Chess clocks in straight pool

unknownpro

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think this topic should have its own thread. Here is 3andstop's post from the other thread.

3andstop said:
Maybe I should have first clarified how a chess clock works. A chess clock has two individual clocks on it. They also have individual buttons on top of them that start their opponents clock.

In the beginning (using one hour as an example for each player) the billiard game would have a total of two hours to play. Both clocks are set to raise their individual flags when their individual hours have expired. Both clocks are designed to run their individual times when the opposite button is pushed by the opponent.

Also in the beginning both clocks are stopped. Time is not running until the game starts, after the lag for example the winner of the lag hits the chess clock button which starts time ONLY for his opponent who has the break.

Once the break has been made, that player hits the other button which stops his time and starts the other clock for his opponent who's turn it now is.

The player who's inning is over now has a clock that is no longer running. If he or she took 10 seconds to break that is how much of their one hour total time they used up. It it took them 3 minutes to break then they only have 57 minutes left to play, while their opponent still has the full hour since their clock wasn't running.

It's absolutely the most precise way to fairly afford each player the same exact amount of time to finish the game without manually having to time each shot at 45 seconds (which is not only isn't practical but is ridiculous) The chess clock gives players the luxury to use their time as they need to, when they need to use it for difficult shots or decisions and not spread out over increments of 45 seconds each which obviously is not how long easy patterns take.

Use your time the way you have to, 5 or 6 seconds for easy layouts and maybe 2 or 3 minutes in tough spots. Forcing 45 second shot clocks detracts greatly from the depth of the game.

If a match MUST BE TIMED then, IMO a chess clock is a "no brainer" solution.

Chess clocks are about 20 bucks. Not expensive at all. Further more the automatically take care of managing themselves by design since no one wants their side of the clock running they are sure to be quick to hit the button after their inning.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
It sounds to me like a chess clock could work OK, and I would like to try it some time against a chronically slow opponent.

But I just wish we didn't have to go that far. It's possible for a 14.1 game to take a long time even if neither player is slow, and it would be a shame for somebody to forfeit in that situation. An example is a game with many protracted safety battles. I've been in games with well over 20 consecutive safeties by each player, and at no time in the sequence did either player have anything but a very low probability shot. I enjoy such battles and don't mind how much time it adds to the game -- if each player is playing each shot at a good pace.

What I would like to avoid/prevent is the opponent who studies everything endlessly (and needlessly), changes his mind frequently, and takes an enormous number of warm-up strokes on every shot before shooting. In tournament play, I'd just like to have the tournament director address him specifically rather than having everyone dealing with chess clocks.

But a chess clock would certainly be an unbiased arbiter and might be fine in some (e.g., non-tournament) situations. I'd like to try it.
 

selftaut

straight pool nut
Silver Member
If your in a tournament with slower tables and its humid on top of that, matches will get forfeited often with a clock, and it won't be the players fault..
 

100kbet

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
mmm chess clocks. I just like the way they look :)

I have a chess clock here with me next to the board, I'll have to move it to the table next time I shoot some 14.1 just to see how long it takes me.

also keep in mind that chess clocks can be set to whatever time frame you prefer (1 hour or 10).

Also nicer electronic clocks like I have also have options for a 'per move clock' that could be handy. you could easily set it at 60 seconds per shot and not have to worry about it at all.
 

Blackjack

Illuminati Blacksmack
Silver Member
Personally, I don't need a clock. I wouldn't use one even if they told me that I "had to or else".

Put the snails on a shot clock, but please.... don't knock the other guys out of their shooting rhythm by bringing in gadgets. JMO.
 

AtLarge

AzB Gold Member
Gold Member
Silver Member
... Put the snails on a shot clock, but please.... don't knock the other guys out of their shooting rhythm by bringing in gadgets. JMO.

Yeah, imposing a chess clock on everyone is ...
like the school teacher who punishes the whole class because one student did something wrong, or​

like the business manager who imposes some new requirement on the whole department because he's too wimpy to personally confront a transgressor.​
 

unknownpro

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Personally, I don't need a clock. I wouldn't use one even if they told me that I "had to or else".

Put the snails on a shot clock, but please.... don't knock the other guys out of their shooting rhythm by bringing in gadgets. JMO.

This gadget would ensure that you are not knocked out of your rhythm by slow players.
 

Big Perm

1pkt 14.1 8 Banks 9 10
Silver Member
This gadget would ensure that you are not knocked out of your rhythm by slow players.

Yes, concern of mine as well.....often, it's one player, not both, causing the slow play....IMHO, TD's typically know who these are BEFORE play begins, especially if the player is known or a local.....the TD can address pace of play during the players meeting, and also might make it a point to pull aside any known snails before play.....both players should not be punished when it is the work of one....

If matches should last two hours, set a clear expectation that players need to plan their shots within a reasonable time.....also, if a player is taking 5 minutes to hit a shot early in the match, it's best to address it quickly.....set expectations and people will have a tendency to meet them....at 2 hours, put them both on a 30-45 second clock and the TD or a rules official should step in.....

Someone did mention that the chess clock can track time for individual players, so in a match with a slower player, I'd love to be able to show that I only took 45 minutes in the match, and they took over 2 hours ;)
 

3andstop

Focus
Silver Member
Personally I can appreciate the feelings of some who say games shouldn't be timed at all, BUT, if a tournament must use time constraints, they first must be the same for everyone, and not left up to some officials guess on how each player usually plays and then go pick which ones he decides to time and which ones get a free pass on being timed. This brings into play too many variables in terms of game pressure, favoritism, and equity.

If a time system must be used at all, for the life of me, I can't understand how anyone would choose a flat 45 seconds per shot (or however many seconds) over the flexibility of a chess clock that affords players all the time they want in tough situations while still ensuring an equitably timed game.

Not to mention a 45 second shot clock has to be constantly monitored by someone and that's for each table, and that's a pain in the butt.

And yes, at the end of a match you certainly can see how long it took each player individually.

IMO, if ya have to time a match there is no comparison between these two method if you want to insure the integrity of straight pool by not forcing someone to rush to beat 45 seconds in a tough spot.

You set the playing area with two chairs and a table. Put a chess clock on the table and simply have the person who is ending their inning walk to his chair, tap the timer on the chess clock to start his opponents time. After the new incoming players inning, when he returns to his seat, he simply does the same thing. This ain't no big deal.

Don't mistake using a chess clock as having to play speed pool. If a 150 point game is assumed to take 2 hrs, you could afford each player a full half hr each extra on the clock (or 1 1/2 hrs playing time each) making the total game time 3 hrs max. No one would have to rush and all players get the luxury of taking as much time off their total 1 1/2 hrs as they want for thinking in tough situations.
 

JimS

Grandpa & his grand boys.
Silver Member
Seems like a guy is knocked out of his rhythm by missing.
 

Joe T

New member
Always liked the chess clock idea and not just for 14.1 it'll work wonders for other tournaments too, we've had 90 minutes races to 5 happen that ruined the Wed night tournament more than once.
Wouldn't take long to get true standard times to use in tournaments.
Surrre you want a bathroom break AND smoke a butt, go ahead take YOUR time. Works okay in chess don't see why we couldn't make it work.

On another note I'm finally back hitting balls, pool balls that is!
Dam that golf bug.
 

3andstop

Focus
Silver Member
Seems like a guy is knocked out of his rhythm by missing.


I'm sure there is a misunderstanding on how chess clocks work, Jim, would you explain how you see that please?

Every player sits down when they miss, if touching a button on the table next to their chair is enough to get them out of rhythm when its not even any longer their turn is possible, I don't see it.
 

DogsPlayingPool

"What's in your wallet?"
Silver Member
There is a potential problem when, say each player gets 1 hour, both players are running out of their allotted times and the score is something like 92 - 26 in a game to 100. What happens, and what is the penalty?

If the penalty is any player that runs out of time forfeits the match, then the match does turn into a speed pool event because each player is trying to avoid being the first one to run out of time, and therefore lose the match. Also, if each player took one hour and one guy scored 92 points and the other only 26 points, is it really fair for the guy who is ahead to lose the match just because he ran out of time first when his opponent only had 26 points and had one grain of sand left in his hour glass? In a case like this it is pretty clear who the slower player is out of the two guys, and it's not the guy with 92 points.

Clocking matches also brings up the possibility of a scenario where neither player has enough time left on their clocks to run out the game no matter how fast they play from there on out. Say the score is 75-75 going to 150 and each player has 6 minutes left on their clocks. What happens then?

A chess clock may have its place in certain situations, but there are some problems that need to be addressed. And working out the kinks may just raise other complications, rendering the whole idea not worth the effort.

BTW, I just don't remember this being an issue back in the day when most tournaments of importance were played at straight pool - and the interest and attendance was huge. How was this handled back then?
 
Last edited:

unknownpro

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
There is a potential problem when, say each player gets 1 hour, both players are running out of their allotted times and the score is something like 92 - 26 in a game to 100. What happens, and what is the penalty?

If the penalty is any player that runs out of time forfeits the match, then the match does turn into a speed pool event because each player is trying to avoid being the first one to run out of time, and therefore lose the match. Also, if each player took one hour and one guy scored 92 points and the other only 26 points, is it really fair for the guy who is ahead to lose the match just because he ran out of time first when his opponent only had 26 points and had one grain of sand left in his hour glass? In a case like this it is pretty clear who the slower player is out of the two guys, and it's not the guy with 92 points.

Clocking matches also brings up the possibility of a scenario where neither player has enough time left on their clocks to run out the game no matter how fast they play from there on out. Say the score is 75-75 going to 150 and each player has 6 minutes left on their clocks. What happens then?

A chess clock may have its place in certain situations, but there are some problems that need to be addressed. And working out the kinks may just raise other complications, rendering the whole idea not worth the effort.

BTW, I just don't remember this being an issue back in the day when most tournaments of importance were played at straight pool - and the interest and attendance was huge. How was this handled back then?

I agree there are a lot of potential problems to look for and was hoping to use this thread to brainstorm on what they are and possible solutions. You have done a good job laying out some of the problems. Now go to the answer sheet and read us off the answers, lol...

I was mainly thinking about pro tournaments to start with and figured the play would move along so much better that the times allowed today for matches would always be plenty of time to complete the match. But even if that were true, tournament directors would likely start scheduling them closer together.
 

3andstop

Focus
Silver Member
These are very valid points Dogsplayingpool, and of course whenever any kind of time limit is imposed on a player, a certain risk of crunch time comes into play. And, I suppose no matter what the penalty might be for running out of time, the tendency would be to rush as you approach your last minutes.

Good points all. In chess, it's not unusual for the player with far superior position and material to end up losing to his opponent because his flag fell. That's the nature of a timed event.

While ideally playing with no time restraints is best, I still feel that risking a possible rush at the end of the game is better than rushing through every tough shot with a flat 45 second clock.

The advantage ( if any) to the 45 second clock is that at no time is the actual game at risk based on running out of time. ( other than the loss of inning and foul costing you the game in the longrun.) Good points to weigh.

A large margin of time cushion in the overall event could help all but the real slowpokes from encroaching into the danger zone of time limits.

Too bad there wasn't a practical way to play with a 45 second shot clock that allowed unused time from each shot to be banked and used at a later time when the situation called for it, but that seems like a management nightmare that would require timekeepers at each table as well. But that would seem to be the best of both worlds.

Another downside to the 45 second time clock is that there is still no specifically defined time frame for the game since there is no way to know how many shots in total there will be in any given game when safeties and fouls are variables. :scratchhead:

As far as how they did it in the old days, I suppose there wasn't anywhere near the concern we have today regarding media coverage of events.
 
Last edited:

DogsPlayingPool

"What's in your wallet?"
Silver Member
As far as how they did it in the old days, I suppose there wasn't anywhere near the concern we have today regarding media coverage of events.

Probably because when you're talking about guys like Wimpy, Willie, Balsis, Crane and Murphy time wasn't an issue. Those guys just got up there and ran balls - lots of them. ;) I'm wondering if players generally have just gotten slower than they use to be, sort of like what has evolved in golf.

As far as media coverage goes, I'm not sure about the constraints imposed in modern times versus the good ol' days, but coverage on TV was not all bad in the old days. In the U.S. straight pool was broadcast on the networks, sometimes live. I remember watching the straight pool Championships on ABC's Wide World of Sports.

In any case, I don't think catering to TV coverage should be much of an issue as far as straight pool in the U.S. goes nowadays because there isn't any coverage. That is one bridge I'd be happy to cross when we get to it.
 

3andstop

Focus
Silver Member
In any case, I don't think catering to TV coverage should be much of an issue as far as straight pool in the U.S. goes nowadays because there isn't any coverage. That is one bridge I'd be happy to cross when we get to it.

But these days it's not only TV to worry about. I believe this entire subject arose because of the late hours at the Comet Billiards event which was broadcast over the internet.

But even beyond any type of media coverage, the reality of just simply being able to finish a tournament at a reasonable time without some kind of timing system is obviously an issue, especially with 14.1.

Here's an off the wall idea that just came to mind. (don't laugh, I haven't even had a chance to examine how stupid an idea it is yet )

Rather than looking for ways to penilize players that don't meet time constraints, (no matter what that format might be) how about rewarding players who do conform to a timing system.

In other words, (just for an example and for the sake of explanation) lets say in using a chess clock or some other form of timing, if a player is playing beyond pace at the halfway point they actually get awarded points, (say a rack of balls 15pts) If both players are conforming they both get the bonus, if only one is then only they do.

Ha, it started sounding crazier as I was writing it ... :thud:
 

DogsPlayingPool

"What's in your wallet?"
Silver Member
The chess clock lends itself to chess more than pool, especially straight pool because in chess each player has only one move (or shot, if you will) per inning. In the course of an entire chess game each player gets the same number of "shots" - every game. In pool this is not true.

In a game to 150 with the score 125-50, the guy with 125 very likely has taken more time and is in clock trouble relative to his opponent even if he is the faster player. So he unfairly has to alter his strategy or get out of his rhythm as a result.

I agree pace of play is an issue, not just one of media coverage. It is the reason I don't play tournaments regularly. I'm just past the point in my life where I want to be in a pool hall at 12:30A on a Sunday night (no matter 9ball, 14.1 or whatever). I'm in bed by then and want to be home with my family long before that. But I really honor the game of straight pool and the way it has always been played and I'm not sure I would want to introduce time considerations into the game just so I can play and be home at a reasonable hour. I've just handled the issue by not entering. As a result, I match up to play straight pool and can therefore choose when to play and can more easily control when it will end. On those rare occasions I do enter a tournament, I just set aside the time and allow for it.
 

unknownpro

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I think the simple loss of match penalty could work in pro tournaments given the right scheduling without really changing the game in the large majority of matches. And I really think that should be tried.

But how about this for a dumb idea... your clock runs out, you lose all your turns from there on out. Your opponent just keeps shooting when he misses until his time expires. High score wins.
 

JusticeNJ

Four Points/Steel Joints
Gold Member
Silver Member
There is more than one way to time a chess match. You could use Fischer time controls, which adds whatever is left after a move set to accumulate at a certain time to the clock, thus rewarding faster, (not slow would be more correct I guess) play. For example, say the score is 92-26 and the player with 92 has 20 seconds on the clock. He plays safe, and this takes one second, so he now has 19 seconds on the clock. As soon as his opponent moves, 19 seconds are added to his time, so he now has 38 seconds.

Now, say the increments to be added when the match begins, youd better run some balls, because the only way you can gain any points and a reasonable time reward is by doing so. If you get to the table and start playing safes, it wont work because youll only a.) gain two seconds while the other guy is way ahead in score and gaining an analagous time b.) run out of time if you stall. It should be enough to keep normal games running smoothly, where play would go on without the players even aware of a clock except for hitting the button when the sit down (or if they sit down haha), and will surely stop a five hour marathon from ruining a tournament. I don't know how this would be possible, but you could add the number of balls you run to the time as opposed to whats on the clock.

Also, most chess matches are timed AND limited per move. Like 50 moves over an hour or something. Food for thought.

Its not iron clad, but theres more than one chess clock out there. Or hell, just set the thing to five mins and play blitz 14.1.

Justin.
 
Last edited:
Top