• Chess Clocks •
“Sir, the slowness of genius is hard to bear, but the slowness of mediocrity is insufferable.”
Henry Thomas Buckle
The quote by Buckle gives us some insight into the inspiration for the invention of the chess clock – first used at a tournament in Baden-Baden Germany in 1870. Over a long time these typically wooden clocks served to limit a certain number of moves to a particular time limit. The problem with this is that many players left too little time for their last several moves before “time control”. In the very little time remaining before the time control the game resembled a blitz (5 minutes per side) game. Many players felt that this lessened the quality of the game.
In response to the time control problem, players like David Bronstein of the USSR and Bobby Fischer of the USA proposed using a clock with incremental time controls – that of course only came into being with the advent of the digital clock in the late 20th century.
Today the original analog clock is typically used in chess tournaments for kids and in some club tournaments. Digital clocks are now very commonly used in rated tournaments. The wooden digital clocks provide the best of both worlds ... all sorts of possible time controls in a very attractive and classy timepiece.