The clock

All SchemingMind 
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games are played using a clock - it means, that you have limited time for making your moves, or you risk losing on time. As this is Correspondence Chess, the time is measured in days. Below detailed description of how the SchemingMind clock works.


1. How the clock works

SchemingMind uses 'incremental' time controls; this means that you start a game with a fixed amount of time and for each move you make, a time increment is added to your clock. After your opponent moves, your clock starts ticking down - and does so until you make your move. Both players use separate clocks, but only one clock (the one belonging to the player who is due to move) is ticking.

For example, imagine you examine your game, and see that your clock shows 27 days and 13 hours (and is ticking). You are not yet sure which move to make, so you leave the game and return to it 3 hours later. Then the clock shows 27 days and 10 hours (and is still ticking). You make your move, so your clock stops ticking, and an increment of 1 day is added, so the clock finally shows 28 days and 10 hours (and is stopped, with your opponent's clock ticking). Once your opponent moves, the clock starts ticking again from this value. Etc...

To avoid excessively large time savings, some maximum is applied - you can never accumulate more time than this. So, if you play standard game (which uses 45 day maximum), and make move while your clock is showing 44 days and 17 hours, after adding 1 day increment it will show only 45 days and 0 hours.


2. Available clocks

The following clocks are in use:

standard - 30+1<=45 (thirty days initially, one day increment, a maximum of 45 days),

leisure - 30+3<=60 (thirty days, three days increment, a maximum of 60 days),

fast - 10+1<=30 (ten days, one day increment, a maximum of 30 days),

blitz - 5+12h<=15 (five days, 12 hours increment, a maximum of 15 days).

You can specify which of these four time controls you would like to play from your Challenge Preferences #missingLink 2# page.


3. Start date

The clock does not start ticking immediately. Instead, each game you play is allocated a start date. This is usually five days after the game is set up, but it can also be a fixed date for some tournament games.

You are allowed to move before the start date, but are not forced to. The clocks start running either after both players have moved, or - unless they did it - after the start date.

Five days mean 120 hours - the clock starts exactly 120 hours after the game is created. To see exactly when it will happen, move mouse over the



The same method can be applied also inside game window. The time is shown in your local timezone (the one set in your preferences).


4. Time expiration

It can happen that a player expires his time - his clock goes down to (or below) zero.

There are two types of games - those with strict time controls, and those with non-strict time controls.

Games with strict time controls are dropout,
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 and mini-tournament 
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 games. In these games, once a player's clock runs down to zero, the game is automatically forfeited by the player who exceeded the time. Those timeouts are currently enforced at 24 hour intervals (about 2 AM-3 AM GMT), however once you time out in a strict game, it is not possible to move during the few hours between timing out and the game being terminated (note also that all timed out games are closed before rating recalculation starts).

If White has not made his sixth move, the game is not rated (the winner still gets full point in tournament table or league match, but the game does not cause rating change).

If your opponent timed out the game played with strict control, you need not to do anything - just wait, after at most 24 hours the game will be forfeited.

Round-robin mini-tournaments applied non-strict controls initially, since tournament 1500 they were moved to the strict controls. 
See this discussion 
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 for the background information. Also, site admin considers giving the tournament creator an option to decide which kind of control is to be used in the tournament being started, such a feature may be implemented some day.

The games with non-strict time controls (all except enumerated above - what at the moment means individual challenges) are not ended automatically. The player who exceeded reflection time is still able to move, unless his opponent ends the game. So, if your opponent exceeds his time, you have the following options:

You can claim a win. The game ends, you are the winner. Note that your own clock must be positive (you can't win a game in which you have timed out yourself). The game is not rated if less than 11 half-moves were played (white has not made his sixth move).

Note that very short games which ended normally (resignation, mate, draw agreement) are still rated.

You can throw opponent a lifeline. This means that his clock will be restarted with a fixed time (15 days for leisure, ten for standard, five for fast and three for blitz). Then the game proceeds normally, as if nothing happened. You may throw lifelines several times in a game, if you wish to.

All those options are presented (when appropriate) on the game page, below the board. To pick one, just select the radio button nearby wanted option, and click Submit.

The game termination options are visible only if it is your opponent's move. So, if you have the game in which your opponent timed out, but you are to move, make your move first, then revisit the game to decide on its future.

You can sort the games list according to the opponent remaining time (see this page 
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for details) - timed out games are then presented on the top. If you play more than 20 games, it makes sense to take such a look once a month.

In case of mini-tournament 
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games, you must make your decision no later than three months after the clock expired. Otherwise the game is double-forfeited. This of course applies only to legacy mini-tournaments with non-strict controls.


5. Specific game interruption cases

In addition to time expiration, there are some other cases when the game can be interrupted.

  1. If your opponent has been banned, you can claim a win, or abandon the game, even if his clock has not yet run down. The same restrictions of claiming a win apply as those described above.

If your opponent has become inactive 
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on the site, you will have the option to send a reminder before his clock runs down. You will also have the option to abandon the game, but not to claim a win (to claim a win, you will need to wait for his clock to run down).

  1. For non-tournament challenges, you will have the option to cancel the challenge if your opponent doesn't accept it by moving within five days of the clocks starting.


6. Suspending clock

You can suspend the clock in all your games, if necessary. See holiday.
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7. Final note on leaving yourself very little time on the clock

Some players prefer to leave themselves very little time on the clock (just a few hours) and only then make their move. While it is perfectly legal and you are free to use your time as you wish, please note that it may be risky for at least two reasons.

It may happen that you forget about making your move in time. If you're sure you won't, you still may have some unexpected event prevent you from accessing the server. In no such circumstance will the result of the game be reverted nor any time extension granted by SchemingMind staff. If it's not a tournament game, your opponent may, but is neither formally nor morally obliged to, be willing to grant you some additional time on the clock (a "LifeLine"). Remember though, your clock is your responsibility, and yours alone, so for example difficult personal situation does not oblige your opponent to grant you a LifeLine 
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(if you leave yourself enough time on the clock, you will surely be able to book Holiday time in a convenient moment after your difficulties start -- it takes just a minute). In tournament games any LifeLine 
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is out of the question by definition, as time-outs are automatically claimed by the server.

While we strive to provide continuous service, it may also happen from time to time that we experience technical difficulties and the server is down for a few hours. This is one of the Terms of Service and using the server implies acceptance of this possibility. We reserve the right not to add any time to any player's clock in such circumstances; you should leave yourself enough time on the clock to protect you from a time-out in case of a server downtime.

Ideally, to be safe you should always have at the very least a day on the clock in each of your games, and make moving in the ones in which you have the least remaining time your priority.

Please note that, unlike in over-the-board chess play, letting your clock run down is often seen as bad sportsmanship by correspondence chess players.


8. Consequences of timing out games

Allowing a game to be lost by default is considered poor sportsmanship, it contaminates the rating pool, it can give unfair advantages in tournaments, and it wastes the time of your opponent. Therefore SchemingMind applies some penalties to people who loose on time.

Read more about it on the SinBin 
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