The Time Machine

Sherwood, Russell  Thursday, August 17, 2017

Have you ever got yourself into major time trouble? If this happens, especially in a number of games at once it can be a major headache and for some a cause of stress.


So having got into this hole, how do you get out of it? Here are a few ideas:


  1. If you have vacation time – use it, whilst you analyse your games. It still surprises me how few players don’t do this.
  2. Know the time controls – what exactly do you have to do? If you are playing in a 10 moves in x Days event, then once you reach each 10th move milestone you will get an injection of time. Remember to consider the so-called “Free Day” as well. This information is at the bottom of the Tournament Summary page.  It is worth noting that not all time controls are of this type – some more exotic experiments don’t have time injections.
  3. Consider your position in each event to play – is it a team event, are you chasing a Norm?  This will aid you in your prioritisation
  4. Consider the position at the board in each game? Where is it on the Win to Loss spectrum of results
  5. You now need to consider your plan in each game:
    1. Team events should, in general, be prioritised.
    2. If the game is “lost”, then resign it – why waste time you don’t have in these games?
    3. If the game is drawn or drawing then consider offering the draw
  6. Having followed step 5 we should have reduced our “pile” a bit for our remaining games we need to consider:
    1. Have I got to move daily?
    2. How much time do I have available (both in physical and processor time)?
    3. What is the game situation?
  7. We now have the grunt work to try and get to the time control. A few things can help:
    1. If the game has a fairly obvious line – go down it, using conditional moves if they are available in the event.
    2. If your response is obvious in a position – make the move (subject to a quick sanity check)


Hopefully after a few days of doing this you will have got yourself out of the immediate hole. Now is the time to consider how and why you got there in the first place.


I personally follow the 10 day rule – I rarely allow games to go below 10 days on my clock or not make a move for more than 10 days in a game. I probably manage to follow this 95% of the time and it prevents me getting into time trouble too often!

Updated Thursday, August 17, 2017 by Russell Sherwood

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