The Usage of Clock Time

In this Round 1 game, I had Black against Richard, who can get sloppy tactically, but is positionally solid.

Well, this game started out promising, but in my time-pressure became a near debacle.

I finally had the attack I had wanted, but not the time to calculate it. After g3, I saw …Bh3, Re1 but was worried about Nf4 should I attempt to mate on g2. Actually, I needed to combine both of the ideas that I was looking at …Bh3 with …h4 to follow. Then Black is winning, there are two lines to look at, the Qf4 line will eventually drop the e-pawn, but Nf4 leads to a Black queen sac for mate, an incredible one at that!

Needless to say, I started making plausible moves and apparently missed a couple chances to win a pawn in the endgame as I whisked out my moves in literally no time. We agreed to a draw because he had 16 seconds and I had 14 seconds left. In our post-mortem, we found that White is winning. I thought I could sack a pawn, but I can’t. Also, keeping my pawns will block out my bishop, a common-theme in these endings.

BTW, that final position is lost, but he said his bishop was on e6, so that I could still play ..c6, then he plays Bd7, which still wins for White if he captures correctly, and even if he does give me the doubled pawns, which he did in the post-mortem, then I need to pawn-deflect sac at a precise moment in order to win his g-pawn or lose. It would have been far too easy to lose this ending OTB in time-pressure.

So what about the clock usage, you ask? Simple, my poor management of it let the win slip away, and his inability to use his time more effectively in the endgame led to him missing his win OTB in like-wise fashion.

People generally play well and find your threats early because they have so much clock-time that they _can_ find those moves. It’s time-pressure which leads to the blunder-parade.

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2 thoughts on “The Usage of Clock Time

  1. Queens exchange is definitely a step back, your attack looks good
    I think not keeping two bishops is a definite mistake, you would have at least an equal ending.
    If you exchange rooks in the end it’s a draw, but he doesn’t have to do it.

  2. Yes, I definitely gave up an attack for the sake of clock time. I rarely draw, but did this week so that at least the clock wouldn’t beat me.

    It’s hard to believe at first, but after the rook trade Black is lost.

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