Friday, July 18, 2008

Moving At Turtle Speed

And I don't mean ninja turtle speed (see inset).

I am just terrible at blitz. 5 minute chess just confuses the heck out of me.

Just how bad am I?

On Wednesday, my brother-in-law Steven and I (I usually give Steven a lift) had great fun at the chess club. To our surprise, we saw Vladimir and we proceeded to do a simul with him again in 5 minute chess.

First off, I like to say Vladimir is an exceptionally talented and great player. How many 2300+ players can you name, who is willing to sit down with you, even go through and analyse with you on your game (pointing out what you did right and wrong), converse with you like a normal human being and always willing to play in 5 minute blitz games with anyone?

Not many, I would say.

Vladimir is usually nice enough to give me a Rook/Knight advantage (which in spite of it, I will proceed to lose against him in record time). At one point, he stopped, gave me a look and said in a friendly tone,"Hmmm..... you like to think." (as in, I like to think long and hard before I make a move) and I replied in the affirmative. He's right. I usually get into severe time trouble in these lightning games because of this. My style of playing is just not conducive to blitz/lightning games.

This can be seen in my blitz games with Shane as well. Shane is an absolute livewire and a great guy to be with. He will always proceed to beat me the crap out of me because I tend to make stupid mistakes in my middlegame because my turtle brain just could not cope with the speed and intensity needed for lightning/blitz games.

How do people play fast games? I have severe problems trying to come to grips with recognising patterns and able to formulate a strategy/plan quick enough.

Every time my opponent, makes a move, I do the following:

Quick scan of board, identify own weaknesses, identify weak spots, look for undefended pieces, how to move my pieces to better squares......... bzzzzzt! Time's up!

I just can't do it in the space of a few seconds.

Shane does it because he sees like,"this move looks good, so I'll play it." Smirnov plays in a similar style. It seems that both of them acquire the necessary experience and from there, their brains draw on definitive plans or try to identify logical patterns and make them fit onto the board into a cognitive whole.

I watched my brother-in-law Steven play as well. He reacts faster than me but is able to quickly process all of this information much much faster than I could.

What does this mean for me? I guess, it means that I just need to train to see stuff quicker. And to do that, that means looking at more positions on the board and remembering more patterns.

Less someone else mistakes this, I had a great time with Shane and Vladimir. Thanks, guys!


  1. Hey there!

    Blitz chess is a lot harder for me as well. I am pretty new to the whole thing anyway, but blitz chess doesn't relax me, whether it is over the board or on the ICC.

    When I play a slow game I generally feel relaxed after the game win or lose.

    I force myself to play some blitz on the ICC because Dan Heisman recommends a little blitz to help with tactics.

    The funny thing as I am SLOWLY improving at regular time chess I am actually getting a little better blitz, but it is still not at satisfying even when I win.

    Have a great week!


  2. Hello tommyg,

    Great to hear you're making inroads to your chess skills.


    You too and have a great week. Ta! :)