Clock issues

Saturday, I played in a 6-round swiss-style tournament.

First game beat an Expert. I was an exchange down, but he let me get away with the win.

Second game I lost to an Expert. It was even, but I blundered on move 29. I had 56 seconds to his 1 minute 12 seconds.

Third game I had a visual hallucination on move 30 and hesitated to presss the clock because I thought I was lost for a moment, even though my moves were forced and obvious. Then we realized it was a draw, he said it was a draw, but then I pointed out that the clock was staying lit red and at zero seconds and move 29, even though we have played a few moves past that point (blitzed past it actually). He said “Oh, did you not make the time control?” I said yes by a couple seconds (last time I glanced at the clock it was at 12 seconds so I just missed it), but the clock isn’t supposed to call flag on me!? Then Randy (who works as a TD at the big tournaments) says to me “What did you think was going to happen?” (I didn’t say it, but I thought that the clock would just start counting negative time) I guess I am about 10 years behind the techno-times, I told them I had never heard of a clock calling a flag, I am just archaic and out of touch, I guess. Yes, I knew the clock counted the moves, but I didn’t suspect that the clock does it to rat out the person who steps over.

To be honest, I didn’ t make my 30th move on time because I was about to resign instead, but then decided to play on and realized I wasn’t losing, that it was a visual error from a moment of fatigue (even resignation takes time to verify, to be sure). The problem must have been that I was visualizing Kc8 after Qd5+, which loses to both QxR+ and Qg8+, but the king sort of “triangulates” out of danger by going to the c7 square, and then to b8. They said it didn’t beep, but it did beep as I was reaching to make the move, it’s just that no one else was paying attention to it. I marked it as a win for him on the sheet, since he was going by the rules – Crafty gives it 0.00 dead draw.

Game 2, I spent about 4 seconds on my 29th move, and if I had spent half a minute, I would have been fine. When he played …Rb8, I thought that was needlessly passive and was far more worried about fxe. On move 25, I knew I had messed up taking his pawn exf6 instead of Rfd1. I didn’t see his Bh2+, but my intuition told me I messed up, had 4.5 minutes, time-pressure mistake. At the end, I needed to play g7+, after …Qc8, then Rh7+ saves my rook and is equal, roughly.
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
New Rating: 1825 -> 1826.

Incidentally, the only easy draw that White would have had is 33. RxRc6 QxR 34. Qf7+ Qd7 35.Qxf6 followed by the Black queen putting the White king into a perpetual check. The rook endgame could very easily have been lost for White from the resulting position.

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10 thoughts on “Clock issues

  1. Rule 16E: “The flag is considered to have fallen when either player points this out.” Rule 13Ca: “The player who properly claims that the opponent has not completed the prescribed number of moves in the alloted time wins the game, provided that the claimant has mating material and a reasonably complete scoresheet when the flag falls. Move counters, on clocks equipped with them, may not be used as the only evidence in claiming that the prescribed number of moves were not completed in the allotted time.”

    In other words, the clock’s signal of expired time has no effect on its own. The flag is not considered fallen until one of the players points it out, and there is no time forfeit unless a player makes a proper claim. If additional moves were made beyond 30, your opponent could not have made a proper claim.

    At my club we recommend against setting a clock to signal the time control because it contributes to misunderstanding the rules.

  2. Thanks, Steve!

    At first I had the impression that I could probably have successfully pushed my case, but I let them call it. It just sucked, hehe, that the clock was stuck on move 29 at zero with my flag lit, even though we both continued to move and press the clock. Shoot that f’ing clock. LOL.

    I am not sure what my OLD digital clock does if one does not make time make time-control in the moves alloted (since it does have a counter). I thought it used negative time, but I’ll check it out now.

    My Duel-Timer (the original version from the 90’s) is so old that you can’t subtract time from it. I’m going to have to wait 45 minutes just to see what it does.

    Experiment complete. Yes, my clock does that also, although I had never seen it happen before that I am aware of – it was weird, one side went back to 45 and the other stayed at zero (normally, this clock adds the time as soon as you make the next time control) Also, the delay works fine. My clock is so old that I can’t subtract time from it. Interesting thing about my move counter is it’s slightly retarded, it does not tell you how many moves you’ve made, but rather what move that the two players are on, so it only advances once per move, not once per ply. Not only that, but you have to push a button to see the move count and I need to work on mine because it will switch from one clock running to the other with no one touching it (the depress doesn’t fall all the way or falls unexpectedly), which not only screws up the time but the move count as well.

  3. I’m finally making my way around ChessAssistant.

    In game 1, at the board I wanted to try a4 after …b5, had seen it in a Chess Life column by Zsusa and it looked great for White. Okay, so there is the backdrop.

    Go to CA and there are like 5 key games, and really only 1 in the line I wanted to see. I also looked at the 365(dot)com site and there are about 4 games (I don’t have a login so I haven’t seen them), but it’s funny to see some of the games listed there are Class A vs Class B player.

    Anyhow, it’s amazing how a million games can be paired down to a mere handful once you get the position you want, and perhaps only 1 in the move you are interested in playing.

    I always thought that databases were slightly unethical, like a form of cheating/memorizing. Now I realize that can’t really be done (apparently). hehe. Perhaps there are main lines in chess, but step outside of those and you are on your own, which is really how it should be. I feel the first 13 moves are the most critical, idea-wise, and after that it’s mostly a battle of who can execute that idea more correctly.

  4. What was the time control? For me, it’s not good that you got in time trouble in 2 out of 3 games. In the 1st game – interesting ending, quite difficult to see where he made the decisive mistake.
    Games 2/3 – again, time is affecting your play, get rid of this problem.

  5. I need to speed up my tactical sight of the board.

    Game 3 I really wasn’t in time pressure, I simply wasn’t focusing because he was playing fast (I think he figured that that would be his strategy at some point, but it worked because I was tired – awake for nearly 22 hours by that point). Game 2 was more stupid because I shouldn’t have let time affect either of my two poor moves, and was like flip-a-coin during the first mistake but was moving too quickly in his time-pressure as often happens.

    The last two games weren’t nearly as challenging as the first game, and my opponents used my boredom against me quite effectively when I needed to simply be accurate.

    I’m really not worried about losing on time, as odd as that sounds. If you fear the clock, it will only compound one’s chess issues. This isn’t blitz chess where it really, really matters. The thing that surprised me the most is that I played on instead of reaching out my hand to resign, since I had already planned to and that I saw his win. I had seen his NxB with a couple minutes left and it’s all forced in any case, shoot I even planned on him playing NxB at least a minute before he even played it. I simply didn’t want to see it through at first, and I knew it was forced, but then I realized that it wasn’t winning a hair too late. I came this close to making a crazy, futile move instead like I lost against Neal that time when it was drawn (and that time I had planned on the draw but forgot about it, was also a third round very long day), but then decided that I would rather lose on time than make a useless move, but really I almost stuck out my hand with over a minute remaining.

    Thanks for the 365 recommendation, but my internet speed with that site is not all that fast and it seems to mirror the same amount of results that I find with Chess Assistant. At least now with CA, I can comment games that I post.

    30/90 G/30

    Crafty was tracking his moves right up to the end, wherever he made that one mistake. I saw a win for him much earlier. Instead of trading rooks, win my b-pawn. It will turn into a pawn race because I will win a pawn, too, but he should win it. I thought he and he Crafty were being needlessly cautious. After the game I told him that he had an easier win by not exchanging rooks and he said “Well isn’t that what you are supposed to do, trade down when ahead?”. I don’t think so, I’ve pointed out to others that this is not always the best way.

    I could sense that I was more focused than he was once he was winning because our concentration levels switched, mine more and his less. He was probably expecting the position to win itself to some extent. If I had maintained that level of being in the zone, my next two games would have been duck soup. By my second game, I had to walk outside and stretch a couple times to keep from passing out because they close the door to make it quiet and there is no air in there (some players complain that they are cold if you turn on the air) – it was extremely stuffy in there by mid second game and my opponent was taking gobs of time. I didn’t think I would be able to play a third game, but quite a few people only play two rounds, and without all those extra people sucking up the oxygen in there it was quite a bit easier to play the third round.

  6. Some small talk about the games.

    Game 1:
    Black could have used his bishop better in the endgame. Now it looked relatively passive at how play developped on the Q-side.
    24. … Rc3 is better since now the bishop has to move and the rook get out of his way for the a-pawn.

    Game 2:
    You got outplayed because black’s pieces worked together while your pieces were all lose entities.

    Game 3:
    12. Nb1 ? Totally useless since you develop your c1-bishop to a3. Better was 12. b3.

    18. Nxd7 is better because it makes it more difficult for black to close the c-file and gets rid of a more active bishop for your passive knight.

    21. Rxa3 ??? Here you had to think development! With other words 21. Qxa3 is the logical move there the Q is as much developed on a3 as she is on b3 while the rook can go to b1 (or c1 if you are more for pushing the c-pawn) then after the move you played.

    To close i want to notice that the beep on the clock by a falling flag is illegal since its seen as outside help. Kinda the same as a spectator suddenly yells flag.

  7. hehe. I just fixed that game 3, I had the Black pieces. He did develop that attack slowly and cautiously. My b6 was probably losing, and I knew it, should have started moving the king to the other side right then, according to Crafty. Yes, after all that he still had an easy win/attack that he didn’t get creative enough to find, but it’s not too difficult.

    This king-sequence, even though it was at equal for Black, was difficult for me to visualize, so I had to spend some time after the game going over it.

    Game 2 he simply suckered me with time winding down.

    Game 1, I could have finished the win for Black. I gave him just about a losing opening variation, so it was hard for him to go wrong there.

    …b5 is a near refutation of …f4. The way for White to play this position is Be3, and if …b5 then a4 is really strong, and White has an advantage. All one has to do is look at my knight at b3, which needs a plan, that is why a4 is just about a must.

  8. What clock were you using? It sounds like from the description of how the clock was displaying it was the blue Saitek. I’m not overly familiar with the settings on that particular clock so I don’t know if it can be set not to indicate time running out. The move counter is so the clock knows when to add the additional time for the 2nd time control. It’s not reliable if either player forgets to press the clock after moving, or if White moves first and then presses the clock at the start of the game. I think that’s what caused the move counter to be off in my round 5 game at the American Open.

    As Steve correctly pointed out in his quotation of rule 16E, the clock showing no time left isn’t enough. The opponent needs to have claimed, and before move 30. Did he have a complete scoresheet proving that 30 moves had not been made. Complete is defined as no more then 2 missing move pairs. Was the draw agreed to before you pointed out the clock?

    There are times where it is beneficial to point out your flag being down. If the opponent is missing a bunch moves on his scoresheet, then you call the flag yourself. At that point he loses the right to fill in the missing moves. As long as the flag hasn’t been called a player could catch up on his notation before claiming. By calling the flag yourself you preempt his claim.

    Get a Chronos, and set it up not to stop at the end of the time. 🙂

  9. I am using an old duel-timer.

    Thanks for the tips, Polly. I like the idea of calling flag on myself, but in this case I think he was keeping the moves.

    When I went back on Wednesday, Anthony was happy to see me (he’s the TD). I didn’t bring up the clock-issue, but after we played (me and Anthony did) he said/made it clear that even if someone didn’t call it, and the clock did roll-over and add time, and it was figured out a few moves later by looking at the clock that the time-control was not made, that he would STILL call it a loss on time. haha. Pretty hard to imagine, eh?

    Of course, I simply should have asked him for a draw instead of tiredly pointing to my clock. I feel pretty sure that he would have agreed to the draw, I just let myself get too irked by the clock.

    Interestingly, I am planning on moving to Colorado soon, so I don’t even know if I will play there one more time before I leave.

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