|In chess, adjournment of a game involves suspending it and postponing it until later, typically the following day. The rationale is that games often extend in duration beyond what is reasonable for a single session of play. The practice is far less common today than it was a few decades ago, due to a trend towards shorter time controls.|
Schedules allowing for adjournment fall into either of two categories:
- 2 1/2 hours per player for the first forty moves, followed by adjournment (a five hour session)
- 2 hours per player for the first forty moves, followed by 1 hour for the next twenty moves, followed by adjournment (a six hour session)
The rules for adjourning a game are as follows:
- Once the time control has passed, either player has the option of adjourning, and may do so on their move.
- If a player exercises that option, they lose as much time on their clock as there is until the end of that session.
- When the duration of the session has ended, it is imperative for the player with the move to adjourn the game.
- A player adjourns the game by recording their move secretly in an envelope and sealing it. Upon resumption, the arbiter makes the sealed move and the game continues.
The first three rules are designed to encourage players to continue games until the end of the session, but no longer. The last rule, while seemingly bizarre, is the only way to adjourn a game fairly: the alternative of suspending a game in a position known to both players gives a big advantage to the player who has the move upon resumption, since they get to choose the best continuation after a thorough analysis. As such, the rule ensures that neither player knows upon adjournment what the position will be when it is next their turn to move.
Considerations on when to adjourn a game can be complex, and often involve an extra dimension of psychology that is not part of the strictly logical struggle on the board. Analysis of adjourned positions is an art in itself.