|The Digital Chess Clock - Embrace the Lack of Tick & Tock!|
The same thing has to be true of clocks and the rules involving their use. In the defense of some players, perhaps, the way a Bishop moves hasn't changed in the last 400 years or so, but rules involving clocks and time limits are much more fluid.
Let's take a look at some of the more important rules involving clocks, especially digital clocks, in this day and age.
US Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess, 5th Edition, as amended 5 May 2011: Rule 16Bb - Players are responsible for knowing how to set their own clocks.
First of all - and this I consider the most important rule - it is the responsibility of the players to know how their clock works. It is not the responsibility of the Tournament Director to know how your clock works. It is critical that you know how to set your clock for various time controls.
For most of our tournaments that's simple. We have Game/60d5 - one Sudden Death time control, 60 minutes per person for the whole game, each move delayed by 5 seconds. However for a slower tournament you may have multiple time controls like, 40/90, Game/20d10. Here the first 40 moves are made in 90 minutes, then you have 20 more minutes to complete the game. All moves give you a delay of 10 seconds. In this case, assuming the 40 moves are made on time, at the completion of the 40th move, you get 20 additional minutes on your clock in order to finish the game. The more expensive, newer clocks such as the Chronos and the DGT XL do this automatically. The older or inexpensive clocks, such as the DGT 2000 or the Saiteks, require you to do it manually. It is critical that you know how to do this before your game so you can do it quickly and efficiently when your 41st move comes up!
|Another Clock That Has Shown Up at the Club Recently|
Finally, it needs to be recognized that digital delay clocks are now the preferred default equipment for a tournament game. This means that if there is a choice of clock during a game, the digital clock gets the nod. This means that if Black, who gets choice of equipment, has an analog clock and White has a digital clock, White uses their clock, even though Black normally gets choice of equipment.
The digital delay clock for tournament competition is here to stay and I think there are good reasons for them. It is now as standard as algebraic notation or even the Staunton Chess Set. Indeed, there has been serious discussion within the USCF of banning analog clocks from tournament play, something that I am against because I feel it would put an undo burden on clubs, such as ours, that still have an inventory of analog clocks. That being said, no tournament competitor should even consider for a nanosecond buying an analog clock these days, and clubs should replace their analog clocks, as they become worn out, with digital models.
|All Analog Clocks May Look This Antique Soon|
Time marches on, even for our venerable game of Chess. Your clock is as much a part of the game as your pieces. Take "time" to learn how to use it effectively!