ACP demands standardizing time controls in chess

9/16/2007 – In July 2005 the Association of Chess Professionals (ACP) met with the World Chess Federation (FIDE) to discuss new time controls for official FIDE events: 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for remaining moves, with an increment of 30 seconds per move. Now the ACP is demanding action on FIDE's part, with a proposal for comprehensive and binding regulations.

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Standardization of time control

The Association of Chess Professionals has written to the FIDE Presidential Board asking for a latter to standardize the time control in all events – "the one the majority of professional chess players are waiting for." The ACP goes on to say: "Chess players find it very difficult to adapt to various time controls in various tournaments. The situation has become very serious, as practically, it is hardly possible to play two tournaments in a row with the same time control! In majority of other sports, the duration of a game is precisely set and there is no reason why in chess the situation should be different."

In July 2005, at a joint ACP-FIDE meeting in Athens, Greece, a new time control was proposed for official FIDE events: 90 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for remaining moves, with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move 1. "This time control has been widely recognised and warmly welcomed by many chess players and organisers, however a significant number of chess players preferred other, longer, seven-hour time control. The standardization of time control is absolutely necessary, however the ACP understands, that it is reasonable to leave a choice between the two above mentioned possibilities to organisers of a particular event, as for some tournaments the shorter time control can be more suitable, while for other tournaments the longer one."

After many discussions with players, organisers, arbiters, and officials, the ACP has come up with the following proposal:

Section I: Digital clocks

Short: 90 min for 40 moves 30 min for remaining moves 30 sec increment from move one
Long: 90 min for 40 moves 50 min for 20 moves, 15 min for rest 30 sec increment from move one
20 minutes for all moves with an increment of 10 seconds per move from move one
3 minutes for all moves with an increment of 2 seconds per move, starting from move one

The ACP advocates using the above mentioned time controls in all official FIDE tournaments, as well as in all FIDE-rated tournaments. Both the "shorter" and "longer" time controls for classical chess would be equally possible. Tournaments, in which different time controls are used should not be calculated for rating and title purposes, starting from the 1st of July 2008.

Section II: Mechanical clocks – Transition period

For tournaments that are still played with mechanical clocks the ACP proposes the following time controls:

Short: 120 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for remaining moves
Long: 120 minutes for 40 moves, then 60 minutes for 20 moves, then 30 minutes for remaining moves
30 minutes for all moves
5 minutes for all moves

The above mentioned time controls for mechanical clocks can be used in FIDE-rated tournaments, however no longer than untill the 30th of June 2010. After that date, no international title norms (WIM, WGM, IM, GM) should be achievable in such tournaments, although the tournaments would stll be counted for rating purposes.

Section III: Official FIDE events

Taking into consideration results of official meetings between the ACP and FIDE, the ACP proposes to use:

  • the shorter time control (90'/40+G-30')+30" in Olympiads, World Cup 2007
  • the longer time control (100'/40+50'/20+G-15')+30" in World Championship Matches, Challengers Matches, FIDE Masters Cup

The ACP plans to conduct the official poll among all participants of the World Cup 2007, in order to establish whether they prefer the shorter or the longer time control to be used in World Cups and Continental Championships. The time control for future World Cups and Continental Championships should be set accordingly to the results of the poll.


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