Not using your time


Alex Weldon: Also known as playing too fast. Obviously playing more slowly than the time settings allow for is bad, because you'll run out of time and lose, or at the very least be forced to rush later in the game and thereby make mistakes. But the opposite can be nearly as bad, and it's something that I have a big problem with.

Sometimes I feel like I've been playing too many fast games (on KGS, my standard settings are 15:00 minutes game time, 20 second byo-yomi) and try to play a slower game, but it just makes me less likely to win because I still play as fast as always, while my opponent is getting more time to think.

Does anyone know a trick to force oneself to slow down? My biggest weaknesses at Go are surely psychological; laziness at reading, playing too quickly, overconfidence and impatience when dozens of points ahead against an opponent who refuses to resign.

lavalyn: Play at your own pace. It'll throw you off to change your own internal timing. You may as well say that not using your opponent's time is also a bad habit.

Then again, I'm known for a fairly fast game.

HolIgor: Playing on the servers expect to lose the game with the time settings unusual to you. If the game is faster than you usually play, you'll forget about the time in the middle of the battle. If the game is slower then you'll click too fast not reading deep enough into position.

I need time to think. In the fuseki I need time to prevent opponents territory or sphere of influnce growing. Sometimes you have unusual corner fight and that needs time too. Then, every game has a life and death problem. This has to be read out because it is shame to let your opponent to live or to make an extra defending move when none is required. Then, many games have semeai in them, played or potential. They take time too. What is the best shape here? Usually this is just a hesitation, but it takes time.

And your opponents are approximately of the same strength. So, they have advantage when playing home, with the time setting that is natural for them.

Justin: Try taking your hand off the mouse after each move; that sometimes helps. I also found that by doing more go problems, I got into the habit of reading more thoroughly and thus play a more patient game. I now enjoy games more when I take time to consider the whole board and not just shoot from the hip.

Alex Weldon: It seems that the consensus so far is to pick a time setting and stick to it, thereby avoiding the problem. But doesn't this just reinforce the bad habit? If you take your Go seriously, eventually you'll be playing in an amateur tournament, whether online or over the board, and you won't be able to choose the time settings. Shouldn't one attempt to get used to playing at any pace?

Furthermore, I've seen it suggested several places on this site that always playing only fast games or only playing slow games both reinforce certain other bad habits. Specifically, I've heard it said that it's hard to improve your reading abilities if you're always playing fast (which makes a lot of sense, and is probably why reading is my biggest weakness) and that it's hard to develop a good intuition or "feeling" for the game if you're always playing slowly.

lavalyn: While playing slowly may weaken or stagnate the "feel" of the game, a fast game against a reading player doesn't mean I'm twiddling my thumbs waiting for my opponent. Use your opponent's time too!

Alex Weldon: Of course. That's the one thing that saves me when I'm playing a game with slower time settings than I'm used to. If my opponent is using his time well, then when he's taking time to think, it forces me to think about what my next move will be. Usually I can guess what he will play (or think of a few possibilities and think about what I'll do in each case), and if he plays a surprising move, well, the fact that it surprises me will get me to take my time to think about my move as well.

DeathWind: A simple way to remedy playing too fast. Try doing go problems, especially those that are suitable for your level. Work on them as if you encounter them in a real game. Chances are you can't find the right line if you spend only like 10 seconds to decide on a move. If you can't find the right move for most of the problems because of making quick moves, the natural logical solution is to slow down and really make it a point to read out variations of the position.

axd: I think this also applies to games on turn based Go servers: these usually allow to play a lot of games, resulting in time pressure because one just wants to go to the next game; the paradox is that TBP offers just so much more thinking time...

See also:

Not using your time last edited by on August 24, 2011 - 23:06
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