Talk:Game clock

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Reference to LEDs[edit]

LED's contain significant amounts of power ... this seems inaccurate. LEDs are quite efficient wrt to power.

Both statements can be true. LEDs are efficient in the sense of converting DC power to light. But they always draw DC current. As a digital display, LCDs consume significantly less power. In fact, if you are not changing the display, an LCD draws virtually zero DC current. As empirical evidence of this difference, notice that nobody makes LED wristwatches any more. They are all LCD now. LED watches consumed too much power and ran down the batteries too quickly. --Wiredknight 06:33, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

I believe the text about the Fischer clock is inaccurate, but I don't have a source to prove it. As I remember, Fischer's patent was not for adding time to each player's store of time on each move. A player could not end a move with more time than before the move, because Fischer didn't want the players to have any incentive to move excessively quickly. Thus if the time control allowed the players 30 seconds per move, their clocks would simply not move for the first thirty seconds of thinking time, and only begin to tick down after that. Moving in 1 second or moving in 29 seconds would have exactly the same effect, i.e. no change in one's clock, so one might as well take 29 seconds.

Peace, --Fritzlein 19:00, 17 Jul 2004 (UTC)

You are mistaken: see the patent itself at [1]. The part that makes it clearest, I think, is about half way down:
As an example of the present method, one may select an initial time period of 62 minutes (60 minutes plus the first two minutes which is credited prior to the first move) for each player. Each player's clock is preset to give a 62-minute time period for the entire game. Then, a time interval such as 2 minutes is selected. Assuming that the first player takes 10 seconds for his first move, he will have 61 minutes and 50 seconds remaining from his initial 62-minute time period. Upon completion of his first move, the preselected 2-minute interval will be added to the first player's time, thus giving him a total of 63 minutes and 50 seconds remaining on his clock. The same procedure is repeated for the second player and then the first player makes his second move. Assuming that the first player's second move takes 45 seconds, his clock will have 63 minutes and 5 seconds remaining. Again, upon completion of his second move, the 2-minute interval will be added to the first player's time to give him 65 minutes and 5 seconds for the remainder of the game.
I have seen what you're talking about--where the added time is not accumulated from one move to the next, but rahter acts as a sort of delay--described as the "Botvinnik" system, though I've never seen anything definite about Botvinnik proposing it. --Camembert

Merge Digital chess clock into Game clock?[edit]

Yes, definitely. The existing Digital chess clock, while worth keeping, is completely out of place when the more mainstream issues of digital clocks (especially the Fischer clock) are already in the Game clock article. So I propose that the current text of Digital chess clock should becomes a section in Game clock called something like "Early digital game clocks". And Digital chess clock should become a redirect to Game clock. Rocksong 03:45, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I'd support the merge as that content is not big enough to merit an article of its own, particularly because it also talks about analog clocks and variations, which should be here rather than there. However, if the section of this article does become informative enough for a new article (which I think is plausible), we should recreate. Fetofs Hello! 12:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

OK, I've finally merged things. I re-ordered the paragraphs and added sections, but review by another editor would be helpful.--Chaser T 19:37, 17 June 2006 (UTC)

Five Minute Clocks[edit]

In the late 1970s, and through the 1980s, there were chess clocks whose dials were circular, but whose minute hands would make a complete revolution of 360 degrees in five minutes; the second hands, if there were any, were nothing more than little sprockets that rotated quickly at the top of the dial. As I remember, these were invariably imported from Germany. The last time I bought one, was sometime around 1989, and it cost me upwards of $100 US dollars.

Did they get driven out of business with the advent of the digital chess clocks?

Fischer clock behaviour[edit]

These two statements seem to be contradictory: "Fischer's digital clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small amount after each move" "Fischer delay - when it becomes a player's turn to move, the delay is added to the player's remaining time"

According to the patent it appears the first statement is correct, i.e. time is added to the white clock before the game and after each white move. The second statement makes it sounds like white time is added on the completion of a black move. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 163.189.217.40 (talk) 00:19, 4 September 2007 (UTC)

Histoy of the digital chess clock[edit]

I write the following letter in 1997 to clarify some historical facts about my role in the development of the digital chess clock. These facts have not changed. _________________________________________________________________ In the 1950’s and ‘60’s I was a very active chess player. I used to play at least 40 hours per week, was the captain of our strong college chess team and played in quite a few tournaments. Although I was not a particularly strong player, I sure spent a lot of my youth enjoying the game.

I am now in my fifties, and my interest in chess has subsided. However, I do want to claim my rightful place in chess history as the inventor and first commercial vendor of the digital chess clock.

In 1966 I retired from chess and committed my time to a professional career. However, in 1973 I was invited by a neighbor to play in a local tournament in the San Diego (California) area. At that tournament I noticed that every one of the players was still using a mechanical chess clock – of a design patented in about the year 1900. Since I was at the time involved in electronics, I decided to investigate the possibility of commercializing a digital version of this device. More – I decided to concurrently dramatically advance the method of time keeping in chess.

For the next eight years I focused nearly all my “free” time on this endeavor. In 1975 (together with my electrical engineer Jeff Ponsor – who has passed away about ten years ago) I filed for and received the first patent (Number 4,062,180) on a fully operational (microprocessor based) digital chess clock. An additional patent (USA & European) for a more advanced version with many additional features was awarded in 1981 (4,247,925).

My chess clock concept resulted from years of conceptualization and testing and thousands of hours of work. I even published my MBA thesis on this subject – “Demand Analysis for a New Product (Digital Chess Clock)” - at San Diego State University, 1978. For this thesis I interviewed and surveyed thousands of chess players from all over the world, and every chess association and identified chess club worldwide.

I actually designed and built two versions of the clock – the Micromate-80 (based on the original patent), and the Micromate-180, which incorporated the latest innovations. Only one unit of the Micromate-80 was ever built. This unit was extensively tested in tournament play for over a year and resulted in the development and commercialization of the Micromate-180. The Micromate-180 was truly revolutionary and clearly ahead of its time. It featured a rich repertoire of options for timing the game of chess including for example, the ability to set a fixed time per move, then add the unused time for each move to the player’s total time remaining. This feature, which I called “Accumulation”, became the linchpin of Bobby Fischer’s chess clock that was patented almost ten years later.

Some of the innovations claimed for and incorporated in the Micromate were:

• Down counting clocks showing the time remaining to each player. Interestingly, Ed Edmondson who headed the USCF at the time, strongly objected to this concept on historic grounds. So much so that for more than a year he refused to allow me to advertise the Micromate in Chess Life. Eventually he relented, and the Micromate was promoted with full-page adverts. In 1980 I donated one of the Micromate-180 units and a copy of my thesis to the USCF’s museum.

• Extremely accurate, the Micromate depicted time to the nearest second. The merit of this capability was first demonstrated at the Lone Pine tournament in 1979, where a grandmaster game was decide with just about one second left on the clock! This Lone Pine tournament was the first international event in which the Micromate-180 was used to time an officially sanctioned game (Formanek vs. Chandler), and was used by the contemporary challenger, Viktor Korchnoi (photos available).

• The clock was fully programmable by the user. A large variety of game types and time permutations were possible.

• Time lost to an illegal move was recoverable, even to several moves back, since the clock recorded the time for all moves.

More comprehensive information, including a user manual, is available.

In 1981, after selling about 200 units (at about $200/unit) and when it became clear that the Micromate-180 would never be a commercial success, I pulled the product off the market. Reality confirmed my thesis’ conclusions and I could no longer afford to support the substantial cost of this project.

My current interest is simply to preserve my place in chess history as the inventor and first commercial producer of the digital chess clock and of the many innovative features that it pioneered. I am sure that in time most or all of these innovations will become commonplace.

Sincerely,


Joseph Meshi —Preceding unsigned comment added by Joemeshi (talkcontribs) 01:48, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Earlier Yet?[edit]

Some early chess competitions used sand glasses to enforce time limits on moves. I don't know any details. One can imagine that two such tubes could be set in a holder at right angles to one another, so that one would stop as the other ran. WHPratt (talk) 16:17, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Final Delay / Gong[edit]

This article doesn't mention the final delay: the players have a limited amount of time to play one move (for exemple 10 seconds/move) either for the whole game or for the final part of the game. Someone should write about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.224.110.217 (talk) 14:42, 29 October 2010 (UTC)

The Flag[edit]

It's only of historical interest now, but it might be nice to include something about how the "flag" operated on an analog chess clock, perhaps with photographs.
As it approached the "12" marker, the minute hand would at one point engage the "flag" item (a short bar which was secured on a single pivot) and slowly push it up, higher and higher as time went on. When the minute hand touched the "12," it would be clear of the flag item, and the flag would drop back to vertical.
On some clocks there was an expanded scale that marked off a few minutes, using the flag as an auxiliary clock hand.
I hate to think of someone reading of a classic game in which So-and-So's flag fell, and picturing some checkered cloth coming down as if in a race. WHPratt (talk) 13:46, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Why are clocks set to 4 PM?[edit]

The only chess tournaments I'd ever had any experience with, required you to set the check clock to 4 PM at the very start of the game. What is the rationale for that? The time control was usually 40 moves in 2 hours, but sometimes it was 45 in 2. So far as I can remember (as it has been over 20 years since I have gone to a tournament), this resulted in a way of telling how late somebody was before forfeiting on time. In other words, the player with the black pieces, would have the chess set completely set up on the first game of the first round of the tournament, and the clock would be ticking away. This has special significance for people who don't go to sleep at the tournament site, but actually faced an hour's worth of commuting before arriving at the tournament site. I usually went to sleep in my own house, upwards of an hour's worth of driving, before arriving at the tournament site.

Can anybody explain why chess clocks - the ones with dials - were always set to 4 PM? Did tournaments with different time controls expect people to set their clocks to some other time?

The main page of this article would be improved greatly if there were a reference to the time that the chess clock should be set, before starting the timere? In the early 1800s - about two hundred years ago - people didn't have chess clocks. They probably used hourglasses that were full of sand, and that was to keep any one player from spending more than an hour on a single move. Even still, when a chessplayer took two hours to make a single move, this was unusual enough to merit comment (by the spectators, who were apparently keeping score). For instance, the match between McDonnell and de la Bourdonnais was said to be a real test of endurance:

Every game was a minor marathon. Some went on all night (though the conditions of one nineteenth-century match stipulated that the play should be adjourned at four o'clock in the morning). There were no time-limits in those days: instances are recorded where players occupied two hours in the consideration of a single move. This exasperated the best players who were aware that no amount of taking thought could repair a deficiency of natural talent. "Sir," the great Buckle once burst out: "the slowness of genius is hard to bear, but the slowness of mediocrity is insufferable." British Chess, (1948) Kenneth Matthews, Ed. W. J. Turner, printed by Clarke & Sherwell LTD., pp 30-31.

If this rule is observed by FIDE, maybe a reference to it could be mentioned in the main page of this article? 216.99.198.191 (talk) 18:51, 28 June 2013 (UTC)216.99.198.191 (talk) 19:01, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm guessing that, if you had a two-hour time control and set the clocks to ten p.m. (i.e., two hours short of midnight) then, as the clock got near 12:00, it might be difficult to follow the progress of the minute hand with the hour hand right behind it. Using some other hour marker as the zero-hour might be preferable, and counting up to 6:00 has the hour hand about as far away from 12:00 as it can get. WHPratt (talk) 19:03, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
Is this practice still in place? Does FIDE take a position on the initial time that a digital chess clock must be set to? 216.99.198.191 (talk) 19:18, 28 June 2013 (UTC)
I assumed that analogue clocks were being discussed here. Time-of-day shouldn't be an issue with digital clocks, as these count down to (or up from) zero. However, the old-style clocks had a 12-hour clock face, just like a common timepiece, so the hour hand had to point someplace, although it might be arbitrary. WHPratt (talk) 20:47, 29 June 2013 (UTC)