CODE OF ETHICS OF THE US CHESS FEDERATION (US Chess)
Posted May 27, 2016 - Printer friendly version
PURPOSE AND SCOPE
1. The purpose of this code of ethics is to set forth standards to which
the conduct of players, tournament directors, sponsors, and other individuals
and entities participating in the affairs of the United States Chess Federation
(US Chess), including tournaments and other activities sponsored by or
sanctioned by US Chess, should conform; to specify sanctions for conduct that
does not conform to such standards; and to specify the procedures by which
alleged violations are to be investigated and, if necessary, the appropriate
2. The standards, procedures, and sanctions set forth in this code of
ethics are not equivalent to criminal laws and procedures. Rather, they concern
the rights and privileges of US Chess membership, including, but not limited
to, the privilege of participating in tournaments, events, or other activities
as a member of US Chess.
3. The standards, procedures, and sanctions set forth in this code of
ethics shall apply only to actions and behavior by:
(A) members of US Chess, that occur in connection with tournaments or
other activities sponsored by or sanctioned by US Chess; and (B)
individuals and entities acting in an official capacity as officers or
representatives of US Chess. This code shall not apply to actions or behavior
by employees of US Chess acting in the scope of their duties. Such actions fall
instead under the province of the Executive Board.
4. Each member
of US Chess and each participant in a US Chess activity shall be bound by this
code of ethics.
THE US CHESS ETHICS COMMITTEE
5. The US Chess Ethics Committee is appointed in accordance with
procedures consistent with the bylaws of US Chess. The committee exists to
consider allegations of unethical conduct at or in connection with events
sanctioned by US Chess, and allegations of unethical conduct involving US Chess
and its activities, in accordance with the standards and procedures contained
in this code. The committee will exercise all other duties as may be assigned
by the Bylaws or by action of the US Chess Board of Delegates.
STANDARDS OF CONDUCT
6. The actions and behavior of individuals participating in US Chess
activities, or in events sponsored by or sanctioned by US Chess, shall be
lawful and in accordance with all US Chess rules and regulations, and
consistent with the principles of fair play, good sportsmanship, honesty, and
respect for the rights of others. The following is a list of examples of
actions and behavior that are considered unethical. The list is not intended to
be exhaustive, and any action or behavior that is unlawful or violates US Chess
rules and regulations, or is inconsistent with the principles of fair play,
good sportsmanship, honesty, and respect for the rights of others, may be
considered to fall within the scope of this code of ethics.
(a) Intentional violations of tournament regulations, or of any other
regulations pertaining to USCF activities and goals, particularly after being
(b) Cheating in a game of chess by illegally giving, receiving,
offering, or soliciting advice; or by consulting written sources; or by
tampering with clocks; or in any other manner.
(c) Deliberately losing a game for payment, or to lower one's rating, or
for any other reason; or attempting to induce another player to do so.
Deliberately failing to play at one's best in a game, in any manner
inconsistent with the principles of good sportsmanship, honesty, or fair play.
(d) Deliberately misrepresenting one's playing ability in order to
compete in a tournament or division of a tournament intended for players of
lesser ability; players with foreign ratings are expected to disclose those
(e) Participating in a tournament under a false name or submitting a
falsified rating report.
(f) Participating in a tournament while under suspension.
(g) Purposely giving false information in order to circumvent or violate
any rule or regulation or goal recognized by US Chess.
(h) Attempting to interfere with the rights of any US Chess member, such
as by barring someone from entering a US Chess-sanctioned event for personal
reasons. Generally, no individual should be barred from a US Chess-sanctioned
event for which he or she meets the advertised qualifications, without
appropriate due process, and then only for behavior inconsistent with the
principles of this code and/or the rules of chess. If a ban on future
participation is imposed, the individual should be notified of the ban prior to
his attempting to appear at future events.
(i) Violating federal, state, or local laws while participating in
activities that are associated with US Chess.
7. Any US Chess member may initiate procedures
under this code of ethics by filing a complaint in a timely manner with the US
Chess Ethics Committee. A
good-faith deposit of $25 must be submitted by the complainant. The deposit
shall be returned unless the Committee rules that the case is frivolous. The
Committee may determine whether to return the deposit even before it determines
jurisdictional and merit questions. The Committee may also, by a two-thirds
vote, accept complaints submitted without the $25 deposit.
In the case of any accusation that does not
fall clearly under the Standards of Conduct above, the Ethics
Committee shall have the authority to decide whether the alleged conduct is
within the scope of the code of ethics. In the case of each alleged violation
that is within the scope of the code of ethics, the following steps shall occur
in a timely manner:
(a) A factual inquiry shall be made by the Ethics Committee, assisted as
necessary by the US Chess staff. Previous findings of the Ethics Committee or
other US Chess entities may be included among the evidence considered by the
Ethics Committee, if relevant to the circumstances of the present case. As a
part of such an inquiry, any person accused of unethical conduct shall have the
right to examine the evidence against him or her, the right to respond to the
accusation, and the right to produce written evidence in his or her behalf.
(b) Appropriate sanctions, if any, shall be recommended to the Executive
Board by the Ethics Committee. In recommending sanctions, the Ethics Committee
may consider any previous ruling or finding of the Ethics Committee, or other
US Chess entity, pertaining to the past conduct of the person being sanctioned.
In recommending sanctions, the person being recommended for sanctions must be
informed of this fact. Any person against whom sanctions have been recommended
shall be promptly notified. If appeals are filed, the Ethics Committee shall be
(c) Except as specified in 7(e) sanctions recommended to the Executive
Board shall be deemed final unless appealed to the Executive Board by the
person or persons upon whom the sanctions have been imposed, or upon the initiative
of any member of the Executive Board. Such an appeal must be made within thirty
days of the date that notification of recommended sanctions occurred, except
that the Executive Board may extend the deadline for appeal if in its judgment
an unavoidable delay in communications or other valid cause prevented a timely
appeal. If an appeal has not been filed by the deadline the recommended
sanctions shall be placed into effect.
(d) Upon appeal, a review of the facts and the appropriateness of the
recommended sanction shall be undertaken by the Executive Board. The person
against whom the sanction has been recommended, as well as the person filing
the initial complaint, shall be given notice of the time and place the
Executive Board will review the case. The person against whom the sanctions
have been recommended shall have the right to appear before the Board and
present evidence. In all appeals the recommended sanctions imposed by the
Ethics Committee shall not be in effect until the appeal hearing is completed.
The recommended sanctions shall be either confirmed, modified, or revoked by
the Executive Board.
(e) If the person against whom sanctions have been recommended is a
member of the US Chess Executive Board, he or she may not appeal the sanctions
to the Executive Board, but may appeal to the US Chess Board of Delegates at
its next scheduled meeting.
(f) If any member of the Ethics Committee or of the US Chess Executive
Board has a conflict of interest of any kind that might preclude objective
participation in the consideration of any case, that person may not act in the
capacity of a committee or board member on the case.
8. The following are some of the sanctions that may be imposed as a
result of the procedures specified above. In unusual cases, other appropriate
sanctions may be imposed, or these sanctions may be varied or combined.
(a) Reprimand. A determination that a member has committed an offense
warranting discipline becomes a matter of record, but no further sanction is
imposed at the time. A reprimand automatically carries a probation of at least
three months, or longer if so specified. If the member is judged guilty of
another offense during the probation, he or she is then liable to further
sanctions for both offenses.
(b) Censure. A determination that a member has committed a serious
offense warranting discipline becomes a matter of record, but no further
sanction is imposed at the time. Censure automatically carries a probation of
at least one year, or longer if so specified. If the member is judged guilty of
another offense during the probationary period, he or she is then liable to
further sanctions for both offenses.
(c) Suspended sentence with probation. A determination is made that the
member has committed an offense warranting discipline. When the discipline is
imposed and execution thereof suspended, such suspension shall include
probation for at least six months longer than the discipline imposed. If the member
is judged guilty of another offense during this period, unless otherwise
decreed, the original discipline shall be added to such new discipline as may
be imposed for the new offense.
(d) Suspension. Suspension is a determination that the member has committed
an offense warranting abrogation, for a specified period of time, of all
membership rights and privileges.
(e) Expulsion. Expulsion is a determination that a member has committed
an offense warranting permanent abrogation of all membership rights and
privileges. An expelled member may be readmitted to membership only by the US
Chess Executive Board or by the US Chess Board of Delegates.
(f) Exclusion from events. This is a more selective determination that a
member has committed an offense warranting abrogation of the right to
participate in certain specified events or activities.
9. If the person being sanctioned is a member of the US Chess Executive
Board, the Ethics Committee may recommend to the Executive Board no sanctions
other than censure or reprimand, but may also recommend to the Board of
Delegates other actions.
10. In the case of every sanction that involves suspension or expulsion,
a member may not hold any office in US Chess or participate in any capacity in
any event or activity sponsored by or sanctioned by US Chess.
11. The US Chess Business Office shall be informed in writing of all
official determinations by the Ethics Committee, and shall record any
recommendations of any sanctions. The US Chess Business Office shall inform the
Executive Board of any sanctions recommended.
modification history: the previous Code of Ethics was replaced in its entirety
with the above Code by DM 97-16/ADM 97-24 and passed as amended at the 1997
Annual Meeting. This Code of Ethics was
further amended by DM 98-71/ADM 98-80 and the amendments were passed at the
1998 Annual Meeting. This Code of Ethics
was further amended by DM 99-75/NDM 99-68 and the amendments were passed at the
1999 Annual Meeting. This Code of Ethics
was further amended by DM 04-22/ADM 04-16, DM 04-23/ADM 04-17 and DM 04-25/ ADM
04-19 and the amendments were passed at the 2004 Annual Meeting. This Code of Ethics was further amended by DM
15-20/NDM 15-05 and the amendments were passed at the 2015 Annual meeting.