The New FIDE Time Control: Better, Worse, Or Double-Edged?

We have a lot of interesting rules that can confuse people in Chess; the beginning rules or things that a lot of people find unusual when first learning about Chess would be things like En Passant and Castling.  Then we start getting into the tournament rules, starting with the Touch Move, Touch Take, and adjusting.  After learning the basic tournament rules we are pretty much set until they start throwing things at you like how tie breaks and/or the pairing system works.  However, once we get those down, we are on our way and pretty much good…let’s play in a tournament or two!  We might have an argument here every once in a while, might have to think about a draw regulation every tournament or so, but in general we are good and what we don’t know we pick up on our way.  And then they go and change our time control….

When I first started playing more nationally, the time-control was 2 hours for the first 40 moves and then after (if you made 40 moves) you got an extra 1 hour added to the 2 hours.  That was pretty much the standard time control from what I had seen.   It would vary a little bit, but that seemed regular for a tournament to have that time control. 

Last year I played in the Copper State International and experienced for the first time a G/90 (Game in 90 minutes) with a 30 second increment and after 40 moves you got an additional 30 minutes. 

Ever since then it has seemed like that time-control has grow more popular and has now even become the official FIDE time control.  And, of course, I find myself looking at the pros and cons of this time-control as it will obviously affect a lot of my future tournaments.

I feel like this time-control seems to have hurt the quality of play in the chess games.  Maybe not a ton, but because players have less time to think they make more mistakes and even if they do well through the opening and middle game, they might find themselves scrambling with the pressure of running out of time and either flag or make a mistake in time trouble and lose.  I remember talking to one chess player during a tournament and he said something like, “I finally make time control and feel like I can finally stop and think for awhile and then I am in time pressure again because you only get 30 minutes with the second time control.”  I have found this to be common with the less experienced players where they might be taking more time and getting low on time more often.  By less experienced I don’t mean low rated.  I have seen several of the very strong junior players (myself included) who sometimes struggle with the shorter time control because they are not as experienced in say lots of different openings and have to take more time with an opening they are not familiar with.  Of course there still are games where there is no time pressure or no mistake because of time pressure, but every tournament game will be decided because of time management beforehand and even more so with this time cut.  Overall it looks like cons are:  

1.       It hurts the quality of the games.

2.       It can be very frustrating as a player to mess up a win because of time, I have messed up a few and find it very aggravating knowing “I was winning.”

But the biggest things I find as pros are:

1.       It makes Chess more exciting for the spectators, as they don’t have to wait as long and that can lead to some exciting play when two players are in time trouble.  This makes Chess better for marketing and much more fun to watch live commentaries (like live TV J).

2.       The rounds go quicker.  This is very helpful for the players because they can relax a little bit more and won’t be as tired if they play a long game.  One tournament, using the old time control (not the G/90 with a 30 second increment and an extra 30 min after 40 moves),  I had two games in one day which ended up totaling 12 hours and 30 minutes of game play, and the next day I was quite tired (to say the least).  This won’t happen with the new time-control as the longest games go about 5 hours.  This puts a little question into affecting the quality of Chess because if players aren’t as tired they tend to play better.   Also rounds going faster makes tournaments possible to go faster, so you don’t have to spend as much money or time going to some of these tournaments.  Especially the norm tournaments which are often one game a day so that makes it a long 9-10 day tournament can be shortened to two games a day.

Overall, thinking about it, I think this could help the future of Chess, but will probably lower the quality of some of the games.  It also may be tougher for some of the young, stronger players to get norms.  And the bottom line for me…I better learn to start thinking faster!!!

Thanks for reading my opinion!  Now I would be love to hear your opinion on the new time-control and how it will affect the future of Chess! J

I can’t end there because I have a few puzzles for youJ:





  • 3 years ago

    NM nathanhoover

    I like the 30 second increment, but I wish FIDE would have adapted 40 moves in 100 minutes with 30 second increment, then add 25 minutes continuing the 30 second increment.  This allows 2 hours for the first 40 moves, and 1/2 hour for the next 10 moves.  This means we get 3 minutes per move average all the way up to move 50, and most games will still finish in 5 hours or less.

  • 5 years ago

    IM DanielRensch

    I like FIDE's new time control personally...

  • 5 years ago


    Hi Kayden,

    Since you mention how less experienced players need to spend more time on opening moves, I wonder, what is your opinion of Chess 960? Do you think it is a fair and intersting way to avoid long, memorized opening lines?

  • 5 years ago


    that last puzzle was crazy the first move just had me stuck!!

  • 5 years ago


    It seems that classical time controls have been able to offer a lot of scope for high-quality play, yet you can usually finish it in one sitting without sleeping.

    Obviously, you have to draw the line somewhere, but my philosophy is that we should focus more on the players than the spectators: do what the players want (and I think they would prefer more time for the serious events). Until they start making Fischer-like requests!

  • 5 years ago


    Arguments for and against longer or shorter time controls all boil down to this....if you want 'better quality games', then go for longer time controls (duh) and then the argument becomes a matter of how long?  And after you make them longer, you can ask again--if you want better quality games, make the time controls even longer.  And even longer, and even longer. 

    And if you want games exciting to spectators, well, it depends on the spectator.  Some spectators like longer games, some like 3 0 blitz.  

    For the best quality games, just watch Rybka play itself, and give Rybka about 2 months per move.  Have fun.

  • 5 years ago


    in solving puzzle players can always solve it because we can try all the moves available but be sure you one can remember it if situation arises

  • 5 years ago


    it is just chess players have to think faster but accurate

  • 5 years ago


    First two puzzles were easy, but with 3-rd I found only 1-st move:) interesting!

  • 5 years ago


    If you compare two time controls you'll find that they don't differ much. In the old you got 120 minutes for 40 moves, and in G/90 you have 90 + 40 x 0.5 = 110 minutes for same 40 moves, which is almost as much as you had before. After first time control you have to make 50 moves in 35 minutes, 60 in 40, . . . 100 moves in 1 hour. Everything over 100 moves you have more time than you had with old time control. So, while new control makes you play a little bit faster, it is not crucial except for people who used to get in time trouble with old control, and they would  be in zeitnot no matter what time control we use.

    I suppose that new time control would simply make people study endings more, so they don't spend so much of pressious time when they get to that stage of the game.

  • 5 years ago


    That last puzzle was amazing... most of blacks pieces were pined... or stuck...

    Black's knight can't move because all potential spaces are already occupied.
    1 of black's Rooks is cornered.. and the other one is pinned. Black's bishiop also can't move... And all of Black's pawns (except on the A-file) are stuck...

    White just had to set up the attack in the fewest moves possible...
  • 5 years ago


    Why don't you suggest better legal moves for black if you think there's something better? :P

  • 5 years ago


    the last one is wierd. black plays bad d

  • 5 years ago


    At my level ~1800 USCF, I find that most people don't use all the time regardless of the time control, and I don't find that the people that do use all their time play any better than the rest of us. In fact, I believe I heard a Master complain about the longer time controls cause it means that slower players can waste more of everyone's time.

    I don't think that the new time controls of 2 1/2 hours per person (for a 60 move game) will really affect quality of play that much. I think it is more that players are used to taking their time even when they don't need to. Often I will take 3-4 minutes on a forced move just because I am looking at something further down the road, or my opponent will wander away from the board for 5-10-15 minutes to eat/go to the bathroom/etc. So the extra 30 minutes of the longer time controls often gets squandered anyway.

    I would be interested to see if you could look through the statistics of any of the titled players in this thread, and see if in the faster time controls they actually do lose more / draw more won games, or if its just a perception they have that they do.

  • 5 years ago


    I prefer long controls because it allows the "truth" of the position to flow. If I am winning I can control the game. Far too often in fast controls I lose a won game because I have such limited control.

  • 5 years ago


    In Australia we often used 90min+30sec/move + 30min after 40moves as we try to fit in 2 rounds a day. (Something I dont think is very common elsewhere).

    There are some tournaments that are only 90min +30sec (with no additional time) where there are 3 rd's a day. That is endurance chess. :)

  • 5 years ago


    I got stuck at Bc3 on the last one until I realized black had few legal moves. O_O

  • 5 years ago

    GM KaydenTroff

    The first puzzle was composed by me, it is somewhat similar to my game against Finegold in the Spice Cup.

    The other two I don't know.  They are positions I have seen at one point and either checked with a computer or just enjoyed and I saved in chessbase.

    And I agree Chess isn't about spectators, but more sponserships and future development to fund these good strong tournaments.

  • 5 years ago


    Chess shouldn't become about the spectators. I would like longer time controls.

    Who are the composers of those puzzles (particularly the last one)?

  • 5 years ago

    NM flashboy2222


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