When only one player is left in a simul, does he have to move at once or does he have 5 seconds per move?

3 Answers 3


The idea that there is a 5 second limit on thinking time in a simul is just nonsense. Early in the simul when the ordinary players have plenty of time while the simul giver is going round all the other players the player is expected to have his move ready and play immediately the simul giver arrives at the board.

That said, it is not unheard of for a player to "pass" or request a pass. Usually, in a well organized simul, there will be rules saying whether passes are allowed and if so how many (usually only one or two).

The simul giver is also not required to move immediately, particularly when it comes down to just 2 or 3 players. Believe it or not, he is often thinking about tricky positions in other games while he is making moves in the more routine positions and he is also affected by the cut down in numbers and the reduced thinking times.

Back in 1972 when I faced the late Viktor Korchnoi in a simul he rocked back and thought for a minute or two over one of my moves in the opening. He later accepted a draw which probably tells me a better player than me would have won my position ;-).

  • He accepted a draw? You mean you offered a draw to Korchnoi? Is that allowed by the rules of chess etiquette?
    – bof
    Nov 6, 2016 at 23:55
  • @bof Of course it is allowed. It is one of the most common ways for a game to end.
    – Brian Towers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 0:52
  • Of course draw by agreement is "one of the most common ways for a game to end." The obvious point of my question was the etiquette of an ordinary player offering a draw to a grandmaster, or a player taking a board in a simul to the player giving the simul. I always thought it was bad form to offer a draw to a much stronger player.
    – bof
    Nov 7, 2016 at 4:31
  • 1
    @bof Who you are playing is irrelevant. It is bad etiquette to offer a draw when you are losing or to repeatedly offer draws. In a losing position a grandmaster will be only too happy for you to offer him a draw. Etiquette notwithstanding there was one other draw in the Korchnoi simul when Korchnoi offered a draw in a lost position to the last player. The player accepted and then his friends immediately showed him how he should have won :-)
    – Brian Towers
    Nov 7, 2016 at 10:48

I played in an untimed simul against Bent Larsen in 1972. We had to have our move ready when he got to our board (out of some 20+ boards), with the option of one or two passes if necessary. I assume this could be decided upon differently in advance though by the exhibitor. Ultimately I was the last player left. I was probably the highest rated player of his opponents, although only Class A. At that point he sat down across from me and we continued at a relatively slow rate as I would have done in a normal non-timed game, taking perhaps two or three minutes per move. Naturally I lost, but at no point then did I feel rushed to make a move.


It is up to the organizer to decide on the rules, so anything is possible. A lot will depend on the level of players vs level of the exhibitor, so it is difficult to generalize. Most often simul exhibitions are fun events and rules are rather relaxed and participants cooperative.

In a typical simul players are expected to make their move promptly (e.g. within 5 seconds) when the exhibitors arrives at their board. If only few players are left it can make sense to give the players some extra time to think. For instance in this simul:

As there are no clocks, the opponents should make their moves in a reasonable time when few boards are active.

If necessary this could be enforced with a clock.

There are other ways to avoid this problem of few players and time:

  • clock simul, where players and exhibitor get a certain amount of time
  • open ended simul, where when a game finishes a new game is started, so the number of players is always the same
  • In the second option, what happens when it's 3 in the morning, the master is tired, and no more players can be found to start a new game? Clearly, the second option delays the problem but doesn't solve it.
    – jaxter
    Nov 6, 2016 at 20:50
  • You could say that the whole simul event takes x hours and any games which are not completed at that time are just stopped/ignored/canceled. The time "x" should probably be chosen such that any board plays at least one game. I know you could argue that this could be difficult if one game last 999 moves, but most games don't. If you have two or more masters alternating x could be large to include even very long games. Nov 6, 2016 at 20:57

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