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When discussing armageddon chess, I've seen the term "bidding" being used a lot. I understand the following:

"In bidding armageddons, players usually communicate privately how much time they're willing to give up to play with their desired color. The player who gives up the most time wins."

I know the basic rules of armageddon chess, but I don't fully understand the process for bidding. How exactly do players "bid"? And, what is the point of doing it privately? Also, are there cases where bidding is not used?

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The most common way to perform bidding in armageddon rounds is to write your bid down on a piece of paper and give it to the arbiter without showing it to your opponent.

Then the arbiter will reveal both bids. The player willing to play on less time will get the Black pieces and draw odds.

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  • I heard that the lowest-bidding player actually is free to choose white, with the base time, but against the higher bid for black? Is that a known variant or did I misunderstand something? Dec 20, 2023 at 18:31
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A base time for the game is predetermined, say 15 minutes. Then each player submits a single written private bid of how little time they are willing to accept as black. Whichever bid is lower will play black, using that amount of time. The white player gets the base time (his bid is not relevant). White must win the game, otherwise black is the winner of the armageddon and the match.

An alternative would be an open auction with decreasing bids until one player declines to bid lower. The private bidding is currently considered simpler and cleaner, though either method would work.

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  • Private and open auctions usually have different results. The private method results in a lower amount of time for the winner - they forfeit however many minutes they think playing black is worth, rather than however many minutes their opponent thinks playing black is worth plus one unit. If two players would bid privately X and Y (X<Y), the private bid results in the winner with X minutes, while the open auction results in the winner with Y-1 minutes (X<=Y-1). Sep 1, 2023 at 17:38

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