Chess has been with us for centuries, through countless cultures and historic moments.

A look at the game's development throughout history opens a fascinating window on cultural evolution, transporting our minds to distant lands and eras. Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments. A chess timer or time clock is a device with two timing clocks side by side, one for each player. There is a button or plunger on the top of each timer. When one of the buttons or plungers is pressed, that timer stops running and automatically starts the other timer running. Depending on the situation or agreement between the players, the time period may vary. Its purpose is to either force players to make a minimum number of moves within a particular period of time or to make any type of move before the time runs out while it is that player's move. In official tournament matches the clocks are set for two and a half hours each with the requirement that each player must make at least 40 moves within that time. After that time, the game may go on with no further time restraints. In non-official games, the players may agree to any time period as they choose. For example, a "Blitz" game is usually 5 minutes long, but the purpose of the time period is not to force a certain number of moves within that time. A Blitz game is a kind of Musical Chairs on the chess board. If a player's time runs out while it is his/her move, that player loses. In informal games, the players may agree on any period of time. Many players love Blitz games for the rush of action that occurs as each player moves pieces almost by instinct rather than carefully thought out strategies There simply is no time for too much thought. There are two types of clocks. One is where the clock simply stops when the player presses the button/plunger. The other type is where the clock stops but backs up about 3 seconds. This is to compensate for the time it takes the player to move his/her hand from the moved piece over to the timer to stop his/her clock.

A game clock consists of two adjacent clocks and buttons to stop one clock while starting the other, such that the two component clocks never run simultaneously. Game clocks are used in two-player games where the players move in turn. The purpose is to keep track of the total time

W. ISBN 3-11-002095-5. but the clock of the absent player continues to run if it is his turn. Game clocks were first used extensively in tournament chess. These kinds of purposeless prolongations and deliberate attempts to fatigue and wear out the opponent were commonplace at the time.each player takes for his or her own moves. (Vidmar. Amant as a test of physical endurance rather than a chess match. p. time limits were established and the chess timers and clocks were invented. so he can easily assess games that need attention at later stages. the arbiter typically places all clocks in the same orientation. several onlookers described a chess match between Howard Staunton and Pierre St. Goldene Schachzeiten: Erinnerungen. 10. The first time that game clocks were used in a chess tournament was in the London 1883 tournament. The opening moves in chess are often played quickly due to their familiarity. While the player is thinking. de Gruyter. BACKGROUND In the very early days of chess. there were no time limits and players and spectators alike complained about the length of chess matches. go. It is not rare in slow chess games for a player to leave the table. the sand must be . which leaves the players more time to consider more complex and unfamiliar positions later. Tassilo von Heydebrand und der Lasa (1818-1889) was one of the first persons to propose that each player‟s time should be limited by way of separate clocks or watches.) The simplest time control is "sudden death". and are often called chess clocks. It was reported that their 21st match game took 66 moves and 14½ hours. or starts to run if his opponent makes a move. A particularly popular variant in informal play is blitz chess. In the 1800s. there were critics who complained of the slowness of play. In 1852. Milan (1960). shogi. in which each player is given five minutes on the clock for the entire game. and nearly every competitive two-player board game. an anonymous writer named A. In a tournament. Cantab wrote that sand glasses should be used to regulate the moves with a limited time limit. The players may take more or less time over any individual move. and ensure that neither player overly delays the game. In 1843. in which players must make a predetermined number of moves in a certain amount of time or forfeit immediately. Their use has since spread to tournament Scrabble. “Let each player have a three-hour sand glass at his elbow and a friend on either side to turn it. At the first international chess tournament held in London in 1851. as well as other types of games. and an average game lasted nine hours.

In 1867. the organizers imposed a fine of 5 francs for players for every 15 minutes over the regulation time limit of 10 moves in an hour. The time control was 24 moves in 2 hours. called the “tumbling” chess clock. chess timers were first used. Another idea was to use two watches and note the time consumed on each move by each opponent. The „flag‟ was suspended above the 3rd minute before 12 o‟clock. he moved the clock into a position that stopped its pendulum and started his opponent‟s timer. These clocks were being used by 1886 in most tournaments. For the first time. Meijer. the first patent for a chess clock was issued to Amandus Schierwater of Liverpool. a mechanical timing device had been invented. a player exceeding his time limit forfeited the game. with the advice of Joseph Henry Blackburne. The time control at the London tournament was 15 moves per hour. It also indicated the number of moves in a game and whose turn it was to play. The time control was 20 moves per hour. Also. temperature and humidity affect the sand in the sand glasses and was not very accurate. a player would accidentally turn over the wrong end of his timer or his opponent‟s timer and cause problems. In 1889. It consisted of two identical pendulum clocks set on opposite ends of a balance beam. England. while his opponent is thinking. When one player made his move. his glass will be laid horizontally on the table and the running suspended”.allowed to run. It was invented by Thomas Bright Wilson (1843-1915) of Manchester. however. Watches were used in chess events from 1866 to 1873. In 1886. This made it easier to see when your time ran out as the flag became elevated with the second hand until it fell at time control. a chess flag was added to the chess clock by H. By 1883. In 1870 in Baden-Baden. England. In 1884. overstepping the time limit was not equivalent to losing a game. Sand glasses were used in chess matches and tournaments from 1861 to 1875. but registered on separate dials the period occupied by the players. at the Paris International Tournament. However. tumbler chess clocks were used during the Steinitz-Lasker match for the world championship in New York. One could be fined. The idea was backed by Howard Staunton and other prominent chess players. The chess players had the option of using a sand glass or a chess clock. It took about 20 years before the use of flags became common. Schierwater and Frisch of Liverpool patented a chess clock that showed the ordinary time. The expiration of time was indicated by the ringing of a bell.D. the Secretary of the Dutch Chess Federation. .B. The first chess match that used a sand glass was the Anderssen – von Kolisch match. In the early days. It was first used at a London tournament that year. In 1894. The tumbling clock was manufactured by Fattorini & Sons of Bradford. held in London in 1861.

and. and as a result. It could be reset. The company lasted until 1989. a working model had never been constructed. Prior to the match. Typical of most inventions. was established in Germany and became the leading manufacturer of chess clocks in the world. In 1900. April 1992 In 1973. the first patent was granted to Joe Meshi on a fully operational. the Kiev Relay and Automatic Works. so all the multiplexing and logic were done using chips that consisted of four two-input TTL NAND gates. The analog clock may be a thing of the past. the first digital chess clock was created by Bruce Cheney. In 1988. but not set. The high cost of LEDs at the time meant that only one set of digits could be displayed. "Early Bird". Each player had a separate counter. This meant that each player's time had to be multiplexed to the display when their time was running. Being plugged into the wall is obviously a major drawback. the analog push-button chess clock was perfected by Veenhoff of Groningen. a Cornell University Electrical Engineering student. the clock had to be plugged into a wall outlet. microprocessor-based. In 1973.The Jaques “Chess Timing Clock” was introduced in the 1890s and sold for 21 shillings. that of the player whose turn it was to move. The clock only had one mode: time ran forward. Almost all chess tournaments today use digital clocks due to the different time controls with delay or time increments added to a clock. Chess Life. A Fischer chess clock was made for the event in five days. it was crude compared to the products on the market 30 years later and was limited by the technology that existed at the time. created the first digital chess clock as a project for an undergraduate EE course. which resulted in excessive power consumption. In 1973. but had one advantage: the timebase for the clock was driven off of a rectified version of 60 cycle AC current. in a parallel to the original mechanical architecture. LSI chips were not readily or cheaply available. LEDs require significant power.255) a new digital chess clock that gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small amount of time after each move. the first electronic chess clock was manufactured by a Russian firm. one player's counter was disabled while the other's was running. to address the issues with analog clocks. Bobby Fischer patented (#4. But it successfully addressed the original goals of the project (accurate and matched timing).884. It did not count the number of moves. The clock was used in the 1992 Fischer-Spassky return match in Yugoslavia. In 1975. digital chess clock. Bruce Cheney. In 1964. a Cornell University Electrical Engineering student and chess player. . Borcherdt GmbH or BHB. the display was done with red LEDs. In 1950. For example.

but games could also be completed more quickly. Fischer's digital clock gave each player a fixed period of time at the start of the game and then added a small amount after each move. In this way. Other aspects of Fischer's patent. though usually in combination with the more traditional clocks (at lower levels. One particularly notable development. which has gained quite wide acceptance in chess.Digital clocks and Internet gaming have spurred a wave of experimentation with more varied and complex time controls than the traditional standards. as they are cheaper). . Although it was slow to catch on. the players would never be desperately short of time. have not been adopted. thus eliminating the need for them to keep looking at the clock. doing away with the need for adjournments (in which a game is left incomplete to be finished at a later date). Time control is commonly used in modern chess in many different methodologies. Patent 4.255 (awarded in 1989) for a new type of digital chess clock.S. was proposed by former world champion Bobby Fischer.884. such as a synthesized voice announcing how much time the players have. who in 1988 filed for U. as of 2004 a very large number of top class tournaments use Fischer's system. more traditional clocks are still employed.