10 tips 4 better blitz
You want to improve your blitz results ? Here are some hints.
First of all let's look at what you want to achieve :
- Improve your blitz rating
- Improve your blitz results in general
- Win more often blitz tourneys
- Win more often against higher rated blitz players
- All of these options!
It is good for yourself to get your goals very clear.
When goals are clear, it is already easier working towards them.
Here are the hints I have in mind at the moment :
1. Use the dual-move trick
When your opponent is in time trouble, even in slight time trouble and you have quite some time, prepare a plan which consists of moves which are not so easy to expect for your opponent AND prepare your follow up moves.
What can happen is that you make your move, and your opponent could be surprised and wants to reply fast, but then after the opponent reply you play your next move right away, according to your plan!
This can put quite some psychological pressure on your opponent and increase the time trouble, and there is more chance your opponent will blunder.
2. Learn maneuvring and "do-nothing" a la Petrosian, Ulf Andersson and Karpov
Go through the games of these grandmasters and learn how to make good moves that slowly improve your position and prevent the options for your opponent.
The advantage is that you will learn how to do "nothing" or very little, but still not giving away chances or creating weaknesses (What I often see is that especially lower rated opponents want to play agressive and either weaken their own position or start to blunder very soon. They simply don't seem to know how to do little or nothing to improve the position or at least not to lose. Or maybe they are just impatient at the chessboard ?)
One thing I learned from a game from Petrosian is that in a semi closed position, where both players are putting all pieces on the best squares, it can be useful and fun to find a better and safer place for your king to just walk your king from the one wing to the other. Often your opponent will not expect this and lose time, while you need little time because you have a clear cut plan.
I have used these kind of king marches successfully several times in my games.
Here is the fabulous king walk game by former World Champion Tigran Petrosian :
3. In positions where you are slightly better, repeat moves a few times.
With that you can possibly win time for yourself to think, and maybe making your opponent think that you might want a draw, but use the time to find a good move, continue and win. Make this a habit.
4. Check your opening repertoire.
If you are (or think you are) a positional and defensive player, you might want to make your style more all-round.
Playing positional chess, winning one pawn, and then wanting to win a long lasting endgame can be done, but will take more time, and your chess skills need to be very good.
If you want to win lots of games in order to win a blitz tourney it makes more sense to adjust your opening repertoire and your chess style into a more sharp one, and take some more risk, possibly resulting in faster wins. (Of course such an adjustment of opening repertoire and style needs some time. Say some weeks, months).
Apart from this, remember that in general in chess it takes often less time to play active, instead of defending a small material advantage. And since time in blitz is more important than in "classical" chess, this is something to re-think about.
5. Tactics, tactics, tactics.
Do tactic puzzles on a few tactics website, and see what tactic ratings you will have.
A tactic rating of 1800 seems to be realistic for most chess players. If you are currently rated below that, then it could be a matter of doing tactic puzzles every day, for at least a few months in a row. Find out which tactical motives you are weak at and work on them
In openings, middlegame and endgame one can come across tactics. 4 or 5 or even more tactics in one game is not very very unusual.
Tactics can be the decisive difference in a lot of games!
6. Make sure you know opening tricks in various openings.
This can give you quick wins, especially against weaker opponents.
Here's an example of such an opening trick, which even stronger opponents fell for !
7. Try playing without premove, and focus on chess content.
I don't use premove since many years.
I find it an artificial thing. In otb chess there is no premove as well.
I believe that using no premove can help you avoid silly premove blunders, as well as improving your own chess skills because playing without premove forces you to win on position, and not on time.
If you still think you cannot do without premove, at least limit it to "pawn races" only.
8. Make sure your opening repertoire is good.
You play the Fried Liver or Traxler or other sharp lines ?
Make sure you have worked on a decent knowledge for it.
Lots of chess players claim things like : "You only need to work on your openings when you are rated 2300".
That is in my opinion nonsense.
For example, if you would ignore openings completely and then keep losing against Fool's mate and similar, then it is obvious that even at the chess beginner level, openings are (to some extent) very important.
A good opening repertoire, can give you an advantage, which can be converted into a win.
9. Study rook endings
Rook endings can occur very often in chess games, more than any other endgame.
I am quite good at some rook endings (but still need to work on certain other rook endings). In blitz I have won or drawn seemingly lost rook endings time after time, also against stronger players ! I think this is because in the past I have gone through thousands and thousands of annotated master games in books and magazines.
Study rook endings if you have not done so.
The book "100 endgames you must know" by GM de la Villa has a section on it, and there's "A practical guide to rook endgames" by IM Minev and other good rook endgames books, but there's also chess videos.
10. Analyse your own blitz games
Did you lose in the opening, or in the endgame and was there obvious much room for improvement ?
Analyse your own games. Use for example opening databases to improve on your openings to be better prepared next time. And/or go over certain games that need closer attention with a fellow (preferably equal or stronger) chess player, or post in blogs or forums about your findings and questions.
... Do you have any interesting blitz tricks ?
Let them know in the comments here.
For further reading :
This blog post is especially for one of my chess study group members who was surprised that I almost went over 2300 blitz rating recently on another chess site. He wrote that he kept failing to go over 1600 or 1700 blitz rating.
Hope this helps, cheers !