Chess is one of the oldest and most popular board games in the world, and there are many different variations on the standard game.
One of the most interesting of these formats is Blitz chess, a fast-paced game of chess that sees opponents fighting against the clock as well as each other!
But what exactly is Blitz chess, and how do you play it? Don’t worry – we’ve got all the answers right here! So read on, and we’ll take you through everything there is to know about Blitz chess.
So What Is ‘Blitz’, Exactly?
If you’ve ever watched a standard game of competitive chess, you might have found that it isn’t the most interesting spectator sport to watch.
When players take long pauses between each move to decide the best play, it can make the game drag on; in fact, the longest game of chess ever recorded was over 20 hours long, ending in a tie!
The ‘Blitz’ format of chess removes these long pauses from the equation by enforcing strict time limits on the competing players.
In Blitz chess (also known as ‘speed chess’), each player has a timer of 10 minutes or less to complete all of their moves. This timer counts down during the player’s turn, limiting the amount of time they have to move a piece.
This gives Blitz chess a much faster pace than regular chess, as players must make quick decisions and improvise their strategy without wasting too much time on each move.
How Fast Is A Game Of Blitz Chess?
Blitz chess is actually one of three types of speed chess, which enforce increasingly tight time limits on the players. From slowest to fastest, these formats are Rapid chess, Blitz chess, and Bullet chess.
Despite having the most generous time limit of the speed chess formats, Rapid chess is still designed to be played quickly and players have around 10 or more minutes on each side.
Blitz chess is a good middle ground that offers a good challenge to skilled players; in Blitz chess, players can have anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes each.
Bullet chess is the fastest, most difficult type of speed chess, with each player having just 1-2 minutes to play.
What Are The Rules Of Blitz Chess?
Now that we’ve taken a look at what Blitz chess is, let’s take a look at some of the rules that set it apart from a regular game of chess.
As we’ve already mentioned, the main defining factor of Blitz chess is its time restrictions. Each player has a timer that will continuously count down from 3 to 10 minutes during their turn.
The time starts counting down as soon as White makes their first move, and will continue until they switch the time at the end of their turn; at this point, Black’s timer will start to count down.
Play will alternate as the players have to make fast decisions of how they want to play their pieces.
There are two ways to win a game of Blitz chess. Firstly, there is the traditional way of winning either through a checkmate or by taking the opponent’s King.
However, this is hard to pull off with such a strict time limit as there’s far less room for clever strategy.
The more common way to win is the time limit running out. The frantic nature of Blitz chess means that games aren’t typically played with the same level of finesse as regular games, and most games can come down to a few blunders under pressure.
There is also the option to draw, and either player can request a tie during the game. In most cases, this follows the typical rules of chess where both players are awarded half a point.
However, this isn’t always the case. In Armageddon chess (a variation of Blitz), Black is given an advantage in a draw.
This acts as a tie-breaker to assign a decisive victory to the game. To help balance out this advantage, White is typically given a slightly longer timer to compensate.
How To Win At Blitz Chess
With how fast a game of Blitz chess moves it can be hard to even keep up, let alone win. Luckily, we’ve gathered some handy hints and tricks you can use to give you an extra advantage over your opponent.
Learn Your Openings
A good opening can be half the battle in blitz chess, setting you up for a smoother game down the line.
Learning the best ways to open, as well as possible ways these openings can be countered, means you don’t need to improvise as much right off the bat and gives you more room to work with.
Don’t Waste Time On Unimportant Decisions
This might seem like a fairly obvious tip, but it’s all too common for beginner blitz players to spend too long on the least critical moves.
It’s true that every move holds weight in a game of chess, but in Blitz (where well-thought-out strategy is more of a hindrance) it’s important not to linger too long on inconsequential decisions.
Save your seconds for the moves that matter, as double-checking important decisions and making crucial calculations is far easier to do without time pressure.
Be Prepared To Sacrifice Your Pawns
In a game of Blitz, losing a pawn or two won’t shift the course of the game too dramatically. Knowing when and how to sac a pawn to keep your more important pieces in play is a great way to tilt the scales in your favor.
This comes more naturally once you become more comfortable with Blitz play, but a handy trick is to have a pawn within the same area of control as your more important pieces in case you need to sacrifice one quickly.
Blitz chess is an exciting and fast-paced alternative to classic chess, and throws an interesting new element into the game.
Now you know a bit more about what Blitz chess is, the rules of Blitz chess, and how to win at it, all you need to do is give it a try for yourself. Have fun!