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According to the answer to this question we know that currently it is 100 minutes for 40 moves followed by an additional 50 minutes for 20 moves then an extra 15 minutes to finish the game with a 30 second increment from move 1 which works out at 3 minutes a move for the first 60 moves.

I remember from 20 years ago in the early days of digital clocks it was very similar. The one difference being that the players got 10 minutes to finish the game according to Bill Goichberg of the USCF.

Back in the day of analog clocks, when Fischer beat Spassky for the world title it was 40 moves in 150 minutes (no increment) plus 60 minutes for each 16 moves after that until the game was decided with adjournment with a sealed move after 5 hours play. So players were getting 3 minutes 45 seconds per move.

Back in Paul Morphy's day there were no time controls for world championship matches.

Can anyone fill in the gaps and identify when the time controls changed and to what?

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  • Are you asking about the time controls agreed on by the players of matches regarded as WCh matches prior to ... 1900? or pre-FIDE control of WCh (what about WWCh?), or are you asking about some kind of general idea that 'these time controls should be in rule for WCh matches'.
    – user24765
    Nov 12 '20 at 6:51
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I have spent far too much time on this as is, but here we go. Time control phase X/Y means X moves in Y minutes for each player, + means increment per moves (in seconds).

Steinitz's era

An idiosyncratic era with matches decided by direct negotiations.

  • 1886: Steinitz-Zukertort, FT10 wins with 8-8 or 9-9 declared as draw
    • 30/120 then 15/60
  • 1889: Steinitz-Chigorin,?
  • 1890: Steinitz-Gunsberg, FT10 wins with 8-8 or 9-9 declared as draw
    • 26/210 then 15/60
  • 1892: Steinitz-Chigorin, ?

Lasker's era

The time control for all of these is 15/60, except Lasker-Marshall 1907 and Lasker-Janowski 1910 which I couldn't find.

  • 1894: Steinitz-Lasker, FT10 wins
  • 1896: Lasker-Steinitz, FT10 wins
  • 1907: Lasker-Marshall, FT8 wins
  • 1908: Lasker-Tarrasch, FT8 wins
  • 1910: Lasker-Schlechter, BO10
  • 1910: Lasker-Janowski, FT8 wins
  • 1921: Lasker-Capablanca, FT8 wins

Alekhine's era

Capablanca's "London Rules", subsequently adopted by Alekhine, made this fairly regular. Formats is first to 6 wins capped at 30 games, except the 1927 match which had no game limit. Time controls are 40/150.

  • 1927: Capablanca-Alekhine
  • 1929: Alekhine-Bogoljubov
  • 1934: Bogoljubov-Alekhine
  • 1935: Alekhine-Euwe
  • 1937: Euwe-Alekhine

FIDE 1948

After the death of Alekhine, a quintuple round-robin with five of the best players in the world (Botvinnik, Smyslov, Keres, Reshevsky, Euwe). Botvinnik won. Games were 40/150 followed by 16/60.

FIDE era I

FIDE's championships were generally of a standard format, notwithstanding player disputes, leg-swinging, yoghurts and gurus, return matches and off-the-board politics.

All matches from Botvinnik-Bronstein 1951 to Kasparov-Karpov 1990 were 40/150 followed by 16/60.

All were also BO24 (champion retains title if 12-12), except the cancelled Fischer-Karpov 1975 (that was a point of contention in the negotiations), Karpov-Korchnoi 1978 and 1981, and the aborted Karpov-Kasparov 1984, which were all first to 6 wins.

A mess

Welcome to the era of FIDE and PCA and general chaos.

Direct matches (PCA/BrainGames/whatever really)

  • 1993: Kasparov-Short, BO24, champion retains if 12-12
    • 40/120 then 20/60 then adjournment
  • 1995: Kasparov-Anand, BO20, champion retains if 10-10
    • 40/120 then 20/60 then G/30
  • 2000: Kasparov-Kramnik, BO16, champion retains if 8-8
    • ? There is a time control at 40 moves but I can't find the details.
  • 2004: Kramnik-Leko, BO14, champion retains if 7-7
    • ?

Direct matches (FIDE)

  • 1993: Karpov-Timman, BO24, tiebreaks if 12-12
    • 40/150 then 16/60
    • Tiebreaks four sets of two games at 40/60 then 20/15
  • 1996: Karpov-Kamsky, BO20, tiebreaks if 10-10
    • 40/120 then 16/60 then adjournment
  • 1998: Karpov-Anand, BO6, tiebreaks if 3-3
    • I can't find the details.

Knockout (FIDE)

Because FIDE had the brilliant idea to create a knockout format and further annoy the champions and challengers.

  • 1999 (Khalifman), 2000 (Anand)
    • 40/100 then 20/50 then G10+30
    • Tiebreaks G25+10 rapid, G15+10 blitz, Armageddon G5 vs G4 (+10 second increment?)
  • 2002 (Ponomariov), 2004 (Kasimdzhanov)
    • 40/75 then G15+30 (in 2004, 40/90 then G15+30)
    • Tiebreaks G20+10 rapid, G5+10 blitz (?), Armageddon G6 v G5

FIDE era 2

The reunification of the championship begins with an 8-player double round-robin in 2005.

  • 2005 (Topalov)
    • 40/120 then 20/60 then G15+30

Sanity ensues when Topalov wins in 2006, and from there everything becomes much nicer.

  • 2006 to 2014: BO12, tiebreaks if 6-6
    • 40/120 then 20/60 then G15+30
    • Tiebreaks 1 set of 4 games of G25+10, then 5 sets of 2 games of G5+3, then Armageddon G4 v G5 with +3 seconds increment from move 61 and above.

In 2016 the classical time control was tweaked slightly, but format and tiebreaks remained the same.

  • 2016 and 2018: BO12, tiebreaks if 6-6
    • 40/100+30 then 20/50+30 then G15+30
    • Tiebreaks see 2006-2014.

Sources

Wikipedia, chessgames.com, Edward Winter's history pages, Mark Week's WCC pages, 2005 FIDE regulations (Wayback Machine, .doc file), FIDE regulations (.pdf files) (2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018, and a bunch of books and other pages I am not fully remembering now.)

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  • Thank you for an outstanding answer!
    – Brian Towers
    Mar 10 at 11:51

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