Nations League Rules and Format

Nations League Rules and Format

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A. Schedule

A1.’s Nations League 2020 regular season will be June 28 (first match) through August 2 (Final Division B match) or August 16 (Final Division A match).  The top two teams in each division will qualify for the playoffs.

A2. Division A will have weekly regular season matches on seven (7) Sundays – June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, August 2, August 9, and August 16.  Sunday, July 26 will be reserved for a make-up week with no scheduled match.

A3. Division B will have weekly regular season matches on five (5) Sundays – June 28, July 5, July 12, July 19, and August 2.  Sunday, July 26 will be reserved for a make-up week with no scheduled match.

A4. The suggested default match time is Sunday 10:00am Pacific / 19:00 CEST. Teams may also schedule matches on Fridays or Saturdays. See F6 and F7 for rescheduling matches.

A5. Nation admins must report weekly results by the end of day on Sunday.

A6. The estimated match time is 1 hour, 30 minutes. The blitz segment should be scheduled for 75 minutes after the rapid segment.


B. Divisions and Eligibility

B1. There are two divisions – Division A and Division B.  Division assignments will be decided by the Leagues Administrator based on the size of the federation and its club.

B2. Players in the Nations League may only compete for one nation in a season. No exceptions.

B3. If it is found that a player has played for multiple nations, the player may be disqualified from the League for the current season.  The results of the player’s most recent matches will almost certainly be changed to forfeits for the purposes of scoring.


C. Pairings, Standings, Scoring, Tiebreaks

C1. The Nations League will have two divisions with a round robin (all-play-all) format.

C2. The pairings for all rounds will be posted before the first round.  It is strongly encouraged for nation admins to schedule their future matches ahead of time.

C3. Nations are expected to play every match (no byes or withdrawals).

C4. League standings are first based on match points, then on tiebreaks.

C5. Team Tiebreaks (if match points are tied) – Tiebreak 1: Head-to-head. Tiebreak 2: Game Points. Tiebreak 3: Sonneborn-Berger.

C6. Individual team tiebreaks (for top performer prizes) - Tiebreak 1: Total game points scored throughout season. Tiebreak 2: Higher rapid rating


D. Playoffs

D1. After the regular season (7 rounds for Division A, 5 rounds for Division B), the top two teams in each division, based on team tiebreaks in C5 if necessary, will advance to the playoffs.

D2. The Division A playoff match between the top two teams will be on Sunday, August 23 unless these two teams decide on a different date.

D3. The Division B playoff match between the top two teams will be on Sunday, August 9 unless these two teams decide on a different date.

D4. Playoff matches will take the same match format as the regular season (Section E), with a rapid and blitz segment.

D5. In the case of a drawn match in the playoffs (i.e. one team wins rapid, the other team wins blitz), the higher ranked team at the end of the regular season will be declared the winner.


E. Match format

E1. Each match is a nation vs nation (club vs club) match of two segments. Players must be in their nation’s club to represent their nation in league matches.

E2. Each match will consist of two segments – a rapid segment and a blitz segment.  Each segment is weighted equally – if a team wins both segments, they earn a full match point, if one team wins the rapid and the other team wins the blitz, it is a tied match.  In case one segment is tied, the team that wins the other segment will receive the full match point.  Game points are not relevant in determining the winner of the match, only the result of each segment (win, loss, draw).

E3. Players are not required to play both segments in a match – they may play either segment, or both.  All matches must have both segments – nation admins may not agree to skip either segment.

E4. In each segment (rapid and blitz), each player will play 2 games against the same opponent (white/black).  Players will not necessarily play the same player in both segments.

E5. The rapid time control is 15 minutes plus 2 second increment.  The blitz time control is 3 minutes plus 2 second increment.  There are no changes to the time control permitted, even if both teams agree.

E6. In each segment, the nation with the most game points wins that match segment.

E7. Nations may recruit any players for a match. There is no rating minimum or maximum. See B2 and B3.

E8. Matches will be played based on Rapid ratings (rapid segment) and Blitz ratings (blitz segment) at the time of the match - Board 1 vs Board 1, Board 2 vs Board 2, etc.

E9. It is not permitted for nations or players to alter the match format of a specific match, even if both players/admins/nations agree.  All games and matches should be played with the same conditions. 

E10. If two teams are not able to schedule a match, the Leagues Administrator may declare the match an unplayed draw, or a forfeit loss for one or both teams if either or both teams have not made a fair effort to schedule the match.

E11. Players are recommended to show up early for their matches and ensure a stable connection. It is recommended but not required to play from a computer in case of connectivity issues. All players are responsible to ensure their connection is stable and they have joined each match segment correctly.  Players must join the rapid and blitz segments separately.

E12. Nations are greatly encouraged to bring as many players as possible to each match.  The minimum for each segment of each match is 20 players per team for Division A matches and 5 players per team for Division B matches.  If a team brings less than the minimum number of players, the match will still be played, but they will be forfeited on the "missing" boards.


F. Nation Admin Responsibilities

F1. Nation admins must be a Super Admin or Club Admin of their nation’s club on  They should also request to join the Nations League club, which is only for nation admins – this is where pairings, announcements, and information will be posted.

F2. It is recommended to have multiple admins who may share the nation’s responsibilities; however one admin should be ultimately responsible for their club.

F3. Nation admins are responsible for advertising the matches and recruiting players to join the matches.

F4. All nation admins must report weekly results and issues to the Leagues Administrator by the end of day Sunday.  This is required of both teams in each match (losing and winning team).

F5. Nation admins from both teams are responsible for setting up each Live Chess match with the opposing team. The Leagues Administrator will post the nation vs nation matches at the beginning of the season, but the individual nation admins are responsible for creating  match with each other.  The title format for each live chess match should be in the format: “Nations League: Nation A vs Nation B, Rapid - Round 1” or “Nations League: Nation A vs Nation B, Blitz - Round 1”

F6. Matches should be played on Sundays whenever possible, preferably at the suggested match time mentioned in A4. Matches may be played on Friday and Saturday also.  However, playing a league match on any other day requires the advance permission of the Leagues Administrator.

F7. Admins of both nations should contact each other to first determine if they would like to play at the suggested match time in A4. If either nation does not agree, both admins should negotiate potential match times by offering a few time slots which may be acceptable.  Nation admins are expected to be able to compromise regarding match time negotiation, as the highest priority is to have the match played.

F8. There is no prior lineup submission required. Admins are responsible to ensure their members are logged into Live Chess at the match time. 


G. Fair Play

G1. will monitor and review Nations League games and matches for fair play.

G2. If an account is closed for Fair Play, the result of those games will generally be amended as if the closed account had lost all of their match games. This may be the case even if the Fair Play Violations did not occur in a league match.

G3.  Even after their conclusion, game and match results are subject to being overturned based on findings from the Fair Play team.

G4. Players and nations may face penalties for fair play violations, including match point/game point adjustment and disqualification from the league.

G5. Nation admins may submit specific fair play complaints and appeals, which will be reviewed by the Fair Play team and league management.


H. Prizes

H1. Prizes will be based on standings/scoring/tiebreaks in section C.

H2. The prizes are the same in each Division (A/B).

H3. Players found in violation of Fair Play rules (section I) are not eligible for prizes.

H4. Prize information:



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