6 Things You Should Always Do in Blitz

  • pete
  • | Aug 25, 2014

Playing live online chess can be great fun, but sometimes you just want to play another person over the board.

As we all know, playing over-the-board chess has its own set of rules and guidelines that must be followed in tournament play. Breach of these serious rules could mean a loss of the game or even expulsion from the tournament.

Not all chess, however, is serious business. Most chess games are quick and casual, played to pass the time or for the sheer enjoyment of the game. In these contests, good sportsmanship often replaces the letter of the law.

Even casual blitz games, though, have well established rules of etiquette that players should respect. After all, what good is winning if you can’t happily shake your opponent’s hand afterward?

In order to properly respect chess, there are certain things you should always do at the board. Following these customs can help you win and make the game more fun at the same time.

6. Always offer a draw by extending your hand.

Kristina Crushes Phil by Deleted Account

Sure, you could offer a draw verbally, but then your opponent might not hear you. It's best to avoid all confusion at the board by wordlessly offering a draw with an extended hand. This way, your opponent can be sure you are proposing to split the point. 

Opponents respond so well to this magnanimous gesture, they have been known to accept the draw even in totally won positions! This can be a valuable last resort to save a lost game.

5. Always offer more than one draw.

handshake.jpg by Amy Goodman

Is there any facet of life where persistence doesn't pay off? If your opponent rejects your first draw offer, nothing shows more respect for both the game and your playing partner by offering it soon again. 

Making two, three, or even four draw offers in a row lets your opponent know you are serious about your proposal. It's like picking up the check at dinner. Often, your companion will want to split the bill until you insist on paying. It's the same in chess with splitting the point -- it's only polite to make multiple offers.

4. Always hit the clock as hard as you can.

Digital Chess Clock by Tom Conder

They say chess is 99 percent tactics. I say life is 99 percent confidence. It’s amazing the success you can achieve just by maintaining a self-assured attitude.

The best way to project this confidence at the board in a blitz game is to hit the clock as hard as you can after each move. Not only will this cement your image as an opponent to be feared, it will also boost your self-esteem each time you move a piece.

Your opponent will appreciate playing such a self-assured player, even if he has to buy a new clock after the game.

3. Always stare directly at your opponent.

81st of 2nd 365: Game over by Tim Regan 

Maintaining eye contact is polite in most social situations, and chess is no exception. In the corporate boardroom, eye contact can mean the difference between closing the deal and losing the account.

It’s no different at the chess board. Staring directly at your opponent at all times lets him know you appreciate the game and his role as your playing partner.

2. Always check your phone at the board.

"Marcel Duchamp en passant Mark Kostabi" by Miki

Even in blitz, it’s important to make good use of the down time while your opponent is thinking. Sure, you could use that period to calculate and plan your next moves, but you have your own time for that.

Quickly checking your phone at the board is a great way to keep up with your social networks and text conversations. What’s more, your opponent will know you are a well-rounded, sociable person with a life outside chess.

Bonus tip: Make sure your phone beeps for each incoming message, so your opponent knows just how popular you are!

1. Always offer your opponent a refreshment on his move. 

I can feel you're thirsty by Alexandre Duret-Lutz 

Calculating chess moves is hard work, especially in blitz when time is limited. To be polite, wait until you've reached a complicated tactical position, and then offer your opponent a drink or light snack while he’s pondering his move.

Your opponent will appreciate the refreshment, and especially that you offered it when he needed it the most. There’s nothing like a time scramble to work up a sweat in chess. Be ready to hand your opponent a bottle of water at just the right moment.

Let us know other things you should always do in live blitz games in the comments and on Facebook.

article image: Chess Beach, Santa Monica by InSapphoWeTrust 



  • 4 months ago


    Super funny and useful article, though I think when you offer your opponent a drink its another way of stalling for time!  And resigning over and over is kind a good yet annoying strategy. Though checking your phone is to much, what if you were checking your phone and your opponent presses the clock without you noticing, then you would have lost all of your time. tongue.png

  • 14 months ago


    Thank you this helped me out so much!!!

    My games improved by 80% and now half my opponents resign in completely won positions!

    However it wasent easy... In my first week I ended up replacing 6 clocks! But in the end it was worth it.

    And checking my phone at the board can be very useful, especialy when you have a friend tellting you what to do.

    57% of my opponents regined and left the tournament after playing me... I still have no idea why

  • 16 months ago


    Also, after your opponent makes his move, help him press his clock, even if he has already done so. You can even do this multiple times. Your opponent will be thankful that you care for him by making sure that his clock was pressed.
  • 16 months ago


    Oh yes, and don't forget to massage yoor opponents' legs with your feet, the harder, the better. Your opponent will be so grateful. Chances are, he will resign out of gratitude from your massage.
  • 16 months ago


    1) Announce your plans so that your opponent will know how good you are and resign. 2) Make queen sacrifices so that your opponent will think so long that he loses on time. 3) When capturing a piece, throw it at your opponent so he will appreciate that you know the piece is his. 4) Sing songs to entertain yourself, and to let your opponent know how up-to-date you are (bonus tip: change the lyrics and tune, just so they know how musically-inclined you are as well). 5) After winning, tell your opponent how dumb he is, and he will appreciate your advice.
  • 16 months ago


    Great article. Here are some other things you should do:
  • 2 years ago


    You didn't really take these ideas far enough; rather than just offering your opponent refreshments while he is thinking, you should chip in with your own ideas, mumbled softly but still clearly audible.... "He puts his bishop on c5, I castle, he plays Ne4...." etc, etc.

  • 2 years ago


    I agree with MCT Mike. Satire and irony don't work with this group,  because chess players take everything too literally. That's annoying. True literacy is the abilty to know when something should be taken literally or figurtively.

  • 2 years ago


    When I was actively playing chess (40 years ago) offering your hand was a concession, not an offer of a draw. I have seen photos of players doing so in world championship matches.

  • 2 years ago


    Also, if you have a ballpoint pen click it back and forth to attract a lot of attention since your opponent might think you're popular if everybody looks at you.

  • 2 years ago


    I would take the hitting of the clock up a degree and always use a captured piece to slam the button. ESPECIALLY if it's the other guys equipment.

  • 2 years ago


    Not bad.

  • 2 years ago


    A few of these advices can also be used online.

  • 2 years ago


    To impress your opponents, you should always tell them what moves you are planning to make. This way they get to see how smart you are to be able to think 2-3 moves ahead. It will also make them realise how useless their strategy is and they might even walk away in fear of you.

  • 2 years ago


    In fact, it would be better to use your chess engine on that phone during your spare time.

  • 2 years ago


    Such a bad article... It's not a well-written satire. It really isn't.

  • 2 years ago



    I definitely understand your point. English grammar, unfortunately, requires writers to use singular personal pronouns when the main noun is also singular. You can work around this by using the phrase "he or she," but that gets very clunky with repetition. So most of the time, one has to use a generic personal pronoun, and the standard (in English and many other languages) is "he."

    The best option, of course, is to pluralize the main noun, and then use the gender-neutral pronoun "they." But this is not always possible.

    Rest assured I recognize that women play chess. The first picture in the list is of a victorious woman. Smile 

  • 2 years ago


    I don't like the use of the word "he" as a generic player in this article.  "He" as a pronoun does not represent me or the countless other female chess players.

  • 2 years ago


    Terrible article to be posted on a professional site. What if someone was a beginner or really did not know proper etiquete and read this article.  What a waste of everyone's time.

  • 2 years ago


    i just think the satire could've been done better... often in my life i am serious and people think im joking, this article is kind of like that, except it's impossible to tell... the tone of the commentary could clarify that or muddle it even more

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