A New Time Control

A New Time Control

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By IA Eric Schiller

I propose a new time control to speed up games while preserving quality. Most games these days don’t require time in the prepared portions of openings or in technical positions in endgames. One minute per move is enough. However, more time is needed when the opening goes out of book and for developing a strategy and for deciding whether to enter an endgame. So I propose a control of one minute per move with each player getting three exceptions per game. This keeps the games to about the same for most sports broadcasts and allows for two games per day.

Each player has 60 seconds to make each move except that this limit may be exceeded three times per game. On one occasion the player may take up to ten minutes and on two occasions up to 5 minutes. The clock will count down from 60 seconds and when that is expired will automatically switch to 6-minute mode (assuming the player has one left) and light a 5-minute flag. If the 5 minutes are exhausted it will add another 5 minutes if the 10-minute exemption has not been used and light the to-minute indicator and reset the 5-minute indicator, otherwise it will indicate loss on time.  When all three indicators are lit, using up 60 seconds results in a loss on time.



  • Games last 3-4 hours maximum, usually 2 hours if 40 moves.
  • No long waits for spectators, but enough time for meaningful commentary.
  • Decent quality games, since most moves can be made quickly
  • Can be modified for playoff Armageddon style with Black receiving one extra 5-minute think or White losing one.
  • Tension for spectators as clock drops below ten seconds
  • Clocks always show real time remaining, no delay confusion

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