Time-Management Treatment: Got on and off the Board


Time-Management, in board games, refers to how well a player stays in control of his or her game at any time during the game. Players with good time-management can maximize their efficiency in every second that he or she consumes. In other words, these players used just the right amount of the time, for which they think they need on calculations, and this ensures the quality of their play and prevents any extra exhaustion in them. Meanwhile, many players actually suffer from time-management, and lose many games due ti it. To treat the time-management problem, the status quo of time-management factors and different types of time-management struggles need to be identified, and a solution regarding both board game factors and non-board game factors need to be suggested.

On the Board

The time control in recent board game has reduced because of the commercial effect.  The television broadcast can only afford a certain period of time to broadcast a board game, because the broadcast also has to concern about other programs. For this reason, the time control for the game has to be reduced, so the audience at least can finish watching the entire game from the broadcast. Among all of the board games, Go perhaps needs the greatest amount of time to think, in which one move could literally take a few hours! Yet Go underwent the most dramatic change in 1990s, such that the time control has reduced to around 6 hours for the entire game. World Chess Championship(WCC) has also experience time reduction. For example, WCC in 1990 allows each player to have 150 min for the first 40 moves, whereas the one in 2006 has reduced each player’s time control to 120 min for the first 40 moves. The change of the timing in board games has increased the difficulty of controlling the time.

Though it appears harder to manage the time in any board game nowadays, the major problems in time-management can be classified into three groups: Uncertainty, Psychological Fear of low-time, and the “Off-status” at a certain time. Uncertainty occurs when a player is unfamiliar to a certain position or a certain continuation, from the current position. The more uncertainty a player has in one of his game, the more time usually it takes for him to think, and the more likely he is going to have trouble on time management. Psychological Fear of low-time is the pressure a player has when he has extreme low time for his game, and this fear can easily cause a player, even a master, to make simple mistake and lost the game. “Off-status” refers to when a player is not on his status at a time (or under his normal strength at a time), and this will usually make his or her game harder to play, which could be easier for him or her to run into time trouble.

To avoid such time-management trouble in the game, one should create a study plan (and this study plan is not going to be sophisticated and boring as your math or chemistry study plan). One’s study plan should definitely include the investigation of the weaker side he or she may have. For example, if one is weak on chess endgame, he or she should spend more time on chess endgame by watching online chess videos or reading endgame chess books. More importantly, one’s study plan should contain the practice games against online players or his or her friends. The practice games can help to increase the ability on pattern recognition of the player, so the player would be likely to spend less time on a familiar position the next time he or she played. In addition, the practice games could also include some interesting puzzles under time limits. The constant practice of overcoming time trouble could be helpful to a player for him or her to overcome the fear he or she has when he has low time.

Off the Board

Not only is a study plan aiming on improving skills on a certain board game is important for overcoming the time-management problem, but a proper plan to regulating non-board game events is also essential. A player should properly manage his time on board game in his daily agenda. Despite a higher interest on a certain board game is the most vital factors for one to improve on that board game, but one should also consider the relative importance between study plan on the board game and all other events. Moreover, one should not hesitate to do the more important one, the hesitation shows a form of uncertainty, and it perhaps shows a sign of improperly managing the time. For example, if one is choosing between college applications and checker studying, he should probably not hesitate to choose college applications, because it is relatively important and perhaps required longer time. The more time the one hesitates, the more unnecessary time he may have to rush later. In addition, finishing the relatively more important thing first, can also help to treat the time-management problem in the board game, since one does not have to worry about anything else during his board game studying hours. Also, some other events could be very helpful to one’s time management on board game as well.


The time-management problem on board game consists three types: Uncertainty, Psychological fear on low-time, and “Off-Status”. Treating them requires making proper plans aiming on both improving the board game skills and regulating the events by importance. They are long-term plans, yet the persistence will gradually improve one’s time management skills, on the board, as well as off the board.