States Chess Cup Rules

Rules for the 2020 States Chess Cup


  • Average USCF Rating for each week’s lineup must be below 2200
    • This applies to USCF Regular Rating – September Supplement
    • If a player is unrated USCF, but as a FIDE rating, we will use their FIDE Rating + 100
    • If a player is unrated USCF and FIDE, their rating will be marked as 1800
  • Rating floor of 1800 (a player rated below 1800 will count as 1800 towards the average rating)
  • No free agents – players can only play for their home state, as listed on the USCF website
  • Players who play for one team, but move to a different state mid-season, may play for their original team, but they cannot play for their new state
  • No maximum roster size

Tournament Schedule

  • Each team will have one match per week
  • Teams will be split into 4 divisions of 8 teams each
    • East: Maine, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan
    • South: Alabama, DC, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia
    • Central: Colorado Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma
    • West: Arizona, California-N, California-S, Hawaii, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington
  • The regular season will be a 7-week round robin, where each team plays each other team once
  • The matches will be taking place on the scheduled date unless both team captains agree to change to a different day or time in the same week. The new match time must be made agreed upon and made public by originally scheduled round time.
    • The opposing team captain has the right to refuse to reschedule matches 
  • The top two teams from each division advance to the playoffs. Tiebreaks are:
    • Match Points
    • USAT System (Details can be found in the US Chess Rulebook)
    • Game Points
    • Head to Head
    • Average Rating Performance over the regular season
    • Coin Flip
  • Playoffs will be a three-week, single-elimination tournament
    • Round 1: Division
    • Round 2: East vs South, Central vs West
    • Round 3: East/South vs Central/West

Match Format

  • 4 games of 15+2 (Pro Chess League style)
  • Games will be USCF Online Quick Rated
  • Teams must list their players in rating order
  • Games should start by 10 minutes after the end of the previous round
  • Should take about 2-3 hours to finish
  • Matches will take place on
  • The home team players are responsible for sending out game challenges.
  • Teams must submit their 4-person roster for each match by Saturday 11:59pm EST
    • If the lineup is not in by this time, or the lineup changes after Saturday 11:59pm EST, one point will be subtracted from the offending team’s game score that week
  • The process for submitting a roster is filling out the Match Form.
  • Rules and guidelines for playoff matches are subject to change

Team Captain Responsibilities

  • The captain is responsible for submitting team lineup each week
  • Players are not allowed to communicate with others (including the captain) while any game is in progress
  • Captains are allowed to play for their state


  • Each player must take part in a Zoom call with all the other participants, sharing screen
    • Webcams (built-in or external) are highly encouraged to prevent accusations of cheating, but are not required
  • A cheating committee will be formed, and made up of several members
  • Team captains must present any allegations to the section TD within 24 hours of the match
  • The league reserves the right to change results of the match if we have found any potential cheating incidents
  • We are hoping that the combination of high-rated community members + zoom + no prizes minimizes any potential cheating case
  • The official board is the board on lichess, players may not use a second board (physical or digital) to analyze or make moves on


  • Each match, one of the teams will be marked as Home (and the other Away)
  • The Home team will be responsible for streaming commentary for their game that week, and providing the link to the streamer page within 3 days of the match starting
  • The Away team will be encouraged to provide a second commentator for the official match stream. The Away team would also be allowed to stream the dual-commentary stream on their own channel as well.
  • If neither side is available to stream the match, the teams must post in the #streamers channel to look for an available third-party stream to host the official stream. The first third-party streamer to respond to the request will be the official stream for the match
  • Streamers cannot play and stream at the same time – the focus should be on commentary and watching all for games equally
  • The official stream must be family-friendly


  • If there are any disputes between players, the team captains of the two teams should try to resolve the dispute on their own
  • If the team captains cannot resolve the issue, they should contact their section TD, who will then make a ruling on the dispute
  • Any concerns raised by a Captain must be raised to the section TD as soon as possible
  • Section TDs:
    • East Section TD: Michael
    • South Section TD: Andy
    • Central Section TD: Tom
    • West Section TD: Adam
  • If a captain wants to appeal a decision made by a section TD, it should be appealed to the Chief TD: Saumik Narayanan as soon as possible
  • If there is a dispute during match, other games in the match should proceed as normal


  • If the site goes down during the middle of a match, the rest of the match will be rescheduled at the earliest convenience. The results of completed rounds will stand.
  • Teams are not allowed to pre-arrange match results
  • Captains cannot impose results on their players or make any agreements to arrange specific results among their players
  • The league reserves the right to impose any additional penalty not listed here

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