We are trying to organize chess event but the restaurants and coffee shops we asked complain that the sound made by pressing the chess clocks might disturb people.

We could organize the event in a chess club, but coffee shops are better since you can order stuff and have some fun.

We're not going to buy clocks, We're going to borrow whatever chess clubs have for this event. Is it possible to solve this issue?

  • There are chess clocks apps for mobile phones, maybe that's an option? Also, moving pieces makes a comparable amount of noise to digital clocks.
    – Glorfindel
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:30
  • @Glorfindel true and it's an option too but clocks are more practical
    – Lynob
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:45
  • 2
    It's not the clocks' problem but people need to stop being too excited. You should educate the club players.
    – SmallChess
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:59
  • 3
    Somehow I can't imagine sitting in an old coffee house, playing chess, drinking tea, maybe smoking some cigarettes and... using smartphone app as timer. I wouldn't hurt chess this way. It is good solution for a swimming pool, but in coffee house I would refuse to play like that.
    – hoacin
    Jul 19, 2017 at 14:45
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    Maybe I didn't write it clearly what I meant. Chess, coffee house, drinking and cigarettes fit well together, but using smartphone as clock under such old style circumstances, sounds bad to me. I would throw the phone away, prefering no clocks at all. I think there is high enough percentage of people feeling this way. Always having real clocks in coffee house, even if everyone has smartphone. Older generation can feel uncomfortable with this innovation.
    – hoacin
    Jul 19, 2017 at 15:05

5 Answers 5


We are trying to organize chess event but the restaurants and coffee shops we asked complain that the sound made by pressing the chess clocks might disturb people.

I believe that your problem is the attitude of the owners rather than any equipment. I would speak with the owner or staff and explain that the sound made isn't loud at all, certainly when compared to the sounds of people talking.

From industrialnoisecontrol.com, 60 decibels is the volume for:

Conversation in restaurant, office, background music, Air conditioning unit at 100 feet.

Whereas the clocks may be at something like 20 decibels:

Whisper, rustling leaves

  • I think you're thinking of the sound of the clocks ticking, rather than the sound of people hitting the buttons (and possibly rattling the clock and/or the table when they do so). Jul 19, 2017 at 17:50
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    If it is a long time control game, then hitting the clock button is tolerable. But in blitz games, the clock button pressing can be quite disturbing as it is too frequent and many people doing at the same time.
    – Keshav
    Jul 20, 2017 at 5:07

I direct a chess club in a library where many of our members play quick chess. They press the clocks softly, and there is no noise. If one is slamming the timer, then yes, I agree, that could be disturbing. But just let everyone know that that's unacceptable, and that should solve the problem. Also I think there might be a misunderstanding on the shop owners' part. If you demonstrate to them that the clocks can be used quietly, they shouldn't object. Also, some of our players use the timers on their phones, which are absolutely silent. Maybe the owners are just using the sound issue as an excuse for some other reason that they don't want you there


There are some nice apps. For example you can use the "lichess" app. Just silent your phone and have fun. I have never used real chess timers.


I think the easiest solution to the problem is to use a digital clock with capacitive touch sensitive buttons (such as the ZMart clocks, or the Chronos clocks that include the touch sensitive buttons), so there is no mechanical switch to make any noise. I personally don't care for such clocks (with no physical switch I'm often not quite sure I've pressed the button), but they are absolutely silent.


I think the ruckus of players moving pieces and (talking) would be louder than the clocks beeping.

It is literally not an issue, and the idea of being irritated by little sounds is a new modern liberal agenda. It is bull. Almost nobody is naturally irritated unless they have a respectable genetic condition. They just pretend.

There is no issue to solve, just take a clock and demonstrate it to the owner; demonstrate that it wouldn't bother anybody. Another guy said it well; the clock sounds are at 20 decibels while the talking is at 60 decibels. Also only half (or less) will have sounds, right?

If you really need to, most clocks should have a function where you can turn the sound off.

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