Blitz Chess Means Nothing?
When I first began to play chess I was already an adult at 20. I went to the downtown YMCA in Atlanta where there would be a 'blitz', or 5-minute, tournament, with an entry fee of only a quarter. I was so bad that after the first tournament, I was not allowed to enter. That infuriated me greatly. It gave me the incentive to beat the better players who would not even take my money. Eventually I did just that with all of them I faced, but not at blitz, but at what is now called 'classical' chess. I have never been particularly proficient at any form of 'quick' chess. I played many games of 'speed' chess with a fellow named O. Al Hamilton, or, as we knew him, 'Big Al'. Usually he would win on time, with me having a better, if not won, position. Invariably I took way too much time, concentrating on trying to play quality chess in lieu of 'slinging pieces'. After what turned out to be the last game of speed chess we contested, with Big Al once again winning on time, but with a 'lost' game on the board, he looked up at me, saying, "Bacon, I beat you like a drum...But it's not satisfying."
I have always admired those who can play chess very quickly, and play it well. One of my fondest memories of over four decades of being a fan of the Royal game is watching GM Walter Browne play speed chess! No one has ever been able to put on a better show than 'Mr Six-Time!
Someone posted on the USCF forum: Nakamura Tops Carlsen in BNbank Blitz in Norway that "blitz proves nothing." Nothing could be further from the truth!
Coming, as it does, on the heels of Carlsen's victory at the recent World Blitz Championship, by three points over World Champion Anand, this is an incredibly impressive result! It is even more amazing in that Carlsen won the first game and Hikaru came back to win the next three in a row!
The quality of the games is also amazing! I am reminded of what Bobby Fischer did at Herceg Novi in 1970. It has been called "The greatest blitz tournament of the twentieth century" by many. The quality of the games there was such that if most chess players were to play over them along with games from the same period at a 'classical' time control, they would not be able to pick out the 'speed' games!
For those who think blitz chess "means nothing" I would refer you to the article: The Bobby Fischer Blitzkrieg! at the award winning website: www.thechessdrum.net/newsbriefs/2002/NB_Fischer2.html
After the USSR versus the Rest of the World Match, the unofficial World Championship of Lightning Chess (5-minute games) was held at Herceg Novi. Petrosian and Tal were considered the favorites, but Fischer overwhelmed the super-class field with 19/22 (+17=4-1), far ahead of Tal (14½), Korchnoi (14), Petrosian (13½), Bronstein (13), etc. Fischer lost only one game, to Korchnoi, who was also the only player to achieve an even score against him in the double round robin tournament. Fischer "crushed such blitz kings as Tal, Petrosian and Smyslov by a clean score". Tal marveled that, "During the entire tournament he didn't leave a single pawn en prise!", while the other players "blundered knights and bishops galore".In August 1971, Fischer won a strong lightning event at the Manhattan Chess Club with a "preposterous" score of 21½/22.