Denver Chess League

The Denver Scholastic Chess League is about to begin the 2019-2020 season. The league has been in existence for over 20 years and was founded by the late Garth Courtois. This will be my 6th year as league chairman. Last year there were teams representing schools from all across the Denver area that participated.

The league is a team tournament; a team is comprised of 4 players (or more). Players are arranged in playing strength order with the best player on Board 1, second best on Board 2, etc. Each player plays two games, one as white and one as black, against the same opponent. Chess ratings may be used to determine board order but that is not required. What is required is that your best player plays on Board 1, second best on Board 2, etc. It is NOT permitted to put an inferior player on Board 1 in order to gain an advantage by stacking up your better players against weaker opponents. Please remember that the 4 players you bring to the match should be the best 4 players on your team.

The rules of chess apply. This includes, but is not limited to “touch move” and “spectator interference”. There are too many rules for me to try and list them here. Please refer to the United States Chess Federation (USCF) Rules of Chess, which can be obtained by calling USCF at 1-800-388-KING.

The season consists of a number of matches against opponent schools. Roughly half the matches are home matches played at your school and half are away matches played at the opponent’s site. We attempt to schedule half the matches before the winter holidays and half after. Matches are scheduled 2 weeks apart on Thursday afternoon. It is up to you and the coordinator of the other school to determine the actual playing day if Thursday is not possible. All efforts should be made to play on Thursday as this helps in scheduling.

The match consists of 2 rounds. In round one, the home team is white on odd numbered boards and black on even numbered boards. In round 2, everyone changes colors. 1.0 point is awarded for a win, 0.5 for a draw and 0.0 for a loss. Thus a match has a total of 8.0 points available (4 players X 2 rounds = 8 points).

The final results for the year will be determined by adding up the total number of matches won by each team during the season. In the event of a tie, we will use the over the board results for the tied teams. As a second tiebreak, the number of points won will be used as the tiebreak. If this still does not determine a winner, a playoff will be used to determine the winner of a division. If there is still a tie, we will declare the teams co-champions.

One more clarification needs to be made regarding the definition of “middle school”. Several school districts in our area offer K-5/6-8 and several offer K-6/7-9. One of the league’s guiding principles is to include as many students as possible. So, in the event that a school has both a middle school and an elementary school team that is in the league, students that are in the 6th grade must play in the middle school team. In the event that there is no opportunity for a 6th grader to play on a middle school team, they may play on the elementary team if the school is a K-6 school. Any questions or problems with this clarification should be directed to me as soon as possible.

Many schools have more than 4 players who want to participate. You can enter multiple teams in the league OR if your opponent in a particular match agrees, you can play more than 4 boards. The extra boards can either be “for fun” or they can count towards the match result. The only condition is that both coaches must agree BEFORE the match begins whether the extra boards count towards the result. If you play and count more than 4 boards, the results will be scaled so that the total match result will be 8 points.

The time control is 30 minutes per player per game. If you have enough clocks, they may be used from the start of the game. If not enough clocks are available, then 40 minutes after the game begins, a clock should be placed on the games in progress giving each player 10 minutes to complete the game. Please note that if a player’s time expires, ONLY his opponent may announce that fact. The best rule of thumb is to have spectators mind their own business and they should not interfere with the game.

Recording moves is not required but is recommended. A draw by repetition or by the 50-move rule may only be claimed if a player is keeping score. A player’s score sheet may NOT be used against them. If one player keeps score and the other does not, the player not keeping score may not use their opponent’s score sheet to claim a draw. They must keep score themselves. Entry fee: The entry fee is $55 per team and is for the entire school year. I am requiring all teams to have an email address that is checked at least once every two days. All information regarding the league will be through this email list. All entry fees increase by $20 after September 23rd, 2019.

***Important Rescheduling Information***

1) A request must be made two weeks prior to the match date otherwise there can not be a reschedule

2) Both teams are responsible to communicate and decide on a rescheduled date prior to the league ending March 1st, 2020 - this date is now permanent

2A) If both teams cannot come to an agreement on a reschedule date then I will have the power to supersede and schedule a permanent non-negotiable match date before the end of the season.

3) If a team doesn't show up to the match then they forfeit - just like they would in any other match

4) In the event that the situation gets out of hand I will make the final decision on what to do. I will either reschedule to an non-negotiable date or I may also choose to forfeit one or both teams from said match.

By September 23rd, 2019: $55

After September 23rd, 2019: $75

After September 30th, 2019: No entries allowed

I am looking to schedule the first matches for the week of October 14th, 2019 and finish league play no later than March 1st, 2020. THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRIES IS September 30th, 2019. NO EXCEPTIONS, PLEASE.

Remember to fill out the entry form as soon as possible. You can find the entry form for the 2019-2020 season attached to the bottom of this page in both Word and PDF format. Also, please check the Colorado State Chess Association web site ( for details and updated information regarding the Denver Chess League. Check the Scholastic section of the web site.


Jesse R. Cohen

P.S. Please pass this on to other schools that might be interested in the Denver Chess League and if there are any questions, please feel free to send me email at