‘Two Minute Rule’ – Comments Invited

(by Kevin Argyle)

The ‘Two Minute Rule’ has been a general topic of conversation recently but it is clear to me that most players either do not know of its existence or are confused as to when it applies (I include myself in this).

In my last league game I got down to two minutes and was in a rook and pawn endgame a pawn down against a much stronger opponent. From a position of clear advantage my opponent started to play moves almost instantly (despite having 20 minutes or so on his clock) as a tactic to not give me any thinking time. This motive was readily admitted after the game. The moves he played were generally poor, involving obvious checks, etc. His position went from advantageous to equal to probably losing but of course it didn’t matter as I had no chance of winning the game in the time I had available.

The question is, should I have claimed a draw (before the end of the game, obviously) on the basis that my opponent was not trying to win by normal means?

I think my confusion lies in the fact that there is no rule stipulating how fast a player can play a move or that he has to play a good move, and it is not as if the position was a dead draw and he was just shuffling pieces about.


3 Responses to “‘Two Minute Rule’ – Comments Invited”

  1. Mark Radford Says:

    When your opponent was playing his moves “instantly”, was he writing them down? He should have been if he had twenty minutes on his clock. The requirement to write moves down should temper the speed of play to some extent.

    Re the two minutes rule: the issue is purely whether or not your opponent was trying to make progress, on the board. We need to find out how this works in league matches because the “two minute rule” does assume the presence of an arbiter.

    Personally, my preferred solution is to move to a Fischer style time control, where the two minutes rule is redundant.

  2. David Levens Says:

    When an opponent is not trying to win by normal wins, OR is making no progress, the clocks should be stopped and an arbiter called to watch the game from then on. If he/she thinks no progress towards winning is being made and the player concerned is only waiting for his opponent to run out of time, a draw should be declared. Having said that I’m not sure how that is dealt with in a normal club match. Perhaps both captains should watch together? Something for the LMC

  3. KevA Says:

    Except (as in this case), where one of the captains is involved in the game in question. I agree with Mark that where digital clocks are used it makes sense to have some sort of increment, at least as an option to the players.

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