Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Stupid Time Control Tricks

| Permalink | 70 comments

Word on the street is that Corus is using a time control with increment from move one because their usual control, with increment only after move 60, isn't on the approved list of controls eligible for norm tournaments, important for the C Group. I probably didn't notice since I rarely cover events were norms are needed. According to the language in the handbook, apparently taken from the ACP, specific allowable controls are listed instead of simply indicated a range. The vastly superior control that reserves increment for the endgame only is obviously still classical chess. (40 in 2hr, 20 in 1hr, 30'+15" per move till the finish, for example.) From what I remember from the various polls, not having increment from the first move was preferred by a majority of ACP members. But all the increment controls listed as eligible for norms have increment from move one. Not a huge deal, but annoying. Organizers should be able to customize the control within certain (narrow) parameters. And allowing the standard 40/2, 20/1, g/30 for norms but not allowing increment in that final control is ridiculous.


Unintended consequences...

Karjakin is now +2, and against the non-Dutch, though Kramnik kept pace in the "11 foreigners" field by winning also. Shirov is the big exploiter at +3, and Carlsen, Kramnik and Ivanchuk are +2 against the bottom 3.

"And allowing the standard 40/2, 20/1, g/30 for norms but not allowing increment in that final control is ridiculous."

Its a matter of costs , not all clubs can afford new clocks instantly .

At a recent large tournament here in Virginia, (100 players) there were still mechanical clocks at some boards. Tick tock, not beep beep! Further, there were a number of players who were not able to set their electronic clocks correctly, and other players had to do it for them. This was with no increment, and I can imagine the chaos if there was an increment to set.

It's obvious - it's a conspiracy to help Chucky with time management.

Here in Virginia, players bring their own clocks to the tournament. At a tournament, one might see a dozen different kinds of clock, some old mechanical ones too. If everyone had to set them the same, with some increment, it would be a miracle if everyone got them right.

Corus had increment from move 41 last year. This was changed as a consequence of the Radjabov-Smeets incident.

Fair enough, but this applies to (American) opens, not to other events where organizers provide state-of-the-art clocks. In other words: just because increments aren't possible in Virginia, there is no need to ban them at Corus. And Mig's problem [I would agree with him] isn't increments in the final phase, but increments as early as move one.

BTW, last year there was an incident in the fourth German league: clocks couldn't be programmed to allow increments (only) after the second time control. As far as I understand, the clocks provided from the home team were from 2007, but still sold in 2009 when they no longer complied with the latest FIDE rules.
A practical solution would have been to re-program the clocks after the second time control (it would probably concern only two or three games). But no, rules are rules: the home team was disqualified and lost 0-8, subsequent protests were in vain.

For those who can read German: story and comments (also from people directly involved) at

Thomas said:
In other words: just because increments aren't possible in Virginia, there is no need to ban them at Corus.

Well, those weren't my words, nor my point, but actually the opposite.

I was trying to humorously point out what the typical scene is like here in Virginia with regard to clocks, and what might happen if the Corus rules were applied here (not the Virginia rules applied to Corus).

On the other hand, I am interested to know whether the tournaments which you play in provide these state of the art electronic clocks. The tournament I was referring to was a State Championship, and certainly the upper boards all used various makes of electronic clocks, but there were mechanical clocks seen in the lower boards (and not just in the Amateur section, 1800 down). It is, as I mentioned, a bring-your-own-clock tournament. The best players in VA do not play in the state championship (for example, Onischuk officially lives in Va but seldom if ever appears at local tournaments), but the top boards are all masters, 2400 and down. No one provides clocks here, it's strictly bring your own clcok.

And nary a peep out of poor old Mig after Naka and Carlsen's demise not a posting in sight about round 9 of Corus. I guess his boss has his nose out of joint - especially after Kramnik's joke about Carlsen's move 1 deep meditation (extended crushed bug visualisation hence the closed eyes)

Cum on Mig (oops didnt mean it like that! tee hee) not even a teensy weensy little rationale? Tired, memory prob, no shame to lose to Kram, shame about the blunder, just when the game was getting interesting, was better for most of the game, can still win the tournament, Gary told him not to play Catalan, very young still no 1 etc etc

Just think boys and girls if 19 year old Magnus had not had that bizarre 2 minute move 1 think he would have had vital extra minutes at the end and maybe avoided the blunder - there just a wee bit of inexperience nothing more.

As for Naka, wel1 he refused to take the draw by repetition - so just a victim of his own exuberance ("I can beat anyone")and thats why we love him - his fearless fighting chess - especially against the sicilian particularly the Najdorf where he is fearsome..... ah but then Karjakin always plays the Najdorf and Naka opened d4 hmmm same mistake as Magnus.

Oh well its your blog (party)and you'll cry if you want to. Nice point about the increment having to be at move 1 for Corus due to norms yep real head shaking, tongue tutting stuff. Bugger the chess! Lets get our teeth into this increment issue - yet another piece of tomfoolery from those loony FIDE chaps if you ask me. I'm with Mig 100% on this one.

most major opens in Germany now provide state-of-the-art digital clocks at least in the A-section (usually 1900+ ELO).

OK I misunderstood you ... . To answer your question: Frankly I cannot remember the last time I had to bring my own clock, nor even when I last was forced to use a mechanical one. Bringing your own material may well be a specialty of US events - I wonder if Van Wely, whom I mentioned in another thread, also had to bring his own material (board and pieces take up quite some space in airplane luggage ...)

@Mig: "Word on the street is that Corus is using a time control with increment from move one because their usual control, with increment only after move 60, isn't on the approved list of controls eligible for norm tournaments, important for the C Group."


I presume, then, that FIDE will now invalidate any rating gains (or losses) from all tournament that have used unapproved time controls?

Retroactively, going back say three years...! :o

Isn’t there somebody who can put that ridiculous organisation back on a sensible footing, please?

Fear not -- in Sophia, Bulgaria there will be special clocks with wireless controls that can be hacked by Danailov & Co.

If I remember correctly, Magnus got a norm from Corus for his GM title...

Maybe then Anand should bring his own clock, and FIDE a third neutral one?

Half-seriously: What happens in US events if both players insist on using their clock for the game, for whatever sentimental reason?

Yes, by the way, we all bring our own pieces and roll-up boards, too. I haven't seen an electronic board yet. Maybe a few masters or experts who are absent-minded but well-loved might appear without his pieces; there is always enough to lend him a set.

From your and Maxx81's answers, it seems chess is better supported there on the continent, and I feel primitive here in American chess land. I guess players at American Invitationals are treated better, but the American Opens put all their money into the prize fund, and would never have a stock of 50 new electronic clocks, boards and pieces and more.

I hear that our local Tournament Director keeps 3 clocks handy in his briefcase for emergencies, but no one hoards 50+ clocks and provides them for chess tournaments, that I know of. This is an interesting difference that I hadn't expected. Or maybe I'm uninformed, and my American colleagues can correct me.

Thomas said:
"Half-seriously: What happens in US events if both players insist on using their clock for the game, for whatever sentimental reason?"

I'm sure it happens, and the Tournament Director will resolve it in typical American practical fashion, a coin toss, or similar.

By the way, Thomas, I know you are serious most of the time, and you often take my comments more seriously than I mean them. Often I am joking or teasing you, and of course we don't have irony-quotes or sarcasm-quotes, so I'll let you know that I am very seldom mean-spirited or venomous in my comments, and if I should disagree with you on something, please take it in the best way, not the worst. I generally find your comments interesting, and sometimes funny when you don't mean to be. Ha! Just teasing ya!

LOL. You'll be able to sit for Mig when he's busy :-)


Mig kick your dog or beat you at blitz or something?

I have never played in a US event but I imagine that the potential for skullduggery is significant when players bring their own equipment. What if a player programs some funny time delay/acceleration into their digital clock? I wonder if this kind of hassle has ever occurred in the US of A? I suppose chessplayers are probably generally more intrinsically honest than they get credit for.

I've seen a couple disputes about the older clocks, which had a fast-slow lever, and potential for abuse. I've seen one disputed clock replaced with another, and also seen the times of the two chess clocks added and compared to the round's start time, to resolve clock disputes. But most of us have a wary trust of one another, and are good natured and tolerant. Some of us have known one another since high-school, too.

Several players in recent years I noticed played chess with iPod music and ear buds or earphones in place, and I didn't see any accusations that it was Short's Chess Books on Tape, or anything similar.

I see some younger players have started writing their moves into these chess notebooks that seem to have some chess info in them, on the opposing pages, but I haven't seen anyone complain - though no one would have allowed that when I was younger.

Are chessplayers less likely to cheat that the general population? I don't assume it. I try to be scrupulously correct when I'm playing, but I know everyone isn't that way. I myself don't want outside help, because I want to know myself, but then, I was a philosophy student for many years...

I guess there would be a practical problem with that kind of cheating: if you provide the clock, your opponent decides on which side of the board it will be placed? At least that was the rule in Germany when mechanical clocks where still used: "White sets the clock, black puts the clock".
So pre-game manipulations could easily backfire, one could only cheat during the game maybe via remote assistance (as ArcticStones suggested, most likely in jest): when your opponent goes to the bar or toilet, you subtract two minutes from his clock and add two minutes to yours - without anyone else noticing immediately. But this would require a certain amount of creativity or "criminal energy".

"when your opponent goes to the bar or toilet, you subtract two minutes from his clock and add two minutes to yours - without anyone else noticing immediately"

Topa should try this next time against Vlad :-)

@tjallen: No worries, I can handle a fair amount of teasing - basically there is only one person on this blog that sometimes goes over the top (also from America, but from the deepest south).
As far as your recent comments go, they just add an interesting trans-Atlantic dimension to the topic: for us Europeans, it is "known hearsay" that all or most US players have to bring their own material - for Americans (at least you) it seems so self-evident that you cannot or could not imagine anything else.
Actually I vaguely remember "bring your own" from my earliest youth: a small neighbor club organizing a tournament and asking other clubs for help simply because they don't have enough own boards and clocks. But to my knowledge, noone was denied participation if he forgot or refused to bring his own material (by definition, there is a 100% surplus if everyone complies).

On a personal note: Where in Virginia are you from? By some "strange circumstances", I was born in Charlottesville, VA - my father was a guest professor at what's locally called "THE university" and some people there claimed that I am named after "Mr. Jefferson". But I left at the age of ten days because my parents' visa were expiring and a new job was waiting for my father. Me and my parents returned sometimes, but by now most of the people they knew in 1966/67 are deceased, so is my father himself.

One more thing: How do you know whether I mean to be funny or not? Ha, I am also not always dead-serious ! ,:)

Thomas - I am from a small town outside of Richmond, in central Virginia. I graduated from UVa, class of '83, and loved Charlottesville. Small world, huh?

The only place I remember that had a "large" collection of boards and sets was UVa, which we found by accident. I helped restart UVA's chess club, and we applied for some Student Activity money to buy some cheap boards and sets. Then someone remembered, the old chess club had equipment, in a broom closet in Newcomb Hall. Sure enough, the little room was unlocked, and there were 10 boards and sets, plus large coffee makers. A bonanza!

Thomas, you're German right? So being funny must be impossible for you ;). That's what we believe in the UK and we cannot be wrong.

The problem with the English is that they all think they are funny. The Germans at least know they aren't, which makes them in a way more enjoyable.

Unless it's a matter of genes (something you are stuck with for the rest of your life), maybe it helps that I also lived in France and, currently, the Netherlands? By CV I would consider myself a (continental western) European rather than "a typical German" ....

Kramnik was - of course - always known for his chess understanding, and instructive press conferences are also not new: I remember one he gave at Corus some years ago on a win against Anand (an endgame squeeze from the white side of the Catalan). But his humor seems something new. Is there a French connection? Yes there is ... .

1. It's genetic indeed. The English think they have it and their evidence is that they say so repeatedly.
2.Second your comments about Kramnik.

I dare hope that the persistent strength of the Anand/Topalov/Kramnik/Ivanchuk/Gelfand generation and the emergence of the Aronian/Carlsen/Karjakin/Nakamura cohort will produce some fierce rivalries and attendant publicity for our game. And yet another generation of super-GMs lurks just behind them. We could be on the threshold of good times again, FIDE willing.

You should write horror movies. Those two last words scared the hell out of me.

Is there a French connection? Yes there is ... .

A pretty one! A crown on Kramnik's minor chess-related achievements.

How often would Germans have to repeat saying they are funny to actually be funny? It might be hopeless, we are a few generations behind!?

BTW, "funny"(!?) that there is no live discussion yet on today's round. I will give it a start: Maybe the games aren't that exciting, though the players certainly try again. As you forgot(?) Shirov in your list: looks like Anand decided he still wants to influence the fight for tournament victory, at least indirectly. According to Rybka who's never funny, there was a pair of blunders: Anand went wrong with 39.Ne6? (no time trouble, he still has 34 minutes on the clock), and Shirov (with less than a minute left?) returned the favor with 39.-Re6:? and is now significantly worse.

actually the games are interesting, just that the transmission was stopped just when everyone was about to be in time trouble, i.e when it was just about to be very interesting)

Carlsen won, per ChessPro. I don't see game feeds anywhere.

По неподтвержденным пока данным, партия завершилась так: 40... Bd7 41.Nf3 Kf6 42.Bb3 g4 43.Nd4 Ke5 44.Bc2 a5 45.Bd1 Ke4 0-1 ... Нужно отметить хитрый выбор дебюта Карлсеном. Французская защита в последнее время была в тени, репертуар у Карякина против этого дебюта узкий, а чутье в сложном "французском миттельшпиле", как мы видели, - далеко не безупречное. Припоминается, не знаю уж насколько к месту, выигрыш Иванчука черными у Каспарова во французской с 3...Bb4 (было дело, белые тоже особо не пикнули). Бывает и не такое, а над французской защитой Сергею, конечно, придется поработать. Организаторам "Коруса" придется поработать над транcляцией, ну а я спешу откланяться, спасибо всем за внимание.

according to chesspro, Karjakin lost to Carlsen and Kramnik-Ivanchuk was a draw.

"Just think boys and girls if 19 year old Magnus had not had that bizarre 2 minute move 1 think he would have had vital extra minutes at the end and maybe avoided the blunder - there just a wee bit of inexperience nothing more."

My guess on the 2 min move 1 think is that it was a planned strategy (very likely the suggestion of GK), which didn't bear the expected outcome.

I guess it may be time for Carlsen to tell his coach to deal with his issues with VK on his own (no bug/meditation thingy as a strategy), and that going forward he would simply deal with Kramnik just like any of his other strong opponents.

I used to be a TD in USA. The rule used to be (it's been a long time since I was involved in actual play) that Black had the choice of equipment, and the clock always went to the right of the Black player.

I would assume this is still true...


Yes this clock issue is most disturbing, the event should be canceled immediately...good job Andy could not have said it better myself and I am a Carlsen fan. btw are there games going on????

Shirov lost to Anand. Thus Kramnik is now the sole leader by .5 point with 3 rounds to go. Good to see that Anand finally wins a game.

Carlsen won also.

Rough translation, fixing up Yahoo+Google with my own partial knowledge of Russian:

By unconfirmed reports the game ended: 40 ... Bd7 41.Nf3 Kf6 42.Bb3 g4 43.Nd4 Ke5 44.Bc2 a5 45.Bd1 Ke4 0-1

One needs to note Carlsen's clever opening choice. The French Defense has recently been out of the spotlight, while Karjakin's repertoire against this opening is rather narrow---leading one to suspect that in a complex "French middlegame", as we have seen, [his play would be] far from perfect. I don't know exactly but I recall a game where Ivanchuk as Black beat Kasparov in the French with 3...Bb4 (indeed White didn't even make a peep). This wasn't as bad as that, but even so of course Sergey will need to work on his French. Well, the Corus organizers also need to work on their transmission, so I have to take my leave---thank you all for your attention.

The game in question is evidently this from Horgen, 1995: http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1060586 Indeed, *this* is a good example of getting "crushed like a bug"!

Andy's comment was fun to read.

Good job, KWRegan! These two games are like a French defence player's porn.

Poor Shirov... Just before time control, he missed the win with 39...Ng3 instead of blundering with the reactionary 39...Rxe6?? Hopefully, Shirov can console himself tomorrow with the fact that he actually outplayed Anand and refocus on playing well with white vs. Kramnik on Friday. Kramnik has shown definite signs of being vulnerable in this tournament. He should have lost two of his games (vs. Tiviakov as white and Short as black), which he amazingly drew by generating a mirage of counterplay causing his opponents to overlook the wins. Kramnik, in this tournament, has proven the accuracy of the saying, "the good are lucky".

Make that three for the French porno file. Queen sac denied and a one-game Big Vlad:


CO, the choice of equipment is black's as long as it meets the preferred standard. If, for example, one clock has time delay and another does not, the delay clock takes precedent in USCF tournaments no matter what. Also, the side on which the clock is placed is determined in many tournaments by black; if black is left-handed, then the clock may be placed on the left.



Good game Clubfoot but I wonder if Black would have had anything at all after 19. Qe3.

Hmmm, if black gets to choose the clock AND the side of the board where it is placed, he could actually cheat by manipulating his own clock!?
That's why I suggested that each player should have part of the choice - and if a right-handed black player suspects that his opponent might cheat, he can still put the clock on his left side of the board ... .

Magnus won, but if he had listened to Moro and I and played 3. ... Be7 it would have been easier. ;)

Really! We didn't have time-delay clocks back then (!), so that wasn't a problem ... the biggest hassle was BHB vs. Jaeger (and later, battery clocks).

As TD, I of course wanted all the clocks facing the same way, so with them required to be oriented to the right of the Black player, the players had to sit on the correct side of the board as well!

I'm somewhat surprised that this is no longer the rule, but at the same time, I also want to say that I'm NOT surprised (!), based on my concept of the deterioration of discipline (or rather, the increase in laxity) in general.


Tthe rule is that black player chooses where to put the clock. A left-handed friend always put it on his left as black when we play blitz. And he was always allowed by TDs in tournaments too.

19.Qe3 is met with ...Nd5 followed by ...Qh4 with a screaming attack. But it's an old annotation, so perhaps Rybka could find a way out of the mess today.

This entire thread shows that Mig's blog is dominated by high-level chess play and non-US chess praxis LOL.

In our Pennsylvania club, we supply boards and sets...but players must supply the clocks.

To supply inexpensive sets and paper boards is approx. $12/board x 15 = $180 investment.

To supply 15 clocks with time delay would be considerably more -- especially high-end clocks such as DGT or Chronos...you'd be talking about $1500.

No small club would do this...or even want to do this...unless it was running high-level round robins on a regular basis. Which would make it -- almost by definition -- NOT a small club.

Others pointed out that USCF rules have a ranking of clock types. A more preferred clock (digital with delay) will win out over a less preferred clock type (mechanical). Black gets choice of equally preferred equipment -- but only if he is at the board at the start of the round. We don't have a zero-tolerance policy in the US (LOL).

US events use time DELAY -- where a player has a small reservoir of time prior to the main bank of time staring. We do not use INCREMENT where players can gain time to the main bank.

Time DELAY took about 10 yrs to get going in the US. Time increment is virtually unknown and would cause chaos in amateur events.

See www.freewebs.com/allentowncentercitychessclub

Shirov, if he wants 1st prize in this event, must defeat Kramnik tomorrow. Yes, a tall order given Kramnik's luck in drawing lost games in this tournament, but doable for Shirov. He did outplay Anand, only to fail tragically on move 39 in time trouble. I'm a die-hard Shirov fan despite the fact that I find Kramnik's play very impressive from time to time.

Clearing up a few things about US public tournaments (i.e., non-invitational, Swiss, open, whatever you want to call them):

Differences in equipment (especially clocks) brought by different players does sometimes cause disputes. Here's an article from late 2007 complaining about the prevalence of old-style mechanical (i.e., analog) clocks:

In open tournaments in the US it's almost unheard-of for organizers to provide any equipment - even for top boards/GMs (at an event such as the World Open). Titled players often complain about this, and often show up without equipment, so they then have to borrow from someone. I vaguely recall a case a couple years ago where some GM made a public protest about not being supplied with equipment by the organizers - he might even have boycotted some tournament where he was supposed to show up (guess he wasn't given other conditions either, else it would have been comically silly to complain about a triviality like equipment).

Yes there is an official USCF preference-order for clocks (supplied by players or in rare cases loaned by an organizer/club), with delay-capable clocks having priority and reqired to be set with delay on. In specialized chat rooms for USCF-licensed TDs (I am not one, but have read those forums on occasion), I've seen disputes hashed out over how a TD should/did handle certain situations - e.g., player arrives first and sets his own delay-capable clock but WITHOUT having delay feature on, but doesn't inform his opponent... and the mistake/cheat isn't discovered until 40 moves later, during a time scramble. Bottom line: Yes some players indeed do use the clock as a weapon in ways that violate the rules. And from what I've read even on the TDs' specialized forums, most of the TDs are so poorly informed about the rules they're supposed to be enforcing, that the manipulators more often than not get away with it. Still, I'd imagine such situations are fairly rare.

In regards to people cheating by jimmying the clock while opponent is away from the board, that's rare too, but when it does happen, it's hard to combat, due to lack of witnesses. US TDs never watch games in progress, not even in major events like World Open. Instead they usually hang out in a TD room or some such. So even egregious cheats are hard to act against, because 95% of the time the only witness is the victim, and he is "biased." This has long been a source of frustration to me. I don't recall being victimized by that kind of egregious cheating (someone manipulting the clock, or consulting with a strong friend right in front of me)... but I know a few friends who were, and it is a terrible experience, enough to make people quit serious chess altogether in some cases.

It's not my impression that the old traditional "Black has choice of clock placement" applies in USCF tournaments. Instead, at most events I've participated in, the TD at the start of each round will announce something like, "All clocks should be at White's left." As someone mentioned earlier, that's to make it easier for TDs to read the clocks (on those occasions where a TD actually does come around to view a time-scramble in progress!)

Finally, about British people having a special gift for humor: I became convinced it was true after taking my first look at Kingpin!

Anand's commentary was the worst after his win against Shirov, even embarrassing. This is the world champion, a 2100 could have given better analysis, not to mention dressed like he came out of TJ Maxx. He explanations consisted of ; well I don't know what I was thinking or I guess there was something there?????? This is suppose to be a chess genius??? I play poker and have would have been booed off the stage with that kind of pure crraappppppppppppp.

If anyone has a good sense of humor... a guy seriously in all earnestness said this to me tonight: "Chess is stupid. I'm a war historian. You never have all the facts in life or real war as in chess. Napoleon didn't waste his time on chess. Napoleon knew luck was more important than any genius. Chess hasn't been played since IBM solved it back in 2000 when Kas- err Karm I mean Kapov couldn't... beat it. No human has ever even drawn a computer since that match when chess was solved."

NOT setting delay feature is NEVER cheating in a US tournament as it is always OPTIONAL. Forgetting to the increment in an increment tournament isn't "Cheating" either but it is illegal and would have to have some kind of td judgement on the situation.

sincerely, your US senior TD.

BTW also not correct. Black has choice of which side he wants the clock on (assuming he is on time). However, if the td is mandating the clock's face a certain way... then they HAVE to. If this means the players play musical chairs for who sits on what sit of the board for black to be happy then so be it. But under no condition can the TD be disobeyed on the clocks facing towards him if he has decided to enforce this. At big US swisses this is never used cause there is no need for the td see the clock but at small swisses it is used all the time.


While failure to set the delay feature in general isn't "cheating," in the specific circumstance I outlined it can be viewed that way (although the word was perhaps too strong).

At least, when that specific instance was debated on an online TD site, all participants assumed the player who had set his clock without delay (deliberately, incorrectly, deceptively, and with clear intent to obtain an unfair advantage) had committed an infraction and the only question was how it could be corrected and/or how that player should be penalized.

The opponent - who had arrived on time and had specifically requested delay setting when the game began - became aware of the deceptive setting only later, after getting in time pressure. He demanded the problem be fixed, but I think the TD wouldn't or couldn't do it and his flag eventually fell. The question being debated on the site was whether the TD's decision should stand on appeal, and whether the time-forfeit claim of the clock-owner who had in essence manipulated his clock should stand.

Also, your "optional" remark is misleading. I think what you mean is, whether to require delay is up to the discretion of the TD - it's "optional" for a TD or organizer, but individual players enjoy no such right. That is, a tournament is still eligible to be USCF-rated even if no delay is used. BUT, it might be that no-delay is considered a "variant" rule that requires mention in an event's pre-publicity (i.e. Chess Life ad and other announcements) in order for the tournament to be rated.

You can clarify whether that is true. Even if not true - that is, if a TD is free to not require delay at his tournament although the organizer didn't alert prospective entrants through his advance publicity - USCF is on record recommending that TDs require use of delay in all games where either side has a delay-clock available.

At every tournament I recall playing in for the past 5 years or so, the TD did in fact announce before each round that delay must be used.

Caleague, your assertion that delay use is a player option in the United States is simply not correct.

It's so incorrect, that you have me agreeing with Jon Jacobs.

Only few peoples care.

US TDs never watch games in progress, not even in major events like World Open. Instead they usually hang out in a TD room or some such. So even egregious cheats are hard to act against, because 95% of the time the only witness is the victim, and he is "biased."

*** I assume you are referring to large Swisses run by a few organizers. We actively proctor our small club swisses here in PA.

NOT setting delay feature is NEVER cheating in a US tournament as it is always OPTIONAL. Forgetting to the increment in an increment tournament isn't "Cheating" either but it is illegal and would have to have some kind of td judgement on the situation.

sincerely, your US senior TD.

**** The US Senior TD is absolutely wrong. The default/mandated setting is to use a dital clock with delay. It is the preferred setting. A digital clock with delay set to "0" (i.e. no delay) is (at best) a mechanical clock. There was discussion years ago as to whether a digital with delay set to "O" would even be less preferred than a mechanical, precisely because of the deception / confusion issue.

The order is 1) digital with delay capability, 2) mechanical, 3) digital without delay capability i.e. the old Caissa clocks.

Some argue that a type 1 clock with delay OFF is a type 3 (not a type 2).

In any case, the delay should be ON. Players who fail to turn it on are actively ignoring USCF rules (never a good thing, right?).

At our events, we have an announcement about this -- digital clocks must have delay set to 5 seconds or face a $5 fine. Anyone failing to follow this instruction *would* be cheating. I urge all TDs to make the same announcement.

We had a situation in PA (not our group) where a player did not set delay on his digital and it played out precisely as Jon J. said -- the opponent found out very late and was very (rightfully) upset.

IMHO the biggest issue is that USCF rules are often made for the convenience of large swisses and not for player interests or smaller groups. They also are not vetted for unforseen consequences.

At our large Virginia tournaments (80 to 120 people), the Tournament Director is very much present during time scrambles, hovering around, and if there are several scrambles, he has appointed helpers to watch.

I know he cannot be everywhere, but he tries to be. He's also there, sometimes with a second board, to adjudicate triple-repetition disputes.

In the early part of each round, he performs paperwork elsewhere, but during the crucial parts of the round, he wanders the aisles of the tournament room, watching clocks and listening for the murmur of disputes.

Mig wrote:
Word on the street is that Corus is using a time control with increment from move one because their usual control, with increment only after move 60, isn't on the approved list of controls .... The vastly superior control that reserves increment for the endgame only is obviously still classical chess.
I disagree with Mig's judgment of the "superior" time control.

The purpose of the chess clock is to keep the game progressing forward.

The purpose of a time control is to mitigate the side effects that the clock can too easily have on the game.

In the early opening, it is impossible to judge whether the game will last for 22 move-pairs or for 99 move-pairs. Thus sensible time management involves too much guess work and luck: this is a bad side effect of ill-engineered time controls.

Therefore, THIN & CALM time controls are better than the common FAT & FRANTIC time controls in use today.

(For more details, see my letter at the bottom of Pandolfini's column dated 2009/Nov. They badly messed up the formatting, but the content is there.)

Increment should apply to all moves starting with move 1. Delay is inferior to increment.

Yes, increment should start with Move 1. The question of what is the best time control is largely independent of player preference. There should be an attempt to mitigate the effects of Time Pressure at all phases of the game, and not just in the Final (Sudden Death) Time Control. Clock management is a rather menial task for a player in a game that purports to be more than a mere game. Obviously, practical considerations require that a clock is utilized, but one should strive to make sure that Time does not become the central element.

However, there is one variation (for the allocation of time) which caters to player preference:

Within a particular Non-SD Time Control, players are free to program the clock to dispense their time however they see fit.

For example, players have a first time control of 40 Moves in 120 minutes. If Player A is happy with that, then he can simply opt for that as his "Clock Program". However, player B might prefer to set his clock for 40 Moves in 100 minutes, Plus 30 seconds per Move. Player C might choose the radical solution simply allocating a Time Bonus of 2:59 per Move (with 40 seconds for 40 moves!)

The trade-off is between having time for "Big Thinks" versus having some assurance that you'll always have at least a small chunk of time at hand, even as one approachs move 40.

These different approaches can be seen as having their analogies in the political sphere:
Right Wing Free Market Capitalists (They've all flocked to the Republican Party) oppose Social Security and Medicare (in theory) because it impinges on the freedom to allocate their resources. Instead, Social Security forces the individual to save, so that they may have resources in the event that they live well past their retirement age. These Reactionaries--if they were being philosophically consistant, would always opt for one big chunck of time, to use as they see fit.

Those who ascribed to the values of Social Democracy would be more inclined to a structured allocation of one's "Bucket" of Time--probably along the line of Player B's preferences.

Note that (genuine, developed) Social Democracies almost always have superior outcomes for the individuals that constitute their societies, both on average and in median, than do reactionary societies. Consider the issue of Health Care, and compare per capita costs, and Life Expectancy, between the US and Northern Europe!

While I have no trouble with Chess players (either out of ignorance or perverse principles) selecting reactionary Time Controls for *themselves*, I don't see why they should be imposed on anybody. The default Tournament Time control should have (Progressive) Time Bonus from Move 1, OR there should be a provision that allows players to allocate their "bucket" of minutes as they see fit.

I'd be in favor of just one time control, something like game in 90 min. plus a 30 second increment added for every move completed, starting at move one. That way, only one setting needed on the clock and no terrible time control scrambles (although in tough positions 30 secs. won't seem like a lot, but some limit is necessary). Perhaps even G/60 + 1 min. per every move completed, you get the gist.

Houses are not cheap and not everybody can buy it. Nevertheless, loan was invented to help people in such kind of cases.

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on January 26, 2010 9:43 PM.

    Kasparov on Man and Machine was the previous entry in this blog.

    Corus 2010 R9-10: Ecclesiastes 9:11 is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.