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Chess Time – Time Management

Until the middle of the 19th century, chess games were played without time control. Parties lasted several hours in a row, and sometimes even days. Some players in a knowingly losing position began to drag out time, forcing the opponent to be nervous. When the nerves were completely lost, the opponent could agree to a draw, or even lose. If the opponents did not have time to finish the game in one game day, the game was postponed. The player whose last move was before the game was postponed recorded the secret move. The game was played out on the appointed day.

The literature describes the match between Howard Staunton and Pierre Saint-Aman in 1843. The 21st game of their match lasted 66 moves for 14.5 hours.

At the first London international tournament of 1851 in the Williams-Maclow game, both opponents fell asleep, about which the assistant judge recorded, and the fact went down in history.

Chess clock
In 1853, for the first time, the time limit for considering moves was limited. In the Harvitz-Leventhal game, they took 10 minutes to think about one move. Time control was carried out by an hourglass – each opponent had their own. After the move was made, the player put the clock in a horizontal position and stopped his time for thinking. For excess time a fine was established.

In the 1866 match, Andersen – Steinitz used conventional mechanical clocks instead of an hourglass.

Another idea was to use two hours to record the time spent after each move. This method of time control was used in tournaments of 1866 – 1873.

The first chess clock was used at the London tournament in 1883. The clock was a pendulum type – after the move was made, the player rolled the clock to his side.


The time control in the tournament was one hour in 15 moves. For the first time in chess, a player who exceeded the time limit was credited with a loss. Prior to this, exceeding the time limit was not considered a defeat.

An important element of a chess clock, a flag, appeared in 1899. The use of the flag became common after two decades. Raising the flag indicated that 3 minutes were left before it fell.

Buttons familiar to the modern player appeared on the watch in 1900. Advanced watches began to be used everywhere.

Special chess clocks have 2 dials and 2 buttons. Having made a move, the player presses his button, and his watch stops. The countdown begins at the player to whom the move has passed. Press the clock button with the same hand as the player moved the piece.
The eleventh world chess champion Robert Fisher patented an electronic chess clock in 1989. Watches have become one of the most popular in tournaments.

Party time limit
At the end of the 19th century, the time limit was 2 hours for every 20 moves. At the beginning of the twentieth century, parties most often played with a limit of 2 hours for the first 30 moves and one hour for every 15 subsequent moves.

If one player has expired time, and the opponent cannot checkmate in any game of the opponent, the game is recognized as a drawn draw.

If the player put a checkmate, and subsequently found that he had expired, a victory is awarded to him.

When you postpone a part for completing the game, the clock stops, the time is recorded at the moment of stopping. When playing back, the watch starts with the same readings.

There are different chess game time limits.

The classic version for playing chess is 2 hours for 40 moves, then 1 hour for the next 20 moves, 30 minutes to complete the game; or 2 hours for 40 moves, 30-60 minutes until the end of the game.
Rapid (fast chess). The usual time limit is 30 minutes for each player for the entire game. But in general, any batch is considered to be rapid as it takes more than 10 minutes and less than 1 hour of time.
Blitz. Each player is usually given 5 minutes for the entire game.
In international tournaments often use the “Fisher tournament control.” According to this system, 100 minutes are allocated for the first 40 moves, 50 minutes for the next 20 moves, and 10 minutes to the end of the game. System may vary within certain limits. Image008

It is interesting
The longest game in time, Stepak – Mashian, was played in the semi-final of the Israeli Championship in 1980. It lasted 24 hours 30 minutes and ended in a victory for White on move 193.

The longest chess game was played in Belgrade in 1989 between Ivan Nikolic and Goran Arsovich. Within 20 hours and 15 minutes, 269 moves were made in the game, the game ended in a draw.

To limit the duration of the game, a rule has been introduced according to which a chess player can demand a draw if during the last fifty moves there has not been a single capture or move with a pawn.

The Brazilian chess player Francisco Trois pondered the move the longest – 2 hours 20 minutes.

Some chess players use a lack of time (time pressure) when they get into the worst position. Usually, these are players with fast thinking, developed intuition, fans to play blitz. The player deliberately takes time to get into time pressure. In time pressure, his opponent also begins to play quickly, so as not to give the opportunity to think about the answer.

Alexander Alekhine ©
Alexander Alexandrovich Alekhine. Born October 19 (31), 1892 in Moscow - died March 24, 1946 in Estoril (Portugal). Ingenious chess player, fourth world chess champion. The doctor is right. Alexander…


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