Fair Play Policy

We encourage all players to play the game in the “right spirit”

  • Play to win – do your best
  • Enjoy the game – learn from it
  • Respect your opponent – “win well and lose well”

For the avoidance of doubt players should make all of their moves without any outside assistance – whether from parents, friends or suggestions from a computer programme.

99.9% of players play fairly. The following terms are to deal with the small minority who do not.

Online conditions: lichess.org

These rules are being reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be updated as appropriate.

For the 2024 competition the UK Chess Challenge (UKCC) will use lichess.org to run all its online events. Before playing players should review the lichess anti-cheating rules within the terms of service – https://lichess.org/terms-of-service. The main points are:

  •     be courteous and kind-hearted in any chat
  •     don’t ask anyone else to play in your place
  •     don’t ask for advice from anyone else during play
  •     don’t use a chess engine during play
  •     don’t consult chess literature during play

Any player who is found to be subject to a current ban on lichess (eg as a result of computer assistance during live games) will be subject to exclusion from all UKCC online competitions for the current season and will not be able to play in UKCC online events. No refunds will be given on entry fee. Players must keep the same username throughout the 2024 season so changing account names will not be allowed. If a player is deemed to have cheated by lichess during one of our events the Chief Arbiter has discretion to award points to those affected.

The lichess anti-cheating software will be in place with provider sanctions and rights of appeal as set out in the lichess terms and conditions (https://lichess.org/terms-of-service). In the event that a player is banned by lichess any appeal must be made directly to them. The UKCC will have no involvement in this process which is between the player and lichess. The UKCC will not answer emails regarding cheating bans unless a player wishes to appeal directly to UKCC.

Appealing against a ban

If a player’s appeal to lichess is unsuccessful they may submit an appeal to the UKCC. The UKCC will refer the matter to the UKCC Fair Play Committee who will appoint members of the Fair Play Panel to handle the appeal. These members will not have been involved in the original decision and will recuse themselves if they know the player well or otherwise could be seen to have a vested interested in the decision.

A £100 deposit is payable and the parent / player must complete the appeal form and return this to admin@ukchess.co.uk. If the appeal is successful then sanctions will be removed and the deposit will be refunded.

This means any existing online results will stand and they will be able to play in any remaining UKCC online or over the board tournaments they have qualified for. In practise, if the lichess ban prevented a player from participating in a qualifying event, or removed them mid-tournament, the UKCC is unable to provide additional qualification opportunities. In these instances the player may be entitled to a full refund of their online entry fees.

Following a successful appeal, and assuming their initial lichess account is still flagged, the player will only be able to continue playing in the competition only if they are able to create a new lichess account – something UKCC has no influence over.


Players receiving a lichess ban will be barred from playing in online events in the current season of the UK Chess Challenge. All their online results from the current season will be expunged including any qualification rights accrued through the online competitions. There will be no impact on participation in over the board (OTB) events (excepting that qualification rights obtained via an online event will be expunged).

The player will be able to join online events in subsequent seasons if they commit to playing within the guidelines.

A player receiving a second lichess ban may be barred for all future UKCC events including OTB events.

Raising concerns about other players

If you have a legitimate concern that another player may have used illegal assistance in a game against you – you must not raise these concerns publicly. In fact lichess have very strict rules against ‘public shaming’. Instead you should report the player using the tool within lichess by clicking on a players profile and clicking the ‘report to moderators’ button in the top right.

The lichess moderators have ample experience in dealing with such enquiries and we will leave any such investigation in their hands.


Use of chat

The chat is enabled for the benefit of players so we can post useful updates, players can ask questions and socialise in a respectful manner. All players should refrain from

  • Posting offensive language in the chat
  • Abusing / trolling or bullying other players
  • Accusing other players of cheating or poor sportsmanship (if you have a concern about a player please direct message a moderator)

The chat will be monitored at all times by the UKCC moderators. ‘Abusing’ the chat function will result in sanctions (see “Penalty System” below).

“Please be nice in the chat” !

Good Sportsmanship

We expect players to show good sportsmanship throughout. Examples of behaviour that are unacceptable include

  • Letting clock run down in a lost position instead of resigning
  • Making multiple draw offers
  • Stalling in Arena tournaments letting the tournament clock run down

For the avoidance of doubt playing to “win on time” is considered a fair and viable strategy in online chess.

Players consistently showing poor sportsmanship are subject to the penalty system below.

Entering eligible tournaments

Most of the competitions are age group restricted and/or gender restricted. This will be made very clear in the tournament title. It is the player’s responsibility to ensure they are playing in the correct tournament as we are not able to verify every player in realtime. We will however review the results and entries after the tournament and will be able to flag players playing in the incorrect section. Their result will be nullified and a sanction applied. Where appropriate the Chief Arbiter may award points back to players affected by this.

Penalty System

The moderators of the UKCC lichess team have the ability to remove players from tournaments or from the team altogether if they are consistently breaking the above rules. We will use our discretion at all times to apply the most appropriate sanction. As a guideline the following will be used

  • 1st offence – warning
  • 2nd offence – timeout
  • 3rd offence – excluded from team for 3 days
  • 4th offence – permanent removal from the team (no refund)!

Further information

Grandmaster David Howell and Women’s FIDE Master Sarah Longson have created a video which children should watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTznnjXbZ7c