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The Digital Chess Clock

The Digital Chess Clock

That All Important Disclaimer!

The following article is not designed to teach you how to programme a digital clock and how to use all the different formats available on the clock as that would be too time consuming. Anyone wishing to delve into these finer matters can do so by downloading the full instruction manual for the DGT 2010 clock (pdf) here.
What this article will make clear is the basic operation of the digital clock from a players point of view.  It will hopefully clear up the confusion over when the time control is reached and how and when the clock displays change. This article assumes that the digital clocks are programmed correctly in the first place by your local club boffin. Thus, in the YCA and LCA leagues with its time controls, the following is relevant. Here goes…..

The Essential Facts

On/Off Button:

To turn the clock on and off, press the button underneath. (Please TURN OFF when your game is finished.)

Starting A Game:

Once switched on , if the clock is already set to the applicable time control at the start of the game then make sure of the following:

  • Before starting the clock, make sure the white bar on top of the clock is DOWN on BLACK'S side of the board, so that the bar is UP on White's side. Note a white king is showing in the display on White's side of the board, a black king showing on the other display. Before the clock is started, pressing the white bar will cause these symbols to switch sides.
  • Next, press the PLAY/PAUSE button in the centre, below the main display . This will start the clock on the side where the white bar is UP. This clock starting is indicated by the colon between the digits blinking.


Time Display:

When there are more than 20 minutes on the clock the time will be displayed in the format of hours: minutes. If there are less than 20 minutes on the clock time will be displayed in the format of minutes: seconds.
To the right of the digital time displays the clock  shows either "HRS/MIN" or "MIN/SEC" to show what digital time that it is displaying.

Difference between Digital and Analogue Clocks:

One major difference exists when employing a Digital instead of an Analogue clock:

Additional Time

Any additional time that is added on to the clock i.e when a players’ initial time period is used up is done so automatically by the digital clock but notwhen the players have made their required moves for the time control. This can often be confusing. The point is that when the players have made their time control moves the clock does not change. Don't panic! The time will be added on only when one clock has used the whole of the first time limit.
At the point where the additional time is added, the clock that has first expired its primary time period will show a static black flag and the additional time will be added to both clocks immediately, automatically, and the clock will go on running. So, for example:

Illustration 1

The Digital Clock

In the illustration above the left side of the digital clock is showing 11 seconds remaining (0.11) for Player A. The right side of the digital clock is showing 6 minutes (6.00) for Player B.
Now, after Player A’s time has run on for 11 seconds both clock sides change to show illustration 2

Illustration 2

The Digital Clock

Player A has reached the first time control clock and so 30 minutes quickplay finish time has been added to both clocks.  At this point the players can check their scoresheets to see that the required number of moves have been made.

With the addition of 30 minutes for both sides, the clocks have switched back to displaying hours and minutes. Player A’s clock is therefore showing 29 minutes (seconds no longer displayed, so the actual time might be 29 minutes and between 0 and 59 seconds). Player B's clock is showing 30 minutes plus the six minutes carried forward = 36 minutes. Voila!

The Black Flag!

When at the end of the first time control period a static black flag is displayed on your side of the clock, what does it mean?

Have I Lost?

Not necessarily. The digital clock will continue to display the black flag for the next five minutes. The appearance of the black flag is merely the same as a flag fall on an analogue clock. In itself it does not indicate that a player has just lost on time, but simply that the first time control for that player has expired. The clock will instantly add the QPF additional time and carry on running. Therefore, at this point, the players should check that the requisite number of moves have been made, just as you would when using an analogue clock. If the player whose clock is showing the black flag has not made the required number of moves when this happens, the opponent may claim the opponent has lost on time.

So, remember, the clock's cannot accurately represent the amount of moves any player has made. For we all know that sometimes we forget to press the clock! Any move counter on the clock only records the number of times the white bar is pressed, not how many moves each player has made on the board; there can often be a difference! So, reference to one’s score sheet should always be made.
When the final time control has expired for either side, a flashing black flag is shown on that clock, which does indicate a loss on time.


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