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trond 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Blitz and chess skill Do you guys think it is possible to improve your chess skill while playing blitz? Personally I find 5 minute blitz (or less) like playing on instict (and games are often decided by time trouble or blunders). But with 10-15 minute games I normally have time to think a bit before I move. I believe these games (10-15 minutes) are a good chance to gain experience while learning new openings.

It would be interesting to hear the opinion of the higher-rated players here on GK about this.

drgandalf 36 ( +1 | -1 )
In OTB games with time controls of 90 or less, the ability to play blitz is vital. Many times, my opposite and I have gone into a game only half way, with less than ten minutes on the clock, sometimes less than five. The chess ability to move rapidly under such pressure is indeed a gem in one's chess wealth.
buddy2 65 ( +1 | -1 )
threaten I've seen opposite opinions on blitz. One person says "In blitz you just threaten, cause opponent to think a long time, win." At a detriment to strategic skills. I've also heard people say it sharpens your quick sight ability at the board, enables you to spend more time thinking deeper. There should be some chess psychology institute to take an objective measurement, instead of people just spouting opinions. I know most great players: Kasparov, Fischer, Radjabov, etc., are superb blitz players, but is it a cause or an effect? In my humble experience, blitz hasn't helped me OTB, but that may just be me.
olympio 32 ( +1 | -1 )
i think all styles of chess can help your play..

fischer can help your understanding of maneuvering.. and tactics.. and "objective" positional concepts

blitz can help you calculate faster by assessing the merits of a position more quickly

OTB can teach you about time management.. pressure..

correspondence can simply teach you how to analyze..
atrifix 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Fischer Fischer was never known for being a good blitz player (rather, a bad one relative to his classical skill) until 1971, very late in his career, when his leave of absence and study in 1970 seemed to drastically affect his blitz strength.
peppe_l 8 ( +1 | -1 )
Plus Fischer never gave much credit to speed chess anyway.

olympio 49 ( +1 | -1 )
it's kind of dumb to not give credit to speed chess since all chess time controls are relative..

if fischer played only correspondence chess then he would not give credit to classical. OTB time constraint..

i think all chess time controls are good.. each as good as any other.. as long as you take into account the time control..

if a great game is played in 5 min.. it would be a stupid game at 2+1+30 but still for that 5 it would be a game worth going down in history
More: Chess
buddy2 35 ( +1 | -1 )
Fischer and blitz Atrifix, why do you say Fischer was "never known to be a good blitz player" until 1971? He won the U.S. Junior Speed Championship in 1957 when he was 14. In 1958 he was playing blitz with Petrosian at Moscow Central Chess Club and holding his own. Fischer was raised on blitz as a kid playing in Manhattan. Of course he wasn't as good "relative to his classical skill." Who is?
buddy2 45 ( +1 | -1 )
Olympio's comment I pretty much agree with Olympio. All time controls are relative and would relate directly to the depth/quality of chess produced. I personally have a much higher rating in OTB than Iwould have if the time limit were 5 minutes. I guess other, younger players would probably have a higher rating. In ICC (blitz) they say the relationship is statistically roughly equal. I can't believe that, but there you are.
peppe_l 34 ( +1 | -1 )
But the point is Even if the relationship between ICC & OTB is roighly equal in average, it does not apply to individual players. OTB and blitz tend to favour different type of players, for example many over-agressive attackers seem to be doing well with fast time limits, but not as well with slow time time limits.
olympio 11 ( +1 | -1 )
karpov vs. fischer in a correspondence match..

pretty one-sided.. at their primes.. karpov would win do you think pretty definitely?
atrifix 110 ( +1 | -1 )
Fischer was just generally not considered to be a good blitz player. I don't know about the very early part of his career in the 50s, but by the time he was 14 he totally outclassed everyone in the US Junior so much that he probably could have won playing blindfold. As for the majority of his career throughout the 60s, there aren't very many recorded results for Fischer in speed chess, and although produced some great blitz play at times (Fischer-Fine, 1963, for example; Fine was a great blitz player), most of the Russians gave him odds and usually won. When I said "relative to his classical strength", what I meant was that most players' blitz strength is comparable to their classical strength, e.g., Kasparov, Kramnik, and Anand are the top three chess players in the world and are around the top three blitz players in the world. Thus on any given day, one would expect Fischer to beat, say, Leonid Stein, but Stein would usually beat Fischer in blitz. At any rate, identifying Fischer with blitz chess is like identifying Kasparov with correspondence.
olympio 7 ( +1 | -1 )
kasparov's correspondence play is brilliant actually..

did you observe kasparov vs. the world?
atrifix 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes. But Kasparov doesn't play correspondence.
baseline 76 ( +1 | -1 )
atrifix The Herceg Novi Blitz Tournament 1970
a double round robin

1. Fischer 19
2. Tal 14.5
3. Korchnoi 14
4. Petrosian 13
5. Bronstein 13
6. Hort 12
7. Matulovic 10
8. Smyslov 9
9. Reshevsky 8
10. Uhlmann 8
11. Ivkov 7.5
12. Ostojic 2

Fischer was a Blitz fanatic and there are many stories of him playing Blitz with various people well into the night during tournaments when he should have been resting. Shortly after winning his first U.S. Championship he recieved permission to visit Russia. His first stop was the Moscow Chess Club where he proceeded to beat the masters on hand game after game. Petrosian was called in from home to put the boy in his place! Fischer may not have been known for blitz play but he was an awsome blitz player
buddy2 55 ( +1 | -1 )
Playing at odds: Atrifix Where did you get info about Fischer being given odds against the Russians at blitz? Also where did you get info about Stein usually beating Fischer at blitz? And at what age was Fischer? Not that I'm questioning your facts, I simply want to clarify my opinion of Fischer as a chess player during the extent of his career. My impression from reading is that F. was a great blitz player (starting around 14) and I never heard of him being given odds since working with John W. Collins in New York.
tonlesu 456 ( +1 | -1 )
Fischer and blitz I am curious too about the statement of Fischer receiving odds. Fischer gave odds he didnt receive them.As an example Brady says he saw Fischer give Addison pawn and move and play him without sight of the board at blitz and Addison barely broke even. And according to Brady Addison was GM strength at blitz.

I copied the following from the World Chess Network- Chess News

Bobby Fischer’s first utterly stunning triumph was Stockholm 1962, the interzonal tournament in which he scored 17 1/2 - 4 1/2 to finish 2 1/2 points ahead of a field with four top Soviet grandmasters. Soviet reporting credited Fischer with a remarkable performance, but there were also the usual effusions directed against his person.

Efim Lazarev, the biographer of GM Leonid Stein, tells the following story about a speed session between Fischer and the Soviet grandmaster the night after the first round at Stockholm:

That evening, after the round, Stein came to see Geller. Fischer too dropped in. In his halting Russian he suggested a lightning chess match with Geller. Geller was clearly in a bad mood that evening [after losing to an unheralded Colombian IM], but, on hearing the offer, could not restrain a sly grin and, pointing to Stein, who was sitting modestly in a corner, said:

“Play him instead.”

Since Fischer had not been present at the drawing of lots and Stein had not played in the first round, the American was not acquainted with him. Geller introduced them. At first Bobby declined to play someone whom he took for a novice, someone who clearly could not be a worthy opponent at lightning chess. However, then he agreed to play Mr. Stein but added that he would not play for nothing .... Bobby proposed a small stake: 10 crowns. To equalize their chances, he offered Mr. Stein a handicap: if Mr. Stein won even two points in five games, the stake would be his.

“Very well,” Stein replied.

In less than 10 minutes Fischer had lost the first game. He lost the second one even faster .... Geller was laughing so that there were tears in his eyes.

The outcome surprised Fischer so that he now proposed playing on equal terms.

With much greater respect for the newcomer, he now began playing less rashly but still failed to secure an advantage. In the evenings that followed, Bobby often invited Stein, with whom he had become friendly, to new lightning chess encounters, in which first one and then the other would emerge the winner.

The above account by Lazarev, wafts with ichthyological perfume.

First, Bobby would have known the names of his opponents in the interzonal and would have prepared for games against every single one, including even those trailing in the caboose of the tournament table. Secondly, the author has Bobby addressing GM Stein as Mr. Stein, and the idea that he would not associate the two names is absurd. Thirdly, everyone is agreed that Bobby read chess literature voluminously with nearly total recall, and Stein’s picture had appeared in numerous magazines by 1962. Fourthly, after supposedly losing a speed match to Stein, the author still has Bobby regarding him as a “newcomer” rather than the strong grandmaster whom Bobby surely recognized from the very beginning or, at the very latest, after the first game between them. Finally, the author speaks of further chess encounters during succeeding evenings, claiming that “first one and then the other would emerge the winner.” This last phrase is meaningless, and we have no idea what the real balance of the results might have been.

After 1962, Soviet reporting on Fischer’s speed play falls off. There is mention of an offhand game between Fischer and Stein at Havana 1966, but not much more than that. Perhaps, the common sense conclusions – which ought to be the conventional wisdom – are the following: 1. Earlier Soviet reporting exaggerated Fischer’s problems in speed play as a ploy to imply that he was not a chess genius nonpareil; 2. By the mid-1960s (as suggested by the testimony of Jack Collins, Frank Brady and others), Fischer had become utterly formidable in five-minute chess; and 3. The Soviets stopped writing on Fischer’s speed play because horror stories about Bobby rolling Soviet grandmasters were unwelcome in the pages of 64 and Shakhmaty.

peppe_l 51 ( +1 | -1 )
Perhaps one reason Why people often say Fischer wasnt so good at speed chess (until 70s) is Tal, who was clearly better than Fischer in their first speed chess games. The second reason is propably the fact that even though Fischer played speed chess for fun and enjoyment, in many occasions he was quick to point out 5-minute games were fun but not real chess like slow games.

Of course in Hercec Novi 1970 Fischer was clearly stronger than all the others, Tal included.
tonlesu 50 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe You mean to say that at the time of the great blitz tournament of 1970 Bobby went through a metamorphosis and suddenly there appeared unexplicable strength where before he was something of a punching bag for Tal, Stein and others? Surely you dont expect people to buy that do you?

Of course you're right when you say Fischer didnt think much of speed chess. He was one among many who felt that way. I cant think of a single world champion who thought speed chess was something special.
buddy2 27 ( +1 | -1 )
fair to say I think it's fair to say Fischer was good at blitz when he was 14, and he was close to unbeatable in his late 20's. In no way could "bad" be associated with his speed skills. That having been said, the question now is: Did his speed playing improve his normal tournament game or was it just incidental?
peppe_l 104 ( +1 | -1 )
Tonlesu Somehow I get a feeling that you are seeking for an excuse to call me Fischer basher again :-)

Ok, half-joking...

Seriously, I thought the first sentence in my post (" reason why people often say...") was a clear hint that what I wrote was not referring to my personal opinion about the subject...? All I can say is in his early days he was no match to Tal, but year by year he became stronger and stronger in both classical chess and blitz (not overnight of course) and at some point he overtook his competitors at blitz. In 1970 tournament Fischer was clearly stronger than others. When exactly he surpassed Tal (and Stein who - based on what I have heard - was approx equal in strength with him when they first played blitz) I dont know, and since no one has an exact record on all the unofficial blitz games he played, I am not sure does anyone know - except Bobby himself :-)

P.S We are very close of having the first Fischer discussion without flame wars or fanaticism, so I hope we will succeed.

Yours sincerely

atrifix 99 ( +1 | -1 )
Actually I see no reason not to buy the "metamorphosis" theory, although it's clearly not as drastic as that. In 1970 Fischer became a demigod at blitz, and it seems to me that general chess study would not have affected it, since blitz skill is usually derived from practice, so he probably devoted some time to blitz study, or at least very fast 'sight of the board'. If anything, a one-year hiatus to study chess would usually weaken a player's blitz skill, but in the 1970-72 period Fischer won just about every blitz game he played.

And Addison, while he may have been GM strength in blitz, is hardly comparable to people like Tal, Stein, Geller, or Fischer :)

In 1960 I played a marathon five-minute blitz session with Fischer that lasted perhaps three or four hours. We broke even after about 25 games. In 1970, however, I was no longer a match for him at this speed. – Larry Evans
buddy2 14 ( +1 | -1 )
blitz study What is this blitz study, Artrifix? How do you study blitz? As you said, blitz skill usually derived from practice.
atrifix 14 ( +1 | -1 )
By achieving faster sight of the board and greater awareness of tactics, particularly by being aware of tactics before they develop.
tonlesu 64 ( +1 | -1 )
Of course Addison was not Tal or Stein but he was giving Addison pawn and move and playing blind at blitz. Evans remark is slightly humorous dont you think.

In 1960 I broke even by 1970 I was no longer a match. By 1970 nobody on the planet was a match for Bobby, no one was even close.

Ive read someplace (?) that blitz players have a natural rhythm and they maintain this rhythm throughout the game. For instance at Herceg Novi Bobby usually used only half of his five minutes to play his games and he never ever (unlike the others) lost a pawn or left a piece hanging.
olympio 13 ( +1 | -1 )
GK blitz tourney we should have a GK blitz tournament on yahoo or (at least before mike implements blitz here)
peppe_l 30 ( +1 | -1 )
Perhaps one of the reasons Why it took some time for Fischer to become so good at blitz was his playing style...? In the style of his hero Steinitz he was always objective, striving to find absolutely the best moves...clearly not a fan of Tal-style speculative sacrifices or swindling - both very effective "strategies" in 5-minute games.
baseline 25 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe what you say may be true, but did you consider . There is enough evidence to show he was a strong blitz player at age 14 and world class by age 18. This was a transition from child to young adult and his blitz play followed the natural course towards maturity.
tonlesu 92 ( +1 | -1 )
Why it took some time "Why it took some time for Fischer to become so good at blitz" is really a vague statement. He was sitting in the central chess club in Moscow knocking off Russian masters at 15 yrs. of age. Was Tal sitting in the Marshall chess club at 15 knocking off American masters. Was Tal sitting in any Chess club knocking off masters at 15---was Petrosian---was Stein? I dont think so, yet I cant conceive you making a statement such as---Why it took some time for Tal to become so good at blitz...
One could take your statement about Fischer striving to find absolutely the best move and turn it around and apply it to his opponents. Fischer always used less time than his opponents. You could say he saw a good move and made it. In the great blitz tournament we were referring to earlier Tal lost both his games to Fischer---one on time! One could say perhaps he spent too much time looking to find absolutely the best move.

peppe_l 144 ( +1 | -1 )
I know Forcing opponents to a zeitnot was a strategy often used by Fischer. Even at classical chess he won many equal or almost equal endgames by making good moves faster than his opponents. Yes I also know in 1970 blitz tournament he used less time than his opponents, but if you read my post again I am sure you notice I never mentioned time management! I was only talking about playing style. As a Fischer fan you know he was often willing to accept pawn sacrifices, defend accurately and claim the point in endgame (of course most of those games never end up to "best games" collections since for some reason chess public always tends to favour games where the player who sacricifes wins...). We also know at blitz attacking tends to be significantly easier than defending, much more so than in classical chess. I am wondering how many of his early games vs Tal ended up to positions that were objectively equal or even better for Fischer, but extremely difficult to play with fast time controls? This is only guessing since there are no schoresheets etc, but at least there is a possibility that my guess is not far from truth.

To both baseline and tonlesu

Yes Fischer was always a good blitz player etc etc etc. But the question we are asking here is was he always (relatively speaking) equally strong at classical chess and blitz?
buddy2 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Herci Novi Blitz Anyone know if the games in Herci Novi Blitz Tournament were recorded. If so, they would be quite interesting to study. Where would they be available, if so?
buddy2 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Herceg Novi blitz answered my own question: Nice site. Has lots of classic games. Simple opening references and much much more. Check it out. I'm going to play over the Tal-Fischer blitz games from the above tournament!
tonlesu 68 ( +1 | -1 )
peppe "The question we are asking here is was he always (relatively speaking) equally strong at classical chess and blitz?" Really--- I wasnt aware that was the question we are asking. It certainly wasnt the original question.

And I always thought time management was considered a part of playing style. Fischer was always economical with his time; Reshevesky was not. Some players portion off their time in move units. Say the first 20 moves in so many minutes. Some have other ways of time management. Perhaps we will hear a few here on this thread. But certainly time management should be considered a part of playing style---dont you think?
peppe_l 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Tonlesu Absolutely. But as I pointed out I was referring to other aspects of playing style. Perhaps it would be a good idea to start a new thread about time management? It is surely an interesting topic and I have to say I have received more than few losses thanks to poor time management...
tonlesu 18 ( +1 | -1 )
Peppe When someone tells me " I never mentioned time management! I was only talking about playing style." I assume the speaker feels they are separate and distinct.
peppe_l 4 ( +1 | -1 )
Fair enough Inaccurate choice of words by me, sorry.
tonlesu 61 ( +1 | -1 )
did you ever walk away from the board knowing you have a win in hand against a strong opponent. You're checking out the other boards and you glance over and see your opponent intently studying the position and you say to yourself---what the heck is this guy looking at, he's lost. You spend another ten min or so looking at different boards and glance over at your board and see the guy is still engrossed in the position. His elbows are on the table and his head is cradled in his hands. He looks like he's trying to move the pieces by kinetic energy. As you move closer to the table you see what the guy is up to. You rush over quickly, punch your clock and the guy resigns.
tonlesu 202 ( +1 | -1 )
clocks I was leafing through "Chessnicdotes" by Koltanowski and came across this on page 33.

"In a womans championship tournament Miss A made her move against Miss B, got up and wandered around watching the positions on the other five boards. Then talked to a few spectators, occasionally glancing at her board to see if it was her turn to move. No, Miss B is taking her time, thinking about some diabolic plan or her new hat. So Miss A continued chatting and feeling good about the fact she had Miss B worried. Otherwise why did her opponent take over a half hour to make her move... and then it hit her...she had forgotten to punch her side of the clock. In other words, Miss B had just sat there using up the time of Miss A! (they had to make 50 moves in two hours).

Running back to her table, Miss A punched her side of the clock with a viscious sweep of the hand, and loudly pronounced, so that everyone in the room could hear, MISS B YOU ARE A B----!

Consternation...Miss B paled, then without flinching, picked up a container of luke-warm tea and threw it over the head of Miss A, who, now livid, picked up a caraffe of ice-water and poured the contents all over Miss B. The chess pieces just swam away!!

All of the ladies stopped their chess clocks, and all of the contestants ran around like chickens without their heads. The two belligerent ladies were glaring at each other... glaring hate and poison. If looks could kill, there would have been a couple of dead bodies by now.

But where was the tournament director all this time? He was washing his hands and one of the participants ran, got him back to the playing area where hysteria reigned.

The TD made everyone continue their games, requesting complete silence, and took the two "fighting" ladies outside, gave them a stern lecture and strong admonition, and made them return to their board and finish their game, wet clothes and all!

Moral to story

Punch your side of the clock at all times.

Who says chess is a gentleman's game?