For those that don’t know, the ‘Starter Clock’ is a separate clock that runs before Black makes the first move:
It should be noted that it costs Black nothing to let this clock run. So long as Black plays before it expires, Black is then given an initial time according to the actual ‘clock settings’ after making his first move.
This is fundamentally unfair as White is afforded no such luxury. It is quite common for Black to play a move more or less immediately after a game starts and thus White cannot presume or benefit from such a delay.
Not only is it unfair. The Starter Clock can cause problems in typical tournaments:
Live 9x9 Auto-Sitewide Tournament. The clock settings are byo-yomi 5min + 3x30sec. The Starter Clock will allow 6 1/2 minutes before the game even begins! And it does this at the start of every round! That is potentially a huge addition to the total tournament time for no practical gain. Unfortunately, I have seen instances where it looked like people may have been trying to gain a victory by stalling on the start and as previously mentioned, White cannot count on receiving or benefiting from that delay.
Typical Title Tournament: Meijin Main 2020. Here the clock settings are fischer 1 week + 1day/move up to a maximum of 1 week. So after the tournament starts you have at least 1 week to make your first move, Yes? No! The Starter Clock for these games is only 3 days so in those games where you are Black you only have 3 days to make your first move compared to 7-10 days where you are White. Combined with the fact that new rounds begin unexpectedly for many, you have a situation where it is common for people to default on all their Black games and then continue where they are White, giving free points to half their opponents in that round.
While it might be possible to design a better starter clock, all in all I simply contend that no special starter clock is better than the current arrangement and it should be scrapped.