Tips4Chess “What are the advantages of having digital chess clocks over analog chess clocks?”

The fundamental rules of game of chess has remained more or less the same over decades, however, incremental changes in technology has brought brand new hardware and software products and solutions into the chess world such as electronic chess boards,  chess computers and programmes, game databases for openings, middle-games and endgames and applications for mobile phones etc. that has not only changed our practical way of training and practices but also created new opportunities in the way we organise chess events and tournaments.

Today, digital chess clocks are one of the major products that created massive change in chess practice over the last decades.There is no doubt that today there are only few of young generation chess players have experience of playing chess tournaments with analog chess clocks, however, almost one or two decades ago it would be quite common to see chess tournaments for professional chess events.

If you would ask one senior chess player about the time when they played with analog chess clocks, you would most probably hear some of the very interesting stories about how time control system in chess tournaments have effected chess games in practice where players had extremely stressful situations such as having pressure of losing games on time in winning positions etc.

Below you can find a list by Tips4Chess illustrating the fundamental differences observed in tournament play and practice.

Digital clocks allow us to play chess with time increment & additional time options

Our experience from the past has proved that playing chess without incremental time system has its own disadvantages in itself such as losing games on time in winning positions as mentioned. The main advantage of having digital chess clock is that today we are able to play chess tournament games with incremental time control.

This means players are able to get additional time in the form of 30 seconds (most common choice in rated & international tournaments) where the main idea of this time control system is to prevent players from having serious time trouble by offering time increment options after each move whereas with the old school mechanical clocks the players did not use to have additional time to be able to proceed the game if they are under serious time pressure – so called “Zeitnot” situation.

Having digital chess clocks in classical chess games where players are able to play 5-6 hours chess game, plus, both players get the opportunity to proceed endgames as can be sometimes highly crucial for tournament level players to play accurately and this time increment option will allow chess players to be able to continue playing these critical positions without having the risk of losing on time. As after each move players get additional 30 seconds of increment, this will also allow players to reduce their level of stress and will allow them to have sufficient time to make a sensible move or moves to finalise their games.

It is also very common to see that in certain tournaments, you will get 1 hour extra time added to your time control after completing the move 40., and the idea is to allocate additional time for players to increase the quality of the game as many players in the past experienced the issue that the opening and middle-game quality is extremely high whereas the endgame is played poorly and the result therefore is usually hard to estimate if the time factor would play a significant role.

Therefore digital chess clocks in some way contributed to the fighting chess spirit by allowing players to take chances to continue their games to the extend possible.

Digital clocks are more accurate and balanced

When we set time control for both players with analog chess clocks, we are most likely eager to experience imbalance or slight inaccuracies in terms setting up equal time interval for both sides. This can become crucial even though players did not mind about this initial few seconds difference in a blitz match where both players are expected to have 3 minutes, however, every second becomes extremely crucial under serious time pressure.

Having digital chess clocks prevent the risk of setting unequal time margin in terms of minutes and seconds. Time accuracy can become highly crucial in speed chess games such as rapid, blitz and bullet chess games where every single second and minute may determine the result of the game. Especially in less time control games the time margins may effect the result of the game although in percentage we do not consider error margins such a big factor however still makes digital chess clocks much more preferable in this perspective.


Digital Chess Clocks represent more visual for chess players

One other feature that digital chess clocks allow is that there is more precision and visibility. In a digital clock a player is able to see as many details as possible regarding his time situation, for instance with DGT2010 clocks you will see minutes and seconds on the screen when your time is lower than 20 minutes.This information is getting crucial when players have less time on their clocks, however, with analog chess clocks you more or less need to play intuitively by guessing approximately how many second would left on your clock for instance in a situation where you see that there is less than a minute left.

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