Chess for Beginners: Learn to Manage your Time!

Chess for BeginnersEvery chess player has their own unique individual style, and it is very important to understand the positive aspects that are conducive to success and the negative characteristics that contribute to failure. One of the most common beginner chess mistakes is clock mismanagement, specifically playing too fast in the opening. Sacrificing the quality of your moves because you want to achieve a big advantage on the clock in the opening is simply ineffective. Of course how much time you consume throughout the course of a game certainly depends on the time control, but for your standard chess game (usually around 60 or 90 minutes) – each side has plenty of time to dissect and punish the mistakes of a hasty opponent. Now you don’t want to waste your time in the opening, middlegame, or endgame by constantly and unnecessarily double-checking yourself. You will play your best chess by finding the ideal balance between trusting your instincts with fairly quick evaluations and moves, and developing your intuition to detect critical situations where you need to use more time on the clock to successfully navigate your way through a complicated position.

How To Find Your Correct Speed

It’s not easy finding your unique, optimal speed for moves in chess – but the best place to look for improvements is found in our previous games. One great way of evaluating your move speed is to write down how much time you have left on the clock right next to each move as you take notation during a game. You should be analyzing your games after each tournament anyway, but if you think you might not be moving at the best speed during each game then this exercise can definitely help you pinpoint your problem. In my online chess classes, this easy trick enables me to identify if there is a problem with my student’s move speed – and if so, exactly where it occurs. It’s easy to see if someone is moving way too fast in the opening, but sometimes this problem goes a little deeper than just blitzing out the first 10-15 moves. During my online chess lessons, I frequently encounter students who completely lose track of time in complicated positions – resulting in debilitating time trouble later in the game. By checking the student’s notation matched up with the time remaining after each move, I’m usually able to determine where these types of problems occur. Often a student is taking way too much in complicated positions as he/she is suffering from a lack of confidence, resulting in a blatant inability to take decisive action. Constantly analyzing past games and tweaking your individual chess style with an honest eye for scrutiny will lead to a guaranteed jump in improvement.

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