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Time to Think? Beginner's Question

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Kelwin Delaunay

Jan 19, 2002, 12:31:05 PM1/19/02

Is there an accepted (enforced) standard for time to play a game or a move?
When is the request to play faster reasonable and when is it simply a tactic
to rattle a player into making a mistake? Are chess clocks used often?


Stephen Turner

Jan 21, 2002, 4:23:23 AM1/21/02
Kelwin Delaunay wrote:

Hi, Kelwin.

Firstly, chess clocks are rarely used, although some tournaments are now
bringing them in -- but even then not for every match, just for ones which
seem to be very slow, or involving players with a history of playing very slowly.

One problem is that backgammon games, more than chess games, vary wildly in
length. In some types of games, the checkers just keep getting hit and going
round and round again. So setting a time limit for a game seems a bit unfair.

Now as for requests to play more quickly. I guess you've had a bad experience,
and it's hard to comment without knowing the actual circumstances. Not that
I'm going to let that stop me. :-)

Such a request could of course be used to rattle a player into making worse
moves. But I guess more likely is that some moves seem obvious to someone with
more experience, but a beginner would need to think about them. You'll find
when you've been playing for a while that you make a lot of moves almost
instantly. When you get to that stage, you're happy for people to think for a
while about a few, more difficult moves, but if your opponent thinks about
every move, the game can really drag. In a tournament, you have to put up with
it, but in social play, it's no fun.

In any case, you certainly shouldn't play faster than you're comfortable with,
especially if you're playing for money. You just won't play well that way. If
your opponent won't accept that a beginner does need to play more slowly, find
another opponent, human or computer, until you're a bit faster.

Hope that helps.

Stephen Turner, Cambridge, UK
"This is Henman's 8th Wimbledon, and he's only lost 7 matches." BBC, 2/Jul/01

Michael Crane

Jan 21, 2002, 4:41:44 AM1/21/02
Yes, there are 'standard' times in tournament play. For an 11 point match
the allowance is approx 2 hours 10 minutes + - 5 minutes. Although beginners
do take part in tournaments they are still expected to maintain a reasonable
speed. At Biba tournaments (of which I am the Director) I only use clocks to
hurry players up rather than as a matter of course. I find a gentle prod now
and then usually does the trick to speed up play, failing that a clock is
brought in to finish off the match.


"Stephen Turner" <> wrote in message

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Jan 21, 2002, 10:34:58 AM1/21/02
Yes, but is smacking someone upside the head with a clock really effective?
Generally I find that unconsciousness, while it has its rewards, tends to
slow performance unacceptably.


Oh, hi Michael...

"Michael Crane" <> wrote in message

Kelwin Delaunay

Jan 21, 2002, 11:20:18 AM1/21/02
Thanks to Michael and Stephen for their responses. It would seem then that
spending a minute or two over a complicated middle game situation is quite
reasonable and no cause for the exchange of blunt instruments or sharp-edged
clocks (thanks for the grin Ric).


"Michael Crane" <> wrote in message

William Smithers

Jan 21, 2002, 3:44:31 PM1/21/02
If the context of your question is Internet or "casual" play, I think
that the request to play faster is often simply the result of the
requester's temperament, though sometimes the request seems to come
more frequently when your opponent is obviously losing.

My reply is always, "I will play as I usually do." And I continue to
play as I usually do.

If the opponent drops you and you remember or have noted his/her name,
just make a note not to play that person again.

Bill Smithers

Gregg Cattanach

Jan 21, 2002, 3:58:07 PM1/21/02
A few notes about chess clocks in tournaments. The standard U.S. time limit
is based on 6 minutes per match point, so for an 11 point match each player
is given 66 minutes. There also is an addition in the latest rule set that
states that if the match reaches double-match point, or the cube level will
end the match with a single game for either player, no player can lose on
time. You can read the U.S Clock Rules at:

Our weekly club tournament uses clocks for all matches, and it seems to work
quite well. There have probably been only 1 or 2 time penalties in all the
matches over the last year, so you REALLY have to play slowly to actually
use up all your time. Also, the Atlanta and Chicago tournaments are using
clocks for many of the Open Division rounds and the Master's Jackpots.

Also, there is a nice advantage to using clocks as you only use one set of
dice. (Your turn ends by hitting the clock and the dice are still on the
table.) If there is a dispute about the actual roll and the move played,
the dice are still on the table so both can still see the roll. In the
normal 2 sets of dice method, a player may move quickly and snatch up his
dice, and if the second player saw a different number, there really isn't
any way to resolve what the real roll was.

As far as your original question, it is perfectly acceptable and common to
see players take 1 or 2 minutes for a difficult cube decision or checker
play. When a pip count or match equity calculation is required, it often
takes that much time to do all that math in your head. But for most checker
plays, you should be able to come up with a move in 5-15 seconds or so.
Someone that is consistantly slow should have a clock inserted into the
match by the TD, and no one should be shy about making this request. (There
are tables to determine how much time should be put on the clocks based on
the current match score.)


Michael Crane

Jan 23, 2002, 1:46:44 PM1/23/02
Haven't we just covered this topic, or am I going senile as my 53rd birthday
hurtles towards me?


"Kelwin Delaunay" <> wrote in message

Bob Stringer

Jan 24, 2002, 12:02:29 AM1/24/02
On Wed, 23 Jan 2002 18:46:44 -0000, "Michael Crane"
<> wrote:

>Haven't we just covered this topic, or am I going senile as my 53rd birthday
>hurtles towards me?

As my 53rd hurtles toward me, I'm guessing:

Yes and yes.

Bob Stringer

In order to reply by e-mail, please replace
"NotHere" with "spamcop" in my address


Jan 24, 2002, 9:25:05 AM1/24/02
No, you must have imagined it. Funny how I imagined the same thing, isn't
it? Of course, at 57, I've gone well beyond senility, so I'm okay. You I'm
worried about.


"Michael Crane" <> wrote in message


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