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Transferring and integrating tactical abilities with over-the-board games is

quite difficult. As a result, a structured way to play and think is needed.
With this flow chart half of your time will be spent on his move and half on
your move. Immediately after every move your opponent makes do the
1. HIS Write down his move. Understand his tactical (CCT1) and
strategic threats2 (25% time).
2. YOUR If serious, respond accordingly. If not, search for tactics (CCT).
If none, strategize.3 The goal is to find the best move. (50%)
3. HIS Double check intended move/position for his best response (CCT).
If problem found go back to Step 1. If none, make best move and
press clock. (25%)
4. Write your move, check clock, and, if response is forced, continue
calculating tactics. If no forced response, strategize. Sit at the table
and concentrate on the position while waiting for opponent to move.
Only if absolutely necessary, rest and relax (close your eyes), drink
water, eat snack, and get up to stretch or for bathroom.
It is important to follow this 4-step sequence on every move, even openings
and positions with mate-in-one! However, if there are 5 minutes or less left
on either clock, then move writing is no longer required.
To calculate the amount of time available for each move divide the total time
available by 60. Move times are only approximate averages. In general,
move quicker in the opening (1/6), slower in the middlegame (1/2), and at
average speed in the endgame (1/3). Spend only up to twice the allotted
time on tactical positions, but spend only half the time on strategic ones.
Time ControlTotal Time

Per Move

Step 1Step 2Step 3

Step 4

1 CCT = Check for Checks, Catch all Captures, and Treat all Threats seriously.
2 Think as if you are playing for your opponent (i.e. possible plans, goals, etc.)
3 Strategy includes quick, simple plans that improve the position (i.e. complete
development, increase piece activity, decide general attack area, trade pawns and
open lines, create weaknesses, strengthen king safety, etc.)

40/2 SD/1

4500 sec

75 sec

180 min
5400 sec
1800 sec

3 min
135 sec
90 sec

19 sec

37 sec

19 sec

45 sec
90 sec
45 sec
33 sec
66 sec
33 sec
22 sec
45 sec
22 sec