Rational Chess 2

Feb 15, 2009, 7:19 AM |

I few months ago I posted a lightning chess game in which I lost, and then proceeded to write about the irrationality of lightning chess (see previous blog post).  Well, some people agreed but some didn't, and so this post.  There has to be another side to this thing.  I got some insights from Sarah (batgirl), and I'm putting a piece of her mind here (with her permission):

"...Basically, it's doing what you already know, but by instinct and without deep analysis. I think to believe that even  lightning is just mindless moving of pieces is shaky ground.  Of course, it can be, but doesn't have to be. Many great players were great blitz and/or lightning players--Tal, Fischer, Fine, Petrosian, Korchnoi, Bronstein, Spassky, Taimanov, Dzindzichashvili, Tal's uncle Nezhmetdinov, Svidler and, of course, Chepukaitis. None of these players made many random moves. But time is an important factor, maybe the most important one, everything else being equal, since the clock ends the game for sure.

"So successful blitz/lightning players have well rehearsed opening repertoirs. They also often use pet lines that are more complex than they are sound. They know their traps, but don't waste time on material since endgames are rare and usually flawed. And they learn to attack, to pose problems and to offer choices (to make their opponent waste time, of course).

"Time is your friend and your enemy. The best players keep on its friendly side.

"The point is, that it's not really chess. Chess requires a great investment of time, energy and ego. It's just a frivolous, fun thing. You can lose 10 in a row in 30 min. or an hour and shrug it off.

"The only ways to get good at lightning or blitz is to either have a natural talent, a la Morphy, or play thousands of games at those speeds.

"On the other side of the coin, someone once asked Botvinnik if he ever played blitz. He said he played it once, on a train ride, and didn't like it."

I changed my mind since then.  I don't think I can say more... thanks Sarah!Wink

This blitz game I played more than a year ago (see diagram); at least I won this one. Cool