplinary actions against players or teams, etc?
Who may vote at the meetings?
What is considered a majority vote?  2/3 ?  Or something else?
Will you have a league director?
A league secretary or treasurer?
Or a combined position?
Is there a term of office?
What will be their duties?  (Collecting dues, accounting for league expenditures, maintaining standings, reporting news to the advisors, and serving as liaison with the State Executive Secretary.)

How are they elected?
Will you only allow high school teams in your league?
What will be the eligibility requirements for players on the teams?  (A certain grade level, attendance at the school, homeschoolers, etc.)
If you have JV teams, what will be their requirements?
Section 1. RULES
What rules will you follow? USCF or something else?
Who will arbitrate disagreements during matches?
Who has the final decision?
What if that person is unavailable?
Section 2. MATCHES
When will matches take place?
Who will decide this?
What happens if a match must be rescheduled?
Is there a time limit?
What happens if a team fails to appear?
Section 3. TEAMS
How many players are on a team?
How to determine board order.
What happens to teams who stack their boards?
Who decides this?
What happens if less than five team members are available?
Will boards move up and fill the vacancy?
Section 4. NOTATION
Is notation mandatory?
Section 5. CLOCKS
Are clocks mandatory?
What if there aren’t enough clocks available?
Are digital clocks preferred?
What are the time controls on the games?
What if someone is expected, but is late?
Section 7. COLOR
How will you determine who is white and who is black?  (Generally, the team listed first in the pairings is considered white with boards 1, 3 & 5 playing white, while boards 2 & 4 play black and vice versa on the other team)
What kinds of sets will you allow?
 • When and for what should players talk to their captains?  Do they have to speak in front of the other team?
• Do players have to take their captain’s advice?
• Who is allowed to talk to the team?  If advisors and spectators are not allowed to talk or communicate, what will happen if they do? What kinds of things are considered communication?  Talking, hand gestures, facial expressions, etc?
Section 9. ADVISORS
What are an advisors responsibilities?
Is there a code of conduct?
Must the team advisor or his designee be present at matches?
What happens if an advisor doesn’t do what they are supposed to?
How will you decide the league champion if there is a tie?  Match scores, board scores, blitz, toin coss?
When will you give out awards?
May the league director add awards if he/she chooses?
When and how may this constitution be amended?  Will it have to be at the annual meeting, will you allow changes by mail or email?  What kind of a majority do you need to make changes?