Chess Time Controls

All chess games on Caissa's Web require you to make a certain number of moves within a specified time. This is referred to as the time control. There are three types of time controls on Caissa's Web: "Roll-over" time controls, "Game in" time controls, and "Move in" time controls.

"Roll-over" Time Controls

"Roll-over" time controls are written as "# of moves / # of minutes" or "# of moves / # of minutes / # of additional seconds per move"; for example "30/60" or "20/20/30". The first number indicates the number of moves which must be made before the clock reaches zero. The second number indicates the number of minutes the clock will begin with. For example a 30/60 time control means that 30 moves must be completed within 60 minutes. Once you have made the required number of moves a new time control is started and the procedure is repeated (or "rolled-over"), except that any time you have left carries over into the next time control.

For example if you are playing a 30/60 game and have 7 minutes left on your clock when you make your 30th move, your display will indicate that you now have 30 moves to make in 67 minutes (60 plus the "extra" seven you had left from the previous time control).

The third number, if present, is called the "increment." It indicates that the corresponding number of seconds will be added to the clock after each move. For example a 20/20/30 time control means that 30 seconds will be added to the clock after each move is completed. The purpose of the increment is to help guarantee some minimum amount of time to make each move. For example a 20/30 time control and a 20/20/30 both grant 30 total minutes to complete 20 moves, but with the 20/30 option a player could find himself with only seconds left to make several final moves before reaching the time control, while the 20/20/30 option would promise a minimum of 30 seconds time on each and every move. In effect, incremental time controls force you to "budget" some of your time across the entire number of moves in the time control.

Note that for Live Chess games on Caissa, roll-over time controls are written as "# of moves / # of minutes," whereas Correspondence Chess games are written as "# of moves / # of days." Any days left over from the first time control are added to the new time control. Additionally for all Correspondence Games on Caissa there is a 10 day single-move time limit. If you do not make a move for 10 days straight you will be forfeited even if you still have time left on the regular time control.

"Game in" Time Controls

"Game in" time controls are written as "G/# of minutes"; for example "G/10" means Game in 10 minutes. Unlike the roll-over time control, the clock will not reset after you have completed a specific number of moves. The entire game must be completed within the time allotted. If the clock reaches zero a forfeit will result, regardless of the position on the board.

"Move in" Time Controls

"Move in" time controls are written as "M/# of seconds"; for example "M/10" means Move in 10 seconds. This type of time control allots a fixed number of seconds for each and every move. Time not used on one move is not carried over to the next move. This generally gives a fast-paced game without the time scrambles that often occur near the end of "Game in" time controls.

Caissa-Specific Time Control Considerations

Caissa's Web has created several proprietary features to account for how playing chess over the Internet both limits and expands the ability to play chess.

  • Time Control and Ratings

    Each Caissa member has an associated chess rating that is a general representation of their chess skill level. In order to more accurately evaluate a given member's skill level at different time controls, Caissa has created a separate chess rating for the following time controls categories: Fast ("Game in" and "Move in" time controls), Slow ("Roll-over" time controls), and Corr (Correspondence Game time controls). Note that the # of moves or # of minutes does not affect how a rating is categorized, for instance a G/90 time control (game in 90 minutes) which may be considered a slow game is still categorized as "Fast" because it is a "Game in" time control.

  • Lag Factor

    For each move in a Live chess game on Caissa, your opponent's time control is updated to account for the transmission time over the Internet. This is manifested in the "Lag Factor" at the top right of the screen. Here's how it works. When your opponent moves, the clock on his side is stopped and the move is sent. Now, during the time it takes for the move to leave the opponent's machine, travel over the Internet and get to your machine, a certain amount of time must pass. Let's say it takes four seconds. During the transmission time, his clock has been stopped but the representation of his time on YOUR side has still been ticking. Once the move is received on your side, the time stamp from his machine is read and then compared to the opponent's ticking clock on your side. The difference between these two times is calculated, your opponent's clock on your side is adjusted to account for the four seconds it took to get to you, and the Lag Factor of "4" is posted. If the Lag Factor is consistent over several moves, then you can calculate your opponent's real time; e.g. if the Lag Factor is consistently 4 then you should know to add 4 seconds to your opponent's ticking clock. Keep in mind that the Lag Factor does not apply to your own clock on your side, because there is no transmission involved when you physically make the move.

  • Custom Time Controls

    For most Live chess games on Caissa, the standard time controls will be used, e.g. 30/15, G/10, M/10. However by using the Live Game Challenge function you can configure virtually any time control you want. In the time control options in the Live Challenge choose "Custom #/#," "Custom G/#," or "Custom M/#." You can then set any combination of # of moves and # of minutes, including the ability to set different time controls for each player. For Correspondence Games, you can use the associated Corr Challenge function to create a custom entry for both # of moves and # of days.

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