The Wikipedia page about Chess Time Control describes for example:

... 90 minutes for the first 40 moves ...

A move in chess is defined as both White and Black side doing their separate move, so if the 90 minutes are per side, then the Wikipedia description appears to be misleading.

This applies also to the World Chess Championship 2018.

Are these 90 minutes per side, or total ?

  • I don't see what's misleading about it. White makes 40 moves. Black makes 40 moves. Each of those actions must be performed using less than 90 minutes. It would be rather silly for the time control to be total. In that case, white could spend 89:59 making their move, and black would have just one second to make theirs. Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 22:19
  • The part I found misleading is that a move in chess is defined as both White and Black side doing their separate moves, so a move is actually defined as two "half" moves by both White and Black side.
    – EquipDev
    Commented Dec 4, 2018 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


Time controls are always specified per side, so White has 90 minutes and Black has 90 minutes, for a total of 180 minutes (for the first 40 moves). See the FIDE handbook:

6.3.1 When using a chessclock, each player must complete a minimum number of moves or all moves in an allotted period of time including any additional amount of time with each move.

It says 'each player', not 'both players'. It's probably not worded more elaborately since it's 'common knowledge' among competitive chess players.

  • Thanks for clarifying, and also including a reference to the FIDE handbook.
    – EquipDev
    Commented Nov 27, 2018 at 9:10

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