Ron Luther’s Practical Tips on Chess


Use of Time!
1. Avoid playing too fast overall or on one move. Young players tend to be impatient.
        a. This will cost you many games. Learn to sit on your hands!

2. Playing too slow. Time pressure problems.
        a. Usually a sign of poor opening knowledge or a lack of self-confidence.

3. Most games (especially at lower levels) are decided before move 30.

4. Avoiding and using time pressure and use of the clock.
        a. Botvinnik once said; “Being in time pressure is like being a piece down”
        b. When in time pressure it’s important to stay calm.
        c. Sometimes stronger players will use time pressure to win games in either lost or drawish types of
        d. Use of time can be used to fool one’s opponent into believing one is either in familiar or unfamiliar

5. Keeping track of time on your score sheet.
        a. I personally keep track at 5-move intervals. (eg: 5-10-15-20 etc ) Using a countdown on electronic
clocks and actual time on analog clocks.
        b. This lets you see how you and your opponent spent time in given situations.
        c. Circle or underline move needed for 1st time control.

6. Write down move first-reflect-then move. Patzer eyes. (With new rule this may have to be modified)
        a. You can also hide your moves from your opponent. This can be important when time trouble arrives!


7. Remember to hit the clock! (Cannot tell you the number of games someone has forgot to do this!)

8. Stay at the board in fast time controls. Wandering around will cost you!


Be True to Yourself!
1. Play what you know!
    a. Familiar openings.
    b. Positions or pawn structures.
    c. Wild or controlled.
    d. The ability to fight cannot be underestimated!


1. Always go over the game with your opponent. [Especially if he’s about your strength or stronger] You can
learn valuable information about him, yourself, and the opening. This also let’s you see a different point of
2. After a cooling down period look at your games [Losses in particular] checking your opening moves vs. book.
Try to figure out where you went wrong.
3. Next use a computer program, (Fritz) it can point out things you did not see.
4. Try to sit in [QUIETLY!] when strong players analyze games or openings.
6. When your game is over walk around and see what and how your future opponents are playing. This can be
kept track of for future reference in a small notepad in another room.