|Written by Administrator|
|Tuesday, 29 June 2010|
by Natalia Pogonina for her
Chess.com Tuesday column
People often ask me if they should play blitz, how helpful it is in terms of improving in chess. Experts’ views on this differ. Those who enjoy playing blitz often claim that it is very useful, and serves as an indicator of a chess player’s skills. Others, like Botvinnik, look down on this time control and prefer “not to waste time on entertainment.”
Nonetheless, nowadays time controls are getting shorter and tie-breaks more popular. Thus even skeptics have to take blitz more seriously. For example, it was quite surprising that Topalov was determined to avoid tie-breaks in the last WC match against Anand, and totally neglected his rapid and blitz preparation. It is no secret that Vishy is better at shorter time controls, but why give your opponent such a psychological advantage?
Let me offer you a few recommendations on blitz. Of course, none of us is perfect, I don’t follow all of them myself, but at least I’m trying:
1) Treat blitz as a way of revising your openings. If you see that you don’t remember the plan and moves in a familiar position, here is your reason to go over your preparation once again after the game.
2) Play a few games and stop to analyze them. Pay special attention to mistakes and gaps in preparation. This is easy to do if you’re playing online since all the moves are stored automatically. In otb chess the problem is that you might not be able to memorize all the games you have played. Therefore, you should either play less games before taking a break to record them, or improve your memory.
3) If you haven’t played chess for a long time, you can try to regain your chess shape with the help of a few blitz games. Sometimes it’s extremely helpful.
4) If you feel you are playing badly (compared with your regular level), try to relax and forget about revenge. Return to blitz some other day when your mood and chess shape are better. This way you will save rating points or money (if you are playing for a stake, which I avoid doing).
5) Blitz requires extreme concentration. Before an important blitz event one should sleep well, prepare psychologically and consume enough food to last through all the rounds.
6) Don’t mess with park players, chess hustlers. They have lots of dirty tricks up their sleeve: “acting like noobs,” fixing the clocks, chess-bluffing, provocation, etc. – all aimed at separating you from your money.
Conflicts are much more widespread in blitz than in classical chess. Here and there you can see someone queening the wrong way, trying to win rook vs rook, etc. In my opinion, chess wins are not worth risking the comfort of your conscience. I don’t understand people who love playing on time in dead drawn positions only because they have 2-3 seconds more on the clock. Naturally, emotions overflow, everyone wants to win, but, after all, one should act human.
Blitz is very addictive. When 15-year old Bobby Fischer came to the USSR and visited the legendary Central Chess House in Moscow, he ended up playing blitz for hours against the Soviet masters. As a result, Petrosian was summoned during the night to defend the honor of Soviet chess. Other opponents were no good against the American chess legend…
Later on Fischer proved his addictedness to blitz by occasionally playing Tal all night long. Mikhail recalled that once Fischer came to his hotel room after the end of a tournament and said: “I have packed up my suitcases and bought a ticket for a plane, but I am ready to return it if you agree to stay for a blitz marathon.”
To end the story about blitz on a positive note, let me share with you a game from the 1st World Mind Sports Games in 2008 where our Russian team won gold. One day before the tournament I felt my shape was not good enough, and decided to play a training blitz match online against my second IM Vlad Akselrod. Initially I lost a few games, but then got angry (in the sports sense) and struck back. As a result, I was prepared well enough to win all 11 games the next day and score a nearly 3000 performance against a rather strong field (see the table):
Final Ranking after 11 Rounds
The full tournament table is available here
Here is one of the games I played at the event against WIM Arianne Caoili (more known for being Levon Aronian’s girlfriend and a notable person in chess beauty contests):
Good luck in your blitz games!
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 29 June 2010 )|
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