What are some of the most popular time limits for chess games? I'm looking for those used today as well as historically.

  • Game times have changed a lot since the rise of computers, as a formerly active chess player I'm quite interested in what people who are more current in playing tournament chess write. Historically at the highest levels you might have games that adjourned after a time control was met - something which today's computers no longer allow. Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 23:42

4 Answers 4


Blitz games will have 1-5 minutes per side.

Most tournaments will have 1-3 hours per side. A popular setup is 1-2 hours per side for the first 40 moves, plus an additional ½-1 hours each after the 40th move. They may also allow Bronstein/Fischer time, if the clock supports it.

The official FIDE time settings are 90 minutes for the first 40 moves + 30 minutes after move 40 + 30 seconds for every move.

The 2010 world championship was "120 minutes, with 60 minutes added after move 40, 15 minutes added after move 60, and 30 additional seconds per move starting from move 61."
I've heard of World Championships going up to 8-hours per side, though.

  • 4
    In my experience, anything under three minutes is called "lightning" or "bullet" chess rather than blitz, and blitz can be anything from 3 to 10 minutes.
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 20:22

Fast time controls are more current these days. You can find a lot of 30/30 (each player has 30 moves to make in 30 minutes) and G/30 (each player has 30 minutes to make all of his moves) in over the board tournaments. Slow time controls are still out there, but with the rise of Internet chess, even over the board tournaments are going with quicker time controls. On the Internet clubs you can find blitz chess (usually something between 3 and 15 minutes for each player to make all of his moves) and bullet chess (under 3 minutes for each player to make all of his moves); although the Internet allows for slow chess too, it may take a while of waiting, and good deal of patience, to get a game.

  • There is also "correspondence chess", which has time limits on the order of days or even weeks.
    – Joe Z.
    Commented Mar 7, 2013 at 20:23

Bullet: one minute per player for all moves

Blitz: 5 minutes per player for all moves

Quickplay: 20, 30 or 40 minutes per player for all moves

Quick tournament: 1 hour 30 mins to reach move 35, then 30 mins to finish (per player)

FIDE tournament: 1 hour 30 minutes to reach move 40, then 30 mins to finish, plus 30 seconds per move (per player)

Slow tournament: 2 hours to reach move 40, then one extra hour to reach move 60, then 40 mins to finish (per player)

Lightning: 10 seconds per move

Hourglass: 1 to 2 mins each to start with. the time you lose is added to the opponent's clock, and vice versa

Fischer delay: 5 seconds (usually, can be less) are added to your clock after every move

  • Could you add some references to this answer? Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 19:08
  • Quickplay is usually referred to as rapid. The FIDE controls for rapid are 15 mins + 10 seconds/move. Quick Tournament - Where is this sourced? Lighting - Where is this sourced? Hourglass - Not a popular time control. Slow tournament - Are you referring to the World Championship time controls? The time control you are using is outdated, as it is now 120 min for first 40 moves, 60 min for the next 20 moves and then 15 minutes + 30 seconds per move.
    – mojo1mojo2
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:16

Actually, in FIDE rules, you have different kinds of time settings :

  • Up to and including 10 minutes per player, it's Blitz ;
  • Between 10 and 60 minutes, it's Quickplay
  • Over 61 minutes per player, it's Slow

Fisher increments are counted 60 times and added to the base time in order to find the equivalent in K.O. time (no increment). These are the time settings according to the FIDE Handbooks. I can't find where exactly, sorry about that.

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