I have hosted a simul at our house last Sunday against 5 players who were friends and acquaintances of mine. It was fun, but it took a bit too long, because I allowed everyone to use as much time as they wanted, plus, the players' wives and girlfriends were sitting around, chatting with some of the players and after the event we had pizza etc.

We started around 2h30 pm and it ended at 7h30. Therefore, I decided that next time I will use clocks, I already looked online for suggestions and found out that, even an International Master with a rating of 2500 for example has 10 min more on the clock than the participants. So, if I play against two players of similar strength (1500) and three others who are around 1000 - 1100 - 1200, I feel I should adjust my extra time to their strength as well.

What are the normal guidelines for using clocks in simuls?

1 Answer 1


The normal way of running a simul is that the players only play their move when you come to the board. They then make their move. You then make your move and move on to the next board.

If it is a serious simul with many players then the strict rule is no passing. If the player does not make a move when you arrive at the board then they lose. For a more friendly simul like yours a rule like "3 passes are allowed" would be more normal. That means the player can instead of moving say "I pass" and you move on. They can only do this a total of 3 times.

If you are really going to use clocks, do you have 5 clocks? Kasparov in his prime used to give simuls against very strong players with clocks. More information here.

I think the approach Kasparov used was 2 hours for all the moves for all the players including Kasparov. Players could move when they wanted and Kasparov likewise could make a move on any board any time it was his turn on that board.

If you feel you really want to use clocks then I would suggest something similar although with maybe less time, say 90 minutes.

  • 4
    Since you can get a free chess clock app on your phone, getting 5 "clocks" suitable for a casual simul at home shouldn't be a problem for most people.
    – D M
    Jun 7, 2023 at 22:55
  • Yes I have three of my six clocks available at the moment. But I can use my ipad mini as well, and some smart phones....thank you for the answer! Jun 9, 2023 at 18:35

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