Metro Area Chess League (MACL): Rules

2023-2024 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 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 one day 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 chess club 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, phone number, usernames for other online chess accounts, 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. Players should not use their personal lichess accounts to play in the league, as that causes confusion and delays on match days but they are welcome to use their league accounts for all legitimate purposes.

3d.  The league encourages the coach of each team to designate a student captain or co-captains of the team to oversee the team line-ups for each match. The student captains will be responsible for getting their players to be present and 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 online or in-person matches after school or on Saturdays. The matches will be played the weeks ending November 19, December 10, January 14, January 27, February 11, February 25 , March 15, and March 29.

2.  Each match must be completed, with results and Portable Game Notations (PGNs) collected by the league administrator by 11:59 pm ET Sunday of each match week.

3a.  The pairings will be sent to coaches and captains at least one week prior to their match deadline, along with suggested online/in-person formats for each match. Coaches and captains are responsible for scheduling the matches with their opponents.

3b.  If a match time cannot be agreed upon by teams, the league administrator will assign a time and format. Appeals may be made by adult coaches only.

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 on a Saturday in April.

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 scoring more than two points receives one Match Point. If a team scores two points, the team earns half a Match Point. If a team scores fewer than two 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 for each team throughout the season): most wins 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.  Matches are played on the platform, or in person with clocks.

2.  All team players and respective coaches will assemble at the same location. The time control for all online games in the League is Game/25;+5 (meaning that each player has 25 minutes per game, plus an additional five seconds per move).

3a.  In-person games must be recorded by both players. The time control will be adjusted to Game/30;+5.

3b.  Players or coaches must convert their games to PGN format as best they can and submit them to the league administrator.

4.  Colors will alternate on boards with the “home team” having white on boards 1 and 3. The home team will be assigned by the league administrator. 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