In Team Chess Championships, what is the proper etiquette for being a player?

This question is mainly focused on:

  • Can I see my teammates’ games during the match? (I suspect I can.)
  • If I win quickly, can I go away, or should I stay?
  • If I leave the hall after winning, can I return?
  • Can I have contact with my teammates? If so, to what extent is this limited?
  • Can I call a friend, and let him play in the now empty board of my match, for opinions on the game just finished, or am I forced to do it outside? (This is assuming, of course, that we don’t talk loudly.)
  • Great, but is there something I might have forgotten? Useful to add for further reference in the future. – MikhailTal Sep 29 '14 at 12:46
  • In 19 hours I will award the best answer. So if anyone has anything else to offer, do so now. – MikhailTal Sep 30 '14 at 12:24

Officially most of it depends on the team competition, it will have regulations. But I think these questions will have pretty much the same answers everywhere.

  1. Yes, you're sitting right next to them, and you can walk around as usual, so you can see their boards.

Usually teams have a team leader also, whose role is to advise you about offering or accepting a draw (but not in a way that gives you information about his opinion of your own position! If you ask him "Can I offer a draw?", he must answer yes or no immediately; he can't walk up to your board, think for a while, then say no. It would be obvious then that he thought you had the better position, which is a big no-no). He can otherwise watch all games all the time though.

  1. You can leave if you want. The team leader has to sign the result form at the end, but the players are done when their game is over. Most of the time you'll be eager to know the end result and stay, though.

  2. Re-entering the hall really depends on the regulations. You'll be a spectator. In most amateur leagues, spectators can just stand next to the boards if they wish, so so can you.

  3. Officially you can not speak to anybody during any chess game, including team matches. Practice is slightly less rigorous. If you discuss the ongoing chess games, you're definitely over the line.

  4. No, of course you can't analyze a game right next to ongoing games, that's clearly distracting for the players. Usually there will be a separate room where games can be analyzed.


Just from my experience playing in a lowly ECF English county league:

  1. Does not seem to be a problem.
  2. No problem - just check with your captain that he got your score and ask if he wants you to do anything else (perhaps he needs help with cleaning up the venue or such).
  3. Does not seem to be a problem in the county leagues, but I believe FIDE is now quite strict with whom is allowed into the playing area. I would check with the tournament rules.
  4. Not encouraged. I've had the occasional "supporting" smile or nod from a team mate while getting a drink from the club bar, or a "how do you do?" from non-playing members of the club, but generally I think you are asking for trouble if you start a significant conversation with anyone while your game is in progress. It is likely that the opposing captain will lodge a complaint if he thinks you may be discussing your game, and it does not take much to get their suspicion kindled in my experience.
  5. It seems to be OK to use the empty board for a friendly with another player (and it does happen on occasion), provided that you maintain the match playing conditions - i.e. do not start a conversation or do anything that interfere with the players still at play. I don't think it is appropriate to discuss your game though, since that would cause unnecessary noise in the playing area. Once again, FIDE is probably more strict on this.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.