Of all the many wonderful people out there in the chess world that are blogging, writing, working and involved in chess, you might be wondering why MonRoi asked me to do a blog on their website, especially under a section called “Experts.” I also asked the same question! Hopefully the rest of this page will shed some light on the subject.
My Chess Background
I was a fairly late starter, not joining a chess club in my home town of Hull, England, until I was about 15. Of course, I had played chess at school but nothing as serious as going to a club. I remember my first ever competitive game for Hull YPI, a team that played in the Hull & District Chess Association (HDCA) league. We drove about 20 miles to get to Market Weighton, the team we were playing against, and I was extremely nervous. Unfortunately I managed to lose in 11 moves with the black pieces against a Colle Opening where I fell into a mate on h7 after being tricked into moving my knight from f6 when I couldn’t resist the lure of an unprotected piece!
After that audacious start, the next few years saw me raise my game to a rating of around 170 BCF (British Chess Federation as it was known back then, now the English Chess Federation) or approximately 1950 elo. I also got involved with the HDCA, first as a board member, then as League Secretary and finally as General Secretary. I developed a monthly newsletter and also created their first ever website back in 1995, which I updated until I left my home town and moved to Las Vegas, USA, at the end of 1998.
At the recent Frank K. Berry US Championship Qualifier there was one “ruling,” which has been noted in the Chess Life Online report by Tom Braunlich and Dana Mackenzie’s Blog, related to keeping score while in time trouble.
Apparently, Grandmaster Alex Ivanov was not keeping score with less than 5 minutes remaining on his clock. The time control for the tournament was Game/90 minutes with a 30 second increment per move. His opponent, FIDE Master Todd Andrews, rightly complained to the Arbiter and Ivanov was given a warning and told he had to keep score.
Most serious games of chess are, and have always been, played using chess clocks. The main reason for using a chess clock is so that the game does not take an infinite amount of time to play. Even correspondence chess, played via regular mail or email, has a limit to the amount of days/weeks/months a player can use for moves to ensure a game does not go on forever.
However, the world of chess clocks can be a daunting one, especially to beginners although even the most experienced professionals sometimes have problems getting to grips with new clocks and time control ideas that are cooked up by some of the most innovative organizers.
In this article, I want to try and provide an understanding of what is meant by various chess clock related chess terms such as increment, flag, 40/2, Bronstein, time-delay, analog, etc. Let’s start with the basic information needed to understand a chess clock and how that relates into the chess world.