- Introduction and General Principles
ICCF, as the world authority for all forms of correspondence
chess, has clearly defined Principles and Aims, which are described
in its Statutes. These include the important concept that "ICCF
….. supports and promotes close international co-operation between
chess players, enthusiasts and FIDE, thereby aiming to enhance
contact and friendly harmony amongst the peoples on the world"
In 1984, ICCF adopted the motto "amici sumus" (we are friends)
and this is the underlying philosophy in setting behavioural standards
for players, officials and member federations. This should prevail
in all communications between players in a game of CC, between
players and tournament directors, officials of ICCF and international
contacts of member federations. Sending an abusive, obscene or
objectionable communication is not acceptable, in any circumstances.
These guidelines are to clarify the kind of behaviour which is
expected, and include disciplinary and appeals procedures for
dealing with instances where the principles and philosophy may
not be evident in practice.
- Guidelines for Players/Team Captains
Whether it be in games with playing partners or with tournament
directors, players are expected to be friendly in all communications,
bearing in mind that we are playing a game, TDs are all volunteers
and are all trying to promote international bonds of friendship
It is recommended that friendly messages are exchanged with playing
partners at the start of a game/tournament and that such friendly
exchanges continue throughout, until conclusion. Being generous
in defeat and modest in victory are commendable virtues!
It is expected that players will decide the moves for themselves.
It is unacceptable behaviour to have someone else play your games.
The whole ICCF ratings and titles system relies on the assumption
that games are played by the players named in the starting lists
(or approved substitutes).
Players should observe the Playing and Tournament Rules carefully
and should take care to write or communicate their moves clearly,
to avoid ambiguity. Each move must be accompanied with the necessary
information concerning time utilisation and each player is responsible
for ensuring the normal continuity of the game. Care should be
taken to observe rules concerning repetition, advance notification
of leave, time exceeding claims etc.
Any disputes or claims by a player must, in the first instance,
be communicated to the official TD of the tournament (except in
team events, where the team captain should be the point of contact)
The facts must be clearly reported and a player should avoid creating
any unnecessary antagonism towards a partner, even when disputes
occur. Abusive remarks have no place in ICCF philosophy.
Wherever possible, players should try amicably to resolve any
problem quickly with a playing partner, before referring the matter
to the TD (or TC).
A Team Captain is responsible for notifying his players, opponent
Team Captains, and the Tournament Director when he goes on leave
or is otherwise unable to represent his players.
A player or an entire team can lose its games if a Team Captain
is unable to meet his responsibilities, especially in the reporting
of time complaints.
A Tournament Director may request a federation to replace its
Team Captain due to inappropriate behavior or inability to perform
Players should read the sections in these guidelines which cover
the responsibilities of other officials, the handling of disciplinary
matters (and penalties which may be imposed) and the procedures
to be followed concerning appeals.
- Guidelines for Tournament Offices/Organisers and Tournament
All ICCF tournaments and ICCF approved tournaments should be
organised according to ICCF principles, philosophy and rules,
including related guidelines.
It should always be remembered that "players are our customers"
and it is the duty to offer a good quality, fair and prompt service
to players and to other officials who are also providing tournament
services to players, e.g. ratings, qualifications, etc.
Tournament Offices/Organisers and Tournament Directors must ensure
an efficient and timely service to the ICCF webmaster and games
archivists when reporting results and provision of completed games
scores, as defined by ICCF and its senior officials.
Although TDs are expected to exercise their initiative in resolving
problems, they should observe all rules and guidelines carefully
and seek experienced advice, if they are unsure about the best
way to handle a problem. It is far easier to deal with consequent
problems, if a decision has been well thought through before action
is taken, rather than trying to sort out a problem resulting from
a hasty or ill-considered decision, after it has been made and
communicated to players etc.
- Guidelines for Member Federations
ICCF belongs to its member federations and, therefore, any criticism
of ICCF is also criticism of member federations and their delegates.
We all have a collective responsibility for ensuring the high
reputation and authority of ICCF, and its constituent member federations,
is not undermined.
Of course, there are occasions, especially with more difficult
or controversial issues where a decision is reached by the ICCF
Congress (the voting delegates) which does not match the view
of an individual or his/her national federation. In such an event,
the correct approach is for that delegate/member federation to
request that the matter should be discussed again by Congress.
ICCF is a democratic organisation and major issues are decided
by Congress by the proper voting of delegates (ICCF officers do
not have any voting rights) and, therefore, decisions of Congress
should be accepted and respected by all of its member federations,
acting in a responsible manner.
- Disciplinary Procedures (and Penalties)
Every effort should be made to avoid disputes and the initiation
of these procedures but, where unavoidable, they should be carefully
followed by all ICCF officials and all Zonal Offices and member
federations, when dealing with international CC matters.
Types of disciplinary action available, are as follows:-
- Formal Written Warning - for breaches in behaviour incompatible
with ICCF statutes, principles or rules. Continuing or repeated
misbehaviour will result in (ii) being implemented
- Disciplinary Action with Penalty/Sanctions - for serious or
recurring breaches in behaviour incompatible with ICCF statutes,
principles and/or rules. Immediate penalties/sanctions should
be imposed, the degree of which should be related to the severity
of the misdemeanour.
The following scale of penalties/sanctions should be used:-
- A serious behavioural issue, e.g. silent/unacceptable withdrawal
from a tournament, unacceptable or abusive behaviour to players/officials/ICCF
as a first offence - ban from all international CC tournaments
and activities for a period of 2 years, from the date of decision.
- A repeated serious behavioural issue, e.g. repeated silent/unacceptable
withdrawal from tournament, repeated abusive behaviour to players/officials/ICCF
- ban from all international CC tournaments and activities for
a period of 5 years, from the date of the latest decision.
- Outrageous behaviour or further repeated behavioural issue,
e.g. theft, belligerent action towards ICCF or any of its officers,
assault, etc. - ban from all international CC tournaments and
activities for life duration. Appeal for remission of sentence
is available after 10 years.
When dealing with disciplinary matters and considering penalties/sanctions,
care should be taken to ensure consistency and that penalties
are commensurate with the "crime" committed.
In all cases of disciplinary action, an individual has a basic
right to express his/her case, with reasoning, before a decision
is taken by an official/tournament director or tournament office,
When a disciplinary action is taken, the reason must be given
in writing (with a copy to the member federation), by the official
responsible and any sanction or penalty imposed must be clearly
stated, along with the appropriate appeals procedure which is
available, should the recipient be unwilling to accept the decision.
ICCF will maintain a database of all cases which have been the
subject of disciplinary action or application of sanctions, and
all appeals thereon. An ICCF officer will be given this responsibility.
- Appeals Procedure
Care should be taken to direct any appeals to the correct ICCF
appeals mechanisms, which are:-
- Appeals Commission (Playing Rules) - Appeals to the Chairman
of this Commission, which will deal only with cases concerning
the application of ICCF Playing Rules.
- Appeals Commission (other ICCF Rules) - Appeals to the Chairman
of this Commission, which will deal only with cases concerning
the application of Tournament Rules, Code of Conduct and any
other rules matters, not covered elsewhere.
- Arbitration Commission - Matters of a wider nature, such as
any complaint about the behaviour of an ICCF official, tournament
office, etc., should be directed to the Chairman of this Commission,
which will deal with it in a small committee.
When appealing a decision of the Appeals Commission (Playing
Rules), the player involved will be able to submit the appeal.
However, when appealing decision of the Appeals Commission (other
ICCF Rules) and/or Arbitration Commission, the player involved
should contact his National Federation, and after stating his
case, it should be the National Federation (through his appointed
Delegate) who should support the claim and submit it to the appropriate
A decision of the respective Appeals Commission will be final.
It cannot be subsequently overturned by any action except by at
least a 2/3rds majority vote by the ICCF Congress.
- Extent of application of these Guidelines
All international tournaments organised, or approved, by ICCF
are subject to these guidelines, including the disciplinary and
appeals procedures. Applications from ICCF Zonal TOs and member
federations for approval of tournaments, will imply their acceptance
that these guidelines and procedures will apply to such tournaments,
However, it is important to recognise that these arrangements
are intended for "international" CC matters and are not either
"in place of" or related to any sanctions applied my member federations
for disciplinary issues concerning domestic tournaments, national
membership or their other rules.
The above guidelines are provided to give a clear framework for
the behaviour of players, officials, member federations and ICCF
generally. The "amici sumus" philosophy should permeate throughout
ICCF and the activities of all players and officials.
They have been adopted by the ICCF Congress (Ostrava 2003) but
may be refined and developed by the Executive Board, with changes
ratified (or otherwise) by the next ICCF Congress to be held,
before becoming operational from the next 1st January, following
Addition to the ICCF Code of Conduct Guidelines, Article 2
( published at the ICCF web site on 16.04.2004)
Update: The 2004 ICCF Congress in Mumbai removed the
following section from the Code of Conduct (saying it should be
part of the rules, not part of the CoC) and moved it to ICCF
Tournament Rules (section 11). It is left here for historical
Provided that it is not stated otherwise in the tournament announcement
and/or in the start documents, any player is only allowed to publish
or submit for publishing on the internet or elsewhere any unfinished
games or positions played by him/her under the conditions that:
- all his/her games in the tournament are already different
from each other,
- the game (position) is demonstrated with a delay of at least
- the URL of the subject website is given,
- the date of the last update is mentioned,
- his/her opponents involved officially agrees with the live-publishing
of their game and declare this to the Tournament Director.
The Tournament Director is not expected to check player's private
websites regularly. However, if his/her attention is drawn to
a violation of this guideline by another person, he shall investigate.
When a player violates this guideline for the first time, then
the TD shall not apply any sanctions, but simply order the change
of the status of the published game according to this guideline.
When a player violates this guideline for a second time in the
same tournament, the player shall be penalised by 10 extra days
added to his time of reflection in all games of the respective
When a player violates this guideline for a third time in the
same tournament, the player shall be disqualified from this tournament
and all his/her remaining unfinished games shall be scored as
When a player violates this guideline repeatedly in various tournaments,
the World Tournament Director can ban this player from ICCF play
for 2 years.
The jurisdiction to deal with appeals concerning violations of
this guideline is designated to the Appeals Commission (Other
This amended guideline is to be applied with immediate effect
to all ICCF running and future tournaments.