These fees were decided by the ECF Council in April 2019 and came into effect for events starting 1 September 2019 or later. The amounts have remained unchanged since then, and will remain in place for 2023/24.
Experience is that the ECF cannot anticipate every single format or concept of event, and if something is not covered organisers should check for any potential fee issues with the ECF’s Director of Membership by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
From the player’s point of view there follows a brief summary of the participation that each level of membership entitles our members to without liability to pay any ‘Pay To Play’ or flat rate ‘Game Fee’.
- Platinum, Junior Platinum: full participation in all competitions requiring ECF membership
- Gold, Junior Gold: full participation in all competitions requiring ECF membership
- Silver, Junior Silver: participation in all competitions except those submitted for FIDE standard play rating
- Bronze: participation in leagues, club internal tournaments, and any congresses or tournaments that are open only to players from a specified league, county or local area (‘closed’ events)
Note – because the cost of Junior Silver and Junior Bronze is the same, the latter was removed from sale in August 2022.
Competitions come in a number of categories and the main ones are summarised below, along with their cost implications for organisers. Please seek the guidance of the Director of Membership where anything is unclear.
1 – FIDE-rated events
1a Standardplay (as distinct from rapid play or blitz)
N.B. FIDE charges the ECF for the registration and rating of these events
Players whose FIDE affiliation is ENG must be (Junior) Platinum or (Junior) Gold members of the ECF. Where they are not then a fee of £12.00 for each such player will be charged to the event. If the player was already a (Junior) Silver member the £12.00 fee will be applied to upgrade their membership to (Junior) Gold for the remainder of their membership year. The event will be charges a fee of £1.50 for each player whose FIDE affiliation is not ENG, unless they are (Junior) Platinum or (Junior) Gold members of the ECF
At the moment FIDE does not charge for the registration or rating of these events, and so for ECF Pay To Play fee purposes they are treated as being ordinary congresses/events, as in either 2 or 3 below.
At the moment neither the ECF nor FIDE are charging for the registration or rating of these events.
Organisers will be invoiced as soon after the event as feasible. If organisers wish to send a payment before being invoiced they are asked to make their calculations clear and specify which players are affected.
2 – Congresses/tournaments which are not FIDE-rated
2a Open age or adult only ages – any event which is not for juniors only
This applies to all such events of four rounds or more; events of fewer than four rounds are outside the scope of ‘Pay to Play’ regardless of whether it is standard play or rapid play (blitz events are at the moment outside the scope of ‘Pay To Play’).
Other than blitz events, tournaments played in England require all players (including visitors from outside England) to be ECF (Junior) Silver members or higher. In the case of ‘closed’ events that are open only to players from a specified league, county or local area Bronze will suffice.
The event will be charged a fee of £9.00 for any player who does not meet the above requirement, whether the player is adult or junior. In these cases, and where the player is already a Bronze member, their membership will be upgraded to Silver for the remainder of their membership year.
Players who are not competing in the event but play purely for the purpose of avoiding a default (fillers) will not incur a ‘Pay To Play’ fee.
2b Events solely for juniors (age under 18)
This applies to all such events of four rounds or more; events of less than four rounds are outside the scope of this section of ‘Pay to Play’. The provisions of 2a above apply, except that the ‘Pay To Play’ fee is £2.50 rather than £9.00.
For both 2a and 2b organisers will be invoiced as soon after the event as feasible. Where organisers wish to send a payment in advance of being invoiced they are asked to make their calculations clear and specify which players are affected. Exceptionally, for an event organised by a League or Club solely for its own members, organisers will be invoiced at the end of the season (in practice a few weeks after 30 June) to give those members time to take out ECF membership during the season. When this is the case, games played will be included in the player’s total when calculating if a player has exceeded three games * and if applicable, game fee as per 3 and 6.6 (below) will apply.
3 – Leagues and other team events (including jamborees) which are not FIDE-rated
N.B. If the event is FIDE-rated the requirements in (1) above apply.
Players are required to be ECF members at Bronze level or higher. Players who are not do not pay any Game Fee for their first three* games in the relevant league’s competitions – but once they play a fourth game they become liable for a Game Fee of £18.00 if an adult or £6.00 if a junior.
A ‘league’ refers to the organising body. If a league organises several divisions, those will be aggregated to decide whether players have hit the four game threshold referred to above.
Please note that the Game Fee of £18.00 or £6.00 applies once more than three games have been played. It applies to all games played within events organised by a particular league, in whatever division, in whatever league format, or in a league’s team knock-out or jamboree events if any. However, it is not aggregated across leagues, so a player can play three games in the Eastshire League and three in the Westshire League without fee; but four in one and two in the other will incur a Game Fee of £18.00 or £6.00, and 4+ games in the Eastshire League, and also 4+ games in the Westshire League will result in both leagues being invoiced £18.00. The fact that one has been invoiced does not waive the charge for the other. Both leagues will have chosen to submit a non-member’s results for ECF rating so the charge will be applied to each.
Leagues which during the season organise events for individuals (other than closed events) rather than for teams should note that those will be charged under 1 or 2 above rather than by Game Fee. Individual events are a different charging concept to team events.
The ECF will recognise any ECF individual membership taken out by a player that includes 30 June 2024 as covering them for Game Fee purposes in Leagues’ team events for the season 2023/24. Otherwise leagues will be invoiced at the end of the season at £18.00 or £6.00 per player concerned.
Where a league is considered to be a ‘summer league’, the ECF will recognise any ECF individual membership taken out by a player that includes the date of the last game scheduled to be played. For this purpose, summer league games will not be aggregated with other games submitted by that organisation during the year.
*Rapidplay games – references in this section to numbers of games played assume standard play games. Rapidplay games contribute to these totals as half a game.
Important – Liability to pay any Game Fee lies strictly with the league, who will have made the rating submission, and cannot be derogated to the club(s) or individual players.
4 – Club Championships and Club internal tournaments
This section relates to events organised by clubs and open only to their own members. Arrangements follow the same principle as for leagues above.
The ECF will recognise any ECF individual membership taken out by a player that includes 30 June 2024 as covering them for Game Fee purposes in club internal events 2023/24. Otherwise clubs will be invoiced at the end of the season at £18.00 or £6.00 per player concerned.
5 – Inter-club matches and games arranged between individual players
It follows from all the above that ‘friendly’ matches and occasional games arranged outside any formal competition are outside the scope of Game Fee unless more than three games are involved (seven if rapidplay).
6 – Exceptions, anomalies, clarifications and codicils
6.1 FIDE-rated leagues, standard play
Players in such leagues (or divisions thereof) must, if affiliated to ENG, be ECF (Junior) Gold or Platinum members. If not the league will at season’s end be charged as at 1a above.
6.2 British or British Isles / Channel Islands tournaments
There are a number of recognised team and individual competitions played in England which transcend national boundaries within the British Isles and Channel Islands. This recognition is as agreed by the British Isles Chess Co-ordinating Committee. Examples are: 4NCL; British RapidPlay; British Universities Chess Association Championships; National Youth Chess Association championships. Where their results are FIDE-rated as standard play fees are levied as in 1a above; but otherwise in team events ECF will not seek any payment in respect of players in teams from outside England where those players are members of the related British Isles/Channel Islands national body, or in the case of individual events where the player has FIDE-affiliation GCI/JCI/IRL/SCO/WLS.
6.3 4NCL wildcards
In recognition of its enforcement of membership for all English registered players the 4NCL is exempt from payment of Pay-to-Play fee for all wildcard players, defined as being unregistered players who play only on a single weekend of the event.
6.4 Cross-border leagues
Where cross-border leagues are submitted to the ECF for rating, Game Fee will not be charged in respect of those members of clubs geographically outside England who are members of the appropriate national federation. At the moment the only such leagues of which we are aware are operating within Cheshire & North Wales: Cheshire, Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire and Flintshire. Where a club participating in an eligible cross border league also wishes to rate internal club games, the same exemption will apply.
6.5 Braille Chess Association and the English Deaf Chess Association
Game fee is waived in events organised by the Braille Chess Association and the English Deaf Chess Association.
6.6 Closed congresses
Where a league or club organises a ‘closed’ congress, and as a result of playing in that event a player exceeds the three game* allowance, the Game Fee applied will be the equivalent of the amount in 2 above.
1 – When invoices will be issued
For 1 and 2 above, invoices will be issued as soon as is reasonably practicable after the results are submitted to the rating server.
For 3 above, where the league is a ‘winter league’, an invoice will be issued as soon as is reasonably practicable after 30 June 2024, and in any event, no later than 30 Sept 2024.
For 3 above, where the league is a ‘summer league’, an invoice will be issued as soon as is reasonably practicable after the league has concluded, and in any event, no later than 30 November 2024. In this instance, game fee liability will be incurred if a player is not an ECF member as of the date on which the last match in the league is scheduled to be played.
2 – Liability for payment of invoices
By submitting game results to the rating server, organisations accept liability for any Pay to Play or Game Fee that is incurred.
3 – Payment of invoices
Invoices will be sent to the person the organisation has made responsible for arranging payment. This will usually be the treasurer named in the rating file.
All invoices should be settled in full within one month from the date of issue. Invoices will be in electronic format, and can be paid via PayPal or bank transfer (preferred), or exceptionally by cheque to the ECF Office.
If payment remains outstanding after this period, as a last resort and where no alternative arrangement has been made with the ECF despite our best efforts to make contact, the ECF reserves the right to refuse to accept any further games for rating from that organisation (and/or that responsible person) until such time as the invoice is settled. Where the rating of games is refused for such reasons, services may take up to 10 days to resume.
4 – Corrections to invoices
If the nominated person was not sent the invoice in the first instance, the invoice will be reissued to the correct person. In this event the date of issue may be reset.
The ECF will do everything it reasonably can to ensure invoices are correct. In the event the amount is incorrect, we will correct the error as soon as we can after it has been brought to our attention, and reissue the invoice. In this event, the issue date will not usually be reset.
The effect of rolling membership on Game/Pay to Play Fee
ECF Memberships no longer expire on 31 August of each year, they last for one year and expire 12 months later, on the first day of the month they were originally taken out. The expiry date of a player’s current membership is shown on their rating card.
In order to reduce their liability for Pay to Play Fee, congress organisers should be mindful of the expiry date when checking membership status, especially when early congress entries are received. Membership should be valid on the first day of the congress.
League and club organisers should check that membership is current on 30 June 2024 (or for a summer league, the date on which the last game is scheduled to be played); a membership taken out on for example 20 June 2023 will for most of the year show as current, but will expire on 1 June 2024.