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Tic Tok Chess Clock

There has been a mass of discussion around the socials lately about the potential use of chess clocks in competitive AOS.

With the recent inclusion of chess clocks at the world games this year the broader community has taken to social media to discuss the pros and cons of introducing timepieces more widely to the competitive scene. Whenever something like this comes along, we ask ourselves ‘why do it?’ and ‘how will this impact on me personally?’.

So how does a chess clock work? Basically, both clocks are set to give each player the same amount of play time (for example, 90 minutes). As one player is taking their turn, their clock is counting down. As soon as they finish, they hit the button and their opponents time starts ticking. The aim is to give each player an equal amount of playtime.

Let’s have a look at the first question – why do it?

This is a way to even up the game and level the playing field in situations where games are going to time (or not even being finished in time) because one or both players either

  1. have a lot of models to move,

  2. doesn’t know their rules properly and must stop and look them up,

  3. are generally a slower player in making decisions and enacting strategy, or

  4. is slow playing on purpose to gain an advantage.

In these situations, a single player may be chewing through the designated time at a rate unproportionate to their opponent. This can lead to timing out and having to call the game before it’s proper conclusion. When this happens there is a change that one player is at a disadvantage because they do not have enough time left in the round to catch up on points.

Let’s be clear. If a player is slow-playing as a tactic for winning they are cheating. No ifs, buts or maybes.

But some armies are slower to play than others I hear you say. Yep, they are and always will be. What’s the solution? Learn to play faster or write lists that you can manage in the time limit that you have. Simply put, the time it takes you to play your army should not be a deciding factor in who wins the game. The way I see it, learning to play your army more efficiently solves 3 of those problems without the introduction of clocks. Buuuuuuuuuuut in a world where you can’t demand that people demonstrate a minimum skill standard prior to attending a tournament (we actually want to encourage people to join the community right??!) we can use clocks instead to ensure that the negative impact of these situations is reduced.