30 second delay

I am thinking of running tournaments with 30 second delay instead of 30 second increment. Thirty second delay still gives players a minimum of 30 seconds per move to mitigate time pressure but it avoids the issues of not having enough digital clocks that can do increment, dealing with how different digital clocks are set for increment differently (see this thread viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21602), and makes it less likely a game will go long and disrupt the start time of the next round. Thoughts?

This is even a worse idea than ten second delay.

Alex Relyea

Why? I see no reason why delay can’t be more than 5 seconds.

I have considered using a 30-second delay myself, in part because it would make notation mandatory on every move. I don’t know of any events that have used it yet, though.

I thought mandatory notation only applied to an increment of 30 seconds or more.

Note that the Excalibur Game Time II can only handle up to 19 seconds of delay. Also, the longer the delay, the worse the confusion for some on Saiteks, which show the delay or the main time, but not both. (That does not bother me as much as it bothers some, but it’s certainly not ideal.)

So I would not suggest the use of delay longer than 15 seconds. Actually, I think 10 seconds is about right, though I like that people are experimenting with different values.

And as I have posted before: I used to agree with Mr. Relyea’s view of this issue, but once I played a few games—online and OTB; rated under various systems, at controls from G/15 to G/60—10 seconds of either delay or increment feels right.

When we saw events with lots of analogs and digitals side by side and needed to make the time control for both types of clock as close as possible, five-second delay made sense. It might still make sense for G/10 or so. But now we can safely say that anyone who brings an analog to a rated event knows what he is in for—10 seconds is just better than 5.

Or maybe 15…but no more than that, at least for delay as opposed to increment.

That isn’t how I’ve interpreted Rules 15B and 15C (though I’m open to a re-interpretation). As I recall, the word “increment” is included parenthetically in each. The TD Tip that follows each rule is more specific, but all the two rules say is that 30 seconds or more must be added with each move. They do not say that the time must accumulate to the base time.

Many clocks do not display the delay time, for example displaying flashing colons or hyphens. The lamentable ZmartFun flashes the remaining time alternately with the delay time. It is very annoying to move and not know how much time will be left at the end of the move, which you never know with delay, unless you happen to remember how much time you started with. This is something up with which I am willing to put for fast time controls, but once the tournament extends over more than one day, delay becomes very difficult to justify.

Alex Relyea

In this response I will address the OP’s original question (30-second increment vs 30-second delay) and avoid various red herrings, like 10 seconds vs 30, etc.

That’s an easy one. In an increment tournament, if a clock cannot do 30-increment, just use 30-second delay instead, in that game. That’s already in the rules.

Now of course, if the organizer supplies all the clocks (so that the players assume they don’t need to bring clocks), and if they’re all increment-incapable, then that approach would be a big problem. But if the organizer supplies only a few clocks, for games where neither player has a clock, then it’s just tough bananas (and deservedly so) for those players.

With delay, the differences among different clock brands are even greater than they are with increment. With increment, the only difference is add-before vs add-after, which can be dealt with easily via an adjustment in the main time. But with delay, the variety of differences expands greatly:

  • Some clocks (Saitek) do not display the main time at all, during the delay. With a large delay like 30 seconds, the discomfort zone is enormously increased for some players.
  • Some clocks (Zmart) flash between the delay time and the main time every half-second. With a long delay like 30 seconds, many players will find this feature extremely annoying.
  • Some clocks (GameTime?) cannot be set for a delay longer than 19 seconds.
  • Some clocks (DGT North American, some modes on Chronos) do not display the delay as a digit (they display only the word “delay” or a flashing colon or something). This feature is highly undesirable for a long delay.
  • Some clocks (certain modes on the Chronos) display the main time only as h:mm during the delay, reverting to h:mm:ss only after the delay is over.
  • Some clocks use Bronstein instead of (or as an alternative to) discrete delay. While the two are mathematically equivalent, some players have a strong preference for one or the other.
  • In Bronstein mode, as with increment, some clocks add-before while others add-after.

I think using delay instead of increment will achieve, at best, only a modest improvement in dealing with long games. A 30-second increment creates long games more because of the 30 seconds (as opposed to 5 seconds) than because of increment (as opposed to delay).

The above are mine.

Bill Smythe

No thoughts to add beyond endorsing Alex’s and Bill’s.

Increment has become a worldwide standard for a reason. Short delay periods (preferably no greater than five seconds) have their place in traditional American time controls. But an increment time control neither becomes more American nor any better by changing the increment to a delay.

30 second delay as an alternative to 30 second increment for a game played with a increment-incapable clock is a poor substitute for increment, so it seems rather dubious to choose it as the TC voluntarily. In order to keep the tournament running on time, a 30 second delay would probably need to have 20 minutes of main time removed per player vs 10 second delay. Given how many moves over the course of a chess game wouldn’t really benefit from 30 vs 10 second delay, I don’t see many players who would choose (a priori) to give up the 20 minutes main time for the longer delay.

In David Bronstein’s biography, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” the GM pressed for games of 20 minutes with a 15 second delay to be played. He thought it an adequate time for amateurs and titled players to play a good game. He also suggested that if 20 minutes was too little time, then do 2 hours or whatever extra time you wish. The key is that he thought 15 seconds or more was good for a delay time. He thought Fischer’s idea to accumulate time, or increment time, was poor. He did not believe you should get time by repeating moves or shuffling pieces quickly, to get time for nothing. If we follow Bronstein’s method, players are not rewarded for repetitions or goofing around, which I have seen kids do with increment time. A 30 second delay would allow for the requirement to continue notation. It would be adequate time to win better positions or hold slightly inferior ones. It would add less time to the round than increment.

When delay was first made a part of tournaments, I thought that they were going to use 15 seconds or 30 seconds as the delay, partly as it made sense and partly as a tribute to David Bronstein. When the delay became only 5 seconds, it was clear that the time problem was not solved and we would still end up with clock bashing, noise, and the need for TD involvement. Also, as a club that provides equipment for games, it is irritating to see our clocks get banged around during time pressure with 5 second delay.

Why In the world would you torture your players with such an idea?? The never ending tournament for sure.

Well, this is a guaranteed crashed idea unless you have lots of $$$$ to offer as prizes.

Rob Jones

I have difficulty reconciling this view with reality, considering that there are local/regional organizers who have, and continue to, successfully run 30-second increment events. Sevan Muradian is probably the most prominent example among regular Forums posters.

I don’t see what the harm would be in trying, say, G/30 d30 or G/60 d30 for a 3- or 4-round event. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad, maybe it could work better with some tweaking. AFAIK, no one has ever tried it. The only thing I am sure of is that the game is very likely to be shorter than a game with the same length of increment from move 1.

I do not believe the idea is horrible on its face for a local or club event, where concerns about things like clocks that can’t be set for a 30-second delay are much less likely to be pervasive issues, especially if the organizer has loaner clocks that will work.

G/30;d30 and G/60;d30 is exactly the time controls I am considering experimenting with.

I was wrong about d30 having not been tried (though it’s rare). The Permian Basin CC (TX) appears to have run some events with d30 controls (approximately 20 in the last 3 years).

Go for it. Let us know how it works out. You might set out a written survey for folks to give feedback on what they liked and didn’t like about the time control. But of course attendance over a series of these events will be the best indicator.

While I think there’s nothing inherently wrong with 30 second delay, the fact that a large fraction of current clocks don’t concurrently display the countdown of the delay and the remaining time is a major problem. When a player gets down to a small amount of time on their clock the distraction of not knowing how long they have for their current move would be a major disadvantage. This is never a problem with increment and one of the main arguments for large increment over large delay.
Mike Regan

That argument could be rebutted somewhat by implementing delay as Bronstein mode rather than a separate count.

Speaking for The Permian Basin CC (TX), the G/40 d30 (3rds), G/30 d30 (4rds) controls have worked out very well for us as a replacement for the previous G/60 D5 (D10). The controls solved several problems, most of them mentioned in this thread. We had several instances of players trying to claim draws (50 move rule, 3rd repeat of position), but with no scoresheets (because they had stopped recording). We have always posted that we play without rule 14H (Insufficient Losing Chances Claims), but that just made some players angry when under extreme time pressure they lost in a 5 second delay what they thought a “won” game. Everyone has to record their moves the WHOLE GAME, and a 30 second delay allows that with comfort. The end result seems to be that the games are played out ENTIRELY over the board, to a conclusion, no adjudication, much less of a “rushed feeling”, fewer hurt feelings.

We had wondered when setting it up how long the rounds might end up running. Occasionally we have a really long game, but had not been a problem at all, in fact many players have remarked that the tournaments are over with quicker.

When we have new people at a tournament I tell them (because they are probably not used to it) that with this time control its foolish to “knee jerk move”, you gain nothing whatsoever in moving quicker that 29 seconds. We have club clocks (Saitek scholastic “blue”), they show the countdown, I show new players what the display looks like running and delay, and how to pause. To date I have had no complaints about the time control AFTER they have played with it.