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# Test Yourself

| 18 | Strategy

As a column wrap-up I would like to present a series of positions to solve. I will move from easier examples this week that are aimed at 1200s to harder ones in the next two weeks. In this Final Exam for my column's readers, it is important to treat these positions like a real game and set a fixed amount of time for solving them. I would suggest setting 15-30 min on a clock and after the time is passed settling on one move. Then, write down the thought process and the variations you have calculated over that period of time. It is important to concentrate on your decision-making process; the more efficient process you have the easier it will be during games. Your goal is to come up with a plan for a given side. The plan is a few moves long. Describe why you chose a particular move and plan. This all has to be done within 15-30 min setting. You will be given credit for the right plan and partial credit for alternative plans that are reasonable but not as strong. The positions are at the end of the article and the solutions will be provided in the next article. Please, try your best.

Since, this column turned out to be a short one (no solutions, because there were no test positions last week) I would like to also share with you the work that I have done to concentrate on a chess issue I have – time trouble. Knowing that one gets into time trouble from time to time is one thing, but to see it on a graph as a physical proof that time trouble is a consistent occurrence is rather shocking. I created graphs that plot my time usage over the last 10 tournaments. One can see a sample graph shown here. These were games mostly played with 2 hours per 40 moves time control. An average time use per move is three minutes, which is shown as ideal time usage. All the data below the black line shows that there was no time trouble, when the lines cross the black line it means that I spent more time than ideally required. It was a blunt revelation to see the very same trends in every single tournament – around move 12-15 the time lines go vertically upwards and do not cross the black line again.

A good start to identify the problem  is to collect the data and to see clearly that there is a problem. Now, I am in a process of understanding why I spend so much time in that fragment of a chess game. If you get into time trouble I would recommend to notate the time spent during the game, so later on you can reconstruct the data and analyze better your decision-making process.

* When writting the post I was not aware of an excellent article on time-management written by chess.com columnist N. Pogonina http://www.chess.com/article/view/time-management2

And now, part 1 of our Let's Make a Plan's Final Exam!

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