Chess Clock Buying Guide

for scholastic players

updated May 2019

If you are an elementary, middle or high school student looking to buy your first chess clock, this guide is intended for you.

Young chessplayers, invest in a chess clock! It adds to the fun of casual games with friends, it allows you to play speed and bughouse chess, it's required for tournament chess in 6th grade and above, and you will use it your whole life.

Should I get an analog (clock hands) or digital display clock?
We recommend a digital clock for three reasons. First, with fewer moving parts, they're less likely to break. Second, chess tournaments give preference (or even require) digital clocks with the delay feature. Third, they're funner! It's exciting to see exactly how many seconds your opponent has left, ticking down, down, down!

Where should I buy my clock?
Buying online gives you good selection and price. Chess House, Wholesale Chess, Ebay, Amazon are all viable options.

Which digital clock should I purchase?
Most are fine, just make sure it allows for multiple settings, including the "time delay" option. And you don't need to overspend. Below are our very quick ratings of current clocks on the market.

Chess Clock These clocks are fine:
DGT North American
DGT 1002 Bonus
WC Basic Digital Game Timer**
WC Advanced Digital Game Timer
ZMart Fun II - aka ZMF II
DGT Easy Plus Timer (make sure it's Plus)
DGT 960 Folding
Saitek Mephisto Competition Game Clock Omcor Game Timer 960

**this same clock is branded many ways: LEAP, FIDE, Robolife, inkint, CkeyiN, BISOZER, etc. Just make sure it has a 5-second delay option.

These clocks are nice, but cost more than you need to spend: (over $60):
ZMart Pro
DGT 2010
DGT 3000
VTEK 300
Saitek Competition Pro Game Clock III
Chronos clocks

These clocks do not have the delay feature:
DGT 1001
DGT Easy Timer clocks (except the Easy Timer Plus, which does have delay)
Basic LEAP chess clock

Also very helpful: Illinois CCA: Chess Clocks page - (Wa. State also uses "Simple Delay")

Common Time Controls in NW Washington

  • 25 minutes, 5 second delay - most Saturday elementary tournaments
  • 30 minutes, 5 second delay - Hot Summer Chess; State Mini-Teams Championship
  • 40 minutes, 5 second delay - High School Chess League
  • 90 minutes, 5 second delay - High School, Middle School State Chess Championships
  • 3 minutes, 2 second delay - Speed Chess Playoff for the HS State Team Championship
  • 5 minutes, no delay - Washington Blitz Chess Championships
  • 5 minutes, no delay - Elementary State Bughouse Chess Championships
  • 1 minute, no delay - Bullet Chess
  • 15 minutes, no delay - live chess

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