♜  "There is no drug that helps your Sicilian." -Yasser Seirawan  ♜

Popular Digital Chess Clock Manuals

Players should know how to:

  • Set their clocks
  • Pause during play
  • Resume play
  • Add time
  • Set delay
  • Set increment
  • Explain these functions
Digital Chess Clocks
Digital Chess Clocks
Due to the recent proliferation & variety of digital chess clocks as well as the USCF preference for digital clocks over analog clocks for rated games combined with a high percentage of players who still do not fully understand the operation & programming functions of their own clocks, this page contains User Manuals in readable & downloadable files of as many digital chess clocks as I can find. At this time I'm sure the list is incomplete, but I've tried to focus first on the most common types of digital clocks in use in USCF rated tournaments today.
There is some obsolete but interesting information about chess clocks in general in this document produced by TheChessHouse: how_to_chessclocks.PDF
Note however that some of the references to rules & customs in "how_to_chessclocks.PDF" are incorrect in light of the current USCF rules!
These user manuals are posted here as .PDF files which are readable using Adobe Reader. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can download it for free at:
http://get.adobe.com/reader/?promoid=DJDVP


How to set the Saitek Pro (gray) clock for G/100 d5

There is some useful background information, including the historical development of electronic chess clocks, & accurate definitions of "Fischer", "Bronstein", & "simple delay" modes on the Wikipedia "Chess Clock" page. Here's a brief excerpt:

Fischer = before a player has made their move, a specified time increment is added to their clock. Time can be accumulated, so if the player moves within the delay period, their remaining time actually increases. For example, if the delay time is five seconds, and a player has four seconds left on their clock, as soon as their opponent moves, they receive the increment and has nine seconds to make a move. If they take two seconds to move, on the start of their next move they have twelve seconds. There is also a variant of this time control that adds the delay after a player makes their move ("Fischer after" or more commonly increment), so the delay is added to the player's remaining time and is available for their next move. If however time runs out during their move, the game ends without the delay time being added. This variant prevents the player who is in time-trouble to take advantage of the extra-time.

Bronstein delay = with the Bronstein timing method, the increment is always added after the move. But unlike Fischer, not always the maximum increment is added. If a player expends more than the specified increment, then the entire increment is added to the player's clock. But if a player has moved faster than the time increment, only the exact amount of time expended by the player is added. For example, if the delay is five seconds, the player has ten seconds left in their clock before their turn and during their turn they spend three seconds, after they press the clock button to indicate the end of their turn, their clock increases by only three seconds (not five). This ensures that the time left on the clock can never increase, even if a player makes fast moves.

Simple delay = when it becomes a player's turn to move, the clock waits for the delay period before starting to subtract from the player's remaining time. For example, if the delay is five seconds, the clock waits for five seconds before counting down. The time is not accumulated. If the player moves within the delay period, no time is subtracted from their remaining time. This time control is similar to a Bronstein with time added before the move.


The September 2016 (70th Anniversary) issue of Chess Life contains an excellent article on chess clocks wherein it is mentioned that both Saitek Mephisto & Scholastic Blue clocks are no longer in production.

Chronos

Chronos
  ChronosManual.pdf
  • Rugged Metal Case
  • LCD Display
  • Three AA Batteries
  • 12 User Programmble Operating Modes
  • Available with Buttons or Touch Pads
  • Widely regarded as the best chess clock ever

The Chronos (a.k.a. Chronos II, or Chronos Standard) is considered by many to be the best digital chess clock ever made. They are reliable, rugged & extremely flexible for programming functions. However, in addition to being somewhat confusing to program initially, they are a bit pricey & they have a history of being only internittently available even through major distributors. Chronos Clocks come in either a black, blue or beige metal case.

The Chronos clocks have 68 preset modes from which to choose. Each of these presets can be customized & saved into one of twelve user selectable presets. This may seem overwhelming at first, but in fact you'll find the vast majority of users rarely use more than four or five presets, & once these are set up, operation is simple & minor modifications are easy. You can watch a six minute video on YouTube explaining how to set up a few typical user programs for your Chronos clock here: YouTube Video, "How to set the Chronos Chess Clock II". This will get you started & after you've set up a few presets for your favorite time controls, you'll most likely rarely if ever have to do any programming beyond occasionally changing a delay or beeper setting, which is really easy to do.

Back in December of 1999, Mark Kaprielian at Metrowewst Chess Club published a document "designed to help make sense of the many options available to the owners of the Chronos Clock". This document was revised in March of 2003 & posted on the MWCC site as Chronos_Clock_Tips.htm. A reformatted version with some minor typos corrected is presented here: MK-ChronosTips.html

Since FIDE time controls with increments are becoming more prevalent (in particular both RelyeaChess & Continental Chess Association frequently require increment time controls) & most typical club clock settings involve only delays,
instructions on how to set your Chronos clock for 40/90 SD30 inc30 for FIDE tournaments are presented here.


Chronos Blitz a.k.a. Chronos GX

Chronos Blitz
  ChronosBlitzManual.pdf
  • Compact Metal Case
  • LCD Display
  • Three AA Batteries
  • 12 Programmble Operating Modes
  • Available with Buttons or Touch Pads

The Chronos GX, or "Blitz" Model is almost identical to the Chronos Standard Clock except that the Blitz version has a shorter case & a smaller display which does not show the move counter. Both types of Chronos Clocks may have either buttons or touch sensitive pads for clock operation. The Chronos Blitz Clocks come in a variety of colors including black, beige, blue, & yellow.

Since FIDE time controls with increments are becoming more prevalent (in particular both RelyeaChess & Continental Chess association frequently require increment time controls) & most typical club clock settings involve only delays,
instructions on how to set your Chronos clock for 40/90 SD30 inc30 for FIDE tournaments are presented here.

If you are somewhat put off by the explanations offered in the abridged manual for the Chronos Model GX, you're not alone. However, I find the Blitz/GX model is actually easier to program than the standard model primarily because both the delay & increment settings are available in all of the "tournament" settings, so if you are using either delay or increment, but not both, yoou can just set the unused parameter to zero.
The good news is that all these features are explained on a couple YouTube videos. Here are two I like:
The complete set up guide to the Chronos GX 9:09
Chronos GX - how to access blitz and tournament modes 6:11
Take your pick, or watch both & you'll soon be a Chronos GX Xepert!


Excalibur

Excalibur
  ExcaliburClockManual.pdf
  • Rugged Compact Design
  • LCD Display
  • LED Indicators
  • Four AA Batteries
  • 91 Preset Operating Modes
  • 5 User Programmable Modes
  • Large Durable Buttons

Excalibur GameTime Model 750 GT-II


Saitek GameClock II

Saitek Gameclock II
  SaitekGC2Manual.pdf
  • Older Version of Saitek Mephisto
  • Large LCD Display
  • Two Size C Batteries
  • 12 Preset Operating Modes
  • One User Programmable Mode
  • Multiple Button Control

The Saitek Game Clock II has a row of buttons that allow direct easy access to all functions. Saitek: "Game Clock II" is an older moder, but may be nearly identical in function to the "Competition Game Clock (Scholastic Blue)", "Competition Pro Game Clock (Silver)", & "Competition Pro Game Clock III", which all appear to be different names for the same clock.


Saitek Gameclock

Saitek Gameclock
  SaitekGameclockManual.pdf
  • "Scholastic Blue" Plastic Case
  • Large LCD Display
  • Two Size C Batteries
  • 12 Preset Operating Modes
  • One User Programmable Mode
  • Single Joystick Pad Control
  • LED Illuminated Buttons

The Saitek Competition game clock has illuminated buttons that glow green when it's your move & flash red when time has expired. Saitek: "Game Clock II", "Competition Game Clock (Scholastic Blue)", "Competition Pro Game Clock (Silver)", & "Competition Pro Game Clock III" all appear to be different names for the same clock.


Saitek Mephisto

Saitek Mephisto
  SaitekGameclockManual.pdf
  • Plastic Case
  • Large LCD Display
  • Two Size C Batteries
  • 22 Preset Operating Modes
  • Three User Programmable Modes
  • Single Joystick Pad Control
  • LED Illuminated Buttons

The Saitek Mephisto Competition Game Clock Pro (I believe this is the same clock as the Saitek "Competition Pro Game Clock [III or Silver]" mentioned above.) has illuminated buttons that glow green when it's your move & flash red when time has expired. They are visible from all directions. Modes include: Hourglass, Blitz, & FIDE/ECU/Traditional Tournament as well as Fischer, Bronstein, Delay and Word Modes.


ZMF II

ZMF-II blue
  ZMF-IIManual.pdf
  • ABS Plastic Case
  • Bright LED Display
  • Four Size C Batteries
  • 1600 Hours Operation per Set of Batteries
  • Easy To Program
  • Three User Programmable Modes
  • Touch Pad Buttons

ZmartFun Electronics, Inc. are the proud USA producers of these elegant but simple game timers. They are currently available in black, blue, red, & green with bright white, blue, red, & green LED displays respectively. Like many more expensive clocks, they can be easily set for delay, increment, hour-glass, and byo-yomi timing modes as needed.


DGT North American

DGTNA
  DGTNAManual.pdf
  • LCD Display
  • Two AA Batteries
  • ABS Plastic Case
  • 10 different algorithms covering all popular timing standards
  • Manual programming of all modes
  • All 10 manual settings are stored in the clock's memory
  • 13 factory presets
  • Move counter for all options
  • Time and move counter correction option during a game
  • Optional sound alert to warn for running out of time
  • 16 LCD Contrast Settings
  • Low battery indication

This is the recently released North American version of the DGT Timer. Like the FIDE version, it may be used in conjunction with a DGT Recording Electronic Chess Board. LCD Display, Two AA Batteries, ABS Plastic Case, 34 Operating Modes. The LCD Contrast is adjustable to accommodate different lighting conditions. This clock does store your personal settings, but in order to start a new game, it seems you must turn the clock off then back on & scroll through the presets to find your desired mode.

According to the actual manual for this clock:

The main difference between the DGT2010 and the DGT North American (DGT NA) is the way the delay time is displayed and the color of the cabinet.
The DGT2010 adds the remaining delay time back for the player's next turn, while the DGT NA pauses during the delay time, which is common in North American countries.
The result is exactly the same, only the way of displaying is different.
(The Fide Laws of Chess state the following: [The difference between the "Bronstein Mode" & the "Delay Mode"]
6.2. b. The time saved by a player during one period is added to his time available for the next period, except in the 'time delay' mode.
In the time delay mode both players receive an allotted 'main thinking time'. Each player also receives a 'fixed extra time' with every move. The countdown of the main time only commences after the fixed time has expired. Provided the player stops his clock before the expiration of the fixed time, the main thinking time does not change, irrespective of the proportion of the fixed time used.)
The DGT NA has less presets for different timing methods and it has no special Go and Scrabble timing methods.
The DGT North American is not FIDE approved but all options that the DGT NA has in common with the DGT2010 are according to FIDE rules and regulations.


DGT (FIDE) [a.k.a. DGT-2010]

DGT
  DGTManual.pdf
  • LCD Display
  • Two AA Batteries
  • ABS Plastic Case
  • 34 Programmble Operating Modes
  • 16 LCD Contrast Settings
  • Official Chess Clock of FIDE

The DGT Timer is the official chess clock of FIDE & may be used in conjunction with a DGT Recording Electronic Chess Board. LCD Display, Two AA Batteries, ABS Plastic Case, 34 Operating Modes. The LCD Contrast is adjustable to accommodate different lighting conditions. This clock does store your personal settings, but in order to start a new game, it seems you must turn the clock off then back on & scroll through the presets to find your desired mode.

A special DGT2010 Limited Edition is released in January 2013 to celebrate DGT's 20 year anniversary. It was produced in 2013 only. The Limited Edition has the same options as the popular DGT2010 but is designed in a celebratory red colour.


DGT 960

DGT 960
  DGT960Manual.pdf
  • Folds Up to Tiny Plastic Case
  • Pre-installed Small 3v CR2032 Battery
  • Supports Shuffles for Chess960
  • Game Timer & Move Timer Modes
  • 16 LCD Contrast Settings
  • LCD Flag
  • Count Up & Count Down Modes

The DGT 960 Timer is specifically designed to support not only typical chess & other game tournaments, but also the "fischer Random" or "Chess 960" variant which requires shuffling the pieces to generate the initial starting position. LCD Display, similar to the Standard DGT Clock above, features adjustable contrast for varying lighting conditions. The DGT 960 is far too tiny for anything like Size C or even AA batteries, so comes with a pre-installed small 3v CR2032 battery that will supposedly last for four years with average use of the sound signal. manufactured in The Netherlands, this clock is an excellent choice for someone wanting to travel light or play lots of Chess 960.


Leap PQ9907

Leap PQ9907
  LeapPQ9907Manual.pdf
  • Compact Plastic Case
  • Light Weight, Less Than 4 Ounces
  • One AAA Battery
  • Fischer Mode
  • Presettable Count Up / Count Down
  • Preset Timing Modes

Made in Guangdong, China. I've never seen either one of these Leap clocks, but they look like an inexpensive version of the DGT to me except they have no provision for connection to an external electronic chess board & they appear to be available in only one color. Actual dimensions are 13.5cm x 9.5cm x 4.5cm & the weight is 135g. They come with a user manual, but I haven't found one online yet.

Note: Hugh McLaughlin informs me that,
"The Leap PQ9903B clock has the necessary features to provide the 5-sec delay that the WCC uses [as do many other rated tournaments]. The less expensive PQ9907, which has only three buttons below the display, does NOT have the delay capability."


Leap PQ9903

Leap PQ9903
  • Compact Plastic Case
  • Two AA Batteries
  • Presettable Count Up / Count Down
  • Official Clock for the Chinese Chess Federation
  • 29 Preset Timing Modes

Leap PQ9903 Manual Pages
Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6
Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12

Made in Guangdong, China. I've never seen either one of these Leap clocks, but they look like an inexpensive version of the DGT to me except they have no provision for connection to an external electronic chess board & they appear to be available in only one color.