Russell Sherwood Monday, July 12, 2021
Understand the Time Control of the event you are entering!
ICCF operate two official and a number of unofficial time controls - the official ones are the traditional x moves in y days method and the Triple Block system, x days for the entire game - either with or without guaranteed time. The unofficial ones are championed by specific federations.
The pro's and con's of each system are not really relevant to the discussion here, but what is important is that the player understands:
(a) What time control will be used with in an event,
(b) The nuances of that time control,
(c) Their own plans over the duration of the event,
(d) Their attitude to time management.
It is a fact that the majority of ICCF games finish within 12 months, although this is not the case in the highest level events. With this in mind, we should consider (c) and (d) first:
Let's say your plans involve taking a month off chess in the summer. Are you happy with your clock running for 30 days - if the answer to this is no, then Triple block is not for you - although you can also budget for this in your time management!
Understanding (a) is vital - a Triple block event with guaranteed time and one without are very different beasts and whilst the number of actual time-outs in the latter is tiny it still casts fear into the hearts of players who like to play certain time management "tactics".
The key is to make sure you understand the time control in use and manage your time and tempo accordingly!