Sprinkling In Some Blitz

Mar 20, 2016, 5:00 PM |
Players who want to improve should not play too many blitz games. By too many I mean to the exclusion of playing more longer time control games or chess study. This advice is fairly universal by many chess teachers and masters. However, "sprinkling in some blitz" can supplement a steady diet of longer time control games and comprehensive chess study - e.g. tactics, strategy, opening, middlegame, endgame.
This "seasoning" (that' the last food analogy I'll make today) of blitz has a few benefits:
  • You can practice your opening repertoire more and expose holes in your knowledge.
  • Because there are more tactical blunders made, it gives you a chance to spot tactics.
  • Related to openings, you get more practice with typical structures you might see when you play longer games.
  • You sometimes will get into time trouble, so having some practice of having to think quickly can be helpful.
  • It's fun!
Just to be balanced, there are a couple downsides (which is why you should moderate it if you are trying to improve):
  • You do not practice your full evaluation and calculation skills and often make superficial assessments during blitz games.
  • You often face junk openings and gambits that you probably won't face in serious long time control games, so you practice openings that you may not see very often.
In the past, I had tried eliminating blitz from my "chess time" totally, but now I realize that having some in your chess "diet" can be extremely enjoyable as well as beneficial.
Here is a recent game with some interesting tactical possibilities. I did some checking with my computer engine, but also just some quick analysis on my own to express what I thought of during the game, so don't be surprised if you try checking it with your chess engine if you find a lot of mistakes. It is blitz after all, but I am pleased by some of the aesthetically pleasing tactics I did see in the game. Enjoy!