time control Posts

DGT Chess Clocks (Supplier Profile)

If you don’t already play chess with a chess clock and you a want to become serious about chess, it’s time to consider investing in one. DGT have been our primary chess clock supplier since 2008 and have proven to be extremely reliable.

DGT – a History

The Netherland based company was initially created in 1992 by Albert Vasse and Ben Bulsink as DGT Projects. The company’s main products are electronic timers, digital clocks and electronic boards for draughts and chess. The introduction of DGT’s digital chess clock range started in 1994 and since then the company have continued to expand by manufacturing electronic chess boards. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Why Chess Clocks?

Most professional chess players claim that a chess clock is just as important as the type of board and pieces that they use. For one, if it wasn’t for chess clocks, you would never see the end of a chess game. The presence of a clock means that players have to be both decisive and focused, as well as time conscious.

Electronic chess clocks are great training tools, and if you are trying to improve your game, perhaps moving from absolute amateur to accomplished professional, are a must when working on your chess skills.

Of course they also ensure that players have a fair game especially in Lightening or Blitz chess – a player loses if they use up all of the time that is allotted to them.

What Makes DGT Special?

The fact that the company supplies chess timers to some of the most famous chess players and tournaments is one of the many reasons why DGT products are so popular. Some of their chess clocks are so advanced that they allow four to six players to play simultaneously. In fact, it is this feature that has made them one of the most sought after suppliers of high end digital chess clocks.

Many of DGT’s chess clocks are calibrated according to the latest FIDE regulations – allowing even casual players the chance to play like pros. These DGT clocks are extremely reliable and ensure accurate readings throughout play. They are ideal for clubs and schools, and are sold alongside a variety of value DGT clocks, which are also good.  Don’t be surprised if you see a DGT timer on every playing table when you visit your next high profile chess tournament!

Chess Noob #11 – Time Control

If you’ve ever seen people playing chess in a park somewhere (even if it’s just in a movie like “Searching for Bobby Fisher”… which I might do a movie review of for a blog one day), you’ll notice they are often moving quickly and hitting clocks.

When a player is brand new to chess, one of two things will happen: 1) they are totally scared of the clock and/or forget it’s even there and keep forgetting to hit it, or 2) they are so overzealous about the appeal of hitting a clock that they bang the buttons so hard it seems like they may cause collateral damage!

But what is the clock really for, and what do time controls mean?  Let’s take a look.

Time control is how long each player has to complete their portion of a chess game.  This can be anywhere from many hours to just a few minutes.  Every tournament will have a time control written in specific ways.  Every internet chess website will have various time controls to choose from as well.

If the game is not over but one player runs out of time on their clock, that player automatically loses the game.  This is called “losing on time”

On tournament posters, you’ll see the time control written as (# of moves)/(length of time).  This will often be followed by something like SD/(length of time) or (length of time)d or (length of time)inc.  Here’s a few examples:

“G/60” would mean “game in 60″… in other words each opponent gets 1 hour on their side of the clock (making a potentially 2-hour game) and the game MUST be finished within that time limit.  As stated before, if a player runs out of time before the game is over, they lose the game.

“40/90, SD/1” means 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by an hour of sudden death.  In other words, each player gets 90 minutes on their clock.  If the game is still going after both players have made 40 moves, and neither player has run out of time, an additional hour is added to both sides of the clock and the game MUST conclude by the end of the new time.

“G/45, 5d” Like before this would mean “game in 45 minutes”, but this has the addition of a 5-second time delay.  Time Delay is when the time on the clock (always digital for delay) pauses for the first few seconds (in this case 5 seconds) of every turn before counting down.  This extra time is to give the player adequate time to write the notation for the move that was just made by their opponent, without cutting into their time.

“40/90, 30inc” is 40 moves in 90 minutes followed by a time where 30 second increments are added to the clock.  Incremental time control is a fairly new idea and only comes on the newest clocks.  In the United States, it’s only used in the upper sections of big tournaments, although internationally FIDE uses it for all their events.  What it means is that an increment of time is added to a players clock so that they will have at least a certain amount of time to make a move.  In this example, after the first 40 moves (which each player has 90 minutes to make), sudden death comes into effect but instead of a set time control, 30 seconds is added to their clock after every move.  This ensures that even if a player is basically out of time, they’ll have a minimum of 30 seconds to make a move.  If incremental time controls aren’t utilized, a player could have to make a move with only a couple seconds to spare (as in literally 2 seconds).

It would be wise to invest in a digital chess clock that has at least a time delay function, such as the DTG series clocks which can be purchased right here at The Regency Chess Company.

Have a topic you’d like me to cover or a question you’d like to ask? send me an e-mail at flannelmann@yahoo.com

Chess Noob #10 – How the Rules of Chess Have Changed

Josh from New Jersey asked me “Why is it that Pawns are allowed to move 2 spaces in the beginning?”

This is a great question on the history of chess, and so rather than writing a mini-blog to answer that question alone, I thought I’d go over several rules of chess that have changed over the centuries.  Some of these changes include how various pieces move, the appearance of the chess board, and how to win a chess game.

Pawn Movement

Originally, Pawns could only move forward one space at a time on every turn.  Around the 1500’s, it was decided that the game of chess needed to be sped up and made more exciting.  One of the things done to accomplish this was to allow the Pawn the option of moving up to 2 spaces on it’s first turn and therefore adding variety to the game (would the pawn move just one space or 2) and new strategies.  When it became apparent that a player could use this rule to avoid capture (by moving the Pawn 2 spaces instead of 1 space in which it might get captured by a Pawn on the 5th rank), the rule for En Passant was added.

Pawn Promotion

Originally, Pawns did not promote when they reached the 8th rank, there merely could not move any more during the game.  It wasn’t until the middle ages that it was decided to allow Pawns to be promoted to other pieces if they made it all the way across the board, but they could only turn into a Queen (which, at that time, was the weakest piece in the game).  In the late 1400’s, when the Queen became a much more powerful piece, players were given the option of promoting their Pawns to any other piece.  In the 1700’s, it was ruled that a Pawn could only be promoted to a piece that had already been captured (essentially putting a fallen piece piece back on the board in the Pawn’s place).  This changed again in the 1800’s to it’s current form where a Pawn, when reaching the other side of the board, can be promoted to any piece, even one that has not been captured (essentially allowing a player to have multiple Queens on the board).

Bishops

Bishops have always been able to move diagonally.  However to start with, a Bishop could only move up to 2 spaces at a time.  Modern day chess has the Bishop moving diagonally as many spaces as it likes.

Queens

The Queen was originally the weakest piece on the board!  The very first time it was moved it could be moved in any direction up to 2 spaces, but for every move after that it could only move diagonally 1 space at a time!  It wasn’t until the late 1400’s that the Queen was increased to it’s current powerful status as a piece that can move any direction as many spaces as it likes.

Stalemate

Stalemate has changed often throughout the history of chess.  Up until the 15th century, a Stalemate was considered a win for the person that could force one to happen.  Then, until the 16th century, it was considered an “inferior win”… it would still count as a win for the person who caused the Stalemate to happen, but in a tournament with money prizes they’d only be eligible for half the winnings.  For a while (and in certain countries) a Stalemate was not allowed.  If a player made a move that caused a Stalemate to occur, they were forced to take the move back and make a new move instead.  In the 19th century, it was declared that a Stalemate should be treated as a draw, although to this day there are still many chess experts who believe it should once again be considered a win for whomever can force the stalemate to happen.

Checkmate

Up until the 1300’s, there were 3 ways to win a chess game: 1) Checkmate your opponent, 2) your opponent resigns, 3) capture all of your opponent’s pieces (minus the King).  In the 1300’s, it was declared that taking all your opponent’s pieces no longer counted as a win, you had to Checkmate them.

Threefold Repetition

The threefold repetition rule (if the same position is repeated on 3 consecutive turns, the game is a draw) did not come about until the 1880’s.

The 50-move Rule

The 50-move Rule (if 50 moves are made without capturing any pieces or moving any pawns, the game is a draw) was introduced in 1561 by Ruy Lopez.  In the 1600’s, Pietro Carrera said it should be 24 moves.  In the 1800’s, Bourdonnais said it should be 60.  For a while it was decided that all winnable endgames could be won in 50 moves or less, but then in the 20th century there were a few exceptions found.  Because of these exceptions, for a while, it was declared you could have up to 100 moves in certain endgame situations.  In 1989 that number was reduced to 75 moves, and in 2001 it was changed to 50 moves for all endgames, no matter the position.

Time Control

The first use of time control for games (which we’ll talk about in the next blog) was not introduced until the mid-1800’s.

White moves first

The rule that white moves first was not introduced until 1889.

My how things change!

Have a topic you’d like me to cover or a question you’d like to ask? send me an e-mail at flannelmann@yahoo.com