Rulebook Tactics: Notable Rules Changes for 2012
- Created on Monday, 14 November 2011 18:03
- Written by TD Guru Tim Just
New Year’s Day celebrates a lot of things in the world including the starting point for some new USCF rules and policy changes. Most years those changes are not all that noticeable or notable. January 1, 2012 will be a bit different. Let us take a peek at some of the more noticeable changes from the player’s point of view with commentary by moi.
No More Time Subtraction: The most noticeable change for players will be that the rule allowing the subtraction of time when using a delay clock goes the way of the dodo; i.e., it will be extinct.
Without that time reduction January will usher in a new era; i.e., ALL chess timers, delay, increment, analog, …, in 2012 must be set for the same base time control at the start of the game. If the time control is G/45 with a five-second delay (d/5), then ALL clocks, including both delay and analog clocks, get set for 45 minutes of play, with the delay clocks still calibrated for that five-second (d/5) pause. TDs/Organizers that still like to run tournaments with the old rule, allowing for the subtraction of time from delay clocks (etc.), would do well to advertise that fact.
Advertised Time Controls: Starting in 2012 the time control(s) in pre-event publicity should include any delay or increment info in those TLAs, flyers, postcards, e-mails, etc. When a player sees G/40, d/5 they can expect to set their clock for 40 minutes with a 5 second delay without any time subtraction. If they notice a G/40 without any delay they can count on setting their clock for a 40 minute contest without a delay setting. G/40 inc 30 (or +30) would indicate a basic setting of 40 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds.
WARNING: Some organizers did not get the news about this new regulation before their TLAs were sent in for publication. So, for the first few months of 2012 players may read one thing but get another when they enter a tournament. Stuff slips through the cracks.
Clock Swap For Late Players: Currently rule 42D says that if a player is late and the opponent has set up an analog clock then that clock remains as the timer of choice for that game. Starting in January the late player can replace only the analog clock with a properly set delay or increment clock—depending on which clock is proper for the announced time control—as long as that clock swap takes place before the late player makes a move. This rule only applies to swapping out analog clocks. Of course the delay/increment clock will need to be set properly and reflect the time that has already passed on the analog clock. It is also a good idea to let the TD know about this clock trade.
IMHO, this new rule 42D, as written and passed by the delegates, does not seem to reflect the intent peddled to them at the microphone during their August meeting. It appears from the meeting video that the rule’s author probably wanted this new rule to be an unpublicized variation (probably 42D1) and not the main rule; yet, the delegates (including yours truly) voted for wording and codification that made this clock exchange the new main rule?! Because some TDs/organizers may announce that they are still going to enforce the old “no clock swap” rule, players would do well to check with the TD staff before making that clock exchange.
Minimum Playing Time: No player in any time control can have less than five minutes of time set on their clock at the start of the game.
Blitz Events: The word “Blitz” must be in the title of the event, or in the time control, in order for Blitz rules to apply (otherwise Quick Chess Rules apply). Be aware that Blitz Rules can only be applied to games with base time controls between and including G/5 – G/9.
Blitz Rules Changes: In short players will need to use the same hand that moves the piece to press the clock. This “one hand” rule also applies to castling, capturing, and promoting pieces (Rule 4). Players that take an opponent’s king so they can claim a win via an illegal move must have mating material of their own to score the point (Rule 7d). When a player promotes a pawn and can’t find the needed replacement piece they can stop both clocks to find it. Since a player can’t leave the pawn on the last rank and start their opponent’s clock they should expect their opponent to restart the player’s own clock, without moving, so the pawn can be replaced (Rule 17).
Quick Chess Rated, Regular Rated, Or Dual Rated? The following is not for people that would prefer to avoid math. Also, it is probably something that falls into that gray area of noticeability. While the basic playing time for Quick Chess, Regular Chess, and Dual Rated Chess (both Quick and Regular rated if the total playing time is 30 minutes through 65 minutes) stays the same, with only some minor tweaks, the way to determine which rating system will be used in a game (or tournament) is a bit more challenging. Pre January 1, 2012 all a player had to do was look at the base time control to determine what rating system would apply. With the elimination of time deduction that process will change. How? The 2012 era will see players adding all of the base time controls plus any delay (or increment) to determine the total minutes of playing time available. That total now decides which rating system applies. Let us look at some examples:
- G/25 with a delay of five seconds (d/5) creates the mental math total of 30 minutes of playing time (25 + 5 = 30). So that game is Dual Rated as Quick and Regular chess.
- G/25 with a delay of 4 seconds (d/4) creates the mental math total of 29 minutes of playing time (25 + 4 = 29). So that game is Quick Rated only.
- G/29 with no delay is Quick Rated only (29 + 0 = 29).
- G/30 with an increment of 15 seconds is Dual Rated (30 + 15 = 45).
- G/36 with an increment of 30 seconds is Regular rated (36 + 30 = 66).
- G/30 with an increment of 30 seconds is Dual Rated (30 + 30 = 60)
- G/55 with a five second delay (d/5) is Dual Rated (55 + 5 = 60).
How do you calculate multiple time controls? How about the math for those events that have two playing schedules with different time controls for the same section that later gets merged? From a practical point of view does it matter? Most multiple time control events of any type, with a few exceptions, will usually go over that 65 minute Dual Rated benchmark and be Regular Rated anyhow. The key idea for multiple time control events is to add together the base time control for all of the different time controls. So simply ad together the first, second, … time controls for the total base time control. Merged sections use only the largest time control used in the tournament.
For more info check out the Rulebook Changes document that USCF will post on-line on 1-1-12 or take a peek at the draft document (since revised) at: http://main.uschess.org/docs/gov/reports/RulebookChanges2012.pdf
While there are other rulebook changes we only examined the ones that will have the most profound impact on the average tournament player. For comments, reactions, or questions contact Tim at: tdguru.com.