This Sunday I realized that my time management needs improvement.

I played my regular G/90 game.  I equalized with Black in declined Blackmar-Diemer Gambit and we went into middlegame, where I managed to counter-attack and after queens exchange won a pawn, then another one. Also my opponent had at least 10 minutes less.

Everything looked good, then strange things started to happen. We had R+B+N vs.R+B+N (plus pawns) when he tried to complicate things.  I had about 15 minutes left at that time. After miscalculating,  I lost an exchange and 5 minutes were remaining on my clock.  Still computer evaluated my position ( N+ 3P vs. R+P) as a better one,  but after another wrong move I eventually lost a pawn,  got worse and had to accept the draw offer with both flags hanging (his a bit more).

So, what happened ?  I followed pretty well the Botvinnik rule – spend 20% of your time on the first 15 moves.  I really like that rule, but looks it’s not enough when you play 50+ moves game.

I thought maybe Dan Heisman can help me and found something:

1. “In a sudden death time control, speed up a little if the game is very even and it looks like it is going to be a long game.  You may need that time later if things get complicated or it does become an exceptionally long game”.

2. In a sudden death time control, start speeding up when most of your time is done (but don’t wait until almost all of your time is done).  For example, if you are playing G/90 and you are getting down to less than 20 minutes and the game looks like it is far from over, start speeding up then, and not when you have 3 minutes left.

3. Practice at a mixture of time controls.  Play slow games to pace yourself and to learn good analysis techniques.  Play fast games to practice your openings and get time pressure experience.

Even more important is thinking on your opponent’s time.
Dan Heisman says, that of course you use opponent’s time to “to drink, eat,  go to the bathroom, and stretch your legs” and you need all of it.
But, “you should keep these extraneous activities down to a moderate amount”.  Let’s say you get up and walk after every move, looking how other people are doing, etc.  Even if you catch the exact moment your opponent punches the clock (virtually impossible), it still will take about 10 seconds to get back and see what move was played.
In 40 move game it will be 400 seconds, or almost 7 minutes. And walking on the half of the moves still will take 3 minutes.
So what you should be doing while waiting for opponent’s move?

“The classic suggestion is to think specifics and tactics during your move and generalities and strategy during your opponent’s move”.
You can think about the pawn structure or what would be the ideal square for the knight, etc.
This is a most common practice, but not the only one.
Let’s suppose “your opponent only has one legal move, but for some reason he (erroneously) is not making it”.  You “can assume that move will be made and start to decide on your reply, just as if it were already your turn.”
I know  that some bloggers criticized in the past overusing Dan Heisman, but I can’t help it.  His guidelines/advices are  really useful for me,  so I hope sharing it can help other people too.