American Postal Chess Tournaments
P. O. Box 305, Western Springs, IL 60558-0305 USA
Phone: (630) 663-0688, FAX: (630) 663-0689

Email: APCT@aol.com

APCT Time Controls

  1. The 10/30 time control is the official time control for use in APCT tournaments. Each player has 30 days for the first 10 moves, 60 days for the first 20 moves, etc. Time may be allocated among moves in any way the player desires, except more than ten days may not be taken for any one move without notifying the opponent ahead of time with the previous move.

  2. By mutual agreement only, players may use the three day time control (three days for each move).

APCT Rules of Play

The following rules of play apply to all APCT events, and are intended as general guidelines. They do NOT cover all game situations. The judgment and decision of the Tournament Director shall be invoked when no specific rule is applicable.

  1. GENERAL. All games shall be played by correspondence and shall be governed by the rules of chess.

  2. NOTATION. Algebraic notation shall be the official system of APCT, but other systems may be used by mutual consent. When there is disagreement about which system is used, algebraic shall be the mandated system.

  3. REQUIRED INFORMATION. Each card must contain the following:

  4. date opponent's card was received
  5. date your reply was sent
  6. cumulative time used
  7. section number
  8. acknowledgement of your opponent's last move
  9. your own move and any accepted if moves
  10. your signature and return address

Failure to provide this information, or any part of it, may be considered a violation of the rules of play and may result in a citation tantamount to an official time complaint. A second infraction may result in forfeit.


  • Once a move has been mailed it cannot be altered except as provided in b) below. A move cannot be cancelled, altered, or otherwise modified by telephone, fax, airmail, e-mail or another card.
  • If a player sends an illegal move, it is the duty of the recipient to question it immediately without sending a move in return. The player sending the illegality many then substitute any legal move. Chronic illegalities may be treated as valid reason for complaint and/or forfeit. Illegal moves may result in an assessment of a time penalty. A second illegality may result in a ruling to move the "touched" piece.
  • Ambiguous moves. A move subject to more than one interpretation must be clarified before play proceeds. The sender is bound to the clarified move. At the discretion of the TD, a time penalty may be assessed in the 10/30 control.
  • A game concluded by checkmate, agreed draw, stalemate, or resignation cannot be resumed if an ambiguity is belatedly discovered. The result shall stand.
  • If a player fails to correctly acknowledge his opponent's previous move, or any "if" move, his own move shall be considered illegal and the recipient must request a correction before play continues.
  • It is expected that each player will play his own game. While books or magazines may be consulted, no help or analysis from another player may be employed. Computers may be used for clerical assistance or for reference, but may NOT be used to generate actual moves in a game in progress.

  • TRANSMISSION OF "if" MOVES. A player may send one or more conditional moves. The recipient is, of course, not obligated to accept them. If they are accepted, they must be accepted as given and in the order given. If several conditional moves are given, they may be accepted up to any point and the remainder refused. ALL such moves must be acknowledged when responding.

  • WITHDRAWAL FROM PLAY. A player withdrawing from play must notify ALL opponents and the Tournament Director. The withdrawing player shall not suffer rating loss except through adjudication providing he withdrawals from ALL games in ALL sections. Withdrawal from some games or some sections (partial withdrawal) shall be treated as forfeits and such games shall be rated as losses for the withdrawing player. Players submitting games for adjudication should send a diagram of the position, game score, and rationale for claiming rating credit.

  • FORFEITS. Games won on forfeit shall be rated.

  • VACATIONS AND TIME OUT. Each player is permitted four weeks annual vacation or leave. Advance notice of such time out must be sent to each opponent and the TD. A MOVE MUST ACCOMPANY THE VACATION NOTICE. Failure to include a move may result in a valid time citation. At the discretion of the TD, and for serious cause, more than four weeks leave may be granted. Frequent delays caused by travel, mail forwarding, etc. shall not be permitted.

  • REPORTING RESULTS. The winner of each game, or the player with the White pieces in a drawn game, shall report the result within ten days of completion. Timely reporting of game results is essential. Winners who fail to report results may not be given rating credit.

  • GAME COMPLETION. It is expected that games will finish within 18 months of assignment. Games unreported after 18 months may be closed out and scored as draws without rating exchange. A time extension may be requested after 18 months and will be granted at the discretion of the TD. If a games remains unfinished after two years of play, it may be called in for adjudication or closed out at the discretion of the TD. Notice of impending closeouts are routinely published in the APCT News Bulletin.

  • PLAYER AND TD RESPONSIBILITY. Each player is responsible for confirming game results and reporting omissions or inaccuracies to the TD. A player who protests the awarding of a prize must do so within 30 days of the original announcement in the APCT News Bulletin. Each player is responsible for knowing and abiding by the rules of play and abiding by the norms of decency in language and conduct. If a player is guilty of using abusive or offensive language, this should be brought to the attention of the TD. The offending party may be warned or forfeited; he may be expelled for a specific time or placed on probationary status. The TD reserves the right to expel any player who chronically irritates or offends other players in his section. The TD shall be responsible for the administration of all games, payment of prizes, and publication of all tournament news. He is the final arbiter in all games disputes and his decision is final.


    In the event of an initial time delay, a player should send a repeat card. If tardiness continues, repeat cards should not become habitual as a means of maintaining contact. In such cases the office of the TD should be consulted to solve the problem.

    FILING COMPLAINTS. In the event a player is tardy in responding, a routine repeat card should be sent. If no move is received within 12 days of dispatch of the repeat, the player should file an official complaint with the TD, giving opponent's name and address, ID#, date of opponent's last card, date of repeat, and cumulative time used. The TD will then send an official warning to the tardy player and a confirmation notice to the filing player. If the filing player has not received a response within 12 days of the acknowledgement of the initial complaint, he then notifies the TD and a forfeit is awarded. On the occasion of a second complaint, forfeit will be automatic pending appeal on the basis of illness, emergency, etc. The TD shall be the final arbiter in awarding forfeits.

  • Each player has thirty days (exclusive of transit time) to make ten moves. If he uses less than thirty days, his unused time accumulates for use in the next ten move segment, plus an additional thirty days. It is essential that both players confirm the time used on each card, both for that single move and the total time consumed. No claim for time overstep shall be accepted which does not include full and accurate records.

  • Documented proof of a first overstep should be sent to the TD who in turn will notify the offender. Repeat cards should be sent before filing with the appropriate time used given.

  • A second overstep will result in forfeit.

    All other pertinent rules will be included with assignments.


    E-mail sections use 10/30 time control and rules are essentially the same as regular mail except a day is defined as a 24-hour period starting with the date and time an opponent's move is placed in your mailbox. Answering within 24 hours counts as zero days.

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