Home > Jacob Aagaard's training tips > A few thoughts on time management

A few thoughts on time management

 

We are in the final process of editing From GM to Top Ten, covering Judit Polgar’s progress in the 1990s, with the same emphasis on chess development as Volume 1. And one of the things we have paid special attention to is Judit’s habit of including time management in her annotations. In short, whenever the position is strategic, she seems to slow down, while when it gets sharp and tactical, she often plays her move in a minute or less. This has inspired us to come up with a few ideas about time management – or clock handling if you like. They are sort of random, but hopefully not entirely useless. As always, they are not absolutes, but ideas and strategies that might resonate with the recurring problems you face in your games.

 

• Chess is about making difficult decisions in insufficient time. Those looking for certainty early on will burn through their time. The only certainty they will be allotted is time trouble and poor results.

• Very rarely should you play your move immediately. A quick blunder check and/or candidate move sweep helps often enough to be worth it.

• On the other hand, hesitation is a sin. When you have made up your mind concerning what you want to play, you should execute your move. You will need the time later on.

• Sometimes big decisions appear early in the game. You should not be afraid to invest a lot of time early on. There is little joy in playing a lost position with a lot of time on the clock.

• The first move after leaving opening theory is often a big trap. We need to slow down. The same goes for move 41.

• Some kinds of decision need to be worked out, others you have to guess. In general I prefer to spend my time on the decisions that can be worked out and not guess there. At least this is in theory. If I also did this consistently in practice, I would have been a much stronger player.

• I learned to write down my time right from my first tournament. It was only when I decided a year or so back that I was not trying to improve anymore, that I stopped. Especially for those with time trouble tendencies, this can be very useful. It is hard to improve on something you have not measured.

• Do not rely on the opponent’s scoresheet. In the Copenhagen Open, Arthur Kogan looked across the board and saw that Viktor Korchnoi had written down a move 41 and relaxed. When the arbiter came and asked Arthur to fill in the missing moves, Korchnoi said: “Ah well, you know, I am an old man. Maybe we should check the moves? Maybe it is not 40?” Only then did Arthur notice that Korchnoi had written down his 40th move again. (This is of course also useful for those looking for dirty tricks.)

• Often when the opponent is in time trouble and we have a lot of time, we can get nervous and play too fast. A friend of mine had a winning position against a player with only seconds left on the clock, while he had lots of time. Missing mate in one however turned the tables…

• On the other hand, if the opponent has spent all his time, maybe we should do the same so that we can both be in time trouble. If things are not going your way, maybe inserting a bit of anarchy is a useful thing. I once played a game that went on to move 52(!) before a flag fell. Another time I played the following mad game:

 

Aagaard – Danielsen, Copenhagen 1997

 

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bc4 O-O 9.O-O b6 10.Re1 Bb7 11.Ne5 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Nd7 13.Nxf7 Rxf7 14.Bxe6 Nf8 15.Bxf7+ Kxf7 16.c4 Rc8 17.Qd3 Bf6 18.Ba3 Ng6 19.Qf5 Kg8 20.g3 Nf8 21.Rad1 Qd7 22.Qd3 Ng6 23.Qe2 h6 24.d5 Ba6 25.Rc1 Ne5 26.Bb2 Rxc4 27.Rcd1 Ra4 28.Qh5 g6 29.Qxh6 Bg5

[fen size=”small”]6k1/p2q4/bp4pQ/3Pn1b1/r7/6P1/PB3P1P/3RR1K1 w – – 0 30[/fen]

Around here, things looked bad, but Henrik only had a minute left. I allowed my clock to run down to five minutes left and organised a counter-attack. As Henrik must have expected me to resign, he seemed to have lost his concentration. It goes without saying that neither player performed expertly in what follows, but from being a queen down, I was quite pleased to get away with it…

30.Rxe5 Bxh6 31.Re6 Rxa2 32.Bc3 Be2 33.Rd4 Bf3 34.Rxg6+ Kh7 35.Rf6 Bxd5 36.Rh4 Be4 37.Rhxh6+ Kg8 38.Rh8+ Kxh8 39.Rd6+ Kg8 40.Rxd7 Rc2 41.Bd2 a5 42. f4 a4 43.Kf2 a3 44.Ke3 Bf5 45.Ra7 Ra2 46.Bb4 Rxh2 47.Bxa3 1/2-1/2

 

There is definitely more that could be said about clock handling, time trouble and so on, but let’s call this a post for now.

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  1. garryk
    October 29th, 2013 at 11:09 | #1

    It seems nobody suffers of time problems…

  2. Jonathan
    October 29th, 2013 at 11:48 | #2

    I wanted to respond but I don’t have time right now!

  3. October 29th, 2013 at 14:59 | #3

    No one wants to admit their time trouble addiction. Oh, the shame!

  4. Andre
    October 29th, 2013 at 16:17 | #4

    Thanks for this blog entry. Time trouble is one of my biggest problems.

  5. Jacob Aagaard
    October 29th, 2013 at 17:41 | #5

    @Andre
    You are welcome

  6. Phille
    October 29th, 2013 at 18:00 | #6

    Well, time trouble has been my constant companion for all my chess life. To me there is one solution and works as follows:
    Calculation skills –> confidence in your own decisions –> a good move rythm.

    What I really love is playing against somebody in time trouble and I think the knowledge that the adrenaline level drops off after 20 minutes and the technique of changing the pawn structure followed by a pre-calculated series of fast moves is really useful there.

  7. Ray
    October 30th, 2013 at 07:56 | #7

    @Phille
    And did your solution work for yourself?

  8. JB
    October 30th, 2013 at 08:12 | #8

    My biggest weakness by far by far. Not surprising i guess as my chess hobby revolves mainly around solving questions in books on trains (e.g Yusupov et al) and occasionally following the live commentaries online. Hoping to find some time next year for a few tournaments and time trouble crises but if not i reckon it’s also fine and possible to be interested in chess without being the guy on the “hotseat”.

  9. PeterM
    October 30th, 2013 at 08:48 | #9

    For me a great help has been analyzing my own games (first without computer, later computer check of my analyses). Analyses not only on the moves but also about my thoughts. Where was I thinking about, was it useful to think for long in a certain position. What went wrong in my thinking, trouble with calculating (maybe daily exercises?), trouble with dynamic positions …..

    And a lot is gained by the three questions. I just them a lot, and with every game more, and this a useful guide in my play.

    If my opponent is in time trouble I don’t mind, I have to do my own work, make my own decisions and make good moves. This is for the long run better for my chess development then trying to trick my opponent. (I think).

    Last week I spoke a player who always has time trouble. He told me that he so much wants tot win, that also the thinking about this will to win blocks him.
    From a few years ago I also recognize that. Luckely I have learned just to play, not bother about the result. This is good for my timemanagement, but also for my fun rating. I like chess more than a few years ago. This nonsense stress isn’t there anymore.

  10. Indra Polak
    October 30th, 2013 at 13:26 | #10

    I tend to spend too much time when I think I have a better position and I feel the need to find “the finishing blow”. I am always afraid the advantage will disappear (the non material ones :)) if not taken advantage of. So then I start analyzing all these promising lines and if I don’t find a decisive finisher I retry. There I lose time. I should settle quicker for a move that just “keeps the advantage”.

    I also tend to spend more time in difficult positions when I have to choose between bad options. But this is normal I think.

    And sometimes I spend too little time when still in the opening but “out of book”, while having the idea I am still in my book….

  11. Indra Polak
    October 30th, 2013 at 14:07 | #11

    Btw yesterday I played an interesting game that went 1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.d4 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.Be2 c6 6.c4 Nc7 7.Nbd2!? dxe5 8.Nxe5 Bxe2 9.Qxe2 Nd7
    10. Nxd7!? Qxd7 11.Nf3 white is a little better here 11. … Qe6?! 12.Be3 g6

    In this position I started a deep long think. My reasoning was that I had the advantage since I am better developed and some more central control and space.
    Black’s developed pieces are not on ideal squares yet. But if I wait another three moves he gets organized with Bg7, 0-0, Qd7 and Ne6 with pressure on d4.
    So i started to analyze lines involving a d5 pawn sac combined with either 0-0, Rd1, 0-0-0.
    They all looked promising but not decisive. Finally I settled for a materially safer (less material investment) line 13.Ng5! Qf5 14.g4 Qd7 15.Qf3 f6 16.Ne4

    when black still needs to develop his pieces but now with some structural weaknesses on e6 and e7 to cope with, which would provide me targets later on.
    However, white also has some serious weaknesses now (g4, king position) and this could become problematic if control is lost in the center.

    black did not defend optimally and lost after 16. … Qe6 17.b3 Bg7 18.Nc5 Qc8 19.Qe4 Kf7?! (0-0 was better) 20. 0-0-0 b6 21.Nd3 Na6 ?!
    (black’s position is very difficult now.) 22.Rhe1 Re8 23.Kb1 b5? 24.cxb5 cxb5 25.Rc1 Qd8 26.Rc6 Nc7 27.Bf4 Nd5 28.Qe6+ Kf8 29.Nc5 Nxf4
    30.Nd7+ Qxd7 31.Qxd7 and white soon won 1-0.

  12. Jacob Aagaard
    October 30th, 2013 at 18:04 | #12

    @Indra Polak
    I think the greatest delusion is that you have to spend more or less the same amount of time on every move. Some of them you can make fast; and quite a lot of games don’t make it to move 40!

    You game is a good example of when it is good to invest some time. The advantage could disappear quite quickly if you do nothing and it seems a good moment to find a plan. The next few moves can then be played relatively quickly, because you already made a lot of decisions choosing Ng5.

  13. Phille
    October 30th, 2013 at 19:05 | #13

    @Ray
    Well, in so far as whenever I caculate well, I don’t get into timetrouble.

  14. Indra Polak
    October 31st, 2013 at 09:15 | #14

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Thanks! I could not help feeling pleased with the result :). This game was played with our new time schedule e.g. 75 minutes and 30 secs per move starting from move 1. So the 40 move time control is no longer. After my long think I had 25 minutes left while my opponent had a lot more. So from then on I had to play more quickly. But around move 23 the times were more or less equal again.

  15. Stigma
    October 31st, 2013 at 18:04 | #15

    Time trouble is a very complex problem (at least for me) and I no longer believe there’s a single magical solution. In older books typcallly something to do with psychology and confidence, or Botvinnik’s advice to play training games for a while worrying only about the clock and not about quality, or some simple-minded “rational” advice like “don’t spend too much time early, you’re going to need it later!” (Most of us addicts know that, we just don’t manage to apply it in practice all the time).

    So now I’m looking for smaller “mini-solutions” that will merely reduce my time trouble problems one step at a time. Years ago I played a lot of bullet chess to train keeping my nerve and playing decent moves even in time trouble And I’ve already written down my clock times (I don’t bother with the opponent’s) and divided the score sheet into 10-move sections so I can mentally define “target clock times” for several years.

    Now I’m working on playing more “a tempo moves”, meaning not literally a tempo, but deciding on my replies to my opponent’s most likely moves on his time, and just performing a blunder check on my time. This works “clockwise”, but sometimes leads to superficial decisions that I later regret.

    I also look for ways to train that will give a “double effect” both on playing strength per se and on clock handling. From this perspective I should work more on my openings (theory) and the typical middlegames that arise from them (patterns), as well as on calculation. Measured on pure move quality these are not the weakest parts of my game, but there’s so much to be gained by speeding them up. I even expect to improve my endgame play a bit without opening a single endgame book, merely by having more time left on the clock!

  16. SovietSchool
    October 31st, 2013 at 21:48 | #16

    Stigma :
    Time trouble is a very complex problem (at least for me) and I no longer believe there’s a single magical solution. In older books typcallly something to do with psychology and confidence, or Botvinnik’s advice to play training games for a while worrying only about the clock and not about quality, or some simple-minded “rational” advice like “don’t spend too much time early, you’re going to need it later!” (Most of us addicts know that, we just don’t manage to apply it in practice all the time).
    So now I’m looking for smaller “mini-solutions” that will merely reduce my time trouble problems one step at a time. Years ago I played a lot of bullet chess to train keeping my nerve and playing decent moves even in time trouble And I’ve already written down my clock times (I don’t bother with the opponent’s) and divided the score sheet into 10-move sections so I can mentally define “target clock times” for several years.
    Now I’m working on playing more “a tempo moves”, meaning not literally a tempo, but deciding on my replies to my opponent’s most likely moves on his time, and just performing a blunder check on my time. This works “clockwise”, but sometimes leads to superficial decisions that I later regret.
    I also look for ways to train that will give a “double effect” both on playing strength per se and on clock handling. From this perspective I should work more on my openings (theory) and the typical middlegames that arise from them (patterns), as well as on calculation. Measured on pure move quality these are not the weakest parts of my game, but there’s so much to be gained by speeding them up. I even expect to improve my endgame play a bit without opening a single endgame book, merely by having more time left on the clock!

    My impression is time trouble Ina classical game is very different from a bliz or bullet game.
    Just look at how relaxed blitz players are and how nervous the players are in a blitz finish at the end of a long classical game.
    I have problems with time trouble, but try to move quickly when there is no significant tactics and one knows that it is just a guess like which rook to move to a file.

  17. Ray
    November 1st, 2013 at 08:19 | #17

    I almost never have time trouble. Only if my opponent is playing a series of unexpected but strong moves I’m starting to drift and might end up in time trouble – but in those cases I was losing anyway :-). I sometimes play against opponents who spend ages on the first 10-15 moves, which to me is hard to understand. I.m.o. they would definately benefit from studying some more opening theory.

  18. Björn
    November 1st, 2013 at 11:36 | #18

    Ray: Surely, some high time usage in the first 10-15 moves might be justifiable. On the first few moves out of theory key decisions (either tactical or about the further strategic direction of the game) may have to be taken and getting those right can be super-important. Being out-of-book in some lines around moves 6 to 12 happens a lot to me, if one player plays something not super-popular and the response to that is sensible, but rare/never played before, then you can so easily be out of your theory without even anything bad having been played. E.g. something like 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 0-0 5.Nf3 c5 6.e3 or the like, nothing terribly wrong within playing like this with white, but black can surely be forgiven for not knowing much from here on-out. On the other hand I had an 21xx opponent recently, who after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.c3 (after a few minutes) 3…Nf6 4.e5 Nd5 5.d4 cxd4 6.cxd4 d6 fell into deep thought as white. At that level I’d assume it might be worthwhile to know a little more theory than that.

    SovietSchool: Isn’t one of the reasons why one feels that time trouble is worse in a long game in part because we know that our opponent (unless he’s also in time trouble) can really calculate properly and find any problems in what we’ve done? And I suppose I would feel worse about throwing away a long game on which I’ve spent ~4 hours of my life already with a stupid time-trouble blunder than a blitz game… Perhaps those feelings are actually counter-productive and time-trouble play would be better if one just relaxed a bit more. I wonder, did anyone ever systematically check the quality of play (e.g. as assessed versus computer evaluations) in time trouble versus in blitz/bullet games?

  19. Ray
    November 1st, 2013 at 12:40 | #19

    @Björn
    I agree with you – I didn’t mean spending some sensible time after you’re out of book, but spending much more time for several moves in a row :-).

  20. LE BRUIT QUI COURT mail:
    November 1st, 2013 at 13:33 | #20

    ### big question begging for sincere answer ###

    Dear Jacob or Nikos, please help!

    As Black, which line should I choose against Nc3 in French – Winawer Bb4 or Steinitz Nf6?

    I have Berg’s books and I’ll buy yours! But what and why to play, regarding theory loads, structures and easiness of play?

    Thx for reply

  21. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 1st, 2013 at 13:33 | #21

    ### big question begging for sincere answer ###

    Dear Jacob or Nikos, please help!

    As Black, which line should I choose against Nc3 in French – Winawer Bb4 or Steinitz Nf6?

    I have Berg’s books and I’ll buy yours! But what and why to play, regarding theory loads, structures and easiness of play?

    Thx for reply

  22. Thomas
    November 1st, 2013 at 13:58 | #22

    LE BRUIT QUI COURT :
    ### big question begging for sincere answer ###
    Dear Jacob or Nikos, please help!
    As Black, which line should I choose against Nc3 in French – Winawer Bb4 or Steinitz Nf6?
    I have Berg’s books and I’ll buy yours! But what and why to play, regarding theory loads, structures and easiness of play?
    Thx for reply

    OMG

  23. Indra Polak
    November 1st, 2013 at 14:05 | #23

    If you doubt, play both.

  24. GM Rob
    November 1st, 2013 at 15:54 | #24

    LE BRUIT QUI COURT :
    ### big question begging for sincere answer ###
    Dear Jacob or Nikos, please help!
    As Black, which line should I choose against Nc3 in French – Winawer Bb4 or Steinitz Nf6?
    I have Berg’s books and I’ll buy yours! But what and why to play, regarding theory loads, structures and easiness of play?
    Thx for reply

    Are you serious? What openings we play is very much a personal choice based on your own personal style of play and preferences
    Maybe the next tournament you play you would like Jacob to stand behind you and whisper what moves to make? You have to think for yourself and if you want a serious attempt to offer advice then at least state your goals and objectives you want to achieve from the opening.
    Once you have both books to compare then decide which variations you like and want to play. The sincere answer is to play your own openings and never take any openings book as gospel.

  25. Ray
    November 1st, 2013 at 16:35 | #25

    @Thomas
    🙂

  26. November 1st, 2013 at 18:21 | #26

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    RTFB. (Read the f’n books.)

  27. Jacob Aagaard
    November 1st, 2013 at 19:07 | #27

    @GM Rob
    I think we should not be unpleasant to people here on the blog. I like the fact that people ask all kinds of questions, giving us the chance to answer questions that some people do not feel confident about. For everyone who asks, at least ten wants to know.

    About 12,000 people read this blog. Most undoubtedly only read the publishing schedule! But maybe a few thousand read the articles and as much as 500 the comments. I am sure a few people want to hear Nikos’ honest opinion this this!

  28. Jacob Aagaard
    November 1st, 2013 at 19:20 | #28

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    The real question I guess is bishops or knights? Heaviness of theoretical load. If you answer these questions, probably you will not need Nikos’ opinion.

  29. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 1st, 2013 at 19:22 | #29

    @John Hartmann
    What out sucker! If you insult me one more time I’ll visit you in your home!

  30. Jacob Aagaard
    November 1st, 2013 at 20:28 | #30

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    I think it is everyone has a responsibility not to heat things up here. Please.

  31. GM Rob
    November 1st, 2013 at 21:10 | #31

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Jacob,
    I don’t think my answer was unpleasant but I apologise if anyone was offended by my comments
    I just tried to give an honest and constructive answer.
    We are all grateful for the work and help you guys give us but at the end of the day to be a real chess player we do have to think for ourselves if we truly want to improve.
    A big mistake I see made by many amateurs especially the young is to blindly almost religiously read such books and accepting the advice as the absolute truth rather than what it really is a snapshot of the current state of theory or to be even more precise the authors opinion of the current state of theory.
    Yes I am sure new people to the game would ask such a question but I know from previous posts the poster is not such a person. A
    I would hope the original poster would appreciate my response and helps him to re-evaluate what exactly he really wants to know and ask you and Nikos.
    I await Nikos post with interest.

  32. GM Rob
    November 1st, 2013 at 21:14 | #32

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Jacob,
    I don’t think my answer was unpleasant but I apologise if anyone was offended by my comments
    I just tried to give an honest and constructive answer.
    We are all grateful for the work and help you guys give us but at the end of the day to be a real chess player we do have to think for ourselves if we truly want to improve.
    A big mistake I see made by many amateurs especially the young is to blindly almost religiously read such books and accepting the advice as the absolute truth rather than what it really is a snapshot of the current state of theory or to be even more precise the authors opinion of the current state of theory.
    Yes I am sure new people to the game would ask such a question but I know from previous posts the original poster is not such a person but rather an experienced player Again I do not mean any offence to the original poster and hope he would appreciate my response and helps him to re-evaluate what exactly he really wants to know and ask you and Nikos.
    I await Nikos post with interest.

  33. Nikon Ntirlis
    November 1st, 2013 at 21:19 | #33

    For someone that now starts playing the French (or starts getting serious about this) the logical choice is 3…Nf6. Even if things go wrong, Black is not going down in flames quickly as his position is solid as a rock (I thanked GM Krasenkow in the book who at 2004 expressed this opinion and made feel better that I had chosen the French for my repertoire despite everybody back then ad icing me the opposite. Btw, all of them later asked advice to play the French themselves!).

    On the other hand, as a good friend of mine likes to put it, you are not going to convince anyone that you are a serious French Def player if you haven´t the Winawer in your repertoire! From my personal experience, with the Winawer you beat easily weaker players, but against equal or stronger ones you may experience humiliating defeats from time to time (as I have done myself of course!).

    A practical advice could be the following one. Play 3…Nf6 but against weaker opponents go for the Winawer. Get more experience with 3…Bb4 and when you feel ready play it against a a bigger fish. But, having a solid 3…Nf6 for a back up at the hard times when you have suffered some defeats in a row, or you feel like being more safe, is very useful in the long term.

  34. GM Rob
    November 1st, 2013 at 21:30 | #34

    Not sure what happened there! The 2nd post is the full answer
    I guess in my haste to answer and go out I must have hit the submit button prematurely!

  35. Jacob Aagaard
    November 1st, 2013 at 23:47 | #35

    @GM Rob
    No worries :-).

    On the internet sometimes we forget that irony comes across as hostile and not playful. It is just the way of the media.

  36. November 2nd, 2013 at 05:06 | #36

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Don’t you need to ask Jacob incessantly if that’s the right plan? 🙂

  37. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 2nd, 2013 at 08:00 | #37

    @John Hartmann
    Take a hike sucker. I asked Jacob or Nikos for opinion, not you.

  38. GM Rob
    November 2nd, 2013 at 13:43 | #38

    LE BRUIT QUI COURT :@John Hartmann Take a hike sucker. I asked Jacob or Nikos for opinion, not you.

    More advice for you my friend.
    The best way to deal with a troll is to ignore them 🙂

  39. GM Rob
    November 2nd, 2013 at 13:52 | #39

    Jacob Aagaard :@GM Rob No worries .
    On the internet sometimes we forget that irony comes across as hostile and not playful. It is just the way of the media.

    Yes I do not post very often and learnt an important point .
    A smiley goes a long way! 🙂

    • Jacob Aagaard
      November 3rd, 2013 at 16:06 | #40

      Thanks for taking it this way. And thank you for posting.

  40. Stigma
    November 2nd, 2013 at 19:23 | #41

    What does any of this have to do with time management?

  41. November 2nd, 2013 at 23:21 | #42

    I think everyone should learn to respect each other’s idiosyncrasies (we are chess players after all, and the stereotype chessplayer is the rather strange person …… 🙂 :)). This is QC’s blog and really if Jacob and/or John do not mind, why should you? If you do not like the questions, skip or don’t follow the blog. Really, it is as simple as that. Why the need to give a comment or advice?
    I have seen (well, read ……) one regular poster on this blog “hounded” out of ChessPub because of the postings he/she put up on QC books and the publishing schedule. Seriously, it is not my thing but if Jacob does not mind (and I note he has been very patient!), why should you?
    As a regualr reader of this blog since its inception, I noticed that “intemperate” or “censorious” tonne since relatively recently when certain posters became more active.
    I agree with Jacob that sarcasm is lost on everyone (almost) in the world of the internet. Please refrain. Purely out of self-interest, my plea is as I do not want my enjoyment of reading of this blog be diminished. Thank you.

  42. Stigma
    November 3rd, 2013 at 00:18 | #43

    Yes, but Jacob’s training tips deal with very interesting topics. Why do the comment threads still so often degenerate into discussion of this or that opening or the exact date and hour some opening book will be published? It gives the impression that some people care only about openings, not the other parts of their game, which would be sad if true. Jacob says very clearly that even GMs should spend time on honing other skills besides opening analysis and memorization!

  43. Stigma
    November 3rd, 2013 at 00:19 | #44

    Yes, but Jacob’s training tips deal with very interesting topics. Why do the comment threads still so often degenerate into discussion of this or that opening or the exact date and hour some opening book will be published? Jacob says very clearly that even GMs should spend time on honing other skills besides opening analysis and memorization!

  44. November 3rd, 2013 at 06:38 | #45

    I think most threads on this blog are indication enough that the average amateur spends too much time worrying about the opening.

    • Jacob Aagaard
      November 3rd, 2013 at 16:05 | #46

      I think if you are an amateur, you should focus on what you like focusing on. If it is winning, then you are right to some degree.

  45. Ray
    November 3rd, 2013 at 09:12 | #47

    @Stigma
    I don’t see why it would be sad if some people would care only about openings. If you’re not a pro and like to study openings and don’t care about becoming a GM, what’s the problem with that? After all, it’s a hobby! About your point on threads degenerating off-topic: well, I guess there’s only so much you can say about a subject before repeating yourself so then it seems only natural to me that people change topic. After all, it’s not possible to start your own threads, so you don’t have much choice if you have certain pressing questions :-).

  46. Jacob Aagaard
    November 3rd, 2013 at 12:40 | #48

    I think it would be nice if questions about the publishing schedule was kept to the publishing schedule – based on various opinions here. On the other hand, please be kind to each other. Also to repeat postings of the same question. Remember that it was through repeat posting that the Grandmaster Preparation series was thought up and named!

    We will also endeavor to have a new publishing schedule every month. No promises of when, but once a month will be our goal. If we slip, please do not hound us. We are really doing the best we can!

  47. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 3rd, 2013 at 13:39 | #49

    ### GM 🙂 Repertoire for Black: 1.g3, 1.f4, 1.b3, 1.Nf3 etc ###

    ### GM 🙂 Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange ###
    Dear Jacob,

    If I remembered correctly you have a man writing on various first White’s moves excluding main lines starting with 1.e4, 1.d4 and 1.c4. How is book progressing, by whom, and when can we expect it?

    Any news on GM Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange?

    My second question is on Queen’s Gambit Exchange Variation – how come that you didn’t include it in GM Rep Tarrasch? Nor did Avrukh in GM Rep Beating 1.d4 sidelines? More importantly it’s the line recommended both by Schandorff, Watson and Kornev in the latest White repertoire book. Very strange for me…

    Yeah, one more time thanks for explaining to me a basic difference between Grunfeld and KID. Hopefully you can do the same in French after 3.Nc3 – to play Classical Nf6 or Botvinnik’s Bb4?

    Thanks

  48. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 3rd, 2013 at 14:28 | #50

    ### Kornev improves on Schandorff ###

    Right now I’m reading the chapter 10: The Schara-Hennig Gambit in Kornev’s book “A Practical White Repertoire with 1.d4 and 2.c4 volume 1”. He improves analysis by Scandorff from “Playing 1.d4 – The Queen’s Gambit, 2nd edition”, in a line:

    1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. cxd5 cxd4 5. Qa4+ Bd7 6. Qxd4 exd5 7. Qxd5 Nc6 8. Nf3 Nf6 9. Qd1 Bc5 10. e3 Qe7 11. Be2 and then

    B1) 11… g5 improvement is 12. Nd4! 🙂

    Schandorff gives only 12. 0-0 after which Black has powerful 16… Bxg2!

    For more information please check both books! Another treasure from fellow Russian GM 🙂

  49. Jacob Aagaard
    November 3rd, 2013 at 15:43 | #51

    @LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    Avrukh’s book is 1.d4 with 2.c4. Without c2-c4, you will find cxd5 difficult.

    The Tarrasch book starts at move 3. But really, there is no difference. 3.cxd5 exd5 4.Nc3 c5 will bring you back to the Tarrasch Defence.

    Is you are looking for a strategic difference between the two, then probably in 3…Nf6, Black has to solve the problem of the light-squared bishop (often by bringing it to the a6-f1 diagonal) and in the Winaver, the bishop is better, but we have given up our naturally strongest piece.

  50. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 3rd, 2013 at 16:32 | #52

    @Jacob Aagaard
    Thanks for this, back in bussiness after 4…. e5 🙂

  51. Gilchrist is a Legend
    November 3rd, 2013 at 20:54 | #53

    I regularly check London Chess Centre, ChessDirect, Niggemann, Het Paard, La Casa de Ajedrez, Variantes, De Beste Zet, etc. every few days in addition to the publishing schedule to have an updated estimate of books that I really want. Currently that is Playing the French, which I check almost everyday. I am confident that mid-November is quite likely still.

  52. KIA Fan
    November 4th, 2013 at 05:15 | #54

    LE BRUIT QUI COURT :
    ### GM Repertoire for Black: 1.g3, 1.f4, 1.b3, 1.Nf3 etc ###
    ### GM Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange ###
    Dear Jacob,
    If I remembered correctly you have a man writing on various first White’s moves excluding main lines starting with 1.e4, 1.d4 and 1.c4. How is book progressing, by whom, and when can we expect it?
    Any news on GM Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange?
    My second question is on Queen’s Gambit Exchange Variation – how come that you didn’t include it in GM Rep Tarrasch? Nor did Avrukh in GM Rep Beating 1.d4 sidelines? More importantly it’s the line recommended both by Schandorff, Watson and Kornev in the latest White repertoire book. Very strange for me…
    Yeah, one more time thanks for explaining to me a basic difference between Grunfeld and KID. Hopefully you can do the same in French after 3.Nc3 – to play Classical Nf6 or Botvinnik’s Bb4?
    Thanks

    I think Open games for black with exchange variation has been published.
    Grunfeld is more open and starts after 3…d5.
    KID is a closed strategic game that may open up in some cases but is also just a pawn race.Although here white has much more queenside space and black on the kingside has more space.

    I think the 1.f4,g3,Nf3 is by Mikhalevski I think.(not sure)

  53. Fat Ghost Cat
    November 4th, 2013 at 10:06 | #55

    I’m wondering, will there be a book that gives Symmetrical English repertoire for Black? A Modern Benoni book by Marian Petrov was published this year and although 1.c4 can be met with e5, Modern Benoni and Benko players have no choice to meet 1.Nf3 with Nf6 and 2. c4 with 2.c5 which transposes to the Symmetrical English. Of course you can play either second rate moves like 1…b5 against Nf3 or good moves that let white to transpose to other main line 1.d4 openings but if you only play Modern Benoni or Benko, Symmetrical English seems to be the only good choice for the long term.

  54. Jacob Aagaard
    November 4th, 2013 at 14:42 | #56

    @KIA Fan
    It is.

  55. Jacob Aagaard
    November 4th, 2013 at 14:43 | #57

    @Fat Ghost Cat
    We did this to some extent in Black Gambits by Alterman. Mikhailevsky will give 1…e5.

  56. Fat Ghost Cat
    November 4th, 2013 at 14:56 | #58

    Yes the book by Alterman is very useful for some sidelines but it doesn’t have a Symmetrical English repertoire for black. The solution of the book against 1.c4 is the English Defence Gambit with 1.c4 b6

  57. wok64
    November 4th, 2013 at 15:22 | #59

    … We will also endeavor to have a new publishing schedule every month. No promises of when, but once a month will be our goal. If we slip, please do not hound us. We are really doing the best we can!

    a schedule for the publishing schedule, very nice 🙂

  58. Stigma
    November 4th, 2013 at 15:34 | #60

    @Ray
    I guess I have a bias: I want to win and I want to improve my game (though you wouldn’t think so looking at my rather flat rating curve for the last several years!).

    But more fundamentally, chess is really about human decision-making, on our own, under time constraints. And also the training we can do to develop the “expertise” to do so. That’s what makes the game interesting, even philosophically and psychologically.

    In this context the memorization and computer-assisted analysis of openings is more like a necessary evil, no matter how much fun analyzing a sharp opening line can be in the moment. Not that I’m an anti-theory maverick playing offbeat stuff every game; I own some 300 opening books and my play has become more main line-oriented over the years. But if that was all there was to this hobby, I would have quit chess long ago.

  59. Jacob Aagaard
    November 4th, 2013 at 16:29 | #61

    @Fat Ghost Cat
    However, it does offer the symmetrical english necessary for a Benko-player in the Vaganian Gambit. I am sorry, this is as close as we will get to this, this time around.

  60. tony
    November 4th, 2013 at 18:19 | #62

    @KIA Fan
    black hopes to have more space on the kingside, he doesn’t always get it

  61. Patrick
    November 4th, 2013 at 19:54 | #63

    LE BRUIT QUI COURT :### GM Repertoire for Black: 1.g3, 1.f4, 1.b3, 1.Nf3 etc ###
    ### GM Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange ###Dear Jacob,
    If I remembered correctly you have a man writing on various first White’s moves excluding main lines starting with 1.e4, 1.d4 and 1.c4. How is book progressing, by whom, and when can we expect it?
    Any news on GM Repertoire for Black: Open Games – including Spanish Exchange?
    My second question is on Queen’s Gambit Exchange Variation – how come that you didn’t include it in GM Rep Tarrasch? Nor did Avrukh in GM Rep Beating 1.d4 sidelines? More importantly it’s the line recommended both by Schandorff, Watson and Kornev in the latest White repertoire book. Very strange for me…
    Yeah, one more time thanks for explaining to me a basic difference between Grunfeld and KID. Hopefully you can do the same in French after 3.Nc3 – to play Classical Nf6 or Botvinnik’s Bb4?
    Thanks

    Uhm – This actually makes no sense. You ask why doesn’t the Exchange QGD get included in the GM Repertoire on the Tarrasch? Well, for starters, it’s impossible to reach. The Exchange QGD is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd5 exd5 and now 5.Bg5 or 5.Bf4.

    Black doesn’t play an early …Nf6 in the Tarrasch. The Tarrasch is 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 (3.cxd5 exd5 4.Nc3 c5 directly transposes to the Tarrasch) c5 and low and behold, what’s White’s “main line” here? Uhm…that would be…uh…Oh, that’s right! Exchanging the pawn! 4.cxd5 exd5.

    The exchange variation of the QGD would of course never appear in a 1.d4 sidelines book because in 1.d4 sidelines, the specific quota is that White DOES NOT play c4. Well, to get an exchange variation, White needs to play c4.

    Actually, playing the Tarrasch Defense, Slav Defense, and Caro-Kann Defense, together, has many advantages! For starters, it avoids a lot of the Anti- lines for White.

    After 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3, you can play 2…c5. At this point, the most common moves are 3.e3, 3.c3, and 3.c4. Not that others can’t be played, but they are extremely rare. Against 3.c3, you take on d4 and have an Exchange Slav. Against 3.e3, you take on d4 and have an Exchange Caro-Kann. Against 3.c4, you play 3…e6 and you have a Tarrasch.

    After 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3, you simply play 3…c5, and you’ve avoided the Catalan (fianchettoing the Kingside is the main line against the Tarrasch.

    And last but not least, you avoid the “Dreaded Exchange Variation” of the Queen’s Gambit Declined Proper! 🙂

  62. Jacob Aagaard
    November 4th, 2013 at 20:56 | #64

    @Patrick
    If you play the Tarrasch you do not have to avoid the Catalan. You just play 7…c5.

  63. Ray
    November 5th, 2013 at 08:57 | #65

    @Stigma
    I understand your opinion – I’m just saying other people have different opinions :-).

  64. Stigma
    November 10th, 2013 at 01:56 | #66

    @Jacob Aagaard:
    Are Judit Polgar’s (and her opponent’s clock) times actually given in the book? It occured to me that a useful form of “guess the move” exercise could be to predict not just the candidate moves (and the best move) in a position, but also how much clock time the decision merits.

  65. Jacob Aagaard
    November 10th, 2013 at 10:47 | #67

    @Stigma
    She does this a lot, but not entirely consistent.

  66. LE BRUIT QUI COURT
    November 10th, 2013 at 11:12 | #68

    @Patrick
    Thanks Patrick for reply 🙂

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