I have a question that can probably also help others: how to train having 10 or 15 minutes? And I am not talking about ONLY 15 minutes per day. No. Imagine that you've done your tactics today, played one game (maybe even with long time control), analyzed games or read a book. And you thought you are done.

And suddenly in the evening/night you come across 10-15 minutes of free time. E.g. waiting for a film to start/delivery guy/a spouse and would like to use it for chess progress. I reject playing blitz during this time as I do not consider blitz games as training. What do you propose? Solve a study? Play endgames against a computer? Quick opening refresher? Maybe short movies on YouTube?

4 Answers 4


It really depends on what area of the game you're focusing on improving.

If you want to improve general tactical vision, do a bunch of "cheap tactics". These are tactics that are easy and should take under a minute to solve, and doing many of them helps to improve your implicit tactical abilities during a game (you're able to see basic tactics quicker).

If you're working on your precision, studies are a good choice. Another option is to play through one grandmaster game on the board, and try to understand the main ideas in the game. For example, looking at a Karpov game can improve your pattern recognition for techniques on squeezing the opponent.

The point of studying chess is to make certain skills implicit knowledge... you should be able to subconsciously know certain things during a chess game. Doing cheap tactics improves your implicit tactical skills, and doing a study/looking at master games improves your implicit pattern recognition abilities.


In these short time periods, we usually prefer doing something calm.

If you've played a rapid/classical game that day, you can try to remember the game move by move.

This has following advantages:

  1. It is a good memory exercise: Since chess positions involve too many constraints, they demand good memory. This is a good memory exercise from a chess perspective because it involves chess position themselves.

  2. Helps you in visualization: Chess visualization exercises such as blindfold chess is recommended a lot these days. This exercise is quite similar to them and can help you achieve most advantages of blindfold chess.

  3. This will help you remember your past games, which is often recommended by top players.


I would change your schedule a bit. When you have time for a longer session, analyze your games, read books and study the endgame.

If you know there will be some free 10-15 minutes in the evening, do the tactics only then (especially the easier ones that train your pattern recognition; if you try it with harder puzzles, you can get stuck).

Another thing to consider is blindfold training (there are lots of apps nowadays for this). Even 5 minutes/day is good, IMHO.

Playing blitz is also an option even though it doesn't sound like a proper training. I think it can serve as a training if you don't fear trying new opening lines and ideas.

  • While OP doesn't wanna play blitz, itis quite instructive I think, especially for weaker players.
    – ferit
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 13:53

15 mins is enough to analyze one of your games.

I always analyze my games after playing, deep or not. Learning from your mistakes is a big opportunity.

  • 5
    I guess 15 minutes of analysis is better than nothing, but in such a short time how can you analyze your game properly (and if you can't, shouldn't you do something else in your valuable time)? The only thing you can do in time is to turn on the engine. Then all you will learn is the theory (opening, endgame). And although you will see your tactical and strategical errors, you won't learn much from them - the comp spoils your learning process. You should analyze the middlegame yourself.
    – kmartin
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 9:41
  • You can adjust analysis depth depending how much time you have. Of course the more the better.
    – ferit
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 9:55
  • 4
    I agree but just wanted to point out that some other type of training might be better suited for the 15-minute session...
    – kmartin
    Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 10:05

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