Both flags down in sudden death

US Chess rules state the following:

FIDE rules state the following:

My questions are:

  1. If the clock has a sign that shows which flag fell first, is the game still drawn under US Chess rules?

  2. If the clock has a sign that shows which flag fell first, can this be used as evidence to establish which flag fell first under FIDE rules? (I’m assuming it can since for a clock to be FIDE certified, it must have a sign that shows which flag fell first. "5.4.2. In approved clocks, when both flags fall down must be seen which flag fell first.)

I’ve always been under the impression that a flag hasn’t fallen until a claim has been made to that effect. So, if both flags are down, and a director, or impartial witness can verify that a claim was made before his own flag fell, the win should be upheld. The KEY point here is when the claim was made, not when the flags fell. If a player makes a claim only after his own flag has fallen, then it’s a draw, but if he made a claim before his own flag falls, and it can be verified, then it should be a win on time. Does this make sense?

I’m wondering if the current language is a bit off if the above reasoning is true.

Seconding Terry’s response, and as far as I know, the following is how the US Chess rule has been understood and applied by every good TD.

Finding an “independent” witness who does not have a bias or vested interest in the result is difficult. In time pressure situations it is often necessary to shoo spectators away from games as there is a tendency for someone to blurt out when a flag falls.

Yes, as Terry indicated you must still make the claim while you have time on your clock. Personally I prefer the FIDE rule. If you have reasonable evidence of which one fell first, why not use it? The US Chess rule was written in the days when there was no way to tell which one fell first (if both were down). That is often no longer the case. Though some digital clocks (even the popular DGT NA, for example) don’t differentiate this, which is unfortunate. The FIDE rule covers this.

Yes, absolutely. That’s the point.

I think adding the wording as having occurred after the claim was made to the end of this rule would be an excellent clarification.

Perhaps adding the following TD Tip would also be good:

“TD Tip: If both players have run out of time, some clocks have a sign that indicates which side ran out of time first but this information is not used here to determine a win on time since a player must claim a win on time and either 1) stop their clock prior to their own flag falling or 2) have it observed by a director or independent witness that the claim was made prior to their own flag falling.”

What do you think Tim Just?

This difference between FIDE and US Chess rules might be good to add to the FIDE-US Chess rules differences document, … ences.html

What do you think Ken Ballou?

A TD Tip on this subject has been added to the rulebook, thanks Tim!

However, there appears to be two different versions of the TD Tip.

On this page, … es-2021-22, the TD Tip is worded as follows:

In the updated online edition of the rulebook, … -23-21.pdf, the TD Tip is worded as follows:

The addition of “at this point” and the removal of “however” does seem to improve the clarity just a bit.

Bill Smythe

My DGT NA clearly shows who ran out of time first. Only one side has a flag when both clocks show 0.00. I’d be curious if newer serial numbers show a flag for each side since I bought this one in 2014.

With the DGT NA, that depends on the time control. In increment mode, what you say is true. In delay mode, it’s just the opposite – when one side runs out of time, the other side will continue to run, and when both run out, they both just show 0:00, and there is no flag (or other indicator) to identify which came first.

I think they designed this clock this way because of the difference between FIDE rules and U.S. Chess rules. FIDE likes to have the clock tell you who ran out first, U.S. Chess prefers otherwise. Therefore, the manufacturer figured that, since FIDE uses increment and U.S. Chess uses delay, they would let the difference between increment and delay decide which way to do it.

Unfortunately for the manufacturer, this distinction has faded in recent years. There are now plenty of USA tournaments that use increment, and at least a few international events that use delay.

I agree with GKarRacer that it’s about time U.S. Chess sheds this notion. It should be perfectly allowed for the TD to call a flag down, using information provided by the clock if necessary. U.S. Chess needs to change here.

Bill Smythe

I see now the FIDE rules that I quoted in my original post fall under the “Guidelines III. Games without increment including Quickplay Finishes” section and “III.2.2 These Guidelines shall apply only to standard chess and rapid chess games without increment and not to blitz games.”

Therefore, under FIDE rules, what happens if both flags are down in a sudden death time control that includes increment (or delay)?

This is probably an oversight by including these lines in guidelines 3. But, for practical purposes, I would apply it to all games. If it can be determined which flag fell first, go with that, otherwise it’s a draw. That it’s not included, may be an indication that it is less likely to happen in games with increment, which is true.

If you need a specific rule to cover this, then I cite the preface:

Thanks Bill.

The US Chess rulebook has a TD Tip after rule 16T that states “An increment time control of 30 seconds or more is not considered sudden death, therefore if both players should exceed time control, the clocks should be reset to the “next” time control of the time increment (e.g. 30 seconds) per move.” Would this apply under FIDE rules?

How would you reset to the “next time control” in the last session? Set it for 0 or 1 second so both players have only increment to live on?

Based on my reading of the TD Tip, you would set it so each player would start with 30 seconds and get an additional 30 seconds for each move, starting after move 1.

Doesn’t a clock in an increment time control need to freeze when either player oversteps (at least if it’s FIDE certified?)

Yes, a clock has to be able to freeze in an increment time control when one player runs out of time in order for it to be able to get FIDE certification. However, a clock that doesn’t freeze could still be used in a FIDE rated tournament.

I suspect that the rules assume that a FIDE-certified clock is in use and thus a double flag isn’t possible.

Since about everywhere the organizer provides the equipment it makes sense FIDE rules expect that equipment to be FIDE compliant.

The FIDE rules also mention the following and a non FIDE-certified clock would have to be in use for this to occur: