Capped Fischer Timing

    Keywords: Tournament, Online Go


Capped Fischer Timing is the time system where

  • one gets an initial amount of time,
  • time used for each move is deducted,
  • and an extra increment amount of time is added after each move,
  • but, the maximum time that may be accumulated may not be more than a limit time.


Players' remaining time

  • grows as long as they use less than the post-move increment,
  • unless the remaining time would be greater than the limit time, then the excess beyond the limit time is lost,
  • and declines when they use more -- on average.
  • is always at least the increment amount for each move.

This system is spilling when the accumulated time exceeds the limit time.

There are no periods. All you have to watch is the time.


5 minutes plus 30 seconds bonus (using the same time scale as other time system examples for comparison.)

  #    Time     Used
  1     5:00    0:15
  2     5:00    1:00  note: 0:15 spilled
  3     4:30    1:20
  4     3:40    2:40
  5     1:30    0:10
  6     1:50    0:20  note: time went up 0:20
  7     2:00    0:30
  8     2:00    2:00
  9     0:00    lost

If it were only one second less in step 8, life would continue with 0:31 on the clock.

Variant: Time limit for single move

An additional, fourth parameter is possible, which limits the time that can be spent on one move, even if one has more time on the clock.
Thus games will time-out quicker (e.g. on turnbased servers), if the opponent is not moving at all; and since it makes hardly any sense to spend all your time on a single move (which is a weakness of Fischer Timing and other time systems like Absolute Timing/Japanese Timing, by the way).

Note also: this modification can easily be added to other time systems also (e.g. Bronstein Timing).


On Turn Based Go Servers, the capped Fischer time system can be used to set an initial time (usually a number of days) as the time that you are willing to wait for a loss on time, and the increment time (often at least 1 move per day) as the average expected move rate.

Dragon Go Server sets the limit time equal to the initial time. The initial/limit time (labeled "Main time") and the increment time (labeled "extra per move") may be set to a number of hours, days, or months. Site statistics show 1 month + 1 day per move is one of the most common combinations.

Little Golem sets the limit time equal to the initial time. All games are the same: initial time is ten days (240 hours) and the increment time is 36 hours. An extension of 24 hours is added, if a game times out and there are remaining vacation days for the account.

OGS (Online-Go Server) implements all 3 parameters labeled as: Initial time (3-14 days), Increment per move (1-3 days), and Max Time Cap (5-30 days.)

Capped Fischer Timing last edited by on February 25, 2010 - 22:04
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