United States Blind Chess Association. Blind people play chess too.

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This is where you can find all of the United States Blind Chess Association current correspondence and realtime tournament listings and rules.

We are currently holding our 2023 Norm Doerner Revival Correspondence tournament,and our 2024 Divisional and Ladder Correspondence tournaments.

On This Page

Tournament Director Contact Information

Please write this information down somewhere other than on your computer in case you do not have access to your computer when you need it. It is your responsibility to keep this contact information where you can access it.

After reading through the below rules, if you have any questions, please feel free to let the tournament director know.

2024 Correspondence Divisional Tournament Specific Rules

Welcome to the 2024 USBCA Correspondence Tournament. This is a double round robbin tournament. That means that you will play 10 games. You will play each player in your division twice. If there is an odd number of players in each division, each player will get a bye in each half of the tournament. The tournament starts on January 15. Each round starts on the 15th of the month. Please see the below tournament specific rules.

  1. The tournament director will send matchups for each round. All players playing white must send their first move by midnight (0500 UTC) on the first day of each round. Failure to do so will result in being charged a day of allotted time.
  2. For each game you win, you earn 1 point, a draw earns half a point, and a loss earns 0 points.
  3. In case of a tie, the Sonneborn-Berger Tie Break System will be used to determine the winner of the Division.

2024 USBCA Correspondence Ladder Tournament Rules

Welcome to the 2024 Correspondence Ladder tournament. The tournament starts on January 15, 2024, and ends on December 31, 2024. The person who holds the #1 position on the ladder on December 31 at midnight Eastern Time will be crowned the winner of the ladder for this year. Any games not completed by December 31 at midnight Eastern Time will not count towards the final ladder standings, but will still count towards your Correspondence Rating.

The starting positions of the ladder will be in reverse order of last year’s ladder on December 31, 2023. All players who are rejoining the Ladder Tournament will be put back approximately where they left the Ladder. All new players after that will be added to the bottom of the Ladder. Any new players added to the ladder after the tournament begins will start at the bottom of the ladder. Also, any player can leave the ladder at any time if they are not currently in a ladder game, but if they want to return, they will be treated as a new addition and will start at the bottom of the ladder.

Please see the below rules specific to ladder tournament play. Please see the general rules for correspondence play for all other applicable rules.

  1. Each player can only play one ladder tournament game at a time. If you are currently playing a ladder tournament game, you cannot challenge another player, or be challenged by another player.
  2. Each player can challenge someone up to three ranks above them, dpending on availability. Here is an example. If you are currently ranked #10, you can challenge players ranked ninth, 8th, or 7th. If all three players above you are unavailable, you will have to wait until one of them becomes available before you can challenge someone.
  3. Challengers take White for their first, third, fifth, and so on, challenges. If the letter W follows your name on the ladder list, you get white when you next challenge. If the letter B follows your name on the ladder list, you get black when you next challenge.
  4. If the lower ranked player wins, they will move up to the higher position, and everybody else will be pushed down one rank. If the higher ranked player wins or if there is a draw, there will be no change, and both players will remain where they are. Here is an example: If you are ranked 6, and you win your game with the player ranked fourth, you will move up to rank 4, and the players currently ranked fourth and fifth will be moved down a rank.
  5. The same 2 players cannot play two games in a row. After completing their first game, at least one of them must play a different eligible ladder player first. This is to help keep a single player from tying up someone, not allowing others to make challenges in trying to reach the top position.
  6. To challenge someone, do not send a message to the person you want to challenge. Instead, please send a message to the Tournament Director at the email address given in the tournament director information on this page. Please put “Ladder Challenge” in the subject line. Challenges will be processed in the order the Tournament Director receives them. If the player you want to challenge is available, both players will be notified. The player playing white will have two days to send their first move, and after that will start using allotted days.
  7. A player may notify the tournament director that they will be unavailable for a challenge for a period not to exceed one month. qThere needs to be a good reason to make yourself unavailable. If you are still unavailable at the end of the time period requested, you should remove yourself from the ladder. A player on the top five rungs of the ladder must be available to receive challenges every day between November 1 and December 31 inclusive. If such a player is unavailable during that period, they will be moved down one rung.
  8. If you decline a challenge, it will count as a loss by forfeit against you.
  9. Player statuses. Beside each player’s name you will find their status. There are four statuses:
  1. An updated Ladder List will be sent out by email upon completion of each game, so any new challenges can be made. And in the case no games have been recently completed, an updated list will be sent out to the list and all participants twice a month. Also, the Ladder is continuously updated on the USBCA Website.

This concludes the official ladder tournament rules. for any questions about the rules, contact the tournament director.

General Rules For Correspondence Play

  1. The time control Rule of 24 hours will be in place. This means that you will have 24 hours from the time after receiving your move to submit your next move. All emails are time stamped, so you will have 24 hours from the time stamped on the email you receive to submit your next move. For example, if you receive your last move at 9:05 AM on Monday, that means you have until 9:05 AM on Tuesday to submit your next move. Failure to submit your move on time will result in losing some of your allotted time.
  2. Each player will be given 5 days "Allotment Time" at the start of every game. Once a player completes 39 moves in a game, they will receive an additional 3 days of "Allotment Time" on their 40th move. If White fails to move within 24 hours of the start of the game, they lose a day of time. If black fails to move within 24 hours of White’s first move, they lose a day of time.
  3. If one of you exceeds your total allotment of days, the player who first exceeds the time limit loses the game on time violation. What is a day of allotted time? One day of allotted time is a 24-hour period in which you do not submit your next move. For example, if you have 5 total allotted days, and you make a move late 5 times, you have used up all your allotted time. And just one more late move ( 6 in total) would result in you losing the game on a time violation.
  4. The "Carbon Copy Rule" is mandatory. If your opponent has missed 2 allotted Days, send an email to them with "Repeat Move" in the subject line and copy your Tournament Director to show you are trying to contact your opponent.
  5. Binding Moves. If you send a legal move to your opponent, it stands. Double check your move before you send it. Once you send it, you can’t take it back.
  6. Impossible or illegal moves. If you send an impossible or illegal move, when you or your opponent catches it, you must resend the move. When this happens, your clock keeps running. Your opponent does not have to make the move if it is impossible or illegal. An example of an illegal move would be putting your king in check. another would be castling through check.
  7. Unclear moves. Unclear moves occur when two pieces can move to the same square. If you make an unclear move, and either you or your opponent catches it, you must correct the move and resend it. If you make an unclear move, your clock still runs. For example, if you write Nd2 and your knight on F3 and your knight on B1 can go to D2, you must make the move clear. For example, Nbd2. Once you make the move clear, your opponent must make the move you have clarified. Your opponent cannot choose which piece to move if the move is unclear.
  8. Proper game records. In each email, you should include a complete game record up to that point. To do so, make sure you follow the example below.

USBCA 2024 Divisional Tournament
Division X
Round Y
Time used for white:
Time used for Black:
Result: *

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6

Hint: Paste the above template into a file and reuse it.

  1. Game Record Email. The winner of a game is responsible for reporting the game and sending the game record to the Tournament Director. In case of a draw, White is responsible. The game record email must include a subject that gives the tournament, round, players, and the results. Please note that when the responsible player for turning in the score at the end of the game does not use the above format, which includes a complete game header with result and clear result as part of the last move, the TD will not accept the score until it is corrected.
  2. Approved Time Away. Any vacations or time that you plan on being away from home must be submitted to the Tournament Director 2 weeks prior for consideration and approval so it will not count toward your allotted time. Submissions are not guaranteed to be approved. The earlier this information can be submitted, the better. Sickness, Hospitalization, family emergencies, and computer issues will not count against your allotted days if you contact the Tournament Director either by email or by phone. Failure to contact the Tournament Director risks having to use your allotted days for missed time. Any player who repeatedly fails to communicate to the tournament director and their opponent risks sanctions from the tournament director, including forefit, ban from the tournament, and ban from future tournament play.
  3. All games will count toward your correspondence ratings.
  4. Your move should be the product of your own brain. Help from another human or any electronic device (I E, computer, smart phone, or tablet) is not allowed in any way, and this includes, but is not limited to, computer software, phone apps, etc. In addition, you are also not allowed to use computer software or phone apps to keep track of and make your moves. Use of any of this for your games will be deemed as cheating. If you suspect your opponent is cheating, please do not say anything to your opponent or anyone else. Please immediately send a copy of the game record to the Tournament Director fully explaining your suspicions. The Tournament Director will then forward all relevant information to the USBCA Cheating Committee. The Cheating Committee will make the final decision.
  5. Any disputes about games should be referred to the Tournament Director. The Tournament Directors ruling on a dispute is final.

For any questions about the rules, contact the tournament director.