Slow Chess and more on at the Dan Heisman Learning Center

  • NM danheisman
  • | Apr 8, 2013

Just as my "Novice Nook" column at Chess Cafe quickly became a misnomer because the 6-time "Best Instruction" winner is aimed at improving players of all levels, so has the Dan Heisman Learning Center (DHLC) here at quickly become more than just a learning center.

The idea for DHLC was born about 8 months ago when student Eternal_Patzer and I were brainstorming how we could best use as a focused learning tool/site for ideas I use for instruction. Using that as a goal, Eternal_Patzer created DHLC and is its Super-Admin.

When you log on Live Chess at, the slowest time control offered is 30 0 which, ironically, is the fastest time control allowed by the US Chess Federation for a game to be considered under their regular (slow) rating system. If you want to become a titled player, you have to learn how to think correctly, and 30 0 is just too fast a time control for good practice by improving players. At DHLC one of the agenda items was to allow players to easily find opponents at slower time controls than 30 0. One popular time control is 45 45, slow enough to play "Real Chess" but fast enough that the game wouldn't take half the day.

But the real key was when Eternal_Patzer recruited SirIvanhoe to coordinate and TD the events. SirIvanhoe is the real star of DHLC. While I provide the philosophical guidance and Eternal_Patzer greets all the members, does the technical work and created the store, it is SirIvanhoe that does all the heavy lifting.

DHLC features several types of slow events. I apologize if I can't keep track of all of them (it's amazing that SirIvanhoe can!), but some of these events include:

  • 45 45 Quads (4-player round robins)
  • 45 45 Swisses with dozens of members in each
  • Team events where the players play as individuals at 45 45 but four can band together and their aggregage score is the team score
  • There are also DHLC teams represented in the U2000 and U1600 sections of the Team 45 45 League

The attraction and success of all this slow chess has not escaped the eye of IM Daniel Rensch has been in contact with us and has informed us that one of the action items for near-future improvement is to be more proactively helpful for those seeking slow play. After all, even if only 1% of's 6.9M members are looking for some serious chess, this represents an enormous amount of interest and attraction for the site. In fact, 1% of is almost as large as the entire membership of the US Chess Federation Smile.

Eternal_Patzer and I have also contacted some of my publishers and obtained sample books that we occasionally use for prizes at these events. Just this morning I FedEx'ed two copies of Everyman's A Guide to Chess Improvement to the MVPs of our Team 45 45 U2000 and U1600 teams Smile. I have also used free lessons as prizes to other events. Thanks also to Mongoose Press for their involvement - I think Russell Enterprises may also be involved (if not it is my fault for not asking them!).

Great thanks must be given to DHLC Admin Dr_Cris_Angel for the great work on our DHLC Monthly Newsletter! Check out the link for further links to all our issuesSmile. I made sure to send a Medal to Dr_Cris, but that hardly covers all the great work done on the newsletter. Thanks!

DHLC also has an extensive set of Forums for all kinds of chess discussion, too many for me to remember or list. However, Eternal_Patzer has addressed the issue of getting new members up to speed with a new members package which includes a personal message plus forum just with site information.  

For a slow pickup game you can stop in any time, or we have a pro-active get-together each Monday night via our Chat Room. Hopefully if you message almost any of our members, they would politely consider a request to play a slow game at some point.

I also mentioned our DHLC store. Thanks to the work of Eternal_Patzer, we now have a store (thru that sells dozens of merchandise from t-shirts to buttons to caps to cups with an assortment of DHLC logos and "Dan Sayings". Best of all, Eternal_Patzer has set up the store so that all net proceeds go to one of my charities at The Philadelphia Foundation, The Chess Support Fund. This fund supports youth (scholastic and college) chess throughout the Philadelphia area and Pennsylvania. If you don't want to purchase anything, but are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to either this fund or my other charitable fund, The Holly Heisman Memorial Fund (which supports women in need), you can also take this link, which has instructions for both online and regular mail donations. I have held, and am hoping to have more, activities thru DHLC like group lessons or simuls, where the entire proceeds go to the Chess Support Fund.

Each month Dr_Cris_Angel does a fantastic job in publishing the DHLC Newsletter. You can check out previous editions at the DHLC "Chess News" link. For example, here is a direct link to our Oct 2013 edition of the Newsletter.

After 16 months in business, the DHLC group has grown to over 3,500 members (Thanks all!), the 11th biggest group on This size eclipses most "country" groups; most groups that are larger have been around far longer. I don't think my name has much to do with this growth (but I hope it helps) - I think it's the great work of SirIvanhoe and Eternal_Patzer that set up all the serious, slow play that makes our group if not unique, then at least greatly attractive. Keep up the good work, guys!

PS: Here's a link to a YouTube video which shows how the qualifiers for the DHLC work.


  • 3 years ago


    I think playing OTB is not boring IMO. just hard to find games.  I thinking for the excitement and learning the time controls 45 45. These seem to be long enough to think about your moves and not turn based where some people will use computers. We all that IMs and GMs say stay from bullet and blitz until you get get stronger. I know that faster time controls are fun and addictive but we also that it will ruin your game in the long run.

  • 3 years ago


    I am leaning toward focus on playing more 45 45 than 15 0 games. I believe the perfect site for me is FICS.

  • 3 years ago


    If Slow Chess is boring I ask you: Play against Fritz (or ribka, or Crafty or Chessmaster or ...) from an equal position and try to find the best move (the first move of Fritz) for each move you do. Play 15 moves and then go to see which move was best for Fritz and ask you why, if it was not the move you played.   

  • 3 years ago


    I think for those who enjoy slow games to improve and really measure your skill I notice on FICS they tend to play 45/45.

  • 4 years ago


    I am very happy I found the DHLC! Looking forward to the first event starting tomorrow Smile

    Thanks to Dan, the spiritual father, Eternal Patzer and Sir Ivanhoe for all their time and efforts!

  • 4 years ago


    Here I am! Greetings from Italy. I joined Team League when I have an account in another site and I'm very happy to read that NM Heisman considered 30/0 too fast to play Real Chess! Playing Slow time chess OTB is not so easy and so play here slw chess is a very good idea! See you soon! GIulio

  • 4 years ago


    How did 45|45 gain acceptance? Why not G/90 with or without an increment? Or 60|30?

    I know uses 40 moves as the average game length, but my average game length against worthy opposition is just under 60 moves, so this means 1.5 minutes per move for me at these time limits.

    Has it been discovered by someone that 1.5 minutes/move is a sweet spot in terms of allowing enough time to think and yet also making sure that the game finishes in a reasonable amount of time?

  • 4 years ago


    I would definitely play 45:45.  I don't play less than 30:30 unless I am practising something (like blindfold)

  • 4 years ago


    When I play slow chess, I do it in real life at my club or at tournaments. Seems like a better practice for me, because I think, I am taking real games more seriously.

  • 4 years ago


    For those who are considering joining the DHLC, here's our Welcome Message, which will give you an idea all the activities we have going on:


    We're delighted to have you join our group!

    We have just published our latest DHLC Newsletter to help new members get an overview of the group and our activities.  Please take a few minutes and look it over.

    If you have any questions, be sure to look first in our FAQ:

    This is a friendly and supportive group, but we have a lot of competition going on -- especially in Slow Chess.  To avoid problems, here are the Guidelines for Conduct that we encourage everyone to review.

    Please be sure to check our DHLC shop!  Every penny of profit we collect on the items sold there is sent directly to The Dan Heisman Chess Support Fund, a charity he started for young players.

    Thanks!  We think you'll find a LOT to do and enjoy in the DHLC!

    Eternal Patzer
  • 4 years ago


    A fantastic initiative, and how SirIvanhoe keeps it together is just amazing. The best way to play slow Chess on the Internet, in my humble opinion. Would be nice if could have a system for organising tournaments played in the live area, but over a long period of time. We need to make sure Sir Bob does not have to do it all by himself. Great initiative, Eternal and Dan :-)

  • 4 years ago

    NM danheisman

  • 4 years ago


    The DHLC is an awesome group and a great way to play slow games!

    In most of their events one 45|45 game is played per week.  I've found this to be a great way to play slow chess without messing up the schedule too much!

    Thanks to all those who make it work!

  • 4 years ago

    NM danheisman

    To make those "Grand_Patzer" comments make sense: I accidentally called "Eternal_Patzer" "Grand_Patzer" instead a few times but I fixed it, so the version you should be reading after this comment should be correct.

    I guess we could call's "Online" (correspondence) chess the really slow chess. Compared to that, 45 45 at "Live Chess" is quite "real-time" Smile. Partly due to the advertising of this article, DHLC up to 1626 members Smile.

  • 4 years ago


    BTW, agree 100% with Dan's comment that SirIvanhoe is the real star of the DHLC (besides Dan himself).  He is a genius TD with one brilliant tournament idea after another, and hands down the hardest working unpaid member of  One of the true unsung heros of this or any!

  • 4 years ago


    Right you are, Nate - although I still aspire to be a Grand_Patzer ! Cool

  • 4 years ago


    I think you mean "Eternal_Patzer" not "grand_patzer" :)

    The DHLC is awesome! if you want to bring your game to the next level, join us!

  • 4 years ago




    Slow chess is not boring, It is Real chess.It increase vision of the board.Its real excercise for the grey matter of brain and real exciting.We play exciting games.

    You have to try it to believe in it.


  • 4 years ago


    GREAT insight on a GREAT group!

  • 4 years ago



    Slow chess is not boring. If you tried it, you would like it. I do slow chess at DHLC and it is a great help and it is fun. Don't criticize something before you even tried it. In other words: don't judge this book by its cover.


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