How To Deal With Time Trouble?

Comments: 39

Recently, I received a couple e-mails from students who are having a hard time dealing with time trouble. And if you are one of those chess players who succumb to this dilemma often, then you are in for a treat. Right here, I will lay down certain tips and tricks that will help you combat this OTB problem. 🙂

Very often, we see the following situation: a player plays a good game, gets an advantage, but then appears in time trouble! Under time pressure, he makes an annoying mistake and even loses in the end!

Such a situation is certainly frustrating. And the recommendations I’m about to give will help set yourself free from the chains of time trouble.

First and foremost, there is a great difference between thinking and having doubts.

In most cases, a chess player THINKS only during the first few minutes after the opponent makes his move. After that, he starts to check the SAME variations again and again. Not contented, he starts to worry about the consequences, and try to find 100% ideal move, and the cycle goes on and on.

Guess what? This cycle doesn’t help at all! This only creates chaos in his head and totally mixes things up. Finally, after going through the same variations, worrying about the consequences, and vainly searching for the perfect move, he does something ridiculous… and you should know what happens next.

To avoid this typical, VERY frustrating, and game-breaking scenario, keep these in mind:

–> Do NOT calculate 1 variation 2 times. You may not be the BEST calculator around but when you sit at the board, you only have yourself to trust.

–> In most cases you should NOT spend more than 3 minutes on 1 move. You may need to spend more time on crucial and highly tactical positions, but 3 minutes is the average for every move.

This also brings us to the next advice:

Use your intuition.

Look, even a computer – whether it’s Rybka, Fritz, or even that supercomputer Hydra, CANNOT calculate all of the lines until the end and come to a 100 percent correct conclusion. That said, trying to judge the outcome of the game for MANY moves ahead is a wasted effort.

Oftentimes, you will find yourself in a situation where you have 2 or 3 logical moves and there’s no way you can calculate the lines until the end or come to a certain conclusion.

What to do?

Use your intuition! This means you should choose a move, which came to your mind FIRST (which seemed good for you at first sight on a position) and then do only the needed calculation to verify that the move is tactically sound. This is a very powerful advice! Check it in your practice, and you’ll see that it works great!

And another piece of advice: Make normal moves.

Most often, a game is decided by a mistake of one player (NOT by a brilliant play of his opponent). That said, it’s more important to avoid mistakes, than to find 100% perfect moves all the time.

Don’t be too harsh on yourself. Don’t try to make 100% correct moves all the time. NORMAL move is good enough in most cases.

Even the greatest players like Karpov follow this advice! The former World Champion, when faced with a branching point in one of his games, go for the sound, normal, and generally good move… the one that requires the least amount of calculation.

He didn’t win ALL of his games, BUT he won MOST of them. Heck! He was a former World Champion. You’d do great by following his footsteps. 🙂

Let me tell you 1 little story.

Recently I got a message from a chess player, a close follower of my blog to be precise. He explained his chess problems, and one of them was constant time trouble. I recommended one of my chess courses, which contains the answers to most of his questions.

He answered: “Yes, I was thinking about your courses since the last month, but couldn’t decide which one to start with!”

I can’t but smile and laugh a bit. It’s not surprising that he has a time trouble in chess, isn’t it? 🙂 He thought about 1 simple decision during more than a month!!!

In an old manual for Samurais, I found the following quote: (chess is a model of war by the way, so samurai’s wisdom is suitable for chess)

“Man should make a decision during 7 breathing in. If thinking takes too long, the result will be lamentable.”

So the 4th advice is: Decide and do it quickly!

If you have time troubles in chess, then you probably have problems when it comes to making decisions in life. Procrastination is a habit you want to get rid of.

I know many people who spent tons of time to decide which of my courses to order. Meanwhile, they lost the most important thing – TIME. It was much better to make ANY decision, but to make it quickly and to start going forward.

ANY decision moves you forward! If your decision was wrong, then you will know that this thing does not work. You learn something from it, and it’s going to be useful in the future. Then you will start finding another solution and you will always keep going forward!

On the other hand, the one who doesn’t make a decision (or postpone it) will be stuck on his current place. He’ll have no progress whatsoever!
That person who goes forward (who makes a decision and learns from it), will easily outrun him!

Another example: some people wait several months to get my course with a discount. Again, they will save a few bucks, but lose TIME.

I strongly advice that you make decisions, and make them quickly! ANY decision is better than nothing!

For example, if you think that my lessons don’t help you – reject them completely. Unsubscribe from my mailing list and start searching for something else.

If you think that my lessons are useful – then what are you waiting for?! Order the complete chess courses (LINK) and start studying them NOW! If you only read these blog-posts, you still get something useful, BUT it’s very little compared to what my complete chess courses offer. Of course, I keep the better and BIGGER stuff in my complete courses.

Make a decision!

Our life consists of TIME: years, months, days, minutes…
Thus a loss of time shortens your life.
A loss of time is a little suicide.
So make decisions. And make them quickly!

Comments: 39

Comments 38

  1. Sir, I find that your lesson is very useful for me, even in the sample only that you sent me is very good. But, the problem is how I can buy your product?

    one reason is my country, Philippines is very far from you, but it’s ok because of the Western Union, I’m deal with it, the amount of product is very high compare to peso, For me only, you know already that the living standard here in the Philippines is minimal, I’m only a laborer and I can’t reach the kind of amount. If any, special discount sir?

    Sir, I want to be a good player someday, but maybe it is only a dream because I know I have no capacity to buy your very good lessons in chess, the time is very important, SO much to do, to be, today is the day to begin.

    Your Sincerely follower & student in chess,

    [email protected]

    1. Hello lordhurn,

      I am the moderator of this blog.Let me give you some suggestions.

      you asked —>> “If any,special discount sir?” –>> You can see about discount here >> and then in section “Do you offer discounts?”.It just says >> “Frequently Asked Question
      Do you offer discounts?

      Sorry, but I give discounts very seldom. The current price of the courses is much lower than its real value. I keep the price so low only as a favor to people from developing countries.

      You can get a discount ONLY if you purchase all the courses together. You can order the whole package (getting a HUGE discount) here: LINK

      If you can’t afford a course now – please, check out possible solutions here: LINK

      Please, read the blog-post about discounts and all associated issues: LINK ”


      You can also be Smirnov’s assistant by joining his team >>

      You can also affiliate and promote his products and earn money >>

      Hope these helps you.

      — Moderator

  2. Igor Smirnov Sir Tons of Thanks to you you solved my BIG Problem which is I am confusing when choose right move, always when I play the Game the Best move came in to my Mind but I searching for something and stay with doubts. Now I realized my problem Thank you once againe

  3. Hi Igor,
    Thanks for these great tips. Not only you’re a great coach and a great psychologist but also you have a big heart. The union of these three values ​​make you a unique person. Congratulations!

  4. Igor you are a good teacher,not only becouse of the video I saw on youtube but also your practical theory.I enjoyed your tips,God bless you.

  5. Dear Gm Igor Ismirnov, my ingles is no enoght good to express what I think and see , on your lesson, I become a chess player on my 17 years old, today I am 46 year old, and I have at this time an dificult situation on my life ( money ) if not, I wil buy all yours lessons, with out afraid to make a bad trade, never.Thank you on mor time even to write thats words.

  6. Hi Igor, Ur way of looking at chess thinking and analysis is very practical and each chess player faces during the match. Ur advice to keep it simple with normal moves and save time is gr8 adivise. Keep the goos work going and encouraging all the chess players.

  7. He keeps getting better and better!
    I loved it!!

    1. I outplayed my opponent in the opening and then wasted 15 min. on thinking and doubts.
    2. In a very good position I wanted to sacrifice a piece for a passed pawn but failed to think through all variations and decided not to play it when it was a sure win.
    3. Sometimes I am searching for supermoves, can’t find it and running low on time.
    4. Yes even in life I have had this problem and no I am not Superman but Igor is showing me the way

    Thanks Again.

  8. Nice one. By the way… do you welcome new board game invention? I invented a multiuplayer mind sport played by 2-6 players called Minero out of my love of chess! Would you like to be my adviser?

  9. hi igor
    when I begin a game,I have no special strategy,but I play according the this normal,or thret must be a strategy

  10. Estimado Igor

    Yo solo estoy esperando que los cursos esten en castellano. Mi dominio del inglés no es suficientemente bueno pero ya decidi comprar sus cursos en cuanto los prepare para Latinoamerica.


  11. Hi Grand Master Igor Smirnov.

    First of all i wolud like to thank you for everything you’ve shared and taught me….

    I appreciate your lessons which really help me a lot and enable to opened-up my mind about this brain exercise game of LIFE…

  12. On the attempt to avoid mistakes (even if that is time consuming): After a match, I usually type in the moves and the ideas discussed in the post-mortem in to a chess base file. Then I go through it and add any additional thought (and ? or ! to any move that strikes me odd/brilliant). The I start an engine and go quickly through the whole game (not analyzing lines in detail – yet) to see where the computers evaluation switches dramatically. This usually identifies the ?! and ?? moves. Then I look at the amended notation and realize that BOTH sides usually have made MANY mistakes throughout the course of the game, even the WINNER (not necessarily me). Of course it makes sense to avoid gross errors (or to spot and exploit the opponent’s), as they may well be decisive. But small mistakes (in the sense of not finding the continuation that’s best from an objective, comupter’s point of view) are usually not decisive, and occur more than occasionally in ONE single game. Moreover, they are instructive – after the game – so it would be a shame to eliminate them altogether 😉

  13. yo tambien pienso que iGOR TIENE UN GRAN CORAZÓN Y YO INVITO a los ricos a darle un buen poco de dinero por su labor humanitaria..yo desgraciadamente no he podido comprar tus cursos por mi mala situacón ecónomica pero si pudieras no lo haría gracias Igor….Dios te bendiga y María Santísima

  14. Hey Igor, I am 10 years old and i really want to be world champion. Ive been playing chess for 5 years now. Ur free lessons really inspire me ,but i am not allowed to but more than one course of urs. I purchased grand masters secrets. But is there any way i can get your courses for free.
    PLs reply
    From Vaibhav Jain

    1. Hello

      I am a moderator of RCA.

      Maybe you could try asking it in “your Chess questions” post in my blog.

      — Moderator

  15. HI IGOR,

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