At the SCCA AGM on 3 September, the Committee will propose the optional use of Fischer timing in all standard-play games. Why, and what are the advantages?
There are a number of good reasons for using Fischer timing, but first, what is it and how would it be used?
At present we require 30 moves to be played in 75 minutes, followed by a 15-minutes quick-play finish. Fischer timing would remove the quick-play finish element. Games would start with the same stock of 75 minutes but instead of the extra 15 minutes, clocks would be pre-set so that 10 seconds is added to your time whenever you press your clock.
This means that almost all games will finish within three hours, because you will need to make 90 moves before you have used up an hour and a half of your own time. Very few games exceed 90 moves; even a 120-move game would only take an extra 10 minutes (5 minutes each).
There are a number of benefits of using Fischer timing:
* At present, when analogue clocks are used, the clocks have to be stopped and manually corrected to add 15 minutes to each player’s time. This can be disruptive to the thought process.
* When digital clocks are used, inexperienced players can become confused as to whether or not the extra 15 minutes have been added. Fischer timing will avoid this confusion, as what you see on your clock is the amount of time you have remaining for the game (subject to an extra 10 seconds being added for each move).
* Perhaps most importantly, FIDE Rule 10.2 (the ‘two-minute rule’) is no longer applicable. In League play, claiming a draw in the last two minutes of the game can be problematic. The League’s rules allow for captains to act as ‘joint arbiters’, but in many cases the captains are either still playing, or are not fully aware of the rule.
So, provided you can make a move within 10 seconds, you should never lose on time.
Using Fischer timing will be optional, and only at those clubs where the appropriate digital timers are available. Some clubs, such as Bury St Edmunds (who have 16 digitals) could bring some to an away match if requested.
The Committee would like to see Fischer timing used, and hope that the AGM will support the proposal.