More about Tempo in Chess - Gaining Tempo by making forcing moves

  • chessiq
  • | Nov 18, 2007

The earlier article on Time/Tempo/Tempi in Chess focused on NOT WASTING TIME when you make moves. How about gaining tempo/tempi/time? Well, a way to look at it is, if you HAVE time, you can use it however you want. If you don't have time, you are forced to do stuff. It is true in life, it is no less true in Chess. So, if you want to gain time on the board, you do it by taking time away from the other guy. (Bosses do it, parents do it, good Chess players do it!) You take away time from your opponent by making him do things that he would rather not do! For example, if you threaten to capture a piece and your opponent would have no compensation for it, he has to stop and address that threat. If you threaten checkmate, your opponent has to address that situation if he does not have checkmate himself. So the simplest way to gain tempo in Chess is to create threats or give checks. (Of course, if you give a useless check, you would be wasting time, and you would be punished for it!)









One of the most famous Openings, The Ruy Lopez, has its strength in the "forcing" opening moves.











One of the most beautiful checkmates in all of Chess - the smothered mate. If White had seen this, he would have played a different move to parry the mate threat. Mate threats are more forceful that all other threats.










The French defence can get pretty complicated very quickly. As you can see from the advance variation, White had to start making some tricky decisions around move 4 or 5 and on and on... the main reason is that Black's moves, though simple and obvious, are not necessarily easy to meet, unless you have a clear head or a booked up head!



Last but not least, gaining time, to get out of trouble!









See the annotation to the moves if you have questions on what's happening.


So, those are a few examples on how you can gain tempo/time in Chess.


Your suggestions and comments are welcome. 


  • 8 years ago


    Got it...

  • 9 years ago


    ok thats enough for me . i will send you a better article in this subject... have a good time
  • 9 years ago


    Thanks for posting
  • 9 years ago


    josalz_js, thanks!
  • 9 years ago


    I like those presentations very much THANK YOU!!!!

  • 9 years ago


  • 9 years ago


    DeepNf3, Thanks for the comment. I understand what you are saying. The idea for the article is three-fold. First, to introduce or explain what time or tempo is in Chess. Second, to show examples when forcing moves are necessary, either to equalize the game, or counter a threat, or dissuade an opponent from carrying on with his plans. I didn't mean to encourage people to play forcing moves all the time. The nature of Chess makes such an undertaking impossible. Last, but not least, I would posit that all successful tactics are forcing moves in nature and we cannot take away tactics from Chess. Thus, an understanding of tempo is a good basis for understanding why (and how) tactics work. My examples may not be the best way to explain the concept.

    tonightonly7, Thanks for the comment. I accept that my examples are not the best. I would appreciate help with making the diagrams and explanations thereof clearer (to show what a tempo is, whether it's lost tempo or gained tempo.)

  • 9 years ago


    The idea is important, but I don't think it was demonstrated very well. You talked about mate threats to gain tempi and then showed us a mate!? Openings would definitely be good to show for tempo fighting, but these seem poor choices. The Spanish actually might be good to show beginners, but you stopped too early. You are trying, and I understand what you are trying to show. However, I already understood tempi and I wonder if your post would help someone who did not understand tempi.
  • 9 years ago


    actually I was doing some thought on the fact that nowdays it seems very common to face chess players who play chesss by making forcing moves right out of the opening, this "out of the opening forcing playing style" is something which was unusual from players from the 1970s-80s and earlier years, it almost seems that with the intruduction of chess programs younger players's style of play started to resemble the way many computers play (which is in no way the best way to play chess), even computers nowdays have been programmed in a fashion that is transforming its playing style into a more human like logical way of playing chess, computers nowdays will follow opening variations before starting to play forcing moves right out of the opening, I myself don't play any games other than chess, but I can tell you that to make forcing move after forcing moves in chess is something which really does not apply/work in chess as it would do in some other type of strategic games with less room for imaginative and creative play, there are many variations in chess which strength is founded on allowing one of the players to go for early pawn grabbing.. etc, ex: like in the poison pawn varition of the Najdorf which Rybka programmers used succesfully several times, I believe that playing chess by playing forcing moves all the time even when your opponent can successfully defend your threats is rather of not good taste/smart, the game is chess, a game full of room for creativity, and not tic tac toe, checkers or for that matter any other cut and dry strategic game out there, I think a forcing move should only be played when the position requires for that type of play and not otherwise, I don't think chess should be played like computers do by calculating through forcing variations that many times were not calculated correctely, no even computers can do chess calculations 100% accurate if they could chess would be calculated to a draw, thing which is not possible for it to happen, computers still lose and will keep losing to each other at chess so will we humans, so... why play chess like stupid chess machines?, I don't see a reason for killing chess creativity in favor of a dry and ugly playing style.., if I am going to keep losing and winning at chess anyways I rather do it as far away from " 2+2=4 " as possible since " 2+2=4 " is not nessesarily true/constant fact in chess ..


    this following is how a sentense in your mind will sound like while playing cut and dry chess:


    let me threat to take that pawn and when he defends it I will make that other threat over there and then that other one, and when he makes that threat I will defend it this way and then make that other threat over there...


     a very ugly sentence indeed!, I don't want that thing in my head while playing chess

  • 9 years ago


    excellent, the smother move would be beyond my clumsy capabilities, but the knight-pinning and french defence were very clear and practical...Nice ONe!
  • 9 years ago


    Very nice and true.

  • 9 years ago


    The smother mate was elegant... or maybe it was raucously funny.
  • 9 years ago


    Good article
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