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In chess, “adjournment” refers to the practice of suspending a game before its conclusion and resuming it at a later time. This was common in tournaments and matches before the widespread use of digital chess clocks and the introduction of faster time controls.

Similar terms: suspension, interruption, pause, break, hiatus, intermission, recess, postponement, delay, deferment

History and Origin of Adjournment

Adjournments were introduced in chess tournaments to allow games to be played over multiple sessions, as some games could last for many hours or even days.

This practice was particularly common in the 19th and 20th centuries when time controls were longer, and games could be adjourned multiple times before reaching a conclusion.

Why is Adjournment important?

Adjournments were significant because they allowed players to analyze the position during the break and resume the game with a better understanding of the situation.

This added a new dimension to the game, as players could consult with other players, coaches, or reference materials to find the best continuation. However, this practice also led to controversies, as some players were accused of receiving assistance during adjournments.

Examples of Adjournment

  1. In a long tournament game, the players reach the time control after 40 moves and adjourn the game to resume the next day.
  2. During a World Championship match, games are adjourned after 5 hours of play and resumed the following day.

Variations of Adjournment

  1. Sealed move: Before adjourning the game, the player whose turn it is writes down their next move on a piece of paper, seals it in an envelope, and hands it to the arbiter. This move is executed when the game resumes.
  2. Adjudication: In some cases, adjourned games were not resumed but instead evaluated by a strong player or a panel of judges who determined the likely outcome of the game based on the position.

Famous examples of Adjournment

  1. The 1984-85 World Chess Championship match between Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov featured numerous adjournments, with some games spanning multiple days.
  2. The famous game between Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov from the 1974 Candidates Final was adjourned three times before Karpov finally won on the 124th move.

The Decline of Adjournment

With the introduction of digital chess clocks and faster time controls, adjournments have become less common in modern chess.

Most tournaments now use time controls that allow games to be completed in a single session, such as 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an increment of 30 seconds per move.

However, adjournments remain an important part of chess history and have shaped the way the game has evolved.

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