The Time-Control Experiment

Round 4 Fridays

This week was the perfect experiment for how a d/30 vs an inc/30 affects a “turtle” (one of the local nicknames for me and Mark, who tend to use all our time and then blunder in time-pressure).

Yesterday, I played a 1550 rated player and blundered the king and pawn endgame away with under 30 seconds remaining on my clock; that game was G/30, delay 30.

Today, very next day, I play another player that is also rated 1550, once again as Black.  This time, it was probably at least equal for me once again in a king and pawn ending.  I built up at least five minutes on my clock, probably closer to ten minutes, just by blitzing nearly twenty different moves.  This extra five to ten minutes is what allowed to not only find the winning plan, but to execute the winning technical position without it becoming a classic botched job emanating from a time-scramble.

Both of my opponents moved at about the same speed and had about the same time remaining at the end of the game.  This was as perfect an experiment as you can get in real life and it shows that a delay 30 second time-control does not work for me, I need either a 30 second increment or a dual time-control.

32…d4   32…f3! is best, but Black is actually winning in both cases, it’s just that the move I played puts the engine more behind the “horizon effect”, so it takes a few moves for it to see it, not that I knew this at the time however.  My intuition told that …f3 should be winning, but I didn’t want to play controversial moves in time pressure.

Earlier, it seemed that 24…e4! was winning, OTB, but I consciously decided that I did not want him spending a massive amount of time finding an antidote to it, because it would probably be a move which I wouldn’t have seen, and I’d have five minutes to figure it out and also play the rest of the game with.  Well, I had more time than that but was definitely under twenty minutes by this point.  Alex looked at the game and I drew with a 25.Rc3 and Qb1 idea.  OTB, I was worried about 24…e4, 25.Bc7 and here …Rd7 is not winning (Black has to spend a critical tempo to protect or connect the rooks), but …Rc8! is.

I like to work backwards when commentating a game.  So, 24.c4?? is just losing, but When I was making my move of 24…Ne4, I noticed that I had shockingly not examined that our queens are attacking one another and that QxQ followed by Ne4 would be simply winning.  He returned the favor by playing 25.Qd1, which is what I originally thought I was forcing him to play.  I was happy he didn’t take my queen, but this is what Alex refers to as a “mutual delusion” where both players are afraid of the same thing and react accordingly, but where the threat is “a fake-threat” and not real.

It should be noted that when I played 17…Nf4, I had seen up to this position on move 21, and had already planned the trap 21.Nxe5 NxN, 22.BxN Qg6?!, 23.Qf1! (stopping mate on g2, and preventing …f5’s winning of a piece).  So, I had seen six moves deep when I played my 17th move, but 22…Qf5! is much stronger, and Black is picking up the piece in this line, but of course he never played into this trap.  21.Nd2 is best, and I had seen on move 20, that 20.Ne4-d2 appeared to be equal, and Houdini agrees that it is 0.0 at this point.

19.Bg3.  I considered that he would likely play this, but I missed the critical hole in my 17…Nf4 idea, namely 19.Bxh6!  The main problem with my 17th move was that I was trying to create a decisive position from an equal position. …Nb6 or …Be7 on move 17 would equalize, but it would be just as clear that Black isn’t particularly playing for a win, whereas  17…Qe7 would be a move that would cause more agitation for White in an immediate sense.  OTB, I realized right away that he played c4 one move too late.  on move 23.c4 was equalizing.

Well, other than for missed opportunities, I feel that I played a great game!  🙂











3 thoughts on “The Time-Control Experiment

  1. You rightly noticed all the missed opportunities.
    The endgame arising after the queens exchange is basically lost for him.
    Any little chance he had went away after transferring into a pawn endgame.
    You played better all along and deserved the win. 🙂

  2. I’ve won 9 of my last 10 blitz games on FICS, and 9 of those games were at 5/0 time-controls. It’s been everything else that I’ve done that’s picked up my blitz play. I haven’t consciously been trying to improve at blitz, per se, other than time-management; but the focus has come from other places, tournaments and studying. I don’t even care one iota about blitz really, but the improved focus and game management is there, it’s not a blitz thing.

    I just tried blindfolding a 19 move game from a book. I blindfolded the game successfully and understood the traps, what was going on. The con side: It can be easy to forget that a pawn or piece was captured and is no longer on the board, but by far the hardest part would be to analyze moves and figure the best move because it’s easier to come up with ideas OTB when you can see everything. When you blindfold, you could come up with new ideas, but it’s like you are already blindfolding the current position and now must look at new positions. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can analyze well blindfolded. I analyze blindfolded best in my own games, but still, there is blindfolding a superficial forcing sequence, and then there is analyzing a sequence where the moves themselves are not easy find, and that’s the level I am trying to reach.

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