In Chess Notation, How Is It Recorded When A Player's Clock Runs Out?

Like if White’s clock runs out, and Black has plenty of material on the board and could win, the game is awarded to Black. But how is this written in the notation?

The notation 1–0 at the completion of moves indicates that White won, 0–1 indicates that Black won, and ½–½ indicates a draw. In case of forfeit, scores 0–0, ½–0, and 0–½ are also possible. If player(s) lost by default, results are +/−, −/+, or −/−.

Often there is no indication regarding how a player won or lost (other than checkmate, see above), so simply 1–0 or 0–1 may be written to show that one player resigned or lost due to time control or forfeit. (Similarly, there is more than one way for a game to end in a draw.) Sometimes direct information is given by the words “White resigns” or “Black resigns”, though this is not considered part of the notation but rather a return to the surrounding narrative text.
Algebraic notation (chess) - Wikipedia

Why the second part about black having plenty of material? Whether black does or does not have plenty of material to win, if white’s clock runs out, black wins.

Black needs enough material to theoretically win. If there is no way for him to create checkmate, (even with white’s help), it’s a draw.

Ah. I guess I’ve only really seen timed out games in speed variants of chess, where there’s (almost) always enough material on the board. (I know it happens in full games, but I somehow never came across the rule that a theoretical win must be possible. I used to be a USCF member, I swear! :slight_smile: Guess it’s just one of those things I read once and immediately forgot about.)

You could say that it is…


I’ve played around with a board a little. Black can declare victory if he has a pawn , a rook, a queen or any 2 minor pieces.

He can also win if he has a minor piece and white has a pawn, knight or bishop
He can win if he has a knight and white has a rook.

Is victory possible with K+N or K+B vs K+Q or K+B vs K+R?

Correction to this, K+B v K+B I think needs to be opposite coloured bishops otherwise mate is impossible, and “any 2 pieces” doesn’t include same colour bishops.

So is K+Light Square Bishop v K+Light Square Bishop a possible mate?
Is K+LSB+LSB v K a possible mate?

KQ vs. KN and KQ vs. KB are wins for KQ in a vast majority of the positions, assuming the side that is KN or KB can’t capture the queen on the next move.

K + Light Square Bishop vs. K + Light Square Bishop is 100% a draw. So is K + Light Square Bishop + Light Square Bishop vs. K.

However, K + Light Square Bishop + Dark Square Bishop vs. K is 100% a win for the former side, again assuming that the lone king can’t capture one of the bishops on the next move.

This site gives some more statistics on simple endgames like the ones you described, using the power of endgame tablebases.

As for the OP, if that situation ever happened to me in an official game, I would mark it down as “0-1 Time”.

In the context I was talking about, it was asking if KN or KB could win, not the other way around, (This would assume the co-operation of the KQ side).

I’m thinking KN or KB versus KQ is impossible and so is KB vs KR, even with the co-operation of the superior side.

That is correct. According to the site I linked to earlier, all three situations have a 0.0% of winning for the weaker side. Because there are no pawns or other pieces besides the ones already listed on the board, there is no chance of the king getting caught in a smothered mate.

That website is very clunky,searching through the table is made unnecessarily difficult. After figuring out how to though, it claims there are 0 occasions where KR v KN is a win for KN, Such a position is easy to set up though.

Regarding material required for mate, note that different chess federations have different rules for “help mates”.

Help mates are checkmates that cannot be forced and require some degree of cooperation by the other player. Like if white has KN, black has only a pawn on the A or H file, and black’s flag falls, then under FIDE rules, white wins, as there is a legal set of moves that could have led to checkmate, even if it would have required multiple suicidal moves by black.

But under the US chess federation, and many online platforms’ rules, that would be called a draw by insufficient material.

Don’t quote me on the specifics, but do quote me on the fact that this is one rule without universal agreement.

Even with worst play, a player cannot lose with a King vs King and Knight. However, in a King and Pawn vs King and Knight game, can the player with King and Pawn be deprived of an only escape square by his own pawn or promote it to something that could deprive him of an only escape square, and paradoxically lose (if his time runs out) vs a King and Knight because he has more material? If true, I think that should be a loss for the player with King and Pawn because there is the possibility that they could get checkmated though it would take obnoxiously bad play.

Yes. This is exactly the point.
The pawn can potentially cut off a vital escape square, allowing the king to be mated in the corner.

There is no way for the other player to force this configuration though; it needs a succession of worst moves.

FIDE would agree with you, other chess federations would not.

In fairness, it’s somewhat academic, as in professional chess tournaments there is almost always an increment, and getting someone’s flag to fall in such a simple endgame is highly unlikely.

It can happen in tiebreak games played in super fast time control though.

KN vs. KQ: Thinking this through, since KN vs. K can’t mate, the only way adding the queen could change things would be if she were blocking an escape square for the king, so the queen and king must be right next to each other. The knight must be checking the defending king, and therefore cannot threaten any square orthogonally adjacent to the king. The attacking king can threaten at most three squares adjacent to the defending king. If the defending king is in the corner, then it’s possible to cut off all of the escape routes, but it’s also possible for the queen to capture the knight and so get out of check that way. If the defending king is anywhere but a corner, then it has at least two orthogonally-adjacent squares which are not threatened, and the queen can only block one of those, so it must have an escape, and so it’s not mate.

The analysis is similar for KB vs KQ, except there, in the corner situation, the queen might not be able to capture the checking bishop, but if not, she’ll always be able to block it.

It’s stuff like this that reinforces my view that clocks have no place in chess. Clocks are a convenience in terms of managing games, but they introduce complications. It’s better to have chess be decided by mate alone.

Then if I was in a losing position in an official competitive game, I could just get up, leave the tourney hall, and never return. Hey, my opponent can’t claim a win! The tournament organizers could specify that players must complete the game within one day, but that’s just expanding the definition of a clock.

Yep. A game that’s not completed is not completed. :shrug: Chess doesn’t exist to fulfill the needs of tournaments.

Mind you, I have nothing against people playing the game they want to play. Tournaments find timing useful. I don’t, but I’m not involved in chess tournaments. I just think that timing chess games does not improve the game itself.

Your ideal form of chess is more akin to correspondence chess then. While that usually has a time limit to prevent endless foot-dragging, it is much longer than typical over-the-board games and there can be months between moves, leading to games that take years to complete.

Players are also allowed to use computer programs to assist them, and given the long time allowed for analysis between moves, the level of play displayed in correspondence chess is much higher than in over-the-board games, and consequently much more drawish. From what I can find online, in the most recently completed world correspondence chess championships, 95% of all the games were drawn!