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Monday, June 14, 2010

Sandglasses and Chess

Sandglasses were once used for the timing of moves in a chess game. Two sandglasses were typically used for a match.

One, for the player to move, was set upright while the other was on its side. When a move was made the upright sandglass was laid on its side and the other raised, sometimes the wrong way up!

Unlike clocks, sandglasses were free from mechanical breakdown and their standing or resting position could be seen at a glance. But they could be set for only a fixed period of time.

They were first used in the Anderssen-Kolisch match of 1861. They were superseded by clocks in the 1880s. It's anyone's guess what would happen to sandglasses and players during a blitz match or during a time scramble!

- The Oxford Companion to Chess by
David Hooper & Kenneth Whyld.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's



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