I want to encourage more games to be played with "thinking" chess instead of "video game" chess like in lightning and blitz. When I play at super fast time controls, I tend to stop calculating at all and just push wood. So my chess thought process becomes very sloppy, which makes those fast time control games pretty much useless to me in terms of improving my level.

What if there was a clock mode where a minimum time was required to be spent by a player on a move like say 10 seconds and if this rule were violated then the game would be forfeited?

I know that time delay and increment already exist, but I find there is too much temptation to gain time on the clock and move quickly.

I guess what I want is to find a clock mode that doesn't tempt me to turn off my calculating brain but where the games finish reasonably quickly.

Any thoughts on this idea?

3 Answers 3


Perhaps this could be somewhat useful in practice games, but I don't see much point in having a minimum time control in real games. Some reasons (let's assume the minimum is 10 seconds but could be any number):

  • sometimes you are doing forced moves (or known opening moves) where having to wait 10 seconds would be annoying
  • conversely, there are situations where you have to think a lot longer than 10 seconds, so here the minimum time would not help at all
  • you might run into the problem that you end up trying to make moves just after 10 seconds (particularly in time trouble), with the added annoyance that you now also have to keep track of when 10 seconds have passed

Overall I think that you should rather try other methods like sitting on your hands, analyzing your games with respect to time spent on moves (and relation to blunders), etc. to improve your time management. An important factor in improving your chess is also to know when to spend more time and when you can make more or less automatic moves.

  • 1
    Well, what about the slight variation of the clock always registering at least 10 seconds used? Use it or loose it. Sep 13, 2017 at 11:18

The Bronstein delay is similar your suggestion. It is formally described in the following way:

6.3.2 The time saved by a player during one period is added to his time available for the next period, where applicable. In the time-delay mode both players receive an allotted ‘main thinking time’. Each player also receives a ‘fixed extra time’ with every move. The countdown of the main thinking time only commences after the fixed extra time has expired. Provided the player presses his clock before the expiration of the fixed extra time, the main thinking time does not change, irrespective of the proportion of the fixed extra time used.

(see the FIDE rules , approved in 2017)

The only difference between your suggestion and the Bronstein delay mode (called "time-delay mode"), lies in that playing before one's extra time expires simply leads to forfeiting the remaining extra time. This rule might correspond to your idea of a clock mode, which does not tempt players to "blitz out" their moves, but allows them to finish their games reasonably quickly.

Other sources of information about Bronstein clock include: ChessCom, Wikipedia.


Back in the day they had 10 second tournaments. Every ten seconds, a bell would ring, and you had to make your move during the bell sound. A second before or after meant an immediate loss. If this time control was popular enough to hold a tournament, I'm sure that your time control would be successful.

  • 1
    "A second before or after meant an immediate loss" This is nonsense. My club still has "lightning tournaments" as they are called and moving before the buzzer just means your opponent has more than 10 seconds to think about his move. It's also very difficult to move on the buzzer unless you have Usain Bolt's reaction time. Most moves are made after the buzzer but within a second or two. "I'm sure that your time control would be successful." I'm sure it wouldn't. It's dumb as a rock.
    – Brian Towers
    Sep 11, 2017 at 10:09
  • To be fair, they mostly used a gong in the past, which sounds for more than a few seconds. Enough time to make a move, even if you're not Usain Bolt.
    – Glorfindel
    Sep 12, 2017 at 11:18
  • @Glorfindel "To be fair, they mostly used a gong in the past" They most certainly did not. I first played this 45 years ago and a buzzer was used. worldchess.com/2016/12/25/a-brief-history-of-fast-chess notes that on the rest day of the 1904 British Championship they played and used a bell. The author notes that by the time he first played in 1960's somebody had invented a 10 second buzzer which was used. On the DGT 2010 option 33 is called "10 second gong" but makes a noise like a buzzer.
    – Brian Towers
    Sep 16, 2017 at 22:17

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