Move selection process

I am going to detail mine here, in order to be more efficient at it, and to make corrections to it, which I did while writing this.

Part I – 45 seconds
Does my opponent’s last move threaten anything?
What was the purpose of his/her move?
Where is their attack?

Part II – 30 seconds
Initial scan – are their any soft targets or immediate tactics (such as employing a pin)? For/against both players.

Part III – Bulk of time, depends if you are simply carrying out a previous plan or devising another/additional plan.
Enumerate my positional plans.
How would the first plan generally develop?
How would the second plan generally develop?
Determine the optimal move order to prevent counter-threats, if necessary. Blunder-check happens here.
Choose a plan.

Part IV – 30 seconds
Did I overlook any immediate forcing moves, could they be part of a plan? If yes, go back to part III, abbreviated (last 2 steps).

Part V – 15 seconds
Visualize the move, look for any sacrifices or trades that pull pieces out of place/defense.
Make the move on the board and punch clock.

Part III is the only place that I can save time because, otherwise, 2 minutes surprisingly seems like a hard number except in time-trouble (which is mostly a crap-shoot). In time-trouble most thinking is done on opponents time, and is concrete, mostly aimed at counter-strategy.

The best way to get around this 2 minute minimum is to do a lot of the tactical scans on the opponents time, and to enumerate plans during opponents move already. Anticipate opponents move and work out own plans then; this is really the only way around this 2-minute rule.

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4 thoughts on “Move selection process

  1. I don’t think that it’s possible to execute your plan in 90/G game, maybe some subset of it. For something like 90/30, 1SD it can work. I am not sure about tactical scans on the opponents time, often it depends on his move, though sometimes possible, rather you can think of some positional/strategical ideas, of course this time should be used, especially in 90/G game.
    I played yesterday, thanks for wishing good luck, I won, will post today.
    By the way my opponent didn’t do his blundercheck having 20 minutes left,
    so your main idea is good.

  2. sidenote: I moved the other comment to the previous post.

    Rollingpawns, I agree with what you are saying that it doesn’t work out at some point in G90, but it almost can. A lot of the planning is gone by move 20 if it’s a really open position with pieces traded.

    Tactical scan. Pick a move/plan and blundercheck it, sometimes that’s the practical use of time. Be as prepared as is practicable for the opening.

    Like Bruce P. says in that pdf, there are some things you just have to do no matter how much time you have left. One can’t be afraid of the clock, though, because it starts doing things to people’s minds if they get afraid, like skipping the blundercheck or making desperado attacks. The thinking goes like this “Well, I am going to lose on time, anyway, so this is the time to be liberated from these other ‘pedestrian’ precautions and see what will happen.” It’s a recipe for disaster if not in the game, then at least in the post-game analysis.

    End of month game, will probably be interesting to see. 😉

    I don’t know if anyone else still reads this blog, but I will re-iterate one tip of mine, don’t write your opponent’s move down until you have made yours. The purpose of this is to make the whole process more natural, like a blitz or online game. What are you thinking about if you are a slow writer like me and have time to think at that moment? Since you can’t be looking at the board and thinking about that while writing, you are probably thinking “What if I fail?” which leads to doubt, worry and screw-ups – so you are maybe thinking all that before you have even considered your response. It disrupts the flow of the game, for me it does anyway. I’d rather hear a baby-crying and a marching band than that, because that is mostly external whereas freaking-out and feeling out of control, with rash responses, is internal. That’s if you internalize things. Plus, writing things down also makes me act more hesitant, which hurts one on the clock, and probably uses a different part of the brain anyway (context-switching).

  3. A game lasts on average 40 moves. So one does the simple math of /40 to know how much time per move one can spend.

    Offcourse the time usage per move will not always be the same. In the opening one plays quicker then in the middlegame and/or endgame. But with this simple rule one has an estimate on how long per move one can think without feeling worried to much of getting into timetrouble.

    Also find a thinkingproces that suits you. Dont copy Silman’s or Kotov’s or Heisman’s or … thinkingproces suggestion blindly. Probably a modification is needed in order to make it work for you anyway.

  4. I would stop playing chess if I needed to do this every move. Where is the fun?!
    I don’t think any good player does this either.

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