Friday, January 17, 2014

Haikus - for Blitz

Let's warm up with a haiku about a Christmas gift I treated myself to from NIC (New In Chess).

Hey, I bought a chess clock!
A grandmaster, I thought to be.
- but it seems I just lose more rapidly.

Now for four haikus I wrote which are actually quite relevant to improving a player's performance at blitz. They are based on advice given by one "tactical_abyss" (I googled to try and give proper credit but could not locate him/her) - which is also included in its original form below each haiku (his original text can be found here 1). There is more help to improve your blitz play here (2).

Play internet blitz moves more rapidly - how?
You don't need to move your mouse so far
Minimise the size of your screen chessboard.

Keep the blitz board as relatively SMALL as possible (but not too small!). The smaller the board, the faster the pointer can move across less distance! So, while your opponent may have a full screen board setup with added + magnification... you will have a board less than half his size. Your response time can easily add up to a few more seconds on the clock with less distance to travel to those squares.

Don't analyse lengthy combinations at blitz.
1 or 2 move combinations cost less time.
Your play needs more of these tactical tricks!

SMALLER tactical combinations are what you must seek, like 1 or 2 move combinations... not some long 4 or 5 tactical combination that will cost you too much time in a 2 to 4 minute game (some 5 min. games as well). So, just because you have an initiative advantage does not mean that you will have a winning tactical combination. This is where having the initiative gets confused with tactical advantage.

Optimise your play in rapid chess games.
Keep minor pieces behind the pawns
and then push on into your opponents position.

Keeping pawns first and the major pieces behind them is basically one of the best ways to play blitz. Keeping your pieces in the center of the board and control of the center is of course, key. Centralize a pawn, knight and bishop and after that drive them further into your opponents position.

An alternative to "pre-move" is to hover.
Pick up your piece and float gracefully
wherever you think you its journey may end.

Don't forget to hover your piece ahead of time over the expected piece resting place of your obvious opponent exchange square EVERY TIME! This half second advantage will definitely add up to a better clock edge and more think time for you in the critical endgame!

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