DGT Easy+ Review

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Brian Towers
Posts: 912
Joined: Tue Nov 18, 2014 7:23 pm

DGT Easy+ Review

Post by Brian Towers » Fri Feb 12, 2016 10:25 am

tl;dr
A good, robust, simple, easy to use, little clock for schools and arbiter-free, single period, league and club chess both with and without increments.
Not great for 2 period league chess. Possible to get it to work but a faff!
Bad for standard FIDE rated chess. Doesn't satisfy FIDE regulations (IMHO) but someone more knowlegable feel free to correct me. Might scrape by for rapid and blitz.

Long Version

Out of the box
On the underside of the clock, directly beneath the display is the battery compartment which holds 2 batteries. The battery compartment cover also has 5 symbols showing the controls plus a few words of explanation. Compare this with the descriptions of the 35 settings on the DGT2010 which cover the underside with small print!

On the left of the top display side there is an on/off button. Touch this briefly to switch on. Press and hold for 2 or 3 seconds to switch off, so you are not going to switch it off with an accidental touch or press. After a game has finished press and hold for 1 second to reset and start a new game from the previous settings.

When you switch on the whole dispay flashes showing the settings from the last game and you can either start a new game immediately by pressing the start/pause button in the very centre of the circle of controls below the display in the centre or change the settings using the 4 controls (<,>,+,-) arranged in a circle around the start/pause button.

At any stage during the game you can press the start/pause button to pause the clock. When you do this the 4 controls will allow you to change the time remaining but not the mode and not the increment or delay if either of these two modes is current. Pressing start/pause resumes the clock.

Settings
There are 4 basic settings displayed in the centre when you are changing the settings. From the bottom up:
1) Move timer (and move timer plus save) - not relevant for chess, not interested, didn't play with it.
2) Simple game timer
3) Game timer with increment (called "bonus" on the clock and in the manual)
4) Game timer with delay (the same as "Bronstein" on big brother DGT's)

North west of the main controls there is a circle with a musical note inside it. If there is a similar symbol in the centre of the display you will need to press this once to get rid of it and and the resulting 5 second beeping countdown before flag fall. I suppose for kids in schools and a boozy blitz session down the pub this could be a fun thing.

Flagging behaviour
When one side runs out of time then a flag appears in the display next to that person's time (as you would expect) and stays there until you reset and start a new game or switch off altogether. In simple game timer mode (with no increment and no delay) the time starts counting up again! I don't like this but there is a simple solution. If you set the mode to either "bonus" or "delay" then it behaves as you would wish with the time freezing. As an increment fanatic I would like to say that you will all have to play with increments to get the benefit but actually you can set the increment to "0" and that does the trick.

Changing the settings before a new game
I will only cover the one setting - game timer with bonus - because, unless you're American. that gives you all you want.

When you first switch it on it will come up with 5 minutes each, game timer, no bonus, no delay and both sides flashing.
Press the ">" to get to the modes in the middle and use the "+" and "-" buttons to select "game timer + bonus".
Press the ">" to get to the increment (just above the mode) and use the "+" and "-" buttons to set your increment. It does go down to zero if you must.
Press the ">" and the right side time will flash allowing you to set that but in the likely event that both sides get the same time press it again to get both sides flashing again.
Now press and hold down the "+" button and the time, shown as minutes and seconds, will increase getting faster and faster the longer you hold your finger on the button. Up to 20 minutes this will increment in seconds. Above 20 minutes it will increment in minutes. The acceleration you get from holding the button down means this works quite fast.
If you've been using the ">" button to move through the settings then use "<" if you want to get the time setting for the right hand clock.
Once you've got the settings you want press the start/pause button and the the clock will start.

Changing the settings during a game
To change settings during a game press the start/pause button to pause the clock, press the "<" or ">" buttons to choose the times to alter. The chosen side(s) will flash but note that you want just one side to flash because when both sides are flashing changing the times changes both sides to match with (I think) the left time being the master! So, if left = 42 min, right = 53 min, both sides flashing and you press the "-" button both sides will change to 42 min and start counting down. Similarly for "+".
For competitive chess this functionality is only really useful when the times you are going to change to are less than 20 minutes. The reason for this is that once you've reset a time to a time bigger than or equal to 20 minutes the seconds are zeroed.

So, if one player had 3m20s and the other 13m20s and you wanted to add 15 minutes to each side you could quite happily add 15 minutes to the first to get 18m20s but for the second you could only end up with 28 minutes exactly or 29 minutes exactly. To achieve what you want you would have to set to 29 minutes and then let that side run for 40 seconds so that the time left was 28m20s. Note that the display would just show 28m.

So, not great for 2 period league chess although you could get it to work. Doubt if RdC would buy this solution, though ;-)

Durability and lever action
This is a very robust little clock. There was none of the bouncing and sticking which Paul Dargan reported with an earlier version. The lever action is good, solid and positive. The one thing I would say is that the "klunk" when you press the lever is a bit louder than its bigger brothers like the 2010.

FIDE (un)suitability
According to the FIDE handbook (http://www.fide.com/FIDE/handbook/Stand ... _venue.pdf) there are two stumbling blocks:
FIDE handbook wrote:5.1. Requirements for electronic chess clocks
(j) In case of time penalties it must be possible that time and move counter corrections are executed by an arbiter within 60 seconds.
(k) It must be impossible to erase or change the data in display with a simple manipulation.
In the case of a time penalty the arbiter has no quick way of knowing the seconds part of each player's time where they have 20 minutes or more left because it is not displayed, neither in play mode nor in adjust mode. The arbiter would have two choices.
1) Let the game continue until both players have less than 20 minutes left and the player to receive the additional 2 minutes to have less than 18 minutes left. Then he could make the required settings within the 60 seconds but he might have had to wait for an hour to reach that point!
2) Determine the seconds for each player by letting each clock tick down to the next display minute, counting the seconds and then resetting the clocks from scratch to one minute over the required time in each case and then running for the required number of seconds. In neither case is this possible within 60 seconds.

The big advantage the clock has from the point of view of ease of setting means that changing or erasing the data in the display is very easy! You can't have your cake and eat it too. It is either simple and quick to use or it's suitable for FIDE ;-).

Thank you to Gareth Ellis for making the review clock available.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

NickFaulks
Posts: 3452
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:28 pm

Re: DGT Easy+ Review

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:09 pm

I hope that Technical Commission will be asked to take a look at this clock. As described, the problems do not sound necessarily insurmountable. Just saying "FIDE's requirements are impossible" is too easy.

edit : I've realised that these have been around in the US for years and I've got one. Nice little clock, in 2006 I carried one around South America in a backpack, although the newer 960 is even better for that purpose.

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