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I'm going to play in my first OTB tournament this weekend. My ratings in Tactics Trainer and standard chess are lower than my rating in online chess, so I'm concerned about the clock. Are there any general principles or rules of thumb for managing time? For example, if I'm in time trouble, should I look to trade pieces to reduce the amount of calculation?
Here is what I use when I'm in time trouble
1) DON'T play fast exp if you have five minute left and in the endgame (where most time trouble happens) it is better to play 30sec a move then 15sec a move
2)DON'T trade mindlessly trade if it help you NOT when it dosn't
3)DON'T get in to time trouble in the first place your MUCH more likely to lose the game
Watch this video. It's funny and discusses time management!
Thanks. Regarding the second point, are there any ways to make good trades--like would a trade of queens that otherwise is fairly even benefit the player who is short on time? The third point is the crucial point. Any tips for avoiding time trouble or for pacing myself?
Visualize the board after the trade. Who will have better development? Who's pieces will be more active? Who will have the initiative?
Only trade if you are getting something you want.
Well, assuming the time control is something like 40/2 SD1, I would suggest starting out by considering how much time you have. For example, if the time control is 40/2 SD1, consider that for your first forty moves, you have two hours. When you break this down to one hundred twenty minutes, you can see that you have three minutes per move for the first forty moves.
After that, assess the position. How many moves till you can play it out on the delay? If it is, for example, only going to take twenty moves until you would feel safe playing with very little time, give yourself two and a half minutes per move, just to play it safe. At the very end, you may need just a little bit of time to avoid blunders.
Of course, this is by no means a hard-and-fast rule. If you know the opening, play the move as soon as you are sure it is right. If you reach a critical position, stop and think for upwards of twenty minutes if it is necessary. Whatever you do though, don't try to emulate Gelfand and use half your time on the eighth move. It will run you into serious trouble, and it is one of the reasons he lost the 2012 World Chess Championship.
As an added point, if you are running low on time but have a winning position, you may want to look for repetitions. While you should rarely let a draw occur, it is often fine to repeat the position twice to reach the next time control. In high-level games, you will often see masters shuffling their pieces as they near the fortieth move, trying to reach the next time control without making a blunder.
If you see a sharp, tactical line right before the beginning of the second time-control, ignore it unless you feel quite sure it will work. Of course, if you have the time to calculate, or if it is your only chance not to lose, go for it, but otherwise, playing rashly can get you into a lot of trouble.
Finally, as you notate, write down the time in minutes on the far right of your scoresheet. This will help you with two things. First, you will take a bit more time to think, and not blunder with a quick move. Second, it will help you keep track of time. If you see you are way off your suggested three minutes per move plan, you may need to readjust, going faster or slower as the case may be.
Now, let's come to a full stop. This is directed at you only if you are playing a long, multiple-time control tournament. Now, if I have misjudged and this is a sudden-death time control, such as, say G30, you may only be able to use about forty-five seconds per move. In this case, ignore time notation and play strong moves.
I would not suggest making weak moves for the sake of an upcoming time control, however. Though trading pieces "reduces calculation," as you say, it may be entirely wrong in the position. Only trade if you think it is right, and always remember the relative value of pieces. If you have not read it, Silman's How to Reassess Your Chess is great for this.
Good luck in your tournament, and trust yourself! If you feel you need twenty minutes to find the win in a position, go for it! However, be warned that if there is no decisive continuation, you will be in a heap of time-trouble. Hope this advice has been helpful!
Thanks for the comments, everyone.
The time control says "30/90;d5 SD/60;d5." I think that means that players have 90 minutes for the first 30 moves and then 60 minutes after that with a 5-second delay, but somebody can correct me if I'm wrong.
To clarify: I wouldn't make trades mindlessly or make a weak move for the sake of the time control. My example about trading queens may have been a bad one, but I was wondering whether I should consider the clock when evaluating the position and determining whether a move is strong or weak. It seems like the time limits are long enough that I shouldn't worry about it. (A 30-minute time limit in live chess causes me trouble, and I'm terrible with 15 minutes or less.)
ChessisGood, your advice sounds good. Regardless of what I do with time, nobody will compare me to Gelfand!
I believe that time control is 30 moves in 90 minutes, followed by 60 minutes sudden death. For both time controls there will be a 5 second delay.
Anonymous_U: I enjoyed the video (despite the sniffling). I think the problem for me is recognizing which moves require little calculation. All too often, moves that seem like obvious ways for to gain an advantage turn out to be mistakes.
Shadowknight911: I don't know which time controls are most common, so I'm glad to hear that this one is a long one. The advice about not making fast moves when the opponent is short on time is helpful. I need to learn more about which positions are dead draws.
I will give you a psycological tip on it as well, taught to me by the top player of my country: ALWAYS SPARE 5-20 MINUTES ON THE CLOCK, You will refresh yourself with a soft drink or with a breeze stroll around the hall! And do try going to the restroom, you will drastically be refreshed(take deep breaths during the action :-P). You can even wash up if you wish to refreshen.
Lastly, While making moves make them with indiffrence ( First GLARE at your opponent, then at the clock, make the move, and get up <ONLY ONCE OR TWICE IN THE WHOLE GAME!> even if it is ur move! AND AT LAST GET UP FROM THE BOARD muttering(there seems enogh time for me!) During the stroll, do stare once or twice along with the harmony of the head FROM THE BACK, ESPECIALLY after a sacrifice! Do try to look up at the score sheet Or frm the side of the head.
AND FOR SAKE OF SAKENESS, DONT TRY THIS IN THE BLITZ GAMES and against a VETERAN, THEY ARE USED TO DIRTY TRICKS.
BEST OF LUCK! ;-D
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