USCF Team Rules
USCF Team Rules
31B. Player rankings.
Players on a team are ranked according to rating; the higher-rated players play on lower board numbers. Alternates must be lower-rated than regular team members. Unrated players, unless assigned ratings (28D), must play on higher-numbered boards than rated players.
TD TIP: The lowest board number is 1. This can be confusing since the top players play on this board.
If a player is missing from the lineup, lower-rated teammates must move up to preserve the order by rating, so that if a team forfeits games, they are always on the last (highest-numbered, lowest-rated) boards. Board assignments must always be made as described in the preceding paragraph.
TD TIP: Players missing from a team lineup require special care. The director can announce that individual team members should not start play unless all team members for both teams are present. After a very short time, announced by the director, all players missing from the lineup must be replaced by lower-rated teammates as outlined in 31B or any announced and posted variations of 31B. The individual games may then begin.
A variation on this technique is used in round one, which presents special problems regarding players missing from the lineup. Travel is known to delay a player’s arrival. Some directors, if they are confident that the player will arrive in time to complete a game, allow play to start in round one with a player missing from the lineup without enforcing 31B. Those directors often check with site officials, such as the hotel staff, to see if the player has arrived before making this ruling; however, this technique can backfire. For a lot of reasons the missing player may not show up at all. What the director rules at this point has an effect on team match points and team tiebreak points.
Ruling one: The team with the missing player forfeits that board and all boards below it. The actual game result is reported to USCF for rating purposes but scored as forfeit losses for the team event. This method has a negative impact on the calculation of future tiebreak points.
Ruling two: The team with the missing player forfeits only the missing board. In all future rounds 31B will apply to the team with the missing player. This lessens the negative impact on future calculations of tiebreak points; however, it may cause the team with a full team roster to actually lose the round one match.
Since either ruling directly affects the team with the full roster of players, some directors allow that team to choose which ruling they prefer. Other directors may allow that team to decide before play starts if they prefer the enforcement of 31B or one of the two rulings just outlined here.
31B1. Board prizes.
If individual board prizes are offered, players who play on more than one board are eligible only for the lowest board played. The player’s points on all boards combined are credited toward the board prize on the lowest board.
Variation 31B2. Placement of unrated players in team lineup.
An unrated player may play on any board.
31C. Team ratings.
Teams are ranked in order of the average of individual ratings of the rated regulars, not alternates. Unrated players (28D) do not affect their team’s average rating.
Variation 31C1. Unrateds and team ratings.
In calculating the average team rating, an unrated on board four is assigned 50 points below the rating of board three. An unrated on board three is assigned the average of the board two and four ratings. An unrated on board two is assigned the average of the board one and three ratings. An unrated on board one is assigned 50 points above the rating of board two. This system and 31B1 have been used at the Pan-American Intercollegiate.
TD TIP: Pairing software can calculate a team’s average rating automatically.
31D. Pairing cards.
Team tournaments use pairing cards similar to those used in individual tournaments, except that there is space to note both match scores and game points. Ideally, a larger pairing card, such as one measuring five-by-eight inches, should be used. These are available from the USCF office.
The front of the pairing card should contain the team name, the team average rating, the round-by-round results of the team, the colors of the team, and the team’s opponents. The reverse side should contain the names of the players, their ratings, their USCF identification numbers, and the name of the team captain, as well as any information about fees and dues paid.
TD TIP: Pairing software can take care of these tasks automatically.
31E. Pairing rules.
Swiss team events should be paired in the same manner as individual events. Teams are grouped by their match points and then ranked within the group by their ratings. Rules governing color allocations apply to the color received by board one. If the first board receives white, for example, so do all teammates on odd-numbered boards, while his or her even-numbered teammates play black. Byes, defaults, lateness, and so forth are treated as in individual tournaments. Scoring is based on match points, without regard to the margin of victory.
In each match of a team tournament, a full match point (1.0) is awarded to the team with the greater game point total, while the opposing team receives no match points (0.0). If the two teams’ game point totals are the same, each team receives half a match point (0.5).
TD TIP: Typically to win a match point a team’s game point total must be at least one-half point more than the opposing team’s game point total for that round (to draw the match both teams’ game point totals are the same); i.e., the team with the largest total team game score wins the match or if the team game scores are equal draws the match. In the case of a double forfeit on one or more boards, it is possible for a team to win or draw the match even though its game point total seems insufficient to typically win or draw. For example, with 4-player teams, neither team’s 4th board shows up. Team A wins on boards 1 and 2 (two game points) while team B wins on board 3 (one game point). Team A wins the match (and scores 1.0 match point) even though its game score is only 2.0 (typically only enough to draw a 4 board team match). Or, if the games on boards 1 through 3 are all draws, and board 4 is a double forfeit, then teams A and B each draw the match (0.5 match points) even though each team’s game score is only 1.5 (typically not enough to draw or win a 4 board team match).
The director or organizer should announce in advance any variation on this procedure, including the minimum number of players (other than a full team) required to be present for a team to be paired or the minimum number of game points required for a team to win or draw a match.
One example variation: in each match of a team tournament, a full match point (1.0) is awarded to the team with the greater game point total only if that game point total is greater than half the available game points for the match; e.g., a team’s game point total must be at least 2.5 in a team tournament with four-board teams in order to win. If a team scores exactly half the available game points, then the team receives half a match point (0.5); e.g., a team’s game point total must be at least 2.0 in a team tournament with four-board teams in order to draw the match. If a team scores fewer than half the available match points for the match that team receives no game points (0.0); e.g., a team with a game point total equal to or less than 1.5 in a team tournament with four-board teams cannot score a match point.
Under this variation, if two teams with only three players each meet in a four-board match, a game score of 2-1 would lead to one team drawing the match (0.5 match point) and the other team losing the match (0.0 match point), while a game score of 1.5-1.5 would lead to both teams losing the match (0.0 match point).
Note that colors are less important for teams with an even number of boards than they are in an individual tournament, since half the team will have each color in every round.
Variation 31E1. Game point scoring.
Scoring and pairings may be done by game points rather than match points, or by a combination of the two (match points first, then game points if tied).
TD TIP: This is an ideal task for properly set pairing software.
31F. Wall charts.
Swiss team events are unique in that two sets of wall charts are needed: team charts to display team results and individual charts for individual results. The latter, in addition to being informative, are needed for tiebreak and rating purposes.
The individual charts are set up by team so that the highest-average-rated team’s players would appear as numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, etc., the second-highest-rated team’s players next, and so on down to the lowest-rated team’s players. Note that a player on a lower-rated team could have the highest individual rating in the tournament but still be placed far down on the wall charts.
A form that combines individual and team entries on a single wall chart is also possible, as is the use of a separate individual wall chart for each board.
31G. Team captain.
The role of the team captain is:
To register the team with all appropriate information.
To see that the team arrives on time for each match.
To see that the team plays the correct opponent, in the correct board order, with the correct colors.
31G4. Draw consequences.
To advise the players, if asked, what the likely consequences of a draw would be for the team, and to respond to such a request without looking at the game of the player making the request.
31G4a. Captain may not impose results.
Each player alone is responsible for the result of his or her own game. The team captain may not impose results upon team members.
31G5. Reporting result.
To report the result of the match to the tournament director in the manner required.
31G6. Wall charts.
To check the wall charts for accuracy and to report any discrepancies to the director.