Covid19 Update + Fair Play Policy

We wish all chess players and fans good health during these difficult times. Despite the lockdown easing, we have made the decision to put on hold our return to our regular chess Saturday night beer and blitz sessions at the Rochester Castle pub. Please visit our Facebook page  for updates of where we are playing casual chess.


Hackney Chess Club Online Fair Play Policy

Hackney Chess Club is committed to the principles of fair play in all games. This applies to the way we play our games, and to the conduct of our opponents.

Since March 2020 games have been played mostly online, using mobile phones, laptops or PCs and tablets. Games are played on these devices, using platforms such as Lichess, and Tornelo.

Nearly everyone will have access to engines such as Stockfish or Houdini. It is NOT acceptable to use any engine or tablebase assistance during the course of games, nor to consult chess books while games are in progress, nor to receive any other form of outside assistance.

The platforms we play on use computer algorithms to monitor games, and when there is a high correlation between the moves played and the moves an engine would play, then these games are viewed as suspicious. On these occasions the platform may decide that a player is ‘flagged’ and their user account privileges are suspended or withdrawn completely. Links are given below for league and platform views on fair play, including on respectful behaviour in general, especially on being understanding, sporting and patient when people get disconnected, and on being polite and respectful in the chat.

As well as examining the moves themselves, platforms also look at other factors, such as clock times, and whether a player has made extensive use of other windows during the game.

Once an account is flagged in this way it is unlikely that the decision can be overturned, by individual players or by us as a club. The leagues we play in, such as London League and 4NCL, require the integrity of participating players; when this is found to be lacking players may be banned and points they have scored for the club previously may be voided. There is a fee payable to the platforms and leagues for making an appeal; the club would only be prepared to pay this fee in the most exceptional circumstances.

In addition to being subject to monitoring by platforms or leagues, the club itself will also monitor a sample of games to ensure that our players are adhering to the principles of fair play. If a player has been flagged by a league or platform, then we will examine their games as a matter of course.

If a determination is made by the club that a player is using any form of outside assistance, then that player may be subject to a ban on playing for us for up to 12 months. Players will have a right of appeal against a ban from the club. The panel considering these appeals will be made up of no less than three players who are suitably qualified to take a view on these matters. The decision of the appeal panel will be final.

If, following the serving of such a ban, a player is again found to be using any form of outside assistance, they will be subject to a second ban on playing for the club. The duration of this second ban will be determined by the committee – and may be permanent – at the committee’s sole discretion. It will be subject to the same appeals process described in the previous paragraph.

When our players, or we as a club, have reasonable grounds for suspicion that our opponents have used outside assistance then we will make representations to the platforms and leagues concerned to get these players flagged.

This statement has unfortunately become necessary because of instances since March 2020 when our opponents are thought to have been using outside assistance, or when a small number of our players have themselves been thought to be responsible for this behaviour.

Players who win games by using outside assistance will not feel the satisfaction they would from winning a game fairly. There is no prize money at stake, and the games we are playing online have no bearing on ECF OTB ratings. We discourage this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

By making themselves available for selection, all players implicitly agree to play fairly, and to abide by the principles set out in this policy.

Not playing fairly brings the game into disrepute. Hackney Chess Club promotes and requires fair play in all games.

Useful links: