FICS uses the Fischer "clock" for all of its games. The Fischer clock can
work just like a normal chess clock if the player wishes. There are two
parameters to the clock that you can issue with seek and match requests. The
first is 'time', the second is 'increment' (or just 'inc'); for example:
match TheDane 5 0
The first example, would challenge TheDane a "5 0". The first number, '5',
means both players will have 5 minutes to start with. The second number, '0',
means that 0 seconds will be added to the clock after each player moves. This
means that all the moves will have to be completed in 5 minutes. In the
second example, the increment is 8. This means that 8 seconds will be added
to the clock after each move so if you move within 8 seconds, your time will
increase. In normal chess, different settings of the clock come under
different ratings (lightning, blitz and standard). A standard measure of
expected duration is 'etime' which is the maximum time possible to take per
player for 40 moves; the formula to calculate 'etime' is mentioned in these
o It is possible to set a default value for 'time' and 'inc' by setting your
'time' and 'inc' variables (default is time = 2 and inc = 12). To change
the default setting 'set time <time>' and 'set inc <inc>'.
o If the inital 'time' is set to 0 each player will have 10 seconds. If the
'inc' also is set to 0, e.g. 'match theDane 0 0', the game will become
untimed and the clocks will not be used.
o It is possible to ask the opponent for a suspension in the game. This is
done with the pause command and the game can later be started with
o The time command will show the current time left on the clocks.
o refresh will show the current time left on the clocks and also update the
board if an interface is being used unless blind mode (style 9) is used.
o Internet lag can affect the clocks. FICS doesn't know that a player has
moved until the move reaches FICS. Therefore any transmission time is also
included. Timeseal is a program that compensates for this transmission
time (and is essential for faster speeds). Timeseal comes with most
o If the opponent runs out of time, you have to claim the win by flagging.
If a player is lagging with timeseal, he will not be able to be flagged,
the clocks will be adjusted when he gets connected again. If the player is
out of time according to FICS, but it is not possible to tell if the
player has moved before the flag fell, adjourn will force an adjournment
without the player's consent (known as courtesyadjourn). However, if any
of the players are unregistred the game will be aborted (courtesyabort)
o It is possible to filter match and seek requests with certain time
controls using a formula.
o The time unit of measure on the server is milliseconds.
o Premove (preparing a move during the opponent's time and getting an
interface to play it as soon as the opponent's move is received) is not
illegal at present, but is discouraged. Moreover it is possible that it
will be forbidden in the future. Moving (but not letting go of) a piece
when it is not the player's turn and then releasing the mouse button when
it is the player's turn, is not illegal and is not discouraged (since
there is some human response time involved).
o A move will take at least 1/10 of a second if any of the players have the
variable minmovetime set to 1, which removes some of the benefit of using
premove. If all players have minmovetime set to 0 then faster moves can be
adjourn blitz flag formula interface
lag lag lightning match paus
pause refresh seek set standard
style time timeseal unpause untimed
v_inc v_minmovetime v_time
Created: 19 March 1999 DAV
Last Modified: 28 February 2008 mhill