A New Time Control

  • FM FM_Eric_Schiller
  • | Jun 23, 2012

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


  • 4 years ago


    Sounds interesting for TV only tournaments, but I wouldn't advocate it as a replacement for classical tourneys or the world championship.

  • 4 years ago


    "It comes with disadvantages though, like rushing a title winning game into a bullet battle"

    You mean like what happened with the WCC? :D

    Actually I really like Mr. Schiller's idea. But I'm a lightning-only player who doesn't have the patience for "classic" chess and move memorization, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

  • 4 years ago


    Caliphigia - OR, we could keep the same time controls that have worked for decades, or use the alternative now in use by Fide which is comparable. Hmm...yeah, that does make more sense...

  • 4 years ago


    Perhaps 15/15 25/60 SD30 + 1min would be a better solution.

  • 4 years ago


    It's disappointing that a titled player would come up with this idea...

    It's just rediculously hard to believe that someone who plays 2400+'s on a regular basis would say that making all but 3 moves in under a minute wouldn't hurt the game quality. In fact, it's impossibe to believe.

    I get so sick of hearing people complain that games take too long, and we need to invent weird time controls to "make the fans happy." Chess isn't going to sell out to spectators the way some sports do. If this integrity is not satisfactory to you, tough luck. That a FM wants to sell chess out to the fans and doesn't have a clue how time is typically managed in a serious game is baffling.

    I'm going to take this article as a joke. Because that's the only possible explanation. But chess.com...how on earth did it make it to the front page?

  • 4 years ago


    thats stupid

  • 4 years ago


    No disrespect intended, but I have multiple thoughts on this "article." First, it hardly belongs here, and would be more fitting in the chess.com forum. I don't see a whole lot of instructive quality, the writing is opinionated, and the writing contains many typos. In my opinion, being an FM hardly gives you the write to post your opinions as articles.

    In addition, I would never like to play a game under such a time control. Primarily, I believe that move-timers are too constricting, and this cuts out a major phase of chess strategy: time control. Next, the three "exceptions" are hardly long enough for a solid think, and this time control makes it hard for players to safely enter tactical positions without the fear of a time collapse. In addition, "tricky" openings would gain a horde of followers, as the defender hardly would have the time to work out the best moves if he had not prepared it already.

    I certainly prefer the standard FIDE time control of 40/90 SD30 +30s, or even the 40/2 SD1 used in open tournaments, and I believe that most chess players would agree. I further apologize for any disrespect, but this is my viewpoint, and I would never agree to play chess under such time controls.

    EDIT: Now that I have posted this comment, I see that the "article" has been proofread for spelling and the title capitalized. Though hardly informative, its quality has been improved.

  • 4 years ago


    @ goatt23 - now corrected Smile

  • 4 years ago


    It's not a good idea for serious chess. Sorry!

  • 4 years ago


    Please use a spell checker (tome, outt, propse, xports).

  • 4 years ago


    Not really a fan of the idea. I like it as it is. If you look at the WC for example, they sometimes spent up to 40 minutes on one move. The quality of the games will drop with this new setting I think.

  • 4 years ago

    FM Thunder_Penguin

    Wow! Very intresting

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