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  1. 14 Sep '15 15:53
    Hooray, I've joined a real chess club! And this time it's not an informal club where we just sit around and shove wood as we like, at any tempo we like, but a proper one with notation books and clocks.

    Ah, yes, and there's the problem. I won my first game, last week, but in a decidedly sloppy way, and the main thing to notice about that game was that we both played far, far too fast. Tonight I'm probably going to have to play a more solid opponent and lose badly because I don't use my full clock. I'm well aware of this bad habit of mine but I can't work out how to stop myself from rushing.

    So... how do better players do it? How do I teach myself to use all my available time; And how do I stop falling into traps because I think I've seen the tactic, but because I haven't been patient enough, fail to spot the real danger? I've tried just using the full time for each move, but of course that means I spend too long over the moves that really are simple, and don't have enough left over for the tricky ones.
    It'll be too late for tonight, of course, but any useful, practical tips on this area of game management would be deeply appreciated.
  2. 14 Sep '15 16:38 / 1 edit
    The concept of 10-move blocks is useful here. Use ~1/8 time on the first ten moves: Do not let yourself take less. For instance, in a G30 I tell very weak players (Weaker than you, SB, but I follow this rule fairly religiously in longer games) to take 30s on each move. Then, for each further 10-move block, use ~1/6 of your time–and if you need to move faster as the game comes to a close? Then go ahead– you can force yourself to move quickly, as evidenced by your question.

    "I've tried just using the full time for each move, but of course that means I spend too long over the moves that really are simple, and don't have enough left over for the tricky ones."–Shallow Blue.

    Then use exactly your minimum time goal on the easy moves–so you will have the time you need on the hard moves.

    If your club allows it, write your time goals for each 10-move block by the side of your scoresheet–and good luck!

    –HikaruShindo
  3. 15 Sep '15 09:39
    I think this is the best way to play, but the clocks do take a bit of getting used to. For me, it is the opposite. I am generally too slow, although I have got better with practice. I keep an eye on my opponents clock and, unless they are moving very fast, try to make sure I am not falling way behind on time. I do the basics every move (like skeeter, check all checks, etc.). I also do what I think Dan Heisman suggests which is, find your candidate move then look for a better one. Then if the position is not especially tactical and I'm not doing anything dramatic, I just play something that seems sensible and save my time for some proper thinks in the difficult bits. Once I've done all that and made a cup of tea, I don't find it too difficult to run down my clock.
  4. 15 Sep '15 14:44
    Originally posted by HikaruShindo
    The concept of 10-move blocks is useful here. Use ~1/8 time on the first ten moves: Do not let yourself take less.
    What, even in the opening? What do you work through, then, if you're in an opening you already know reasonably well?

    For instance, in a G30 I tell very weak players (Weaker than you, SB...)

    Hah! You don't know my "qualities" OTB... 🙁

    to take 30s on each move. Then, for each further 10-move block, use ~1/6 of your time–

    Ok, so if both numbers are correct, you actually allot a shorter time to the first ten moves than for subsequent ones? That makes sense.

    and if you need to move faster as the game comes to a close? Then go ahead– you can force yourself to move quickly, as evidenced by your question.

    Aye, and there's the rub: I can move quickly - but when I do, I tend to play sloppily and overlook the obvious.

    "I've tried just using the full time for each move, but of course that means I spend too long over the moves that really are simple, and don't have enough left over for the tricky ones."–Shallow Blue.

    Then use exactly your minimum time goal on the easy moves–so you will have the time you need on the hard moves.

    Next goal: acquiring the insight into which are the easy moves!

    If your club allows it, write your time goals for each 10-move block by the side of your scoresheet–and good luck!

    Oh, I think that'll be unnecessary. The tempo is 35 moves in 1:45, which works out to exactly three minutes per move, or half an hour per block of ten. (And the rest in another 15 minutes - last night one pair actually used almost the entire four hours. I don't think I'll achieve that for some time!)
    So, given my remarks about the opening... how about, if in a familiar opening, use 15 minutes for the first 10 moves, 30 for each subsequent 10, and the 15 left over for when I think I need them? And if in an unfamiliar one, use the full 30 for each block of 10? Or is using less time in the opening not wise - and if not, how do I use it?
  5. 15 Sep '15 15:50
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Oh, I think that'll be unnecessary. The tempo is 35 moves in 1:45, which works out to exactly three minutes per move, or half an hour per block of ten.

    So, given my remarks about the opening... how about, if in a familiar opening, use 15 minutes for the first 10 moves, 30 for each subsequent 10, and the 15 left over for when I think I need them? And ...[text shortened]... r each block of 10? Or is using less time in the opening not wise - and if not, how do I use it?
    I assume that whatever you have left of the 1:45 after 35 moves is added on to the subsequent bonus of 15 minutes?
    If so, then I think 15 minutes is a good benchmark for the first ten moves–if it's a very familiar opening (one that you play all the time or know a lot about) , then about 1/2 that.
    If in an unfamiliar opening, I would use maybe 20 minutes–the opening tends to be less complicated than the middlegame, so that's what I would reserve the most time for.

    By the way, that time control is fairly long, so don't feel the need to use all of it.
  6. Subscriber Ragwort
    Ex Duris Gloria
    15 Sep '15 15:50
    I don't think you need to be too prescriptive about this. Knowing that you have about 3 mins a move will tell you if you are behind the clock at any point. If you mess up when short of time try to leave a little more. You will see players who seem to need the intense adrenaline rush of time trouble to push their thinking to the next level. For others that is too much. Experiment with openings. Some bring positions to crisis point much earlier than others and having resolved these tensions before the time control comes up can help you avoid the worst by giving you something meaty to think about while you still have time. Openings that delay the crisis until near the first time control - say move 30 -plunge you into complications when you have little time left having frittered it on nothing in particular earlier on.
  7. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    16 Sep '15 01:48
    Originally posted by HikaruShindo
    The concept of 10-move blocks is useful here. Use ~1/8 time on the first ten moves: Do not let yourself take less. For instance, in a G30 I tell very weak players (Weaker than you, SB, but I follow this rule fairly religiously in longer games) to take 30s on each move. Then, for each further 10-move block, use ~1/6 of your time–and if you need to move f ...[text shortened]... time goals for each 10-move block by the side of your scoresheet–and good luck!

    –HikaruShindo
    I know some opening lines 15 moves deep. If it is obvious there is no point in wasting time. If it is not then the right thing to do is to take the time until you've understood the position and have a plan. The important thing is not to waste time repeatedly calculating the same thing. Setting quotas is completely artificial.
  8. 16 Sep '15 09:58
    Yes, I agree, but from the tone of Shallow Blue's post, I assumed he wanted some kind of artificial rule to help him out.
  9. 16 Sep '15 13:18 / 1 edit
    Hi Sahllow Blue,

    "The tempo is 35 moves in 1:45, which works out to exactly three minutes per move."

    Don't think like that. use the 1:45 as a whole.

    If a good player played to this time control and I did for years it's nearly the
    same as the Edinburgh league 1:30 for 36 moves, and you could measure the
    times the good player and weaker spent having a good think about the postion
    then you will find weaker player does it more often..

    That is because weaker players cannot recognise a critical position, the time when the
    good player will jump into think tank and not surface till he's happy - if this takes an hour
    then so be it.

    Weaker players tend to analyse and think at the wrong moments.

    Also remember you are allowed to think on your opponents time. Don't sit
    there with your thumb up your bum waiting to see what he does.

    Go on a fantasy trip sacing your Queen, then a Rook....you may surprised and what you see.
    I've hit on dozens of combo's doing this.

    Look for a plan, a Knight dance, 'I wonder if I can my Knight from f3 to d5 or f5'
    you start to spot weak squares. (or ways to weaken them).
    If you cannot think of what to think about then think about getting an Elephant
    out of a mud hole, it works for Tal.

    In short, forget the clock, do not let it become you prime concern and on no
    account play fast thoughtless moves if your opponent is in time trouble.
    That is what they want, it's an old dodge to get out of a sticky position.

    (also it's a face-saver, 'I lost on time' never adding they were lost on the board.)

    Post a game and tell us where you spent the most time.

    I looked at recent one, looked for a draw, always things of interest in a draw.

    Shallow Blue - daudyarteh RHP 2015.

    One missed tactical chance, one very poor decision and one piece of sloopy
    chess when at the square counting stage.

    White to play.


    Whack f7, you should always look at whacking f7 when you have a Bishop on c4.

    Your 6.Qd5 was wrank. even 6.Bg5 was better (6...Be7 7then Qd5! as in Game 7704241)
    Black has to find and play the ugly 6...f6 to stay on the board. Game 1834467 Black played 6...Nf6
    White missed 7.Nxe5 and lost. (work out why 7.Nxe5 is good.)


    6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Ng5+ = loads of fun.



    7..Ke8 8.Nd6 Qh4 9.Nxc7+ Kd8 Bg5+



    is just one line. There is some fun here. I cannot find a game where anybody has
    played it on here or Over the Board. But it should be considered, Worth a punt.

    More notes in the game. (could have done a blog on this one game.)

  10. Standard member Wulebgr
    Angler
    16 Sep '15 13:38
    One night several years ago, I was blitzing opening moves at the same pace as my opponent who uses one second per move or less in the opening. We were playing moves that we both had played many times. I was Black.

    1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.e5 Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7 7.f4 c5? 8.Nb5

    He spent almost two minutes on his eighth move. I resigned and went home.

    The next time I played him, I played my opening moves a little slower (two or three seconds per move). When I played 7...a6, he laughed. We both remembered well the miniature. The game developed along normal channels with his kingside pawn storm and my queenside counterplay. We drew.

    I have learned that he spends less than ten seconds for the first 8-10 moves in the Classical French, then goes into a long think--usually ten or fifteen minutes. At the end of his long think, he will play a book move, but often an obscure and suboptimal one. I spend a lot of time between games studying White's plans and Black's best responses.

    I have not lost to him in the French Defense since that eight move travesty. Most games are drawn. Sometimes I win. I usually have to defend a long time.

    He is the highest rated player in our city and the current city champion. Now in his 20s, he won a couple of K-7 and K-8 national championships when he was in sixth and seventh grade.

    I always write the move times for both players on my scoresheet every move beginning with the first move that takes me longer than ten seconds. I use about five seconds per move through the first few moves.

    There is no move number at which the slowing down begins. It varies from opening to opening.

    Sometimes I will slow down in some of my pet openings. There is no reason for my opponent to know whether I am still playing by rote or not.

    I watch my clock, my opponent's clock, and the average time per move also. Divide the time control by 40 to get the number that should be your average move time.
  11. 17 Sep '15 00:41
    Originally posted by Shallow Blue
    Tonight I'm probably going to have to play a more solid opponent and lose badly because I don't use my full clock. I'm well aware of this bad habit of mine but I can't work out how to stop myself from rushing.

    So... how do better players do it? How do I teach myself to use all my available time; And how do I stop falling into traps because I thi ...[text shortened]... seen the tactic, but because I haven't been patient enough, fail to spot the real danger?[/b]
    Don't focus on time management - it mostly doesn't matter. Play the games, take as much or as little time you think is necessary. But after each game (won or lost) - analyse them with a slightly better player and try to understand what you did well and what you didn't.

    You seem to assume that using the "correct" amount of time will somehow directly lead to better play. It's not that simple. Most of the time you will be limited by your level of understanding.

    While you play, at each move, ask yourself:
    - Why am I planning to do this move, what's the purpose?
    - Which alternative have I considered, why is my first choice the best?
    - What do I want to achieve in the next 3-5 moves?
    - What are the main threats I will have to counter?
    - What is my opponent likely trying to achieve? How will it impact the position? How can I counter?

    #1 - If you really try to answer these question you'll notice time will start flying ;-)
    #2 - If you really try to answer these questions you will have a much easier time during analysis understanding where your weaknesses are. Then you can improve.

    Good luck
  12. 17 Sep '15 08:04
    Shallow Blue,
    I don't remember where I read this basic statement, it does something like this:

    When you are making your opening moves, and your opponent makes an opening move that you did not expect, take up half of the time you saved in your opening to figure your next move.
  13. 17 Sep '15 22:24
    Originally posted by HikaruShindo
    I assume that whatever you have left of the 1:45 after 35 moves is added on to the subsequent bonus of 15 minutes?
    Yes.

    If so, then I think 15 minutes is a good benchmark for the first ten moves–if it's a very familiar opening (one that you play all the time or know a lot about) , then about 1/2 that.
    If in an unfamiliar opening, I would use maybe 20 minutes–the opening tends to be less complicated than the middlegame, so that's what I would reserve the most time for.

    OK, I'll try to do that.

    By the way, I lost this week's game - but in a more acceptable way than last week's win, ironically enough. I failed to castle in time, despite considering doing so. I thought, as he didn't even have his king's bishop out, I could postpone it for some moves and take the time to arrange my queen's wing as I wanted it. Wrong. He set up a series of exchanges that I'd anticipated, then took my g-pawn which I hadn't - and as a result, I lost my whole kingside and king safety.
    Mate and game over. But at least from one mistake that I can learn from, not a win from a game full of mutual blunders that I want to forget.
  14. 17 Sep '15 22:26
    Originally posted by HikaruShindo
    Yes, I agree, but from the tone of Shallow Blue's post, I assumed he wanted some kind of artificial rule to help him out.
    Not necessarily an artificial rule... but I'm well aware that I need to learn more patience, and for now I need some kind of tool to force me to take my time.
  15. 17 Sep '15 22:44
    Originally posted by thisisbatcountry
    You seem to assume that using the "correct" amount of time will somehow directly lead to better play.
    No - I may have misled people on that. I know that there's no one correct way of using your time - it's just that I know I A. play too quickly, sometimes far too quickly, and also B. overlook critical, sometimes trivial counter-moves to my plans. I'm not sure if A is a result of B, B is a result of A, or both stem from the same underlying problem.

    It's not that simple. Most of the time you will be limited by your level of understanding.

    While you play, at each move, ask yourself:
    - Why am I planning to do this move, what's the purpose?

    This, I often know. I'm not always right about it, but I know my intent.

    - Which alternative have I considered, why is my first choice the best?
    - What do I want to achieve in the next 3-5 moves?
    - What are the main threats I will have to counter?
    - What is my opponent likely trying to achieve? How will it impact the position? How can I counter?

    Ah. And the last two points tend to be the ones I overlook - again, whether because I spend far too little time, or v.v., I'm not sure.