Speed Chess: How To Play & Best Tips To Master

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Speed chess is a variant of chess in which each player has less time to evaluate their moves than standard tournament time limits allow. Fast chess is subdivided, by decreasing time controls, into rapid chess, blitz chess, and bullet chess. Armageddon chess is a speed chess variant in which each of the two players is subjected to various rules.

Magnus Carlsen of Norway, who is also the top-ranked classical chess player, is the world's top-ranked quick and blitz chess player for 2021. Hou Yifan of China, who is also the top-ranked women's classical chess player, is the top-ranked women's quick and blitz chess player in 2021.

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Blitz chess, often known as speed chess, is a single, time-limited game that lasts between one and ten minutes. Blitz chess produces a frenzy of moves as both players rush to finish their respective half of a chess game, depending on which rule set they're using. The regular principles of movement, capture, and game-ending apply, aside from the blazing-fast speed required to play a whole chess game in such a short amount of time.

How to play blitz chess?

Here are some simple steps you can follow to start playing speed chess:

  • Face off against your opponent over the chessboard.  The player who is playing White gets to move first, while the player who is playing Black gets to choose which side of the table to sit on.
  • Examine the table from every angle. It comprises the way the pieces are arranged, the time on the clocks, and the orientation of the clocks. None of these can be modified after the game starts.
  • Set the time on the clocks to the length of time you wish to spend playing the game. Set the timer for a blitz game between one and 10 minutes.
  • On either side of the chessboard, a clock should be put. The clock is normally placed on the black side of the board.
  • If you're playing White, you get to move first. If you're playing Black, you should wait for your opponent to move.
  • You must hit the plunger on your side of the chess clock with the same hand that moved the chess piece after each move. This puts your clock on hold while your opponent begins.
  • Remember that the goal of speed chess is to have a good time while playing. You will lose if you take too long to consider your options.  You should make good use of your time.
  • You should play until the game of speed chess is over.

Tips to get better at speed chess

We have curated a list of some of the most effective tips and tricks to help you level up your game of speed chess. Read on!

  1. Use the dual-move trick: When your opponent is in a hurry, even if it's only for a while, and you have a lot of time on your hands, make a plan that includes moves that your opponent won't expect, as well as your follow-up movements. What can happen is that you make your move, and your opponent is surprised and wants to respond quickly, but after the opponent responds, you immediately play your next move, as planned! This can create a lot of psychological pressure on your opponent, increase the time pressure, and enhance the chances that your opponent will make a mistake.
  2. Repeat moves: Repeating moves can be a fantastic tool in speed chess. Repeating moves don't make much sense in longer time plans where the element of time is considerably more tolerant. It is because the opponent has all the time in the world to come up with a counter-move that will either reverse or strengthen their position. In blitz, however, this is not the case. When you're under a lot of time constraints, getting the move out maybe more crucial than what's on the board.
  3. Check your opening repertoire: If you're a defensive and positional player, you might want to broaden your game. Playing positional chess, winning one pawn, and then attempting to win a long-term endgame is possible, but it will take more time and require excellent chess abilities. If you want to win a blitz tournament, you need to sharpen your opening repertoire and chess style and take some more risks, which may result in speedier wins. Because time is more essential in speed chess than in conventional chess, this is something to consider.
  4. Limit your premoves: If we're talking about bullet chess (1-2 minute games), this is a major deal, but not so much in speed chess. In online chess, pre-moving is a coordinate function that ensures the pre-moved piece or pawn is in place immediately after the opponent's turn has been completed. The player that enjoys pre-moving their pieces or pawns has a higher chance of blundering their pieces or pawns. This isn't an issue in bullet because both players don't have a lot of time to figure out what's going on. When playing blitz, you have more time, which gives your opponent more time to respond if something suspicious arises. If you really want to pre-move that much then limit it when doing pawn promotions where nothing crazy should happen.
  5. Speed chess tactics: Perform strategy puzzles on a few tactics websites to determine your technique ratings. For most chess players, a strategy rating of 1800 sounds reasonable. If you're currently rated below that, doing tactic puzzles every day for at least a few months might be the answer. Determine which tactical motives you are lacking in and focus on improving them. Tactics can be found throughout the openers, middlegame, and endgame. It's fairly uncommon to see four, five, or even six tactics in a single game. In many games, tactics may make or break the game!
  6. Sacrifice a pawn: In blitz, it's a good idea to give up a piece in exchange for some form of positional or tactical initiative. It's just a pawn, but unlike in classical (longest time control) where the sac is important, the positional advantage that comes with it is far more valuable than a single pawn. In speed chess, having a pawn down doesn't change the needle nearly as much, so don't hesitate if it's reasonable.
  7. Analyze your own blitz games: Analyze the speed chess games you've played. Use opening databases, for example, to improve your openers and be more prepared the following time. And/or discuss select games that require more attention with a fellow (ideally equal or greater) chess player, or share your insights and questions on blogs or forums.

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