Fast Chess

A couple of days ago I accidentally got into a "fast" game with a guy on GameKnot. He wanted to play without spending more than a few seconds thinking about moves. That, of course, also meant that he wanted to play in real time, not a move every couple of days.

I have been spending a lot of effort lately in learning and understanding the intricacies of the Ruy Lopez and the Sicillian Defense. It's made my chess games painful because in the beginning, when the game should be flowing smoothly, I'm spending a ton of time doing research. Boy did it pay off in this fast game, though! It was immediately obvious that I was following a rote script, and my opponent was making it up as he went. The result was that, even though I was playing black, I held the initiative through the entire game. I was able to maintain good form and a solid defense while making my opponent scramble to keep up.

My point here is not to brag. (I'm only playing at about a 1400 level, so there's nothing to brag about yet.) My point is how envigorating it was to have all that time spent feeling dumb because I was researching basic openings, translate into beautiful technique in a real-time game. I felt like Daniel-san in Karate Kid when Miyagi finally demonstrated the point of all the chores. It's just nice to know that I'm not too old to learn new tricks.

Comments:

Dan, in my high school days, I had a USCF rating in the 1500's, but played the strength of about 1750-1800, thanks to some guys on our team that were over 2000. However, as soon as speed chess reared it's ugly head, I played the strength of a 900. I just plain sucked at speed chess. Nowadays, if I think really really hard, I play the strength of a 900 :)

Posted by John Clingan on January 26, 2006 at 06:07 AM PST #

Nothing dumb about studying openings ... you need to have that knowledge. And the Ruy Lopez is a great opening - I can see how it would do well in speed chess.

Posted by tony : frosty on January 26, 2006 at 11:31 AM PST #

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