Incremental time controls

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David Blower
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Incremental time controls

Post by David Blower » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:33 pm

Does your club run any kind (standard play or rapid play) tournaments with incremental time controls?

If so what are the time limits?

Do members enjoy them?

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Roger de Coverly » Wed Mar 25, 2015 11:48 pm

David Blower wrote: If so what are the time limits?
League, rather than internal competitions, but 80 10 seems to work reasonably well for three hour sessions. I'm still anticipating the dispute about how to apply the 50 move rule, but that has yet to happen. Ten seconds should be enough to prevent anyone with a totally won or completely drawing position from losing on time, whilst discouraging attempts to win drawn positions where one player has a non-winning material advantage.

If you can play quickly enough 80 10 and for that matter 90 0 enables time issues to be completely avoided. It does require playing at a reasonable speed. In a recent weekend game playing at 120 0, my opponent came very close to losing on time with a move count in the twenties. In practice, he resigned because he had a lost position. Playing to an intermediate time control say 36/90 + 30 would have forced a decision earlier.

David Pardoe
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:18 pm

These time controls for league chess don't deter the game descending into a lottery shootout when time gets short, and players use these as bargaining tokens, that elevate `time` to key status, which can dubiously decide games, often wrongly, in favour of the player holding the time advantage.. several of my games have fallen foul of this just this season alone.

Playing quickly isn't the issue...its playing accurately, in a reasonable position, when facing an opponent who is simply trying to squeeze a result out of his opponents time pressure..
This is one reason why I think the `adjournment` option for league chess definitely merits some consideration.
Another option that I think leagues might consider is an accelerated QP finish, whereby the first playing session takes say 35 in 75 mins, then followed by say 15 moves in 15 mins (taking the game up to 50 moves in the first session), with the option then of adjournment, or maybe adjudication. The point about this is that most games would reach a conclusion in 50 moves, so you avoid the lottery shootout of current arrangements, but enable a resumption, should players agree to do so. Either player should be free at that point to opt for the adjudication option, should resumption be a problematic issue. I remember back to the days of adjournment, and these were few and far between even then, so with my 50 move option, they should be an even rarer occurrence..
I know of players who steer clear of league chess because of these sorts of issues...
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 12:39 pm

David Pardoe wrote: Another option that I think leagues might consider is an accelerated QP finish, whereby the first playing session takes say 35 in 75 mins, then followed by say 15 moves in 15 mins (taking the game up to 50 moves in the first session), with the option then of adjournment, or maybe adjudication.
Many leagues have adopted two fundamental principles, in some cases after considerable debate.

These principles being
(a) the game is determined by the players without third party or computer intervention
(b) the game is finished in one session.

Principle (a) rules out adjudication and principle (b) adjournment.

Principle (a) gets diluted by Appendix G (unable to win) if playing without an increment. You could also perhaps argue in favour of diluting it by adjudication at a very high move count, I would suggest 90 rather than David P's 50.

David Pardoe
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:23 pm

Roger,
I think these principles are bogus/misplaced...they reflect todays society... ie ,everything must be `instant`, and quality can go out of the window.
So they end up in the questionable situation where they prefer to be ruled by lottery pot luck blitz finishes, after spending hours playing quality chess.., rather than consistent, reasonable quality chess options...with hopefully more sensible outcomes??
I do appreciate the point about `outside help`, but for league games, after 50 or say 55 moves, you may be into a complex and unclear ending, in which case, on resumption, you`re on your own again after the initial couple of moves (and chances are you wont recall the detail of any `prep work`).
And the probability is that 95% of games will be decided anyway after 55 moves..
No perfect answers, but my preference would definitely be for `resumption` as opposed to lottery blitz shoot outs.

And your 90 move suggestion for league chess is impractical/ ie, it replaces a lottery blitz finish, with another identical blitz finish...with the odds stacked against the player with time pressure....??
I had a game the other day, where, after 35 moves I was probably winning, but with time running out. 5 moves later the game was lost, due to my over sight in time pressure. So, a good evenings chess was spoilt by this random madness, which I believe we should change.
Last edited by David Pardoe on Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 1:54 pm

David Pardoe wrote: and quality can go out of the window.
I don't accept this. If you want to be considered a strong chess player relative to a local league, you have to be capable of making good moves or at least respectable moves quickly. Actually it's not that quick. To complete a sixty move game within three hours, a rate of play of two minutes a move for the first thirty and one minute after that would suffice.

David Pardoe
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:04 pm

Roger, if you believe that being fast in a lottery shootout pot luck situation, where you have a clock time disadvantage, makes for a good chess player, I`m afraid I disagree...
I take your point about `fast league players`... maybe grades should be split off, so you have one for `fast league players` and one for matches played under proper match play conditions..
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Roger de Coverly
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:13 pm

David Pardoe wrote:Roger, if you believe that being fast in a lottery shootout pot luck situation,
More haste, less speed. If both players play at a measured but fast enough pace throughout the game, there are no lotteries. Typically for a League rate of 35 in 75 with 15 extra, I would aim to reach move 35 with around 15 minutes remaining and for the game to have finished before abandoning scoring with 5 minutes to run. So no shootouts.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:17 pm

Because time controls vary from competition to competition, it can be difficult. Roger is correct that you have to be able to adapt to the conditions and play faster if you need to. It is critical if you know you play poorly with not much time left to use less time earlier in the game.

The question is whether you (David) habitually get into time trouble by mismanaging your time, or whether you get positions that are either complicated enough that anyone would need time to work out what to play, or whether you are of a standard that you need a long time to work out what to play. Even strong players will admit at times that some time controls are too fast. But equally those playing slowly sometimes need to speed up a bit.

To give an example, I failed to play fast enough in a game last night and lost. I know it was because I mismanaged my time (and played the wrong move at a critical point), not because of the time control.

David Pardoe
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by David Pardoe » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:40 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:Because time controls vary from competition to competition, it can be difficult. Roger is correct that you have to be able to adapt to the conditions and play faster if you need to. It is critical if you know you play poorly with not much time left to use less time earlier in the game.

The question is whether you (David) habitually get into time trouble by mismanaging your time, or whether you get positions that are either complicated enough that anyone would need time to work out what to play, or whether you are of a standard that you need a long time to work out what to play. Even strong players will admit at times that some time controls are too fast. But equally those playing slowly sometimes need to speed up a bit.

To give an example, I failed to play fast enough in a game last night and lost. I know it was because I mismanaged my time (and played the wrong move at a critical point), not because of the time control.
You can always consider `time management` as a factor.. In the example I quoted earlier, there was little wrong with my time management really. I reached the first time control with a good plus position, and about 4 mins in hand on my opponent.
A complex position had arisen, and in the ensuing few moves, I went down to about 10 mins left, to my opponents 18 mins...
It then went wrong as the time control neared...the analysis was complex...I missed the correct continuation. Good game suddenly went to bad game... Had it been an adjournment, it would certainly have gone differently.... but with an unlimited potential number of moves to find, the threat of getting run off the clock led to error.... thus I`d describe many such situations as lottery shoot out.
I had another example recently, where my opponent blitzed out his first 20 moves in about 15 mins, meanwhile I`d built up a reasonable position using nearer 50 mins. By the time we reached the first time control the position was interesting and fairly level, with both players having two minor pieces and some pawns. At this point, my opponent had built up a 50 min advantage.
I offered the draw, which he declined, choosing to press his considerable clock advantage... By move 35, I was down to last 10 mins, and my opponent had still only used about 35 mins of his time. This was an opponent who had been away from chess for the past 15 years and came back with an estimated grade of 150ish (ie, probably average club standard), who had blitzed out 35 moves in about 35 mins...
A few moves later, still in a fairly level position, as my time drifted, I duly blundered, making an unforced error, purely trying to stay on the clock..
Yes, I am indeed considering whether to drop out of this league lottery chess next year...
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Steve Rooney
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Steve Rooney » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:51 pm

David Pardoe wrote:Roger, if you believe that being fast in a lottery shootout pot luck situation, where you have a clock time disadvantage, makes for a good chess player, I`m afraid I disagree...
I take your point about `fast league players`... maybe grades should be split off, so you have one for `fast league players` and one for matches played under proper match play conditions..
I don't accept DP's argument either. I am just as capable of playing garbage at long time limits, and there is no such thing as perfect chess with humans playing. Also, I have not seen any evidence that some players are better at longer time limits than rapid or blitz; the stronger players are better at all time limits.

To be honest, I now prefer rapid time controls. Our county rapidplay league has been running for two seasons and is proving very popular. We play three G/20 (or G10 + 2") games in an evening which means it becomes a much more sociable and fun evening with time for interaction and banter between games. Yes, it's deadly serious while we're playing, but if you make a hash, then there's another one along in a few minutes ... I accept it may not be to everyone's tastes, but in fact although we have had some club members who were reluctant at first, but they have all enjoyed it immensely when they have taken part.

Evening league chess is always going to be a compromise in terms of time. We use G/95 and it often seems like an extended rapidplay than a long-play match. My preference would be for rapidplay for time-restricted evening matches, and 3 1/2 or preferably 4hr sessions at weekend events and congresses.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 26, 2015 4:59 pm

David Pardoe wrote: A few moves later, still in a fairly level position, as my time drifted, I duly blundered, making an unforced error, purely trying to stay on the clock..

If you have two players of about equal knowledge and experience, but one plays at twice the speed of the other, it's likely that the faster player will get slightly better results and have a higher grade as a consequence. You avoid the lottery of having to make panic decisions by the device of playing at a minute a move.

(edit) The other effect of playing too slowly is that your opponent will formulate their plan on your time, provided you are predictable enough or the moves are forced. (/edit)
Last edited by Roger de Coverly on Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mick Norris
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by Mick Norris » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:44 pm

Steve Rooney wrote:Evening league chess is always going to be a compromise in terms of time. We use G/95 and it often seems like an extended rapidplay than a long-play match. My preference would be for rapidplay for time-restricted evening matches, and 3 1/2 or preferably 4hr sessions at weekend events and congresses.
I agree, but we won't get most to agree, so I just don't play evening chess
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

chrisbeckett
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by chrisbeckett » Thu Mar 26, 2015 6:02 pm

I had another example recently, where my opponent blitzed out his first 20 moves in about 15 mins, meanwhile I`d built up a reasonable position using nearer 50 mins. By the time we reached the first time control the position was interesting and fairly level, with both players having two minor pieces and some pawns. At this point, my opponent had built up a 50 min advantage.
Hi David, nobody likes to feel they've lost purely because of the clock but, reading between the lines, it seems like your opponent (who you admit is pretty rusty) in this case was simply able to see decent moves faster than you - doesn't seem like much of a lottery to me...

MartinCarpenter
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Re: Incremental time controls

Post by MartinCarpenter » Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:01 pm

There are definitely people who play 20/30 grading points down in evening leagues vs weekends. Easy to produce evidence of the same with grading lists/games online :) Much harder to tell if that's time control or playing after work related though. Both potentially very major effects.

The only time I think its worth complaining about it descending into a 'lottery' is when you hit a properly long game (60/70+ moves). A small increment would really help there, if not always possible due to venue etc :(

Otherwise just your fault for not budgeting time better earlier on.

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