The Time Factor

How to Win Using Time Effectively

Patients is a Virtue in Chess to be Sought After

When you see a good move, sit on your hands and see if you can find a better one. - Siegbert Tarrasch

Even when a move seems forced, it is worth taking a few moments to see if there might be a better alternative.

If a move is absolutely forced, don't waste time calculating it. Make the move and calculate the ramifications on your opponent's time.

Given the choice of two moves, if you calculate that the first move is clearly losing, and the other is vague and complex, the second move should be played without prolonged calculation. You can calculate the consequences on your opponent's time.

In chess, if you learn to consistently (each move) do the little things: take your time, count the material effect of your move, and check for basic tactics, you will soon find that these are not so little!

Use your time to think of specifics and to find the best move. Use your opponent's time to think in generalities and of future possibilities. Always make sure you use your opponent's time productively.

Play to win in as few moves as necessary. Don't waste time gobbling up your opponent's pawns when you're well ahead. Go for the safest and most efficient mate.

Until you reach at least master level, playing as error-free as possible is MUCH more effective and important than playing brilliantly, and will win a lot more games for you. One critical error will usually cost you more than a dozen brilliant moves will gain for you. Remember, the first step to mastery, is the elimination of errors. Most errors are made by snap decisions. Take your time and think before you move.

Use time wisely. Think and plan on your opponent's time during the game. Avoid time trouble. When in time trouble, try to think and play calmly.

To win a game of chess, you must first not lose it. Avoid mistakes, such as leaving pieces en prise (unguarded) or exposing your king. Before each of your moves, ask yourself, "DOES THIS MOVE IMPROVE MY POSITION?" and "IS THIS MOVE SAFE?" Avoiding mistakes is the beginning of improvement in chess. Take your time and THINK before you move and watch your mistakes shrink.

The two most common (and often fatal) mistakes in chess are moving too fast and overlooking opponent's threats. Literally Sit on your hands until ready to move.

If your opponent is in time trouble, don't rush your moves. Take some time to find surprising moves that force your opponent to think.

Play slowly. Haste and carelessness are greater enemies than your opponent. Accuracy, not speed, is essential in chess. Be patient. The reward for speed is a legacy of lost games.

The best practical rule for a winning game: destroy your opponent's counter-chances. It may be slower, but it's surer.

When your opponent is short on time, try to continually present him with problems that will require a lot of time to analyze.

The closer to the time trouble your opponent is, the more tactical your game should be. This way you will pose the most unpleasant problems for your opponent. He or she is much more prone to miscalculate in such a situation.