I play regularly 45+45 games with a duration between 2-4h. During my opponent's time I normally try to guess their moves or try to understand the position better. Regularly I have the problem that I reach the endgame too tired to calculate deeply and correctly.

On chess.com I read about the idea "think on their time, check on your own".The reason for this: "If you calculate on their time, you have a much bigger tree to calculate through - they prune it for you by making their chosen candidate move" (same link).

Are there more concepts about time management especially during your opponent's time to find a balance between time efficiency and exhaustion? Thanks!


2 Answers 2


Of course there are times when it is correct to calculate on your opponent's time and times when it is not. What you need is some guidelines because sometimes it is even correct not to calculate on your own time!

  • Don't calculate while you are in your opening prep
  • Don't calculate when your move is completely forced. Be aware that recaptures are not forced. It is worthwhile spending at least a little time looking for a zwischenzug which could turn the game in your favour.
  • If you can make a good guess as to what your opponent's next move is going to be then it is worthwhile to calculate on opponent's time
  • If your opponent has several good alternatives and the position is complex then skip calculating on opponent's time, go and get a coffee, go to the bathroom if needed, or just walk around looking at other games / stretch your legs. You will save energy and feel the benefit when it is your turn.
  • Recheck your calculations once but note that rechecking over and over again is counterproductive and tiring.
  • If the game is relatively calm then use your opponent's time to think of plans for your opponent and work out how you will stop these plans before they can get going. This is a lot less tiring than calculating. Try and put yourself in their position and ask what you would try and do in their position. This is a key component of the way stronger players play.

Don't change the way you think based on which side is on move. You should always be thinking about your pieces, pawns, king safety, worries about the position, optimal squares, plans to improve your position or specific pieces, possible tactics, opponent's goals, comparing your pieces to the equivalent opponent pieces, etc. It's a mistake to separate thinking from calculating, they flow naturally together. From your thinking you will naturally start to wonder whether certain lines could work or not, in relation to the above considerations, and explore those further. Whose move it is is quite secondary.

The thinking is constant. You're just making moves when you're content enough with your analysis of that position, or when there seems little to gain from further analysis, and sometimes adjusting as your opponent plays specific moves as well.

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