Experience using time increments for league matches

Discuss anything you like about chess related matters in this forum.
David Buckley
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Feb 09, 2010 12:15 am

Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by David Buckley » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:45 pm

Hello forum. I'm seeking some feedback for a motion I'm preparing to submit to my local league, changing our time control from 90 minutes for all moves to 80 mins + 10 seconds per move. My main concern is about matches over-running past venue closing time. For those of you who already play with increments: What did the time control change to/from? In your experience does the playing session ever get extended by 10 minutes? 20 minutes? 30 minutes? How often can this happen? How does your league mitigate for such eventualities? Any other issues I should be aware of? How do you feel about increments now?

User avatar
Michael Farthing
Posts: 1844
Joined: Fri Apr 04, 2014 1:28 pm
Location: Morecambe, Europe

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Apr 07, 2017 10:52 pm

Consider also that different clubs in your league may have different constraints. My club can start at 7.30 pm and we won't get kicked out until midnight. Let's hear it for the cricketing community who give us board nd lodging! But our fellow clubs are locked in until morning on the dot of 10.30 and so must insist on 7.00 pm or 7.15 starts. There's simply no leeway after the away side has had a traffic jam.
Rejoiner

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18320
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:13 pm

David Buckley wrote: For those of you who already play with increments: What did the time control change to/from? In your experience does the playing session ever get extended by 10 minutes? 20 minutes? 30 minutes? How often can this happen?
The Berkshire League migrated (for clubs with digital clocks available) from non-incremental rates of G/90 or 30/75 + 15 to an incremental rate of 80 10. In practice games still seem to finish at around the three hour mark but mostly earlier. I think 10 seconds is fast enough to discourage most players from attempting to win long technical endings and reducing the likelihood of a win on time encourages them to agree draws in obviously drawn positions. If you are using DGT 2010 clocks, they count clock presses regardless, so a 50 move claim is potentially possible if the League rules are prepared to enlist the aid of the clock.

If you adopt an 80 10 rule, you could also allow it to be varied to 75 10, 70 10 or 65 10 depending on home club circumstances and away club travel issues.

Remember that you have to get past move 60 before 80 10 is a longer session than 90 0. The imminent Zurich Korchnoi tournament is using 45 30. To 60 moves that's 75 minutes, so a league tempo of play. 30 second increments don't work too well in an evening League context because of the potential game length. Even in a Congress with two rounds a day, you can get overruns which delay the start of the afternoon rounds.

NickFaulks
Posts: 5293
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Apr 07, 2017 11:36 pm

I don't understand why there is such prejudice against 5 second increments, which avoid all the Appendix G nonsense without extending the playing time significantly. However, there certainly is.

Stewart Reuben
Posts: 4035
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:04 pm
Location: writer

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Stewart Reuben » Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:12 am

Nick .I don't understand why there is such prejudice against 5 second increments<

I rather think it is useage rather than prejudice. Gibraltar started 110 + 10 seconds and people have followed suit. No doubt some players find 5 seconds doesn't help. just as I find 3 +2 for blitz virtually no different from 3.
David Buckley If your local league has some venues where 3 hours is the maximum, then 80+10 seconds will sometimes overrun. Make certain games can go to 100 moves using all the time available.
It may be that it is better for your local league to offer the option rather than demand it. Many clubs have BHB clocks that just won't break down.
Setting the clocks can be daunting initially. At least one person at each match should be familiar with how to set and adjust the clock.
Try to make certain everybody buys the same clock model.
I have little doubt that the quality of chess has improved since the introduction of 30 second increments. I don't know whether 10 seconds has also been to the benefit of chess prowess.

Mike Gunn
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:45 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Mike Gunn » Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:50 am

We have been running our club championship for the last 5 years or so using 80 mins plus 10 secs and out of about 600 games only one showed no sign of reaching a conclusion when everything else was cleared up. (The game went on for about 3 hours and 10 minutes and I told the players the game was drawn and both were relieved to accept that.)

So (on the basis of this evidence) it is very rare for there to be a problem, but of course it can happen so you need a rule to deal with the situation. I suggest that if a game goes 10 minutes over the 3 hours/ 60 move time you send the position for adjudication. Although the ECF no longer runs an adjudication service the Surrey CCA does and we would be pleased to adjudicate the position for you.

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3168
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:04 am

I would certainly much prefer to play with increments in my games rather than any other method of play, but it strikes me that it’s problematic for league chess. It may well be the case that most games finish inside the usual time limit as Roger and Mike say, but what do you do for the one in 600 that doesn’t?


Mike Gunn wrote: ... only one showed no sign of reaching a conclusion when everything else was cleared up. (The game went on for about 3 hours and 10 minutes and I told the players the game was drawn and both were relieved to accept that.)
I suspect this might be the "best" solution to a difficult problem to solve - but not at all possible for league matches of course.

Mike Gunn wrote:
I suggest that if a game goes 10 minutes over the 3 hours/ 60 move time you send the position for adjudication. Although the ECF no longer runs an adjudication service the Surrey CCA does and we would be pleased to adjudicate the position for you.
Trouble here: I have a position on the board that will give me the result that I want. I have 25 minutes on my clock and it’s 2 hours 50 minutes into the session. What’s my incentive to keep playing? Sporting honour? The experience of adjudications under the old/traditional system suggests that this is not sufficient to keep most club chessers playing.


And this is the difficulty - to solve a problem that comes up very rarely - I think we’re all agreed on that - you may have to create a problem for many games.

There are any number of variants of [x] minutes left on clock and [y] minutes left in the session where x > y when it simply becomes easier not to play out a tricky but won (or from the other side - tricky but drawn] ending and just sit there letting your clock run down. Almost any R+p v R ending would apply in this scenario, for instance.


Are you then just taking away the point of playing with increments in the first place?


Perhaps this is the 'least worst' option, but it doesn’t strike me as particularly satisfactory.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18320
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:13 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:I would certainly much prefer to play with increments in my games rather than any other method of play, but it strikes me that it’s problematic for league chess. It may well be the case that most games finish inside the usual time limit as Roger and Mike say, but what do you do for the one in 600 that doesn’t?
It's only really a potential problem when a venue has a strict closure policy.

I did wonder whether bastions of adjudication and adjournment might not prefer 60 minutes with 30 second increments coupled with adjudication at 3 hours or 60 moves or extra time if adjourning. They might still have to play 60 moves in an evening which some might consider too fast.

David Williams
Posts: 204
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:37 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by David Williams » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:20 am

This was introduced as a trial on Merseyside at my club's instigation. First division only, and if both clubs agreed - on all boards or none. A few clubs do not have digital clocks, but I'm not aware that any have a strict time limit on their premises. Half our matches were played with increments that season, and a handful of others. We had no problems in any of the games with increments, a couple of minor time-related instances in the others.
Some teams elected not to have increments at all because the majority of their players were broadly in favour but one or two were strongly against.

The second season the trial was extended to the second division (largely because we had been relegated). It was decided that increments could be used for individual boards if both players agreed. In practice this didn't work. With late changes to team line-ups you can't agree until you actually sit down at the board, by which time the guy who knows how to set the clock has already started his game. And most players don't feel strongly enough either way to even raise the question.

This is season three. We don't even bother suggesting it these days.

(One pretty obvious downside of increments for league chess that I hadn't thought of beforehand. If you're aiming for a three hour game, which is short enough anyway, you're going to go for 80 10, 75 15, or similar. But as the vast majority of games are less than 60 moves, you're actually reducing the playing session.)

Mike Gunn
Posts: 694
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:45 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Mike Gunn » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:24 am

Although the situation is similar to the traditional adjudication one, under the time limit suggested you would be forced to make 90 moves in the time allocated (3 hours plus 10 minutes clearing up time) and I think this makes all the difference. Also although adjudication still exists it becomes a very, very rare event.

David Williams
Posts: 204
Joined: Sun Mar 29, 2009 8:37 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by David Williams » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:25 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:I did wonder whether bastions of adjudication and adjournment might not prefer 60 minutes with 30 second increments coupled with adjudication at 3 hours or 60 moves or extra time if adjourning. They might still have to play 60 moves in an evening which some might consider too fast.
Is that very different to 90 minutes with no increment?

NickFaulks
Posts: 5293
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:35 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote: Trouble here: I have a position on the board that will give me the result that I want. I have 25 minutes on my clock and it’s 2 hours 50 minutes into the session.
Using 80/10, this means that you have played 105 moves and your opponent is down to zero time. Quite an extreme scenario.

At clubs where you get locked in if you go one minute over the allowed time, how are the many other resaons why games can overrun handled? Suppose one clock is found (or suspected ) during the game to be runnung slow. Or there is a time-consuming dispute. Or, perhaps, the one followed by the other!


edit : in any case, if you really want to get nearly all games finished in three hours, 80/10 is a poor choice. Use 75/10.
Last edited by NickFaulks on Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

Jonathan Bryant
Posts: 3168
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 3:54 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Jonathan Bryant » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:36 am

David Williams wrote: This is season three. We don't even bother suggesting it these days.
Because nobody takes it up or because there’s no need to suggest it because other teams want it too (or at least you know which will and which won’t)?


Roger’s right of course - this is only a problem where you have strict deadlines on when the club has to vacate the premises and perhaps Mike is right about the lack of practical problems with the time limit he suggests. Nevertheless there does seem to me to be the problem of steps to guarantee avoiding a rare event ending up influencing many other games in different ways. If only, as you say, by making them shorter.

What’s the response been to the games becoming shorter? Do people like that or not? I"m not sure it would appeal to me but I have seen it suggested that club chess would be more popular if it wasn’t so demanding.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18320
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:38 am

David Williams wrote: Is that very different to 90 minutes with no increment?
Opponents of quick play finishes will cite the typical clock bashing as a reason for their opposition. 30 second increments require the score to be kept and time scrambles have a slow motion air to them. For games lasting less than 60 moves, the overall pace is faster.

What I see sometimes with the 80 10 move rate, is that players barely reach move 20 before they are down to their last 5 minutes. They have more time using 80 10 for the opening and early middle game than if the move rate was 30 or 35 moves in 75 minutes with 15 minutes added for the rest of the game. But they would also be similarly short of time playing G/90.

Roger de Coverly
Posts: 18320
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:51 pm

Re: Experience using time increments for league matches

Post by Roger de Coverly » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:59 am

Jonathan Bryant wrote:[
What’s the response been to the games becoming shorter? Do people like that or not?
Experience is variable. With x in 75 + 15 move rates, you get games which reach a crisis point and a finish at around move x with up to half an hour of the playing session unused. If you switch from that to G/90 the session can be longer as players may use all their time regardless of the move count. Also play may continue in hopeless positions if the other player is short of time. 80 10 balances between the two, there's little incentive to continue to play in drawn positions or not to resign in lost ones.

It's likely you would get earlier finishes than with adjudication or adjournment since you don't have the added extra time of sealing a move or discussing the unfinished game. Adjournment in particular must cause trouble from time to time with strict venue closing.

Post Reply