Sunday, November 16, 2014

Blitz Chess - Is it Ruining Our Minds?

Good evening ladies and gents! It's been about a week since I have last updated my blog, so I've been greatly anticipating today's post. Today I am going to discuss Blitz Chess, a game type in which each player is allotted five minutes for the entire game. It is volatile, fast-paced, and very exciting. With the ever growing technological resources we have available to play chess on, Blitz chess is now the dominant game type.  For instance, you are at the doctors and the nurse tells you you have about a ten minute wait. What are you going to do? Of course whip out your iPhone and begin playing a blitz game online via or another chess app. It makes sense; ten minutes is not enough time to unravel your travel chess set and sneak a game in sprawled out over the carpet. So you ask, why is Ethan writing about Blitz Chess?

I chose this topic in order to give you a fair warning. There is a consensus among high ranking players and many chess analysts that Blitz is deteriorating our insight and patience. We live in a super technological ADHD society which promotes Blitz: quick, inconsequential games that do not require hours of intense analysis and thinking. Before this technological age almost all chess games were played traditionally - long and thought-out. If you wish to play in real tournament play (2-3 hour games) then you better break free from the Blitz style of play. Vladimir Kramnik, one of the best chess players ever states, "Playing rapid chess, one can lose the habit of concentrating for several hours in serious chess. That is why, if a player has big aims, he should limit his rapid play in favour of serious chess." 

Keep in mind that Blitz is not evil. I thoroughly enjoy playing it, but if you wish to succeed in traditional play, be wary. International Master Will Stewart, when writing about this very subject concurs with Kramnik when saying, "Your ability to concentrate on a single game diminishes as playing habits are built around blitz games. Playing out many games in a short period with quick positional and tactical assessments, and unsound sacrificial attacks can be very harmful to your serious, slow chess game." You have heard it from me, and have you have heard it from the experts. Please enjoy Blitz, it is fantastic, but as with anything, enjoy responsibly.


  1. Great insights. So do the professional players avoid blitz chess altogether?

  2. Many professionals play blitz, but not very seriously. No professional tournament or World Champion match contain any blitz matches, simply because it is not considered real chess due to the lack of deep thinking involved. And they definitely do not study blitz, but they might play a match as a "study break". Thanks for your comment Beth :)