What to do when your opponent blitzes moves in a rapid/standard game
I know I have been posting a lot recently, but currently I am preparing to play in the
3e Rencontres internationales des échecs francophones
the biggest OTB chess tournament held in the Province of Quebec. It will be my first tournament of that time control in almost three years, so I'm slowly building up my endurance.
While the time control is 90/40+30 with 30s increment each move, I'm currently practicing with faster controls simply because these games are rather long.
Today I was playing a 25+10s on the FIDE online chess server. For info: http://arena.myfide.net/
Here is how the game unfolded:
After White's 13th move, he had 26:53 and is poised to claim another minute on the clock. As we are at the point where the game is in the early middlegame, I knew that matching his speed is a) futile, as his pace is considered fast for blitz and b) potentially detrimental to my game, as I need a plan of action to counter his minority attack.
I know, it is really tempting to match his speed. I have been guilty in the past of blitzing through long games before. In fact, I've blitz through slow games, twice! Luckily, I escaped with draws both times, but I had serious winning chances in both games.
So, what do you do when your opponent blitzes moves in a long game?
- Don't try to match his speed! That's what your opponent wants you to do!!! Doing so will get you into trouble. Besides, if you have 25 minutes to play your game (in this case), use it! Having extra time doesn't mean anything! In fact, you will be wrought with regret should you lose the game and have lots of time on the clock.
- Play at your own pace! As a chessplayer, you're certainly familiar with the time control with which you're playing. You know how long you should be spending per move for a given time control. Don't let your opponent dictate the pace of your moves. If your opponent believes that he can build a long-term and short-term plan and make sure it is the best one in a few seconds, then good for him. From experience, the longer you take, the better that plan will be.
- Use your opponent's speed against him! Take some time to try and figure out what he's planning. Since your opponent moved quickly, chances are his intentions are obvious and refutable. If you can be sneaky while improving your position, you can catch him off guard, especially when chances are he only considered his own plan without considering yours.
In this game I withstood pressure from my opponent and had a winning advantage, only to collapse with a few blunders due to me straying away from my time management plan.
With all of the above in mind subconsciously, I carried on in my game, striving to make the most of my time.
Obviously, I would have liked to spend a bit more time, but the position didn't really require the 25 min, courtesy of my opponent
Remember kids, if you want to play moves as fast as you can, try blitz or bullet :)