3 Tips for Mastering Blitz Chess

3 Tips for Mastering Blitz Chess

NM BlakeyBChess

Over the past few months, I've had several player ask me for advice on getting better at blitz chess.

It's a good time to answer that question - we just kicked off the ChessPathways Blitz Streak Challenge, where the ChessPathways members (free to join!) with the longest blitz winning streaks over the next several months will win a prize!

So, how do you become the best blitz chess player you can be?


1. Make non-critical decisions quickly!

It sounds obvious, but many players dawdle for 20 seconds making a "which rook?" decision in blitz, or play at a leisurely pace until they realize they have to pre-move the rest of the game! (I've been there!)

It's important to calculate in blitz, but save your calculation for the critical moments. Using those precious seconds to double-check a critical line with some complex tactics behind it could decide a game down the road!

2. Know your Openings!

Opening knowledge helps a lot in blitz. Being able to make 10-15 moves automatically while your opponent has to think is a sure way to get a time advantage. Beyond the rote memorization phase of the game, knowing the strategic middlegame plans associated with each of your openings is a huge plus as well.

Ideally in blitz, you won't have to spend any time coming up with plans in the early middlegame because you will already know them - you can spend your time calculating the nuts and bolts, instead of high-level planning!

Does your opening repertoire need some polishing up? I've recent created videos for over 50 different chess openings, available for free to all ChessPathways members!

3. Trust your Instincts!

Non-chess-players are fascinated and astounded by speed chess. I know I was, before I started taking chess seriously!

"How is it possible?" They ask. "How can you think everything through, making moves in a matter of seconds?"

The answer is: We don't think everything through! We can calculate some lines a bit more thoroughly in critical positions, but by and large, we're playing off of instinct. I play moves in blitz because they look right. Because I've seen similar positions dozens of times before and I know what "normal-looking" moves are in that position.

It's a fact a lot of players don't like to hear - the best way to get better at blitz chess is to get better at long-time-control chess!

Solve tactics. Learn middlegame plans. Practice calculating in critical positions the "right way" (the way you would in a long-time-control game), identifying candidate moves, calculating each one out, considering your opponent's best response at each juncture. (I have a video on this topic for you below!)

After lots of repetition and experience, you'll start to get faster. Your chess skills automatically translate into blitz skills. Just look at the chess community - you won't find any Grandmasters who can't hold their own at blitz chess against experts and masters!


Thanks for reading! Don't forget to join our community by signing up for free on ChessPathways.com. Not only will you be able to participate in the Blitz Streak Challenge, but I'll send you a free "Move by Move Guide to Chess Thinking" and other exclusive material to help you become the best chess player you can be. It took me way too long to become a chess master, and I want to help you do it in fraction of the time!

See you there!