Chess Clocks title
“Clocks are used to give predetermined amount of time to each player”

  In 1836, Le Palemede, the first Chess magazine, was published in Paris and in 1861 a Chess clock was introduced. Prior to this the amount of time allowed for moves was not regulated and some games went on for ages. The Chess clock used today has two mechanisms which are joined together siamese style. Each of these starts when a lever is pressed on one of the clocks after a move has been made. Each player is required to make a set number of moves in a given time period.

  If the number of moves required in a given time-frame have not been played, the game is forfeited. This leads to time-scrambles by the players and it often happens that a player will have to make five or ten moves in a few minutes, in order to beat his/her clock. During the 18th century the introduction of the clock made Chess players careful in the management of their time allocation, and so played a part in speeding up the length of a game.

Clock 1 Clock 2 Clock 3 Clock 4

   A suitable clock with set times allocated for playing on the various levels of Chess is needed. The newer boards, 8 x 8 (traditional Chess), 10 x 9 (Chinese Chess), 9 x 9 (Shogi), 10 x 10, 12 x 12 etc, need longer and longer time periods, depending on the level and complexity of a game. When playing with friends there is usually no time limit to the number of moves that may be made but in serious play a Chess clock is used and each contestant has a predetermined amount of time to make all of his/her plays. If you cannot make all your moves within the time frame, you forfeit the game.

  Usually, the time allowed to decide on a move is limited. Chess contests are played to a time limit of 40 moves in two hours and 20 moves per hour after this time. Failure to meet this deadline leads to automatic loss of a match. On average you would have to move every 3 minutes to stay within the 2-hour deadline. This may seem a lot of time, but many players find that the clock revolves faster than their brains ability to solve the complex situations that arise in endgame scenarios. 

  Pressure of time can often lead to mistakes as the excitement of a time scramble can disorientate your judgment. Deep searching play can result in loss of time when in fact the obvious move can be found in less than a few minutes. A worse case scenario that can arise in a contest, is having to move, say 14 pieces, with five minutes remaining on your clock. To find yourself in such a position is like giving your opponent odds and can lead to loss of creative play.

  You will find that your enemy is the clock and the moral obvious - keep an eye on the time or, you will find yourself in trouble in the latter stages of a contest. Try to play at an even rate and remain objective at all times. As the contest progresses, the position on the board will also change. View each new position with a fresh mind without too many flashbacks from earlier stages in the game. Remember that as long as your opponent has pieces, they can be moved and may become dangerous. Do not leave yourself short of time, but if you do, keep a note of the number of plays.

  If you are in the lead, keep play simple and use your opponents time frame to anticipate the response move. It is difficult to play a defensive game when time is short. Give up material to maintain the initiative. If your opponent is short on time, do not quicken your own pace, as you will be giving away an advantage. In an amateur club a move is not legally completed until your opponents clock has been restarted. Games have been lost in the time between the last move and the punching of the clock.

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