The Most Popular Chess Time Control, Ranked

Choose the chess time control you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on May 19, 2024 06:33
Chess players often debate which time control enhances play and which might hinder a player's full potential. Understanding these preferences not only helps in organizing tournaments that appeal to the majority but also assists individual players in selecting a time control that aligns with their tactical depth and reflex speeds. Hence, ranking time controls based on popularity offers insight into widespread player tendencies and strategic choices. This site is designed to capture and reflect the collective opinions of the chess community. By participating with your vote, you contribute to a dynamic lookup that continually updates to mirror current trends and preferences in chess time controls. Each vote helps in sculpting a clearer picture of the chess landscape, which in turn benefits both new and seasoned players trying to find their best match in game pacing.

What Is the Most Popular Chess Time Control?

  1. 1
    This is the most popular time control for serious chess players and professional tournaments. Each player is given 90 minutes to make their first 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment added after each move. This time control allows for deep analysis and strategic planning.
    The Standard (also known as classical) time control is a popular time control format in the game of chess. It allows players to have enough time to think and plan their moves strategically. The creator of the Standard time control is not attributed to a specific individual, as it has been in use for many years and is widely accepted by chess organizations.
    • Time per player: typically around 90 minutes to 120 minutes
    • Additional time per move: typically 30 seconds to 2 minutes per move
    • Total Game duration: average game duration is around 3 to 6 hours
    • Time increments: possible increments after each move
    • Time control variations: possible variations including time delays and time bonuses
  2. 2
    Rapid chess is played with each player given 15-30 minutes for the entire game, with a 10-second increment added after each move. This time control is popular for online chess and fast-paced tournaments.
    Rapid time control is a popular chess time control format that offers a balance between speed and strategic gameplay. It is designed to provide a relatively fast-paced game while still allowing players ample time to make tactical decisions.
    • Time per player: 15 minutes or less
    • Increment per move: Approximately 10 seconds
    • Total game duration: 30 minutes or less
    • Number of moves played: Number of moves determined by the time control
    • Tournament usage: Commonly used in rapid chess tournaments
  3. 3
    Blitz chess is played with each player given 3-5 minutes for the entire game, with a 2-second increment added after each move. This time control is popular for casual games and quick tournaments.
    Blitz time control is a popular chess time control format characterized by fast-paced games with limited time for each player to make their moves. It was introduced as a way to provide an exciting and thrilling chess experience in a shorter duration. In Blitz chess, both players usually have a very limited time, ranging from a few minutes to even seconds, to complete all their moves. The time control variations for Blitz chess may differ slightly, but the overall idea remains the same - quick decision making and rapid gameplay.
    • Time Limit: Usually each player is allotted 3-5 minutes for the entire game.
    • Increment: Blitz games often include a small increment, typically a few seconds per move, to prevent players from solely relying on pre-move strategies.
    • Clocks: Digital chess clocks or online platforms are commonly used to time the moves of both players.
    • Competitive Usage: Blitz chess is extensively played in casual settings, online platforms, and is also featured in professional tournaments.
    • Excitement: The fast time control adds an element of excitement, intensity, and pressure, as players must make quick decisions and rely on instincts.
  4. 4
    Bullet chess is played with each player given 1-2 minutes for the entire game, with no increment. This time control is popular for online chess and speed chess tournaments.
    Bullet time control is a fast-paced and thrilling variant of chess that emphasizes quick thinking and rapid decision making. It is known for its extremely short time limits, requiring players to make moves in a matter of seconds.
    • Time Limit: Usually less than 3 minutes per player for the entire game.
    • Increment: Most commonly no increment is added, but some platforms may offer a small increment like 1 or 2 seconds per move.
    • Intense Speed: Players need to make moves quickly, often requiring split-second decisions.
    • High Pressure: The fast-paced nature of Bullet chess adds a significant level of pressure to the players.
    • Precision: Players must balance speed with accuracy, as mistakes can be costly.
  5. 5

    Fischer time control

    Bobby Fischer
    This time control is similar to standard time control, but with an additional increment added after each move. Each player is given 75 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by an additional 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment added after each move. This time control was introduced by former world champion Bobby Fischer.
    The Fischer time control is a type of chess time control that was popularized by the former World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer. It is designed to add an element of strategic planning and time management to the game.
    • Time Allocation: Each player is initially given a fixed amount of time for the entire game.
    • Time Increment: After each move, a player receives an additional predetermined amount of time.
    • Flexibility: Players can allocate their time as needed throughout the game.
    • Time Delay Option: Players can choose to have a time delay between making their move and starting their opponent's clock.
    • Maximum Time: There is often a maximum time allowed for each player's total thinking time.
  6. 6

    Classical time control

    Machines of London
    This is a longer version of standard time control, with each player given 120 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by an additional 60 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 30-second increment added after each move. This time control is used in some high-level tournaments.
    The Classical time control is a time control system commonly used in competitive chess games. It allows players a sufficient amount of time to carefully analyze and make moves, leading to longer and more strategic games.
    • Time per player: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with a 30-second increment per move starting from move one.
    • Total game duration: An average game duration of 4-6 hours, depending on the pace of play and complexity of the position.
    • Move count: Players are typically required to make a predetermined number of moves, such as 40 moves, within the initial time control period.
    • Increment: A 30-second increment is added to each player's remaining time after every move.
    • Delay: No delay is typically used in the Classical time control, but some variations may allow for a small delay before a player's clock starts.
  7. 7
    This is a tiebreaker time control used in some tournaments. Each player is given a different amount of time (usually 5 minutes for one player and 4 minutes for the other), with the player with the black pieces receiving a draw if the game is a tie.
    The Armageddon time control is a chess time control that is primarily used to decide the winner of a match in case of a tie. It involves a single decisive game where White receives more time on the clock but must win the game, while Black only needs a draw to win the match.
    • Time Control: White gets more time (e.g., 6 minutes) while Black gets less time (e.g., 5 minutes). If the game ends in a draw, Black is declared the winner.
    • Draw Odds: Black has the draw odds, meaning that a draw counts as a win for Black.
    • Coin Toss: Before the game, a coin toss determines which player gets to choose the color and also the time allocation.
    • Increment: Both players typically receive an increment (e.g., 3 seconds) after every move.
    • Tiebreaks: Armageddon is used as a tiebreaker in various chess tournaments to determine a clear winner.
  8. 8

    960 chess time control

    Bobby Fischer
    This is a variant of chess where the starting position of the pieces is randomized, resulting in 960 possible starting positions. This time control is usually played with rapid or blitz time controls.
    960 chess time control, also known as Fischer Random Chess, is a variant of chess that introduces an element of randomness at the beginning of the game by shuffling the starting position of the pieces on the back rank. The goal is to test a player's skill and creativity in positions that are not as familiar as the traditional starting position.
    • Starting Position: The pieces on the back rank are randomized, but maintain the same relative placement as in traditional chess.
    • Number of Possible Starting Positions: There are 960 possible starting positions.
    • Castling Rules: Castling is allowed according to the rules of traditional chess, with the king and rook moving to their respective squares based on the final position determined by the randomization.
    • Piece Placement: The pawns are still placed on the second rank, and the other pieces can be placed in any order.
    • Chess Notation: Special notation exists to describe the random starting position of the pieces.
  9. 9
    This is a variant of Fischer time control used for Chess960 games. Each player is given 45 minutes for the first 20 moves, followed by an additional 15 minutes for the rest of the game, with a 10-second increment added after each move.
    The Chess960 Fischer time control is a variant of chess time control which was popularized by Grandmaster Bobby Fischer. It is designed to add an element of unpredictability by randomizing the starting position of the pieces within certain constraints.
    • Starting Position: Randomized within certain constraints
    • Time Control Method: Fischer time control
    • Time Allocation: Each player is given a set amount of initial time
    • Time Increment: Additional time is added after each move
    • Randomization Constraints: Pawns remain on the second rank, the bishops are placed on opposite colors, and the king is placed between the rooks
  10. 10
    This time control is used in team competitions, where each team has a set amount of time to complete a certain number of moves (for example, 90 minutes for the first 40 moves for the entire team). This time control allows for teamwork and strategic planning.
    Team time control is a variation of chess time control where two teams of players compete against each other. Each team has limited time to make their moves, and the overall time for the team is shared among its members.
    • Time Allocation: Each team is given a specific amount of time to complete all their moves.
    • Shared Time: The team's overall time is shared among all its members.
    • Turn-Based: Players take turns to make moves.
    • Communication: Players on the same team are allowed to communicate and discuss moves.
    • Team Structure: Consists of two teams competing against each other.

Missing your favorite chess time control?


Ranking factors for popular chess time control

  1. Popularity among players
    Determine how many players actively participate in games with a specific time control and how frequently they do so. It can be measured by checking registered participants in tournaments or online platforms that feature various time controls.
  2. Official recognition
    Check if the time control is recognized or used by leading chess organizations such as FIDE, national chess federations, and major tournaments or events. Standard (classical), rapid, and blitz time controls have a notable presence in official competitions.
  3. Enjoyment and engagement
    Assess if the time control is enjoyable and engaging for players and spectators. Time controls that create dynamic, exciting gameplay will be more appealing to players and audiences.
  4. Coverage and media attention
    Determine the level of coverage and media attention the time control receives, such as live streaming, articles, and video commentaries. Time controls that attract more media coverage and analysis are more likely to be popular.
  5. Online presence
    Evaluate the online presence and support of the time control by looking at how many websites, chess servers, and apps offer it and the activity levels within those platforms. An active online community for a specific time control will contribute to its popularity.
  6. Historical significance
    Gauge the traditional presence and importance of the time control in the history of chess and its development. Time controls that have been established and widely played for a long time may be more popular due to their historical significance.
  7. Variety and flexibility
    Consider the variety of gameplay and strategies a time control allows. Players may prefer a time control that provides opportunities for different styles of play and enough time for creativity and critical thinking.
  8. Adherence to professional standards
    Examine whether the time control adheres to professional standards and rules established by chess organizations. Time controls that are in line with strict standards are more likely to be accepted and popular in the chess community.
  9. Balancing skill and time constraints
    Assess how well the time control balances the need for players to demonstrate their skills with reasonable time constraints. A time control should not be too short that it undermines the quality of play or too long that it makes the game less enjoyable.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular chess time control. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or time control is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 171 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each time control once every 24 hours. The rank of each time control is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular chess time control

Chess is a timeless game that has been played for centuries. It involves a battle of wits and strategy between two players, with each player trying to outmaneuver the other and capture their opponent's king. One of the key aspects of playing chess is time control, which refers to the amount of time each player is given to make their moves. Different time controls can greatly affect the way the game is played and the strategies that are used. In this article, we'll explore the most popular chess time controls and how they impact the game.

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