In chess tournaments, keeping track of the time players spend on their moves is crucial. This ensures that each round concludes properly and the tournament proceeds smoothly.
To manage time, a game clock is used, which conveniently records the total time taken for the match. Sometimes, players find themselves in a tight spot known as “time pressure” or Zeitnot, where they have limited time to make their remaining moves.
In most major FIDE events, the World Chess Federation has established a standard time control: both players are given 90 minutes.
This time frame is sufficient for 40 moves, and afterwards, an extra 30 minutes are granted to complete the whole game.
Additionally, each player gets an extra 30 seconds for every piece moved. While this is the usual setup, exceptions can be made for players.
Certain World Championships have even extended the time to 120 minutes for 40 moves, while others have used 60 minutes for the first 20 moves, followed by an extra 15 minutes to finish the game.
Usually, the time allotted to each player can vary based on the strategies employed in the game. However, the classification of the tournament changes based on the time given to both players.
- Short Time Limit: This category of game control isn’t as significant, as players often fail to make the expected number of moves within this time frame.
- Lightning: This is the swiftest time limit, clocking in at 3 minutes or less per move.
- Blitz: This entails a time limit of approximately 4 to 15 minutes per move. Anything below 20 minutes falls into the blitz category.
- Active: Moves falling between 15 and 30 minutes are categorized as active play.
Time Control Methodology
This pertains to the methodology of using a game clock to manage the changes in time during a game. The techniques employed to measure time differ; let’s examine a few of the typical methods.
In tournament chess, this stands as the simplest time control technique. Each player receives a designated amount of time for the entire game. As soon as this time limit runs out, the game promptly concludes, resulting in a loss for the player who exceeded the time.
Using an Hourglass
In this way, each player gets a clock. Each clock starts with some time, like one minute, five minutes, or ten minutes. When one player thinks about their move, their time goes down. But the other player gets more time on their clock. It’s like how sand in an hourglass moves from one side to the other, giving more time to the other player.
However, it’s important to know that the total time on both clocks adds up to the same amount. This means both players have the same time for the game. It’s about who finishes the game first or if the game goes on until its regular end. When one player’s clock runs out of time completely, the game ends, and they lose.
In some chess games, the time is split into two parts: the main time and extra time. To switch between them, players need to follow certain steps.
In chess, when players make a certain number of moves, they can get “bonus time,” which is added to the regular time. This is often used in chess competitions, especially when the game goes past 40 moves. For example, in a 2-hour game, players do the first 40 moves and then have an extra 30 minutes to finish.
Increment or Delay Method (Compensation)
One way to add time is by using a special clock called a “delay clock.” There are three types that help players who lose time while deciding on moves. To make a move, players must avoid reducing their available time.
Simple Time Delay
When a player wants to make a move, the clock waits for a short time before starting to count down. No extra time is given, so if the player moves quickly, no time is lost.
Bronstein Time Delay
This works like Simple Delay, but players can see how much time they have left before the clock starts counting down again. If they use less time than the delay during their turn, it’s given back. If they use more time, that extra time is added to their clock.
Fischer Time Delay
(Time Increment) Invented by a famous chess player, this method adds extra time to a player’s clock when it’s their turn. If a player has 10 minutes left and the delay is 5 seconds, they get an extra 10 minutes and 5 seconds. This means time can add up. If they move quickly, their remaining time increases.
This extra time is often called “increment.” It adds to the regular time players get. This splits the game time into different parts. The first part covers the first 40 moves, and the next part helps players make the remaining moves. This divides the game time between sudden death and the increment.
In many chess events, this method is used when the first 40 moves take less than 1 hour and 30 minutes. Players then get another 30 minutes to finish the whole game. This gives them more time to finish the game naturally.
Chess Competition Penalty System
In this method, if a player goes over their time limit, they face a penalty, which could be a loss of points or a fine. However, this is more often found in games like “GO,” a Chinese version of chess. In chess competitions, if a player goes past their time limit, the penalty is straightforward: they lose the game. If they lose because of the time limit, their opponent is declared the winner. On the other hand, if they exceed the time limit, they can claim a draw.
In the world of chess, time per move rules add a dynamic twist. As players race against the clock, strategy and speed collide. These rules inject excitement, demanding quick decisions. So, next time you see a chess game unfold, remember, the ticking clock is as much a player as the pieces on the board.