I’m only asking this question out of curiosity. The answers I’ll get won’t make me change my opening repertoire.

OTB which type of openings generally lead their users not to waste too much time on the clock and not to get into time trouble often:

  • sharp, aggressive and tactical openings: Sicilian, French, KID, Grünfeld, Semi-Slav, Benoni, Reversed Sicilian
  • or positional, solid and quiet openings: Caro-Kann, Petrov, QGD, Catalan, Slav, Nimzo, QID, English Symmetrical


Of course you must also justify your answer.

Please only answer this question if you have played many many OTB games against many different opponents with different styles of play. If you have only played 30 OTB games you probably can’t answer this question.

  • 1
    Interesting question but I'm not sure it makes sense to consider it separately from the question, what kind of opening in one's opponent wasting more time on the clock.
    – bof
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 4:25

3 Answers 3


First I would like to preface that both the positional/solid/quiet openings and sharp/aggressive openings can be played quickly without using much clock time by simply being very knowledgeable about your opening.

Quiet openings, particularly systems, tend to require less time. This is because sharp openings are dynamic, that is to say that every move makes a big difference, something big is on the line. Take the kings gambit for example. The opening could quickly become complex white may have a strong attack; black would be advised to use his time because one misstep will cost the game. White also should take his time to make sure that he/she executes the attack effectively. Quiet openings, even when played incorrectly, will usually only result in a positional disadvantage, which of course is much less devastating than material advantage that often is in the air when we talk about sharp aggressive lines. In conclusion, sharp aggressive openings, by definitions, require precise calculation in a forest of complexity and tactics. Positional openings require analysis of positional motifs in the position; this usually requires less time than long strings of calculations that sharp positions such as the sicilian often get.
I draw attention to systems, which almost by definition are openings that the user is able to use in almost any situation. Take the london system, for example. This opening can be played practically against all black openings and quickly as well.


I have just upvoted the "postional openings take less time"-answer, so let me now argue the opposite:

I think generally people take more time in tactical positions, but there is a pretty common flip side to this. Players who regularly get into time trouble often have more trouble with quiet positions. For these people taking decisions is the problem and no amount of extra time is going to cure them. And taking decisions is actually easier if the differences between moves are big, like they usually are in very sharp positions. Also calculation is a pretty clear cut way to take a decision. If you have to assess minute positional differences in a quiet position, you can really take a lot of time without getting anywhere. This is a difference not really limited to the opening. In acute time trouble forcing lines are the easiest to find. If you really want to trip somebody up, change the character of the position, so he'll have to make positional assessments from scratch.


The previous answers are pretty complete. I was going to indicate much the same, particularly about system openings like the King's Indian Attack, where you're just aiming for a particular setup and the opponent's responses initially are almost irrelevant. Of course, you can't turn off your brain entirely in any position, but deep analysis shouldn't be required for quite a few opening moves. The Colle System and Stonewall System are some others that come to mind in this regard.

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