Grading and Time Limits

General discussions about grading.
Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 1972
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Grading and Time Limits

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:09 am

I have just been looking at the September 1956 issue of BCM (page 244). A Mr C H Henshaw writes regarding the above issue. Here is an abridged version of it...

"Having lost, or ought to have lost, most of my games in the past season by blunders through time-pressure, may I plead for more reasonable time controls? It is bad enough to have to play county matches at the near-skittles rate of 2.5 minutes a move, but when this becomes 30 moves in 75 minutes, it is the ruin of serious positional chess."

(snip)

"The short time control puts a premium on opportunism and a discount on strategy, and should be abolished.

The BCF could do something towards this through the Grading Committee, and I suggest that no game having a time control worse than 40 moves in 2 hours should rank for grading. Perhaps this would induce organizers to arrange such matches, and British chess might well be greatly improved by the consequent demonstration that Red Indian tactics have only a limited effectiveness."

Younger readers should note that speed-chess used to be called "skittles".

Juvenile readers are possibly squirming at the term "Red Indian tactics" - I assume Mr Henshaw was objecting to people playing like Tal. The term is a bit derogatory as Red Indian/Native American tactics were frequently subtle and effective, positional even, before a tactical finish.

Anyway, this shows that complaints about time-limits and grading are not new!

User avatar
Clive Blackburn
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:33 am
Location: Coventry

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Clive Blackburn » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:18 am

It seems incredible to me that a time allowance of 2.5 mins per move was ever considered by anyone to be a "near skittles" rate
"Tactics flow naturally from a superior strategical position".
Bobby Fischer

NickFaulks
Posts: 3072
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby NickFaulks » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:36 am

Clive Blackburn wrote:It seems incredible to me that a time allowance of 2.5 mins per move was ever considered by anyone to be a "near skittles" rate

After many years of playing only classical games of four hours and longer, I find I have to approach 75/30 in the frame of mind "you're not going to play a proper game, so just try to be practical".

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 15593
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:34 pm

CH Henshaw (1956) wrote:I suggest that no game having a time control worse than 40 moves in 2 hours should rank for grading.


A premise followed by FIDE for many years, until overturned by a unilateral decision by its President.

NickFaulks
Posts: 3072
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby NickFaulks » Wed Mar 15, 2017 2:34 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:A premise followed by FIDE for many years, until overturned by a unilateral decision by its President.

And then only very briefly, before better sense prevailed.

Paul Cooksey
Posts: 142
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 4:15 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Paul Cooksey » Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:05 pm

30 moves in 75 minutes is easier if you have banged out 20 moves of theory; different times

Nick Grey
Posts: 558
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Nick Grey » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:34 pm

ECF would miss 100's of thousands of matches per season Kevin.
I prefer 1 game a day e.g. County rates or 4NCL rates, or London Chess Classic rates.
I find 2.5 hours after a day at work & travelling too tiresome so probably perform worse.
This is only made up by hospitality of opponents & some very nice people & clubs where I play.

I played a recent London League game and won at the end of an adjournment. I have never known that getting a sealed move envelope out would be enough to force resignation. Some players leave it late to resign.

When I first started playing in the London League it was 30 moves in 90 minutes plus adjournment so same length per move as 40 in 120.

One game at the time control I announced it is mate in 3. My opponent still sealed but did not turn up to the resumption. I was extremely miffed but Bob Wade came over & promptly announced this player can never play for the club again. I spent years wondering whether that player was mafia like disposed of in the Thames, on the building sites in the area. I never saw him again with any other team or congress.

It will be nice to go back to the old days of the Easter Surrey Chess Congress with no quickplay finishes but adjournments. Then again you were the arbiter on one of my games in question. Over 130 moves against at that time a promising up & coming junior from Wales (they were brothers) - my mind is a blank on the name.

No doubt everyone had a bit more time in 1956. :D

Kevin Thurlow
Posts: 1972
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:28 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Kevin Thurlow » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:07 am

Nick F - It's worse than 30 in 75 minutes; Surrey is now 35 moves in 75 minutes, or 30 in an hour then 20 minutes, unless you choose the slower Fischer option - all moves in 75 minutes + 10 seconds a move, which works out at 30 moves in 80 minutes.

I found a newspaper report of a Redhill match a century ago and all the games finished in less than three hours. Maybe everyone slowed down in the 1950s. Presumably, Mr Henshaw spent about 40 minutes on one move and had problems thereafter.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 15593
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:35 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote: Maybe everyone slowed down in the 1950s.


Wasn't International play in the 1930s a sedate 30 moves in two hours and then adjourn for analysis? FIDE speeded that up in the 1940s by switching to 40 moves in two and a half.

The easiest way of setting a time limit is to establish the available time for completion of the game and divide it in two. It's the pressure of quick play finishes, but to be considered a good player, you have to be able to generate a decent candidate move or two quickly. Practically in a game with a short elapsed time, you don't have the luxury of trying to evaluate down to the last quarter pawn ten moves ahead.

User avatar
Joey Stewart
Posts: 1022
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 2:35 pm
Location: All Of Them
Contact:

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Joey Stewart » Tue May 02, 2017 4:17 pm

Nick Grey wrote:
I played a recent London League game and won at the end of an adjournment. I have never known that getting a sealed move envelope out would be enough to force resignation.



I have certainly given draws away in the past when the adjournment time comes knocking, as I have no intention of forking out time and money to play a second session against umpteen moves of computerised horribleness.

London league seem to be one of the last bastions of adjournment left in the country, I think it is now gone (or at least not able to be rigidly enforced) in most other leagues.
Whatever you think about me, its probably wrong.

MartinCarpenter
Posts: 2232
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 10:58 am

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby MartinCarpenter » Tue May 02, 2017 5:05 pm

Seems to be finally gone from the Stockport league which is where I'd encountered it. Honestly I think I'd resign before adjourning a game, even in a better position.

Alex Holowczak
Posts: 7859
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 5:18 pm
Location: Oldbury, Worcestershire
Contact:

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Alex Holowczak » Tue May 02, 2017 8:05 pm

Adjournments are mostly gone even from the Birmingham League now. There's only one match per season where I might conceivably play one, and so I just decline the opportunity to play in it.

Alex Longson
Posts: 7
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:36 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Alex Longson » Tue May 02, 2017 9:51 pm

I don't think I agree that shorter time controls leads to a significant reduction in quality of play. I also think if anything it improves the stronger players chances - which from a competitive outcome is a good thing I think. I remember playing a number of adjourned games in both the Manchester League and more recently the Stockport League; hated them. Actually had a memorable double adjournment against the late Vic Knox. Vic won.

Thanks for sharing - fascinating how things change.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 15593
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Roger de Coverly » Wed May 03, 2017 12:09 am

Alex Longson wrote:I don't think I agree that shorter time controls leads to a significant reduction in quality of play. I also think if anything it improves the stronger players chances


There are those who claim to be strong players who appear unable to cope with move rates equivalent to 60 moves in 90 minutes. Thirty second increments can be disadvantageous to those who can play quickly. Last weekend in the 4NCL, I lost two games despite having nearly an hour or more time advantage in both early on in the game. In both cases I felt my opponents had mastered the skill of "living on the increment". In the second loss, I resigned even though the clock showed around 45 seconds remaining.

Nick Grey
Posts: 558
Joined: Thu Dec 01, 2011 12:16 am

Re: Grading and Time Limits

Postby Nick Grey » Wed May 03, 2017 8:48 pm

London League slow play rates are 36 in 90 minutes with adjournment. There is the alternate boards quickplay.
Some strong and weaker players like it and if both players agree change to quickplay of slow play.

The main games are played at Golden Lane, Barbican & issues with what will happen with the venue for next season. The venue holds analogue clocks.

The last match I played - it was over 12 boards in division 1, 4 have gone to adjournment (one of those was an agreement on a quickplay board by both players).

I know from a number of adjourned games players look at it & agree a result (win, draw or loss) without resumption.

The London League is the strongest mid-week league in the UK - the comparison with 4NCL is irrelevant - many players in the league also play 4NCL & the time constraints on venues are different.

On a personal note I do not incur any additional travel as I work in London so this comes out of my travel card - some of my other leagues are outside my zones & therefore unlikely to play those away games without a lift.


Return to “Grading Debate”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest