time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the point?

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Paolo Casaschi
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time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the point?

Post by Paolo Casaschi » Sun Feb 20, 2011 4:39 pm

While reading the post about the chess leagues surveys, I was surprised to see how popular is to have a time control of the form:
- 1h 15m for the first 30 moves
- 15m quickplay finish for the rest of the game
...with small variations for the number of games (30 to 36), for the initial amount time (1h to 1h 30m) and for the quickplay amount of time (15m to 30m).

My question is: what is the point of the intermediate time control after 30 moves if then followed by a quickplay finish? Would not that be simpler, in the example above, to allow 1h 30m for the entire game?

The "1h 30m for the entire game" time control is a superset of the example above, if a player really finds more comfortable to time himself with an intermediate control after 30 moves, nothing stops that player to act as if that timecontrol did not exist.

I see the point of intermediate time controls in case adjournment are used and the second time control again allows for a certain amount of time for the next 30 moves, but if the game has to finish within 1h 30m why not letting the player free to use time as he likes better?

When discussing this with other player, I never got a sound answer from the supporters of the timecontrol before the quickplay; the most common observation is "I don't want to play a long rapidplay game".

Is this habit just a leftover from the old days of adjournments and plain resistance to change?

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the po

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:23 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:My question is: what is the point of the intermediate time control after 30 moves if then followed by a quickplay finish? Would not that be simpler, in the example above, to allow 1h 30m for the entire game?
If you have a game between two players who habitually get into time trouble (they shouldn't, but it happens), then you usually end up with both players thinking for a long time (regardless of how much time they actually have - this is an important point, people who get in time trouble usually do so because they are trying to use all the time available to find the best moves and play a perfect game). It would be common for both players to get to somewhere around moves 20-30 with only 10 minutes left, and then to blitz the rest of the game.

This is very different to getting to moves 20-30 with 10 minutes left and blitzing to a time control, and then being able to finish off a won game in 15 minutes (or resign if the position is lost). Of course, those who get into time trouble should adjust and set themselves a target of getting to move 30 with 15 minutes left, but they would get to a position where they had to chose between "thinking for a bit more as I'm sure there is a win there somewhere if I calculate a bit deeper", or making a move that might be inferior and losing or drawing a won position.

If I judge correctly the mindset of those who get into time trouble, they would in most cases chose to go even deeper into time trouble, rather than make a self-set target of 30 moves that they don't really have to make. It all comes down to discipline really. The clock ticking and the flag about to fall will drive a player on to make moves and concentrate more, whereas some players, if they have to set that target themselves, will fail miserably and "borrow" time from the time set aside to finish the game.

It is similar to self-discipline in other areas of life where you need to stick to a budgeted amount (e.g. finances and dieting), but in this case what you are budgeting is time. If you are hopeless at sticking to a quota or budget, then you need the intermediate time control to help you.

Whether being forced to play a single period of play would help people improve their self-control, I don't know. In some cases it might, in some cases it wouldn't. I would hate it, personally, as I approach rapidplay (usually half-hour ones) and standardplay totally differently. This would be quickplay, not rapidplay, but it would feel the same to me.
Last edited by Christopher Kreuzer on Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the po

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:34 pm

Paolo Casaschi wrote:My question is: what is the point of the intermediate time control after 30 moves if then followed by a quickplay finish? Would not that be simpler, in the example above, to allow 1h 30m for the entire game?
The point is to get the game to a hopefully more advanced stage before the players have to resort to 5-minute tempo. After all, playing 20 moves in 85 minutes is normal practice for some players when the time control is 40 moves in 120. In a league game, you run the risk of 10.2 issues arising with lots of material on the board.

That said, the jury's out on the merits of having an intermediate control. Locally the Kidlington Congress uses G/105 and the Chiltern county matches G/120.

William Metcalfe
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Re: time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the po

Post by William Metcalfe » Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:21 pm

I sugested this last year at the Durham AGM but it got voted down.The reason i sugested it was because Durham league has a stupid time control 28 moves in 70 mins then back 20 mins to finish game.Nobody i have talked to likes this time control
I am speaking here for myself and not the NCCU which i am now president of

Richard Bates
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Re: time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the po

Post by Richard Bates » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:22 pm

It's all a question of pacing. Intermediate time controls act as a 'trigger' to tell you when to speed up. It allows you to (attempt to) play "proper" chess until the first time control without having to take superficial decisions motivated by fear of later time shortages from a very early stage in the game. It is a lot easier to play quicker later if you have properly immersed yourself in the position earlier in the game.

Also, by having an intermediate time control you can essentially treat league chess in two separate bits - up to the first time control when you are playing primarily to play reasonable chess, hopefully improve your knowledge in so doing and enjoy yourself, and after the time control when the only real purpose IMO is to reach a result one way or the other.

Roger's point about "advancing the game" is also valid - and it's not just because you will have played a greater number of moves before "armageddon" but also (intermediate) time scrambles in themselves tend to advance the game, more than would otherwise be the case.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: time control followed by quickplay finish: what's the po

Post by Alex Holowczak » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:50 pm

Game in 90 minutes is of course technically of the x in y, followed by game in z format. It just so happens that x and y are 0. :wink:

I think to play that sort of time control, you need to aim to play x in y in a time << y. To play 30 moves in 75 minutes, for instance, means 2.5 minutes per move. You then need to play an unknown number of moves in the remaining time. These moves will often be far more critical than some of the early stuff.

I usually aim to play something like:
10 moves in 5 minutes
20 moves in 45 minutes (which makes the time control)
Game in the remaining time

In league chess, there's no need to play super sharp openings - at least at my level. If you know your opening well, you've no need to sit there thinking for ages.

In a 30/60 + 20 league, I played a 60+ move game the other night, and the time for the extra 20 minutes had only just been added to the (digital) clock, in which time, I'd won a rook and pawn ending where I was a pawn up. My endgame style tends to be to do nothing and wait for my opponent to mess up; I'm sure someone else could have won much quicker... :oops:

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