Do serious chess players ever play time-controls without increments?

Not necessarily limiting to GMs but let's say professionals or "amateur-professionals".

  • Hrm, hrm. For half of my life, I played without, even with adjournment (oh the major suckage). I prefer NO move bonus, since then I can troll my opponents with chaos until they blunder away their won position in time trouble. Fischer costed me at least 200 Elo ;-) Jan 20, 2023 at 9:05
  • @SecretAgentMan I don't understand the question? I'm not asking do they ever play <this specific time control>? I'm asking do they ever play with any time control that has no increment factor?
    – Brondahl
    Jan 20, 2023 at 14:23
  • Trivially, it is easy to find examples of professional players competing in speed chess competitions without increment. I was curious if there was a minimum time control that you were considering to avoid the trivial answers. That's all. Trying to help scope the question to help it get upvotes and good, useful answers. Jan 20, 2023 at 14:40
  • As far as I can say, they play without increments just only in "friendly match". But, I don't think any event has that kind of time control. Jan 20, 2023 at 15:42
  • 1
    @SecretAgentMan that would be a valid answer then :)
    – Brondahl
    Jan 20, 2023 at 16:27

4 Answers 4


Around here matches between the local counties (Chiltern League, UK) still have a guillotined time limit of 2 hours each for all moves. All other competitions I play in have increments; in fact I won't nowadays play in a competition unless it has an increment, Chiltern League excepted, though I can't actually remember when this was last an issue.

Whether you count me as "serious" is another matter ( 1932 ECF, play about 50 rated games a year), but in our last Chiltern League match there was an IM and two FMs playing, along with a few other 2100+ players.


The most recent tournament I played, the Grenke Open 2019, had a time control of 2 hours for 40 moves and 30 minutes for the rest of the game, no increment. Considering the number of 2600 players in that tournament, I would be inclined to answer yes.

Since then there hasn't been another Grenke Open, so that answer is a bit old but I doubt they would add increment. I think with a very large tournament and two rounds per day it might otherwise be difficult to schedule. (at least with the usual 30 seconds per move increment)


Classical Tournaments basically all have increment, or at least delay.


In the past it wasn't that easy to get a clock with increment per move, so non-increment games were the norm. The most similar thing you'd get is extra time controls (like 30 or 60 extra minutes after move 40).

Today almost all chess clock used in competition allow you to set time increment so the technichal limitation isn't there anymore.

Competitive non-increment games require extra rules and more arbiter intervention, so when given the option, organizers will usually choose to set an increment even in Blitz tournaments

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