|I’m guessing that the clocks at the British Chess
Championships might be slghtly more up to date than these
My British Chess Championships starts today! I’m very excited about it and have been looking forward to it very much. As I prepared for it last week I found this article by Dan Heisman on the Chess CafÃ© website to be particularly thought provoking. He talks about what your goals should be for any given game that you play. Obviously, the primary goal is to win the game but he then gives this interesting secondary one that I hadn’t really considered before.
“Your second most important goal in a chess game is to use almost all the time on your clock.”
He reinforces this point by saying that if you aren’t utilising the time you’ve been given to its maximum potential then you are giving your opponent an unnecessary advantage. He makes a good analogy with taking an exam. Most students wouldn’t dream of not using all the time allocated in a test to try and gain the best possible mark that they can. In the same way, Heisman argues that chess players should use as much of their time as they can to give themselves the best chance of getting the right result.
I won’t steal his thunder by repeating all of the details in the article (you can go read it yourself) but he suggests 6 tools that a chess player can make use of to make the most of the time they have for a game. These are:
- Never start a game without the intention of using almost all your time.
- Calculate the average time per move before the game starts.
- When recording each move, also record how many minutes are remaining on your clock.
- Botvinnik’s Rule — “use 20% of your time for the first 15 moves.”
- Look at your clock periodically when your opponent is thinking and ask “Am I playing too fast or too slow?” and adjust the upcoming moves accordingly.
- If you are a player who plays too fast, then your two primary guidelines should be:
- When you see a good move, don’t play it — look for a better one.
- Before you move, make sure your opponent does not have a check, capture, or threat in reply that you can’t safely meet.