When was the last time you played a 30 minute chess game on the internet? When was the last time you skimmed by two people playing a 30 minute game in your seek list? For most, probably never - personally - about five, not including watching other people...
We are already in a time where over the board(OTB) chess is slowly dying out. High funds, far travel, and few rewards make joining your local chess organization a big N-O. In the U.S. Chess Federation, there are fewer and fewer people renewing their memberships every year for these and many other reasons. Your average American adult will be paying about $40.00 to join for a year and be able to play. What does this membership consist of?
- Allowed "registration" to USCF events
- Chess Life Magazine
- A chess rating
That's it... You still have to pay for sets, clocks and boards on your own because unlike the tournaments in Europe, boards are not included. If they are, it is at the tournament director's(TD) prerogative. There is no incentive to provide these things. And of course you'll pay the seperate registration fee for each tournament. So you're pretty much paying to pay... This led to to the boom of other types of chess by snail mail, online correspondance and of course online blitz. I mean if you had to choose between paying $40 for a membership to play a couple chess games a year versus paying that same fee to play on a chess server where you would recieve all of the things you would with a national chess organization, with the luxury of playing wherever you had an internet connection, you'd probably choose the latter. The choice for most is academic.
However, with the difficulty of finding a long game in the concrete jungle, one may think that finding such a resource on the world wide web would be a piece of cake. Not a chance; On the internet, the name of the game is blitz. It's the most popular form of chess online right now. If you just don't have the time for a long game, you can get a quick 5 minute game in before you return to whatever it was that you were doing. Another more popular form of blitz is bullet, which is a game lasting less than 5 minutes. I've seen games played at 10 seconds even... They are mostly just contests of who can push wood fastest as seen here:
Finding an opponent that will play a 30 minute game is virtually impossible. It is quite likely that the average online chess player is casual and does not want to spend that kind of time playing a chess game. It would be a good explanation for the rediculously high number of blitz games played on internet chess sites versus anything more than 5 minutes. I have also researched and found other possible explanations for this.
It happens; And with 30 minutes on the clock, there are probably many opportunities for one to get "outside help." In a blitz game, this problem is seriously reduced since one must move with haste or time out.
As noted, more casual players probably don't have a need to play such long games and just prefer to play as many games as posible for a short time and then move on. That is one of the perks of blitz chess.
30 minutes is a long time and most probably just don't have the time to commit to a game of chess.
I have seen some say that they couldn't stare at a computer screen for that long. I could never really relate to this. I thought the chess was the important thing. Some also say that it is better to play with an actual person present. I agree, but aren't you playing with a person anyway? You can't see them but they are there. Kibitzing is also made possible by instant messaging programs - meebo being a good resource for this. Of course nothing compares to moving the chess pieces about the board and the sound the pieces make when you place them down. And there really is no substitute for live human interaction.
It looks like if you don't play for your overpriced chess organization, you won't be able to get in a good chess game. That's really too bad. What drew me to chess in the first place was the fact that it was a thinking game. But if I can't have that, then I might as well quit... It seems drastic I know, but what else is there really? I rather not pay for an expensive chess server and even FICS doesn't have too many long seeks up.
If I have to choose between blitz and not playing chess, then I rather not play at all. Blitz is too stripped down to be of any use to me. I won't improve by it, analysing it is pretty useless, I can't think at full capacity and it creates bad habits for the real chess game. So what good is it to me? It's no good at all. Yes, I am answering my own rhetorical question. I want to improve my game and learn more about chess but that is simply not available with blitz. That being the case, it would just be time wasted that I could use for other hobbies. While CC is the other option, my preference for OTB chess keeps me away. I'll probably end up going back but I seriously doubt it.
For the time being, I am still a USCF member, but I know full well that I'm getting screwed out of my money. At the moment it's my only chance for an actual game of chess - the game that I came for - a long, well thought out and elegant game of chess. If I wanted a fast game, I'd play tekken, or throw my pieces across the room and play "32 pickup..."
And with that sentiment, I will once again have to go hunting for that place where I can play the game I actually came for. Not blitz, not 960, not correspondance - just chess. I rather not throw my pieces around.