Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Blundering in time trouble

Getting into time trouble increases our chance of blundering. But when our opponents are in time trouble, our chances of blundering often increase as well. Or as Bill Hartston says "It is easy to blunder when your opponent is short of time"
Here is an example from a recent game I witnessed. (NB I have reconstructed the position from memory, so it may not be exact). White was down to his last 12 seconds (with a 10s per move increment) and had been in this state for a few moves at least. Black on the other hand had about 10 minutes on the clock. White had just moved and Black reply was almost instantaneous. He played Ra2, which for a moment looked like an OK move. But Whites instantaneous reply of Qxa2 exposed its main weakness, with Rxa2 being met by a back rank mate.
The lesson here is that when your opponent is short of time, you don't go there yourself. Why level the playing field when you don't have to.

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