Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blitz games - Part 2

Since writing 'Blitz Games - Part 1' I have changed my attitude to playing blitz games. It is of course possible that I was a little worried about my ability in this type of chess - which may be the reason for the slightly dismissive phrase "I don't take it ... seriously". On the other hand I was obsessing over increasing my rating on ICC so Blitz came second.

Blitz gets a lot of bad press. I think that is unfair. In 'Part 1' I talked about how it was a useful way to test out new openings and improving one's ability to analyse positions at a glance. Now I believe there is even more to the game than that.

I believe it has improved my tactical ability. I used to concentrate on piece development and building up a nice position. All well and good - but that does not win you games. Blitz has taught me how important it is to continually cause problems for my opponent. The learning process involved is when you discover that, even in losing positions, you can find yourself winning by continually pressurising the opponent. You might turn the game around completely or you might win on time.

Because even strong players are more likely to make mistakes under time pressure the feeling is that the opportunities are there, even against strong opposition. You find that you are trying moves which, under normal time limits, you would never dream of doing. You have to relax, of necessity - which is good for your game. You start playing moves like g4 or g5 for example! Playing 'dangerously'. You have shaken off the shackles and your reward is a new insight into the game.

More yet! Because the game is over in such a short time, you can appreciate the game as a coherent whole. In a long game, say in a correspondence game, it is easy to lose sight of your original plans for the game and you can get bogged down in long, exhausting variations. In Blitz, you have a plan which is usually followed through. OK, maybe you have to change tack but you don't lose track (forgive the poetry!).

Basically I believe my game has improved a lot because of blitz play. It's toughened me up as well. The victories and losses come thick and fast - no time to dwell on an the unecessary and irritating losses and become downhearted. By way of illustration I will show the moves of a game I played yesterday, winning on time against a player who is rated far above me.

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