Odd problem vs. computer opponents


I've always had a problem when playing chess against a computer that's kept me from learning much and developing my game.  No matter how "strong" or "weak" the computer's settings are, its reply to any move of mine is all but instantaneous--fractions of a second.

I fully understand how ridiculous it sounds, but this blink-of-an-eye response never fails to psych me out, every single time.  Having agonized for minutes over each move, I feel irretrievably unbalanced by an adversary that can respond so quickly, and with such (however illusionary) ease.  Half the time, I'm too rattled to finish the game; the other half, I'm too rattled to play decently--to this day, I still haven't beaten a computer opponent.

Has anyone else experienced this peculiar mental stumbling block--and if so, has anyone discovered ways of overcoming it?


I have had a similar issue. I then start to try and respond just as quickly. I can play a G/30 and after I get mated I see that I have used a grand total of 3  or 5 minutes.

One thing I try and do is play with a board and make my moves on the board then on the computer, then after the computer makes the move I move the pieces on the board. It makes me slow down some, but not a lot.

Still struggling with this.


I've heard others talk of this effect; I'm sure there's something to it.

There are many engines/programs that don't move instantly. Just pick one of those to play against.


Try playing untimed games, so that maybe you don't feel so rushed. Also, try remembering that just because the computer moved in 2-3 seconds or less, doesn't mean it made the best or even a right move. You can even try telling yourself, "Ha, you moved too fast; now I'm gonna find what you missed and exploit your mistake"--even if the computer didn't make a mistake, because then it might help you focus on the board and think before you move.

EscherehcsE wrote:

There are many engines/programs that don't move instantly. Just pick one of those to play against.

Glad to hear it!  Does anyone know what any of these engines or programs are?


Goodness, most commercial programs, and most free UCI or Winboard engines that can be installed in programs like Winboard, Arena, or Scid. Some engines are full-strength only, while some can be dumbed down.

What program are you using now?

If you don't have the desire to learn how to install GUIs and engines, an easy program to install is the Crafty Chess Interface. I haven't tried out the latest version 7.0a, which is an alpha release, but previous versions ran OK for me.



Lately, I've been using this site's computer-play mode on my iPad.  I've also been known to use Fritz.


I let a chess program I found and downloaded (called YeaChess) play against chess.com's computer at expert difficulty in "Play Against the Computer". YeaChess at a level 5 (of 10) difficulty setting drew as white and won as black. 


To put my two cents in, I say that rather than devising stratagems with the purpose of avoiding the feeling that your huge deficit in time usage per move provokes, I suggest that you actually attempt to understand that feeling thoroughly.

Why would you feel discouraged or bothered at the realization that you are playing a stronger, faster opponent?
Whether it is made of circuits or cells is immaterial.

There's always a bigger fish, chess is a constant reminder of that, and such fact doesn't diminish your own worth as a player.
Accept it humbly without being compliant, striving for more.

You'll find that with that mindset, little, pesky details such as this will actually become sources of motivation.