A few months ago my son volunteered me to fix the broken chess clocks from his chess class. They are all analog and of different makes. I knew nothing about chess clocks nor how to fix them, but my son knows I like taking things apart. Sometimes I can even put them back together.
Amazingly I fixed 6 clocks. Or, approximately 6. I don’t really remember now. They were mostly simple solutions and none of them needed any parts. I don’t think any 2 had the same problem.
This last week the teacher sent home one more clock to be repaired. When I saw what the clock was doing, I knew exactly what was wrong because I hade experienced that problem with one of the previous clocks. I pulled it apart and was able to fix it in just a few minutes. I am starting to feel like an expert.
What makes a chess clock so special? Really they are just 2 (somewhat) normal clocks that have a system for starting one clock while stopping the other. The only thing that makes them different from a normal clock is they have a flag that drops when the time runs out. But, since they are analog, they continue to run.
One of the interesting rules of chess is that if you run out of time, you do not automatically lose. Your opponent has to claim the win because your time ran out. So if you are able to put him in checkmate before he calls the win on time, you win.
In the first picture you can see the black bar is just a teeter-totter. When you push one button down, it stops that clock and starts the opponent’s clock. And vice versa.
In the second picture you can see where one arm is pushing down on the thingy in the clock that rotates back and forth. I am not a clock person, so I don’t know the technical name for the thingy, but it is probably something like “doo-ma-flatchet”.
Click the pictures for bigger versions.