Obsessive-compulsive chess disorder?


I use up way too much time on my online games, (look at my average time per move) and then end up wasting a lot of vacation time instead of just moving with say, 18 or 24 hrs left to move but still wanting to "double-check" my analysis, or "triple-check" it, (later of course not now) or just procrastinate until the last minute, with the not surprising result I end up wasting a lot of vacation time and fortunately I'm put on vacation  automatically before my clock runs out in games or I'd probably end up forfeiting some out of carelessness here.

Does anyone else out there have a problem in turn-based games with deciding on a move and then just actually making it? Maybe part of my problem is I tend to end up with "Stream of conciousness" analysis where I write down everything I think of (really easy using ChessBase 9 to record my analysis) instead of trying to weed out as many blunders, 2nd-rate moves, and discarded ideas as possible.

Then again, maybe I'm just an anal-retentive patzerUndecided?

PS: Would you believe the spell checker here doesn't recognize "patzer?"


I remember when I started out I moved instantly, then I got slower and slower until Icould hardly move at all, having to check and check ^^
Now I'm much better at it though, I check it when I have plenty of time, then check it later and move.


I've slowed down a lot but my speed at openings where I'm comfortable or in easily winning positions means I'm at 1 hour per move. As well as doing quite a few conditional moves and making easy practical decisions like exchanging queens up a rook rather than spending time looking for mate in 5.


I face the same thing. And I have the same avg time / move as you. 


That doesn't sound like obsessive compulsive or procrastination, rather anxiety at whether the right move has been decided on. If you were putting off even looking at the board however, that would be procrastination for sure.


I think if you're using vacation time in between moves, then maybe you should play 14 day per move games.

N2UHC wrote:

I think if you're using vacation time in between moves, then maybe you should play 14 day per move games.

You're obviously not very familar with the "heartbreak of procrastination" but maybe you have a point (overlooking the fact that I'd just have more time to procrastinate even longer than usual). My guess is few players wanna play such a slow TL (unless they're used to snailmail chess) but that's just a guess. It might even be too slow for me!

So I guess I'll just start working on not procrastinating as much as I have been, for starters.


I don't think your main problem is procratination, but rather not wanting to cut of your anaylising.  Professionally I had a similar problem writting briefs. There was always more research I could do.  The result was that I ended up writing the brief in a hurry at the eleventh hour.  I finally set up a strict time schedule for myself.   I would allow myself four days to write the brief (with a subdivision of two days to write the first draft).  When the time came to start writing the brief I ceased researching although there was always more things I could research.  

My suggestion is to give yourself a strict deadlines for choosing your candidate moves, doing your analysis.  After you do your analysis give your self a time-limit of choosing one your moves.  Pick that move and sleep on it.  Spend one day looking for blunders and make the move.  No matter how much time you have, there comes a point where you have to trust your analysis and move on.  I also find that making the same calculations over and over does not show your mistakes.  Sleeping on the move, and then looking at the move from the prospective of a novice looking for blunders, works better.


It really comes down to a fear of losing.

Have I picked the wrong move...


I think you should try to play like OTB. 3 minutes average per move. Much longer creates bad habits.


Whenever I am faced with a very complicated position or I start seeing ghosts I go back to basics. First, I walk away from the board or the screen whether my clock is running or not. Analyzing from the wrong perspective for the given position leads to faulty analysis. So stepping away and distracting yourself is the best solution. Even if subconsciously you are still analyzing at least the physical board and piece position is not interfering with a clear picture of future positions in your head.


I would suggest scheduling your time for 1. General assessment 2. analysis and 3. blunder check.  There should be a break between each of the three (you can also subdivide each of the three into sub-sessions with breaks).  Set you chess clock during each session and when your time is up quit.


It sounds like a problem very common also in classical OTB chess.  Kotov addressed it in Think Like A Grandmaster.  Especially in tactical lines with multiple replies and follows, it is very easy to mistrust your analysis in a complex web of variations.

Kotov's advice, IIRC, was to first choose the candidate moves and lines for analysis, then analyze them one by one, taking the time necessary for each but only analyzing each line and subvariation only ONCE.  You can then recheck the move chosen, but no retracing analysis until then.

Of course online or correspondence allows more time than OTB for analysis, but that is burned up quickly if you keep going back over the same territory.


THANKS to all replying, even if I don't agree with or incorporate everyone's advice into my chess "homework"  it's encouraging to get thoughtful replies which will help me to start using a little more common sense and a little less dillying-dallying! And some of your suggestions of course!

BTW Estragon I have the Kotov book which I started to read eons ago when I only played OTB and found it too dense - and too much work!  I'm one of those guys who prefers to be "spoon fed" whenever possible but now that I "have a clue" here maybe I'll give it another go.