Grading and Time Limits

General discussions about grading.
Kevin Thurlow
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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!

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Clive Blackburn
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.


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