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Some Blitz Skills

Oct 4, 2011, 10:55 AM 21

One of the most important skills in blitz is being aware of the changing state of the game. In this example from a blitz game I played yesterday, I made a typical blitz mistake: I played a move with a direct threat and an intended thematic follow-up. I assumed my opponent would stop the threat and then I would play my strategic idea. But he omitted defending my threat and I was so fixated on my expected course of the game, that I did not carry out my threat, but instead carried out the strategic idea. This is really a common error, and what you want to do to avoid it is be more flexible in your mind. Don't assume that your opponent will do what you expect them to do, and then notice when they play surprises.

The second skill I want to bring to your attention is knowing when to stop and calculate. Obviously this is not something you should do very often in a 3 0 game, like the example here. But you may stop and calculate up to twice in a 3 minute game, and even up to once in a 1 0. In the next example, I realized that my opponent was trying to do something which a) would be really bad news for me if he got away with it and b) had a decent chance of not working. When your instincts feed you those two pieces of info, it is 100% time to stop and look for an incisive solution to your position. Here black has just played Ne7, intending to castle next move.

It is important to realize that if black castles kingside, white's position will be quite bad. You need to get something out of the weak a3-f8 diagonal, and there's a good chance you can.

I hope those are some useful little points. Ok, now here are a couple puzzles to test your own awareness!

now defend for black:

One more:

No! Nb5 Qa8 and the undefended Qe4 means white can't take the rook on a3; or Nc6 Qb7 and once again, the undefended Qe4 means that white can't win material on d8. Neither of those are bad moves, but I simply played Rfd1...

I hope you did well on these, and have fun blitzing!

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