2019 PRO Chess League Rules



(This is an abbreviated version of the rules that cover all of the league basics. To see a more detailed and complete version of the rules, click here.)

A: Rosters

  1. Each team has a roster of six to 16 players. Four of these players will be chosen to compete in each league match.

B: Eligibility

  1. Each team is composed of local players and free agent players.

  2. For each match a team chooses four players to play. Teams may only use one free agent player in each match. The other three players must be local.

  3. If a team requires more than one free agent, it will incur penalties to its maximum rating cap for that match.

  4. Local status is determined by your connection to your team's home team's region. You can be local by either living in your team's region, or having lived there at some point for three continuous years.

  5. A free agent can be from anywhere in the world and requires no connection at all to your team.

C: Weekly Lineups

  1. Each team chooses four players to play for the team in each match.

  2. The average rating of the four players in each match must be under 2500. (2499.75 is legal, 2500.00 is not)

  3. Each player uses his/her rating from the most recent September rating supplement to determine his/her league rating.

  4. There are bonuses available for players above 2700 (their rating only counts as 2700 towards the average rating). This is to encourage more top players to participate in the league

  5. There are bonuses available to female players (their rating = rating-100). Therefore a 2500-rated female would count as 2400 towards the average. This is to encourage more females to participate in the league.

D: Match Format

  1. Most matches are a 4-vs-4, all-ply-all format. This means that each player in your team's lineup will play one game against each player on the opposing team.

  2. A match win gives a team 10 points in the standings (8.5 points required for a match win). A drawn match gives each team five points in the standings.

  3. Every game point gives a team one point in the standings.

  4. The time control is 15 minutes plus a two-second increment.

E: Special Match Format

  1. Each team will have three matches that don't follow the standard match format.

  2. These matches will consist of eight team round robins, in which more points are given out to the teams that finish at the top of the crosstable.

  3. The time control will be 10 minutes plus a two-second increment.

F: League Structure

  1. There are four divisions (Eastern, Central, Atlantic, Pacific), broken up geographically. Each division has eight teams.

  2. The regular season consists of each team playing all of the other teams in their division. There are also three round-robin matches as detailed in section E, for a total of ten matches.

G: Playoffs and Relegation

  1. The top four teams in each division qualify for the playoffs.

  2. The bottom two teams in each division are relegated, and will need to participate in qualifiers to rejoin the league.

  3. The number of total points determines who finishes ahead of other teams in the standings. Head-to-head performance is the first tiebreaker.

  4. The playoffs follow a single-elimination format, in which the teams that fared better during the regular season advance on an 8-8 tie.

  5. Once the semifinals begin, there is no more advancing on an 8-8 tie, but instead a blitz tiebreaker is used to determine the winner.

H: Fair Play

  1. The Chess.com fair play team will carefully check all league games for signs of fair play violation

  2. All players will be required to use the program Zoom in order to be monitored via webcam.

Full info here: