Players will be put into 4 seeded groups, football World Cup style. Players will play one game against each of their opponents, white player to be decided by a toss of a coin.
Time control to be used is that used by the club in the Northumberland Chess Association league. For 2016-17 this is all moves in 75 minutes with a 10 second increment.
All games to be played by the end of February.
The first two players in each group go through to the knockout stages. The competition organizer will make the draw for each stage including which player has the white pieces. The winner goes through to the next round. In case of a draw the match is replayed with colours reversed until there is a decisive game.
Games are sent for grading at standard time control.
Recording of the moves is required until the first time that a player has less than 5 minutes on the clock. After this recording is optional even if the time goes above 5 minutes again.