As most of you know, instead of playing 75 minutes + 15 minutes quick-play finish, we are allowed to use increments in the Suffolk League. To date, very few people have tried this, although those who have have found no problem with it. If you are using increments (also known as ‘Fischer timing’) you start with the same 75 minutes, but instead of a quick-play finish, you receive an additional 10 seconds for every move, from move 1.
Most games played with increments are slightly shorter than those with a quick-play finish. This is because a 30-move game will take an hour and 20 minutes each, and a 60-move game takes an hour and 25 minutes each. You will need to play 90 moves to reach the same 1½ hours as in a quick-play finish. Very few games in the League last this long.
One of the reasons that players reject the use of increments is because the 10 seconds added each move is considered too little time. If you were to run out of your initial stock of 75 minutes, you would have to make a move every 10 seconds, else lose on time.
I plan to propose to the SCCA Committee and to the AGM that we change the timings from 75 minutes + 10 seconds per move, to 65 minutes + 20 seconds per move. This has the distinct advantage that you would have longer to think if your time runs out; you would need to make a move within 20 seconds, which is not unreasonable. The 4NCL uses 30 seconds per move, by the way, but with only one game played each day, there’s plenty of time to finish the game, even if it goes on for six or seven hours.
As has been pointed out before, the main advantage of using increments is that there’s no ‘Rule 10.2’ – the ‘two-minute’ rule, when you can claim a draw in the last two minutes of your time if you feel your opponent is making no effort to win ‘by normal means’. This can cause major problems in a match where there is no arbiter.
I would like to know what Suffolk players think of my proposal. A 30-move game would last an hour and a quarter each (slightly less than the current 75 minutes + 10 seconds per move); a 60-move game would last for an hour and 25 minutes each (the same as the current timings), and a 90-move game would extend just over, with an hour and 35 minutes each. If that is seen likely to cause a problem with venues, the initial stock could be decreased to 60 minutes (instead of 65), when a 90-move game would take an hour and a half each.
Please post your comments below.