I am developing a computer based game. I am aware some of different official timer expiration rules. But I want to make the following simple rule when the timer expired.

  1. After player one has made a move.
  2. Player two has 5 minutes (or whatever time agreed upon).
  3. If player two has not made a move when time expired, player two lost turn.
  4. It is now player one's turn to move, etc.

Does this sound playable?


Well that depends, if your talking about a game as in chess then no. If your opponent is in zugzwang he may deliberately allow his time to expire so that his opponent may move and likewise the opponent would let their time expire to put his opponent back in zugzwang. Basically the game would go on and on... With no one making any moves. However if you are talking about another computer based game, you must make sure that zugzwang does not exist, then this system of time control would work.( zugzwang is when any move you make only worsens your position.


It sounds fun, especially for lower time control (like 30 seconds), but it will not really be chess, since this way all the Zugzwang positions lose sense, and in the mutual Zugzwang positions actually it's not obvious how the game will end (neither side will move, so after a while the game should force draw or something).


An essential feature of chess is that players are not allowed to "pass". Expiration of a time clock should not affect that.

I would suggest instead that if at any time White notices that Black's clock has fallen and White's clock has not (apply similar rules for the reverse situation), White may punch Black's clock (if White's clock isn't already running) and move for Black, then make his own response, and reset Black's clock to have a some small amount of time left. The ability to compel a Black to make even one a deliberately bad move would usually be a winning advantage, but if Black is otherwise in a vastly better position, Black might prevail even after the penalty is assessed. If at any time both flags are down, the game will be drawn. Further, if Black's flag is down and White wants a draw, White may claim one without having to wait for Black to move and then for his own flag to fall.

The present clock rules would be essentially equivalent to the above but with a zero-second reset (so Black's flag would remain fallen after each take-over move by White). The one difference is that White is awarded a win if there is any sequence of legal moves by which Black could be checkmated, whether or not any sequence of moves checkmating Black could legally be carried out without the game being drawn because of a move limit or (much more rarely) a repeated position.

In case the present board position would not offer White any particular useful opportunities for a take-over move, White might have the further option of setting Black's clock to a small amount of time and asking Black to move immediately. If Black does so, White would retain the ability to make a later move for Black at a time of his choosing; if Black fails to do so, White could force Black's present move and a later one. The only time White could "store up" the ability to make two moves for Black would be on a turn where Black had been told to hurry up and failed to do so. If this rule exists, it would likely rarely need to be carried out (beyond White asking Black to hurry up) but in its absence situations could arise where e.g. Black's flag is down but there are no legal bad moves for Black. In such cases, Black should not be able to force White to spend his take-over move by simply sitting on his hands until White does so.

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