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 Post subject: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #1 Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:13 pm 
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Hey guys, thought I'd bounce this question off of the knowledgeable masses of L19.

What do you think is a good game length (time) for club matches? Have you had much experience with using clocks in club play? Good results using clocks? Poor results? Other recommendations, experiences?

I've always had a tendency to play slowly (over-thinking, usually), and I've seen this problem while playing a number of friends. I'm interested in using game clocks to be able to get in more games and keep things moving along. It would be nice to be able to play multiple games in an evening and spread out the play rather than only play a single game.

At the same time, I don't want to put a lot of artificial restrictions on people's play at any club gathering. I'm also not sure how they would respond to adding a clock. I don't want to have to be harsh about using it:
"Times up! You lose. Thanks for the game."
<clean up stones>
"Next!"

But maybe some friends (and even I!) would benefit from that approach...

Thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #2 Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:41 pm 
Honinbo

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Use the clock, but always review?

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #3 Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:27 pm 
Oza

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you could use the clock just to keep the pace from being too slow, but not necessarily have to end the game when the time is up (unless they're really not keeping up the pace).

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #4 Posted: Tue Jan 24, 2012 7:40 pm 
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I played in a tournament in Japan where they had 2 hour absolute time limit. At the end of the 2 hours, if the game was not clearly decided, a stronger dan would decide the outcome. Kind of arbitrary, I know, but I did not see anyone who could not finish their game in 2 hours. In this case, there was no clock.

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #5 Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:00 am 
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All depends on the kinds of players you have:

If you have a bunch of mainly KGS types, I'd say 30 minutes base time plus whatever flavor of byo-yomi they can stand. That'll give some thinking time but keep the pace up and let the "average" player get 2-3+ games in over a meeting.

Many other players come to F2F clubs just exactly so they CAN mull over a board for close to 2 hours on a single game. You wouldn't want to exclude them.

Another "speed up" technique I've been toying with is encouraging resignations if you can tell you are way, way behind and freeing up players for more games. It's a fine line though between being pushy about it and trying to promote a good time for all (or most...) at a club meeting.

Bruce "Timer" Young

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Post #6 Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:16 am 
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Out our club, we use three main speeds:

Main Ladder competition: 1 hour + 20s byoyomi (four club nights per month)
Separate Rapid competion: 2 rounds of 30m sudden death (two club nights per month)
Monthly Blitz tournament: 5 rounds of 10m sudden death (last club night of the month)

We have two club nights per week, so 8-9 per month. The remainder, outside the 7 above, are casual nights without official competition.

This way, everyone can choose their own preferred tempo and get at least 4 official games per month on that tempo.

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Post #7 Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:36 am 
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At the two clubs I played at, the average was 2-3 games if you were there for whole evening. But there were slower players and faster players, and people just sorted out who they preferred to play against.

But I also never played at a club with the level of organization Herman describes.

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #8 Posted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:48 pm 
Oza
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What is the overall background for the original post? I know it said an issue had been noted in some games, but how many games? Do the majority of members see an issue that should be addressed or only a minority? Does the club have enough clocks available in order to make their use general or not? How often does the club meet - often enough to support a variety of activities like Herman's described above or less often? How long are the meetings (how to judge the impact of different time limits)? "Use clocks" is not necessarily a solution (particularly if most people don't see a problem :blackeye:). It can easily make the overall atmosphere of a club worse rather than better. There is also no magic attached to any particular playing time. The answer should fit within the environment of your club.

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #9 Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 12:26 am 
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Thanks for all the responses so far, guys. Some good feedback and info. (That is awesome you are able to have something so structured Herman!)

I do realize that there is no simple fix for this, and really comes down to figuring out what works best for the club.

ez4u wrote:
What is the overall background for the original post? I know it said an issue had been noted in some games, but how many games? Do the majority of members see an issue that should be addressed or only a minority? Does the club have enough clocks available in order to make their use general or not? How often does the club meet - often enough to support a variety of activities like Herman's described above or less often? How long are the meetings (how to judge the impact of different time limits)? "Use clocks" is not necessarily a solution (particularly if most people don't see a problem :blackeye:). It can easily make the overall atmosphere of a club worse rather than better. There is also no magic attached to any particular playing time. The answer should fit within the environment of your club.

This situation does take a little more explaining about the club. First off, let me say that it has been a while since I've attended the club (maybe this isn't even an issue anymore! :oops: ). My questions still stand, though, because I'm curious how people may have handled slow play in the past (or whether most consider it a problem, or not).

Now for more info about the club. To start, none of us are all that strong. I think our strongest members are around 7-9k. We are also a fairly small club (at our biggest, I think we were only getting 10-12 people, but we only saw those numbers for a couple weeks, and not everyone even played). Other basic info (running down your list of questions ez4u): meet once a week, 3-4 hours.

I also think there has been a little too much emphasis and taking as much time as you want. For example, we had a friendly internal tournament at our club with games with no time limits. This ended up with multiple games spanning multiple nights of the club. :shock:

I do have to admit that my post was brought on by my own personal frustration with how long games took. When I was attending club, I think I normally only got one game in an evening.

Okay, I've been looking at this post, re-reading it again and again - so I think I'll just post it. I've already gotten a lot of info from you guys, and it's helped me think about a lot of different things. I've also typed way more than I probably should have. :oops:

TL;DR - In summary:
- Maybe it's all just personal
- I can tell people I prefer shorter games and play those who are interested
- Focus on the club as a whole - look at everyone's needs and expectations
- Relax and enjoy the camaraderie of club time

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #10 Posted: Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:20 am 
Oza
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If you go back to the club, a direct proposal to institute the use of clocks may be a little too direct. Or in another sense it may be too indirect. Perhaps you should go back and simply say that you are looking to be able to finish at least two games in a meeting, who is interested? It may stimulate some fruitful discussion of the issue of slow versus fast(er) play. Two games+ per 3-4 hour meeting means finishing in ~1.5 hours per game. That is not extremely fast play in a casual setting, in my experience. In your club do people routinely review their games? If so, perhaps people should be encouraged to spend less time thinking in favor of reviewing. If not, perhaps some of the stronger players should be leading reviews to teach people that it isn't all about thinking deep thoughts in their own minds. Rather it is about putting their thoughts into play and afterwards discussing the results with others. Is the atmosphere of the club very serious? In other words, are people spending a lot of time because they feel they are studying deeply as they go along or simply because they are in the habit of playing slowly? If it is habit more than anything, it is worth just raising the question whether they are playing too slowly considering the time available. If they are being serious, perhaps it is worth proposing having a speed(ier) tournament on the last meeting of each month. For example 30 minutes absolute and three/four rounds to decide a winner.

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 Post subject: Re: Club Playing Time (Game Length)
Post #11 Posted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:54 am 
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ez4u wrote:
If you go back to the club, a direct proposal to institute the use of clocks may be a little too direct. Or in another sense it may be too indirect. Perhaps you should go back and simply say that you are looking to be able to finish at least two games in a meeting, who is interested? It may stimulate some fruitful discussion of the issue of slow versus fast(er) play. Two games+ per 3-4 hour meeting means finishing in ~1.5 hours per game. That is not extremely fast play in a casual setting, in my experience. In your club do people routinely review their games? If so, perhaps people should be encouraged to spend less time thinking in favor of reviewing. If not, perhaps some of the stronger players should be leading reviews to teach people that it isn't all about thinking deep thoughts in their own minds. Rather it is about putting their thoughts into play and afterwards discussing the results with others.

Thanks for the suggestions. It makes a lot of sense, and I agree with what you have said. One of the things that hasn't always been emphasized is the reviewing of games. We've done some recording of games, but any reviews normally happened at a later date. Focusing on reviews, though, would give some incentive to shorten the games a little bit.

Quote:
Is the atmosphere of the club very serious? In other words, are people spending a lot of time because they feel they are studying deeply as they go along or simply because they are in the habit of playing slowly? If it is habit more than anything, it is worth just raising the question whether they are playing too slowly considering the time available. If they are being serious, perhaps it is worth proposing having a speed(ier) tournament on the last meeting of each month. For example 30 minutes absolute and three/four rounds to decide a winner.

I think the atmosphere has normally been pretty serious. Your question about studying deeply versus the habit of slow play hits right on the mark. For a lot of people it is a mix of the two: they normally play slowly - not necessarily fast thinkers, and try studying deeply every play even though they would most likely benefit more from faster play + reviews (just getting more playing/game experience).

Your suggestion for a speedier tournament is one I've been considering for a while now. Personally, if I was to put on any tournament in the future, I would be putting some time limits on it. ;)

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