Ladder Rules

Here you’ll find all the rules for the L.A. Chess Ladder! Please direct any questions to Darren at Thank you!



Anyone may join the L.A. Chess Ladder! It doesn’t cost any money to join the ladder. This is a non-profit organization.


Player Directory

Shortly after becoming a member, you will be sent the password which will allow you to view the player directory.

Remember the contact information is confidential and only meant for L.A. Chess Ladder usage. Please respect players’ privacy and do not give out this information


Arranging Challenges

Any player on the L.A. Chess Ladder may challenge a higher ranked player by contacting him/her via the directory. Keep in mind that you must be in the top 20 in order to challenge the top 10 players. In addition, you must be in the top 10 in order to challenge the #1 ranked player.

The challenged player is expected to respond within 48 hours of the initial contact.

The players can then mutually decide on a place and time to play. Challenges may not be played over the internet.

The challenged player is expected to be available to play the challenge within 2 weeks of the initial contact.

If the challenged player does not respond within 48 hours or is unavailable to play within two weeks, this may result in a win by default for the challenger.


Playing Challenges

A challenge match will consist of two out of three games of chess.We currently have a Standard Ladder and a Blitz ladder. Blitz challenges use G5 + 5 second delay or quicker. Anything slower such as G10, G15, or G20 will be on the standard ladder.

Flip a coin to determine who starts as white. The winner will be white for the 1st game (and for the 3rd game if it is played). The other player will be white for the second game.

Time Control: Standard ladder challenge matches do not need to have a time control. However, a time control must be used if a player requests it and provides a chess clock. In this case, the players must mutually decide on a time control slower than G5 + 5 min (ex: G10, G15, G30, G60, etc.). If the players cannot agree on which time control to use, then the time control shall be G30.

For blitz ladder matches, use a time control of at most G5 + 5 minutes. If players cannot agree on a time control, use G5 + 5 minutes.

Want to buy a chess clock? Click here!

Touch RuleThe touch rule says that if a player touches a piece during his/her turn, that piece must be moved/captured if legal. If a player wishes to adjust a piece, he/she must announce it before touching the piece. Before a ladder match begins, players should mutually agree whether or not to use the touch rule.

Recording moves: Writing down moves during a game is not required, but it can be advantageous:

    1. It can help resolve disputes by reviewing moves that are in question.
    2. Studying the moves after the game can be a great learning experience.
    3. If you played a great game, send the moves to Darren at to have the game uploaded to the site.


ScoringFor each game: a win is 1 point, a draw is .5 points, and a loss is 0 points.

If one player has more points after two games, he/she wins the challenge. If the score is tied, then a third game will be played. If the score is tied after 3 games, the challenge is drawn.

Send the result to Darren at so it can be posted on the site.

Example results:

John def Matt 2-0

Mick def Jane 1.5-.5

Anna def Mary 2-1

David draws Stu 1.5-1.5

Moving Up The Ladder

Beat a higher ranked player → you move ahead of that player.

Beat a lower ranked player → no movement.

Draw → the lower ranked player moves up to one position behind the higher ranked player.



The most important of the ladder rules. The ethics of sportsmanship shall always prevail. Report any instances of unsportsmanlike conduct to Darren at

  • Talking to your opponent during a match except when absolutely necessary is prohibited. If an opponent continues to do this despite being asked not to, a player may claim a win.
  • Doing anything to intentionally distract your opponent is prohibited.
  • Wait for your opponent to press the clock before making your move, don’t slam the pieces when playing a move, and never rush your opponent.
  • If you and your opponent are having a disagreement, you can try calling Darren at 310-729-7721 to resolve the issue.


The website will be updated regularly as challenges are played and new players join. There may be additional ladder rules added in the future.

 Questions? Concerns? Want to join the L.A. Chess Ladder?

Contact Darren at

L.A. Chess Ladder rules