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How Fast Can You Play Safe Chess?


  • 19 months ago · Quote · #1

    Musikamole

    How fast can you play safe chess, following Dan Heisman's four saftey guidelines, with a reasonable degree of accuracy? 

    1. en prise  2. counting 3. single motif tactics

    4. combinations

    A 15 10 time control is as fast as I can play, doing number one and two pretty well, and number three okay. 

    http://www.chesscafe.com/text/heisman15.pdf

    "Counting is the process of determining whether any sequences of captures on a square might lead to loss of material. If not, the piece on the square is considered 'safe.' "

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #2

    NeuroMind

    I don't know what 1 means...but 2 3 4 I can do VERY confidently with 15/10 or 30 minute time controls....don't even get me started on how many pieces I have lost in bullet :P 

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #3

    hicetnunc

    It's difficult for me if I have less than 1hr/game to remove all blunders from my game, and even then... Undecided

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #4

    sapientdust

    I like the 90 30 time control and find that my play is much better at that time control than even a more intermediate time control like 45 45, which often feels rushed, especially if it goes to an endgame.

    People who think they can play good chess at rapid time controls and aren't experts or higher are deluding themselves. Maybe that's possible if it means "only the occasional blunder in the game" or "only mistakes that my opponent didn't notice", but I'm joking, of course. It doesn't happen.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #5

    Musikamole

    DivineSoul wrote:

    I don't know what 1 means...but 2 3 4 I can do VERY confidently with 15/10 or 30 minute time controls....don't even get me started on how many pieces I have lost in bullet :P 

    1. is  French for “in take,” a piece is considered en prise if it is unprotected and can be captured.

    Example



  • 19 months ago · Quote · #6

    Timothy_P

    I occasionally hang pieces when playing 3 days/move, so - never?

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #7

    blueemu

    I'm just getting back into chess after a 25-year retirement from serious play. My best speed at the moment is three days per move. If I tried playing blitz, I would get spanked like a red-headed step-child.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #8

    Musikamole

    hicetnunc wrote:

    It's difficult for me if I have less than 1hr/game to remove all blunders from my game, and even then...

    Your FIDE rating = 2049, which is one step from Master, I think. Like USCF, does FIDE call that an Expert rating?

    I find your remark surprising! For an "Expert", with 1000's of tactical patterns memorized, and way above average calculation skills, I would think that you could play the fastest Standard Time Control of 15 10, and blunder maybe once every 5+ games.

    When I say blunder, I am not talking about positional blunders (i.e., making a move that gives you a cramped position) , but tactical blunders, where your opponent spots a single motif, or a 3-5 move combination that wins material.

    Geez! How could I even claim to play safe chess (real chess) at 15 10, when you need a minimum of a 1 hr/game! Embarassed

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #9

    zodin

    Great posts all

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #10

    Shivsky

    The real answer might be never for nearly all club players ... as tactical mistakes will happen in different degrees of magnitude!

    Perhaps a more statistical measure is needed here rather than "safe + no-tactical-mistake chess" generalizations? Something like "less than 5% tactical oversights per game" (1 in 20 moves on the average)

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #11

    Musikamole

    Timothy_P wrote:

    I occasionally hang pieces when playing 3 days/move, so - never?

    I would guess that there is a live time control where you could play safe chess reasonably well, i.e., 90-95% safe. I would imagine that Super GM's can play 99.9% safe when looking to draw a match, instead of taking risks to win, i.e., playing unbalanced, non-symetrical openings, where differences abound, yielding plenty of chances for both sides to exploit the differences, turning them into weaknesses. 

    What is the main point of the opening phase? I thought I knew, but was corrected by this:

    "Most players think that the opening is centered around the development of the respective armies. While true in a limited sense, this is actually a view that misses the big picture. The real purpose of the opening is to create a difference  (or a series of differences) in the respective positions and then develop your army around these facts." - The Complete Book of Chess Strategy by Jeremy Silman

    Basically, the sharper the opening, the harder it is to play safe chess. The last thing that a strong 1.e4 player wants to see is the Petroff Defense (1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6), which is a symmetrical opening, with 53.3%  drawing chances. On the flip side, the Sicilian Defense (1.e4 c5), a non-symmetrical opening, has 30.4% drawing chances. Black plays the Sicilian to win, the Petroff to draw. I've read where a GM will avoid 1.e4 as White if their opponent happens to be an expert in the Petroff, playing 1.d4 instead.

    Do I worry about Black playing the Petroff Defense? No. Laughing  My rating would need to be much higher to worry about that stuff.

    Regarding correspondence chess, I have hung pieces with a 3 day/move. There are all kinds of explanations for that, like entering moves on the same day that you are sick, or recently got some bad news and are distracted. I don't feel that time control is a factor in cc, as it relates to playing safe chess.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #12

    blueemu

    Musikamole wrote:
     I would imagine that Super GM's can play 99.9% safe...

    I recall a game where Anand blundered a piece on move 6, but he doesn't do that sort of thing regularly... so 99.9% safe sounds about right.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #13

    Musikamole

    Shivsky wrote:

    The real answer might be never for nearly all club players ... as tactical mistakes will happen in different degrees of magnitude!

    Perhaps a more statistical measure is needed here rather than "safe + no-tactical-mistake chess" generalizations? Something like "less than 5% tactical oversights per game" (1 in 20 moves on the average)

    In that context, sure. Club players will make tactical mistakes, even if they are playing slow time controls. Does this mean that club players are not playing safe chess? Not always. It could be a matter of tactical strength, where no matter how deep one thinks, if the tactical motif is not known, no amount of time will change the outcome.

    Perhaps Dan Heisman's terminology is causing some confusion. When he talks about safe chess, he is not talking about mistake free chess, or perfect chess. That is my understanding. Someone needs to make a mistake for the other person to win.

    Heisman uses the word "reasonable" a lot, i.e. taking a reasonable amount of time per move in the opening phase (less time per move), and playing slower during the middlegame, and any critical point. Example: I've heard him say that a player is taking way too much time in the opening, like on move three, where 2-3 moves are perfectly reasonable and playable. Conversely, a player will take not enough time, say only 10 seconds per move, when the play becomes far more complex. This is when he will say something like - "that player is not taking the time needed to look for all checks, captures, and threats for both sides". A player who fails to do this sort of blunder check when things get murky is not playing Safe Chess, rather, Dan will say that the player is playing Hope Chess.

    So, I guess I could say that I am playing safe chess at 15 10 (sounds kinda silly right now - engaing in safe chess? Laughing) if I am checking for all checks, captures and threats on every single move AFTER I leave theory. Example: With the White pieces, I will not think of checks, captures and threats during the following move sequence - 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 (Scotch Game). If my opponent follows this move order with 4...g6, he has taken me out of my personal, small number of book moves. This will become the first critical point in the game, and I will need time to think and do the safe chess thing - run a few variations in my head and then check for checks, captures and threats on the variation I choose. If that variation flunks the safe chess rules, I will need to take a look at another variation in my head. 

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #14

    Narz

    Even G-45 is full of tactial blunders at even Master level, mostly in the last minute or two of the game when players are just trying to survive time control.

    I notice a huge jump in quality from G-3 to G-5 also.  G-3 will almost always be full of major blunders (+3) whereas G-5 can occasionally be played quite well even by club players.

    The best time control is classic (40moves in 2 hrs, sudden death 1 hr).  At that level you should really not be dropping pieces & you (ideally) should be seeing all tactical variations at least 2-3 moves deep.

  • 19 months ago · Quote · #15

    hicetnunc

    Musikamole wrote:
    hicetnunc wrote:

    It's difficult for me if I have less than 1hr/game to remove all blunders from my game, and even then...

    Your FIDE rating = 2049, which is one step from Master, I think. Like USCF, does FIDE call that an Expert rating?

    I find your remark surprising! For an "Expert", with 1000's of tactical patterns memorized, and way above average calculation skills, I would think that you could play the fastest Standard Time Control of 15 10, and blunder maybe once every 5+ games.

    When I say blunder, I am not talking about positional blunders (i.e., making a move that gives you a cramped position) , but tactical blunders, where your opponent spots a single motif, or a 3-5 move combination that wins material.

    Geez! How could I even claim to play safe chess (real chess) at 15 10, when you need a minimum of a 1 hr/game!

    I would expect to really hang a pawn maybe once in every 5 quick games, as you say, but I don't like making those stupid mistakes Smile

    An important point to note is that the quicker you play, the more you have to rely on pattern recognition to notice threats and label a move as 'safe', as you don't have much time to examine the moves in a proper way. You have to somewhat feel you way out of the minefield : this puts inexperienced players at a disadvantage, because they have some blind spots in their pattern banks. You can compensate for it in longer games by carefully looking at many options, but in quick games, you usually don't have time for it.

    But it's true I may not be using Heisman's definition of a safe move (check if you're not hanging a piece, nor falling for an immediate losing tactic if I remember correctly) : if I don't see a "simple" tactic coming, I feel extremely bad about it. It almost never happens in my long games, but it happens somewhat more often in quick games (and let's not talk about blitz...).


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