How do I improve my OTB speed?

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How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 18th 2010, 7:16 pm

I seem to always get into time trouble.

How can I improve my speed?

Any suggestions are welcome.

I've tried playing lots of blitz games, and I don't do too bad at blitz, but that's just blitz, the opponent is playing fast too and the games are far less accurate... I assume. I play OLC (online correspondence) and do ok with that, but this allows me a lot ... probably too much ... thinking time.

I think I have to stop playing OLC and just play faster games a lot more often. Do you agree with that assessment or is there something else I can do without giving up OLC?

TIA

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by HangingKing on November 19th 2010, 1:40 pm

It's exactly the opposite for me, most of the time i finish games with far more time than my opponent...

A game of chess is about 50-60 moves commonly, but maybe only 10 need lot of thinking, so once you've decided a strategy if the opponent falls into some line you calculated before, just do a safety check on the consequences of his moves and play quite fast if it's ok.

To be able to do that (i.e. not being in trouble because you played too fast), you have to think on the opponent thinking time.
Paradoxally at it may seems, i plan my strategy on the opponent thinking time and use my thinking time to validate my lines against the consequences of opponent last move.

So if your opponent play slow, you spent the more time-consuming task (calculation) on the opponent time, and the less time-consuming task (consequences check) on your time.

If your opponent plays fast always, once you sense a very critical move, spend some time to think long how you can put him in trouble and bring some complexity he would be forced to think of also, so you can put yourself in previous situation (slow opponent).

Of course this is not universaly working, and when facing a much stronger player than you, you still will be in time trouble, but the aim here is to avoid surprises. If there is no surprise move, follow up your calculated line, and if there is one, no choice, use your time. If your are really in time trouble, just try to initiate faster some complications and count on the fact that your opponent will be in his turn surprised and spend time to think that you can use for free.

Keep in mind that all is reciprocal : the more time you spent thinking on your time, the more time the opponent has free thinking time, and playing fast a few moves, invert the thing.

A lot of players are passive when it is not their turn to play, just waiting for their opponent to do something and start thinking their lines only when the opponent move is explicited. But most of the time your opponent will play a standard move (something you can guess, and evaluate as a candidate move for him), and a few times only it will be a complete surprise. You have to use this asymetry at your advantage! (i.e. think long only on surprises = reduce the number of times you waste clock amount).


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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 20th 2010, 7:39 am

So in short you are saying to reduce surprises by assessing more candidate moves for my opponent in their time. All too often I focus on what I see as the best move for my opponent and I spend most of the thinking on it and I am surprised when my opponent doesn't play that move. This forces me to spend more of my clock time assessing the move.

Could be some good advice there,... I'll try it. Thanks :-)

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 20th 2010, 9:40 am

Play 2 5 games with your friends.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 20th 2010, 9:08 pm

Do you mean blitz?

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 22nd 2010, 9:07 am

Yes, but with the same increment you would have in a tournament, usually five seconds. So, I think 2 5 is ideal.

Since I started playing blitz I don't have time problems.

The thing is you have to be careful with blitz, as the other thread says it can be bad for slow game performance. But it's good for opening practice, timing practice, etc..

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by Blue Devil Knight on November 22nd 2010, 9:11 am

One thing is I think you do a lot on the computer. The above should be done with a real board, of course. Computer chess done too much tends to slow people down in OTB situations for some reason.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by HangingKing on November 22nd 2010, 3:55 pm

What is fun about what you said, is that I did progress in blitz when i decided to play more slow games, not much the other way around. :p
Of course i do not have speed pb, i guess this is why i can gain only bad habits from blitz...

Well this is understandable, in slow games i did learn which moves were good and which were bad, so at least for opening and early middlegame i could push that in my blitz game and play this stage really fast.

Also, i did noticed that i was less often flagged while taking my time in blitz games rather than playing the faster i could do, the reason is with more accurate play you need less moves overall to finish a game, and less moves means shortest game and more time per move to think.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 23rd 2010, 6:12 am

Blue Devil Knight wrote:One thing is I think you do a lot on the computer. The above should be done with a real board, of course. Computer chess done too much tends to slow people down in OTB situations for some reason.
Yes, I tend to agree... online chess makes one slower. I actually do play a fair bit of blitz otb every week, so hopefully it is helping me... and I have noticed that I am getting into time trouble less, but still too much for my liking.

I do like the idea of short time control with a 5 second increment, that does force you to be faster. I might take that to a bit more of an extreme... say, 1 minute plus 10 seconds. Thanks :-)

HangingKing wrote:...with more accurate play you need less moves overall to finish a game, and less moves means shortest game and more time per move to think.
Yes, but you can end up assuming that you can spend more time per move in order to have a short game, but it is damned hard working out how many more moves the game might have!

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by PawnCustodian on November 23rd 2010, 8:44 am

Before giving up something you like, you might want to see what the real issue is...

How are your openings? Are you getting through to 20-30% the first time control in a minute or two and into familiar postions?

Do you know where you are spending your time? Try logging your thinking time and see if you are spending too much time on moves that require little or no calculation or perhaps in the opening, middle, or endgame.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by HangingKing on November 23rd 2010, 2:36 pm

Yep, you have to compile yourself with the -g -p options for profiling and analyse the bottlenecks Very Happy



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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 23rd 2010, 8:20 pm

What are -g -p options?

PawnCustodian... you may very well be a genius my friend! My openings are dodgey at best. I can spend a considerable amount of time during the opening, especially when the opponent sends us down unknown territory.

Such a good and simple point... if I knew my openings better then I would launch deeper into the game before having to spend much time at all. Still... it can be very easy for the opponent to branch out of known lines early... there are so many of them. The sheer number of opening lines is what puts me off of bothering to study openings at all.

Perhaps I should bring forward my plans to study the ICS opening repertoire and get it under control before I go to nuts trying to resolve this issue... I guess I can put up with time trouble until I do that.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by HangingKing on November 24th 2010, 5:49 am

Don 't worry, programmer joke...

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by PawnCustodian on November 24th 2010, 9:16 am

BorgQueen wrote: The sheer number of opening lines is what puts me off of bothering to study openings at all.

Perhaps I should bring forward my plans to study the ICS opening repertoire and get it under control before I go to nuts trying to resolve this issue... I guess I can put up with time trouble until I do that.

One of the ingenious aspects in the way that ICS put together their opening materials is to cover a lot the "minor" systems up front.

Initially I was kind of put back by the approach, but four months into the course I can now see the wisdom of the approach. No longer the deer in the headlights, I have a plan for most of the early deviations from the main lines and the new confidence is a big help on the clock.

Still, it is a hugh undertaking. Even with a fully developed repertoire like the ICS one it will take a couple of years to really master it. With the openings you can me pay now or pay me later.....

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by BorgQueen on November 24th 2010, 5:46 pm

Thanks Pawn.

Opening study is definitely a weakness of mine. I keep putting it off but it is probably the most important thing for me to improve.

Thank you for the encouragement in the ICS system of openings module; it gives me the confidence that it will actually work.

I really do hope that I can get it under control and put the openings drilling program... can't remember it's name right now... into use. I would like nothing more than to have a good repertoire, it will help me a lot with time control.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by lizacrew on September 19th 2011, 9:00 pm

when facing a much stronger player than you, you still will be in time trouble, but the aim here is to avoid surprises. If there is no surprise move, follow up your calculated line, and if there is one, no choice, use your time. If your are really in time trouble, just try to initiate faster some complications and count on the fact that your opponent will be in his turn surprised and spend time to think that you can use for free.

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Re: How do I improve my OTB speed?

Post by kingsmasher1 on September 26th 2011, 4:30 am

I agree with PawnCustodian, opening is the time in which we can play quick because up to 10-12 moves are obvious (till the king is castled).

We need to think more only when the opponent diverts from the normal opening moves, then it makes us to think if he is trying any tricks or traps, but that normally does not happen. It is more of a positional play these days, as most of the poeple are aware of the known traps.

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