Time control

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A time control is a mechanism in the tournament play of almost all two-player board games so that each round of the match can finish in a timely way and the tournament can proceed. Time controls are typically enforced by means of a game clock. Time pressure (or time trouble or zeitnot) is the situation of having very little time on a player's clock to complete his remaining moves.

The World Chess Federation FIDE sets a single time control for all major FIDE events: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.



The amount of time given to each player to complete their moves will vary from game to game. However most games tend to change the classification of tournaments according to the length of time given to the players.[1] Shorter time limits, which do not afford due consideration to moves, are afforded a lesser degree of importance. Indeed shorter limits are normally given special names to distinguish them.

'Lightning' is the quickest limit, then 'blitz'. Chess has an 'active' category after this. In chess, Lightning refers to 3 minutes or below, blitz refers to between 4 and 15 minutes, and Active is between 15 and 30. As an example, for Go anything under twenty minutes can be considered blitz. In terms of chess ratings, 30 minutes is considered to be both blitz (fast chess) and long (slow chess) at the same time as it affects both ratings.


The exact approach to using a game clock to regulate games varies considerably.

Sudden death

This is the simplest methodology. Once a player's main time expires he loses the game.


Each player's clock starts with a specified time (e.g. 1 minute, 10 min etc.). While Player 1 is deciding on their move, their clock time is decreasing and Player 2's clock time is increasing. This is similar to how an hourglass works, sand empties from one container, and fills into the other. Moving slowly gives your opponent extra time. The sum of both clocks will always remain the same. There is no maximum amount of time alloted for a game with this timing method, as long as both players play quickly, the game will continue until its natural end. When time runs out on one player's clock the game is over and that player loses. This is very uncommon to be used in chess tournaments outside of certain online websites.

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