Metro Area Chess League (MACL): Rules

2022-2023 League Rules
These rules are subject to change before the start of the season.  Participants already registered will be notified of any such changes before the first round of matches begins.


1.  Any high school in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area (in one of the following jurisdictions: District of Columbia, Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland, Arlington County, Fairfax County, City of Falls Church, and City of Alexandria in Virginia) is eligible to join. Players must be registered students in grades 9–12 in the school they represent. Each school must have an adult coach, who is welcome but not required to be present for matches.

2.  A team consists of four players for each match. The team may be different players from match to match. Players compete in order of strength, with the strongest player on board one and the weakest on board four.

3a.  The coach of the team must register the players who will compete for the school. A coach may register any number of players to be eligible to compete for the team for the season. The coach may add to the roster of players at any time but must register students at least one week before that student may play. The coach must designate the four players who will comprise the team at least 24 hours before the match is played. Each team will be allowed a maximum of two last-minute substitutions for the eight-week league to their 4-player matchday lineup.

3b.  Each school may provide their entire ‘school roster’ (all players for that school) in advance for the entire season and add students as needed. Students will not be allowed to play in a match within the week they are added.

3c. Rosters must include name, grade-level, and parent’s email address. Information for each eligible player needs to be submitted only once per season. The league will assign the names students should use for their lichess accounts.

3d. The league strongly encourages the coach of each team to designate a student captain or co-captains of a team to oversee the team lineups for each match.  The student captains will be responsible for getting their players to log into the match forum on time for each match and will serve as an additional point of contact for the league administrator.


1.  The season will consist of eight matches on Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm.  The matches will be played on November 15, December 6, January 10, January 24, February 7, February 21 (DC schools: February 28), March 7, and March 21. 

2. Matches may be postponed for up to one week in rounds 1 – 5 by mutual consent of the teams. Any match not completed within one week of the scheduled match date is recorded as a double-forfeit. No postponement of matches is permitted for rounds 6 – 8.

3. Matches are played on the platform. Students will obtain accounts for these matches using a format that allows the league administrator to see the team for which the student is playing.

4. US Chess Federation rules for regular tournaments, including rules enforcing integrity, will be used for all games.

5. The four teams with the best records at the end of the regular season will be invited to participate in the in-person play-offs, which will take place in late March, 2023.

6. For individual matches, there is no tie-break.  Matches are team versus team (i.e., the four-game competition between two schools). A team scores one Board Point for each individual game win and half a Board Point for each draw.  A team scoring more than two Board Points receives one Match Point. If a team scores exactly two board points, the team earns half a Match Point. If a team scores fewer than two board points, the team receives no Match Points. No student plays more than one game per match.

7. For league results, if two (or more) school teams end up with the same number of Match Points at the end of the regular season, the administrators break the tie by counting Board Points (the number of games won and drawn for each team throughout the season): most Board Points breaks the tie. If the first tie-break does not provide a winner, the head-to-head results of the tied teams will be used to break the tie. If a third tie-break is needed, the strength-of-opposition tie-break is used in which the Match Points of the opponents are added (removing the top and bottom scores) and the highest total wins the tie-break.


1. On each match evening, all players (and coaches, if they wish) will join a Zoom meeting and be assigned to Breakout Rooms for each team. At the time of the match, students will move from their team Breakout Room to the match Breakout Room, where the two teams will see each other. The time control for all games in the League is Game/25;+5 (meaning that each player has 25 minutes per game, plus an additional five seconds per move).

2. The students will challenge their opponents on the lichess platform based on the assignments of the pairings. Colors will alternate on boards with the “home team” having white on boards 1 and 3. Results will be posted on the electronic pairing sheet made available to both teams. Integrity challenges may be made by coaches only.


The league will make appropriate accommodations for any student with a disability covered by the ADA on a case-by-case basis.


For questions please email .