Tips for making your son play more slowly in tournaments

My son gets great positions but plays too quickly- 25 mins each with 10 second increments, he’s often losing games with 28 minutes on his clock! Any tips on how you slow kids down? Especially when you’re not in the hall team managing. Many thanks.
Ps- he’s 9, 10 in July.

1.Make him record his moves.  2.If he's already doing that, make him write his selected move down first, do a safety (blunder) check, and only then make the move. 

You can’t write down your move before making it anymore. Rule change.
wgnoyes wrote:
You can’t write down your move before making it anymore. Rule change.

In USCF tournaments, technically true. In many scholastic events, not true.


Not only for anxious kids, but also a good tip for many adults: literally sit on your hands. The act of shifting your body weight to move your hands, before you make your move, will remind you to do a blunder check or search for a better move. 

Another tip is to simply have fun. Yeah, I know kids probably hear that a lot: however, this also means trying to enjoy the moment. Tell them to take their time and enjoy the game: they might naturally slow down too. 


I don't know much about kid psychology, but I think a lot of problems can be solved by trying to get your practice to mirror your performance.

In other words if you want to slow down during the tournament, then first you have to practice that outside of the tournament.

Again, I don't work with kids, but what comes to mind is an exercise like playing a game with the kid where for every move they have to write down:

1) Two candidate moves

2) For each candidate move, the opponent's response they're most worried about

And do that for an entire game. If their "opponent's response" move is lazy, ask them why they're worried about that move and challenge them to find a move that's more deserving of worry tongue.png


Then, you know, gradually back off from that because in a real game you can't take notes.

Shift to playing games where on every 5th move you ask him what the 2 candidate moves were and what responses he was most worried about.

If a person gets into a habit of looking at positions like that (and that person cares at all about winning vs losing) then in a tournament game they'll naturally take their time and calculate those things out.

People - these are great tips- thank you! The ‘team mange’ one made me chuckle! 😃

Get the sugar and simple carbs out of his diet.  Substitute berries with lactose-free marscapone for ice-cream, make your own oatmeal cookies sweetened with Stevia instead of table sugar, and use more veggies with dinner instead of pasta, sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, and make sure he engages in exercise play for at least 1 hour everyday (being outside or in a sport or martial art) before he gloms onto the computer. 

All these things reduce the stuff in his body that cause people - especially kids - to be a little more hyper.  I know when I was little (and even now to some extent), when I have trouble concentrating it's because I've got too much sugar and simple starchy carbs in my diet. 

Finally, make sure he goes to bed on time every night and gets at least 8 hours sleep.


Sugar doesn't actually make kids (or people) hyper though.


A fad diet (if it's at least slightly healthy) plus the placebo effect should make most people feel better.

It doesn't make your diet any less stupid though wink.png


For example, what did I have for breakfast today? A beer and chips happy.png

So sure, some gluten free paleo nonsense would be better for the sole reason I wouldn't be having beer and chips as a meal lol.


Yeah, and IMO, the best things are usually boring. Trying to find some magical answer pushes people to energy crystals and fad diets. In reality a healthy diet is pretty boring (by which I mean common sense). A healthy lifestyle is pretty boring too.

When you're willing to go unhealthy though, hey, a whole world of exciting possibilities opens up wink.png


put his arms in plaster of Paris.


paris slows everything down ...


Your son plays bullet and blitz regularly, isn't it? You should reduce his games playing blitz and bullet. How? Figure it out.

bong711 wrote:

How? Figure it out.




Tell him to take at least 30 seconds a move starting from move 5 until he's got less than 5 minutes on the clock. Explain him what to do in that time and then see what happens. Might not work but that kind of strategy was what got me from a very fast player to someone who takes his time (and wins more classical games)


Developing his calculation skills will encourage him to take more time.