vendredi 4 avril 2014

Opening principles - Time

This is the last of a 3-lessons series about the generic principles of the opening that are Space, Time and Material.
The first post was about managing space in the opening, the second post was about material, both are aimed at beginners to intermediate players looking for sound opening pieces of advice.

How to avoid losing time making useless movers ?
How to protect your King as fast as possible?
How to buy time or space with material when the situation requires it ?
All the answers are in this post.

First advice: in the opening, make only one or two pawn moves, no more.
Developing your pieces is more important, and too many pawn moves will leave you behind in development.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 f6 
Here Black should have played exd4 or Nf6. This is seriously weakening
4. Bc4 c6 5. O-O a6

The next advice I can give you regarding time management is not to bring your Queen out too early as it can be chased around the board by enemy pieces. Again, the reason is that you will lose time and ifnd yourself behind in development.

2... Nc6
Black first protects the e5-pawn...
3. Be2 
White does not play very consistently, and plays the Bishop to e2
3... Nf6
Immediately, Black seizes the opportunity to develop a Knight and attacks the Queen at the same time !
4. Qf3 
White has to move the Queen back, but Black will be able to attack it on the next moves
4... d5 5. Nc3 Bg4
Yet another attack on the white Queen.
6. Qg3

Time is critical in the opening. Never waste it moving your pawns or your Queen too many times. Focus on the Knights and the Bishops first.

Third advice: castle as fast as possible.
Castling on the kingside is usually quicker and safer. In the next example, Black plays too many pawn moves, has no time to castle, and gets punished immediately.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 f5 4. Bc4 fxe4

5. Nxe5 
An unpleasant surprise for Black ! Let's see how the rest of the game goes on.
5...d5 6. Qh5+ Ke7 7. Qf7+ 
The Queen is now in the middle of Black's position.
7... Kd6 
The King has to go towards the center, never a good sign in the opening...
8. Qxd5+ Kd6 9. Ng6+ 
The only purpose of this move is to clear the e5-square for the Queen.
9... hxg6 10. Qe5+ 
Here we are, the Queen delivers a check on e5, the end is near...
10... Be6 11. Qxe6 checkmate

Let's look at another example where Black plays his Queen carelessly, and see how Black gets punished.

5. Nbd2 
White simply ignores the threat ! White's bet is that taking the pawn will put Black in a difficult position because they lose precious time taking the pawn.
Black takes the pawn. Let's see how it goes...
6. Bd3 d5 7. O-O

7... Qb6 
Black has to lose one more tempo to bring the Queen to a safe square.
8. Qe2 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Qxe4 Nd7 11. c4 h6
bad move. It is worth noticing that it is much easier to make mistakes in difficult positions, and we have a strong example in this game.

The mate follows with a nice Queen sacrifice:

To summarize the Time principles we saw in this chapter:
- do not make too many pawn moves in the opening
- do not bring your Queen out too early
- castle as fast as possible

This lesson can be found in its interactive format in the Chess Trainer app for free. Time for training now ! Why not downloading Chess Trainer to try a few tactical puzzles ?

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