AKA, “The game from hell”.
Last round game against a 1296 player. He noticed something different about the clock after about 10 moves, but I didn’t know what he was talking about, I replied “Yeah, I know, this clock doesn’t have a second hand”. Not until after the game did I realize what he was referring to. The clock was set at G/70, but no 5 second delay.
With about 30 seconds left I was thinking something is definitely not right. With 9 seconds left I noticed my moves were taking 1 or 2 seconds just to move, and it wasn’t couting down the delay. 2 seconds left, instant move, 1 second left, instant move, 0 as I take my hand off it. He immediately calls flag and I immediately protest. TD finally decides to give me 2 minutes no delay (he has 31 minutes left) as it is his discretion under a rule, “malfunctioning clock or set wrong” or something like that. I had asked for the 5 minutes back (G/75) if there were no delay. I didn’t know how to stop the clock, but then noticed the small pause button after studying it for 10 seconds, something I didn’t have time to do in time-pressure.
Wow, a nightmare but the TD sided with me as the “injured player”. Whereupon my opponent repeated “Why am I not the injured player”. Anyway, I was up a rook and it only took me 14 seconds of those 2 minutes to finish the game. At first he pretended not to know the delay wasn’t set, but the TD found out it wasn’t. He even admitted that he had stopped keeping score a while back. Geez. Just shoot me now. The TD was very understanding of my position, thank the lord! Oh, and how did we find out he wasn’t keeping score. Because, of course, he said “How do we even know this is the correct position?”
My opponent didn’t see it my way, naturally, so I tried to talk about the game with him in the hall as he was leaving. Me: Why did you exchange rooks? Him: Because of your time, I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. Me: Why did you sack your knight? Him: Because of your time. Then he admitted that next time he should forgo basing his moves on my clock. Actually, he had to trade rooks to win my pawn and took with the knight to try and avoid doing so, that seems most likely what happened, he simply wanted the pawn. Not trading rooks would have hurt me _more_ on the clock.
BTW, it was a pre-set tournament supplied clock. Usually the 5 second delay is automatically set and it is set to option 4A like usual. I found out later that it is always supposed to show the delay count-down, even from the start of the game – hadn’t been paying attention.
It’s bad enough that I knew he was probably stronger than his rating (because the club rarely has any C players, for example) and I also made blunders during the game. Not my best performance, missed a mate in one apparently. The game score I am giving is not accurate because I stopped recording at 3.5 minutes left, but it is very similar to what happened.
This player is older than me and I had chatted a tiny bit with him before, so I didn’t really feel that this would have happened.
I won my entrance fee back, plus $2 for taking clear second. If both tournaments ended today, I would have 11 rating points from each of them, which would bring it to 1767 – best guess. Losing rating points is like nothing at all, but getting them back takes a long time when playing peers or lower-rated.