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Blitz: It's what's for Chess Dessert

Hey, we all like candy, right? I know I do. In fact, I like it a bit too much, at times, and have actually made myself ill from excess. I’m especially drawn to candy during a good movie; there’s something about chomping on sweets while watching a killer dissect someone surgically that really gets the juices flowing.

I digress.

We may enjoy candy, but we realize fully (if we’re over the age of twelve) that we cannot survive on a candy diet alone. We wouldn’t feel very good and our bodies would quickly shut down on us.

Well, think of blitz as chess candy. It’s great as a reward, after we’ve done our serious work and eaten our meat and potatoes, so to speak. The main course, as it happens, is slow games and studying. Blitz is for dessert.

The same thing that happens to our bodies on a sugar diet will happen to our chess on a blitz diet. It’ll break down over time, leaving us unfulfilled and suffering. Weak. Remember, long games prepare us for blitz, not the other way around. Just the same way a good meal prepares us for a treat, but sweets first will spoil our appetite.

If we begin to play too much blitz, our hunger and desire for real chess diminishes. A good session of rack 'em up and let’s play again is healthy now and again, it really is, but all blitz all the time will hurt your game, mark my words.

I can already hear your argument: But when I sign onto the ICC, GMs are playing blitz all over the place and not slow games!

In a word: Yes. They are.

But keep in mind, young Jedi, that they were already GMs before signing on to play blitz. They have earned their stripes via slow games over the board. Nobody ever earned a FIDE title playing internet blitz, and you can take that to the bank.

The author of this article begs of you, please, mix in some 15/10, some 20/20, some 45/45 in your chess repertoire. It’ll make you an all-around stronger player. Save the cake for after the main course. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

A challenge: Play standard games with increment for an entire week, and take your time with each move——really delve into the positions and see what you can see. Play only standard games and nothing else. Then and only then, go back and seek the 5-minute or the 3-minute or the (gulp!) 1-minute games your mind craves.

I’m willing to bet you’ll see a noticeable improvement.

Be a well-rounded player. Don’t engage in only fast games and, likewise, don’t limit yourself to slow games. A mixture is, I believe, what’s going to shape the strongest, ready-for-anything chess player you’d like to become.